This past week-end saw our club team come out after a week off for spring break to play a couple of solid teams for the last 2 games of our regular season. Our 1st game was one where we played right off of the whistle and had a very high work rate. It was one of the games where we worked together pretty well and stayed connected to each other for the duration of the match.
Our 2nd game this weekend was against the highest scoring team in our division and against a team that should be playing in the Challenge Division. (They have scored 53 goals and allowed only 11 for the season in 9 games) We made some fundamental mistakes early on that allowed the ball to find the back of our net twice but we made some needed adjustments and played the remainder of the match to hold our opposition to those 2 goals. Unfortunately, we were unable to get the goals to put us on the board in spite of having 4 good opportunities to score.
As I sit and think about our season, I realize just how hard it is on young players to balance both club play and high school soccer at the same time. The demands of making constant adjustments between the two programs’ demands is difficult at best. Players move from position to position, and the style of play, pace of play and expectations are all unique to the squads the players find themselves in from day-to-day. I am constantly amazed at just how resilient our players are and what they bring each and every day to training and to the games.
As I told the girls yesterday, I see improvement each and every time they come out, be it in training or in games, they are growing and getting better. We have to continually challenge ourselves if we expect to grow and develop in our sport. Our girls are learning how to compete and it was remarked by the center ref yesterday that he was not expecting to come out and witness such an intense game. He felt that the physical play and challenges for the game were every bit as hard if not harder than any boys match he has officiated (he does high school and club). As a coach, I often want more from the team so it was nice to hear that someone without a bias saw what we have been working to achieve in our matches.
Our State Cup is in 2 weeks so I hope we can maintain our composure and passion in play going forward. I am sure that I am not the only coach that is sad the season is winding down, we get a great deal of pleasure in watching our players develop and grow and the break between seasons while needed, means that we miss seeing the players growth for however long that break lasts.
till I see you on the pitch