Sunday, March 02, 2008

Long Soccer Day, Fun in the Sun

We started our day, yesterday morning, by leaving the house just after 7:30 am. Unfortunately we woke up at 6:30am so we were in quite a rush to get showered, in uniform, lunches packed and all 4 kids plus a puppy into the Tahoe to get on the road.

Knowing we were late did not contribute to my overall peace of mind and soul as I got stuck on light after light on our way to the freeway. The GPS kept reminding me of the distance and time of arrival and I fretted about it the whole way. At one point a parent lovingly and sarcastically me from the fields asking if I need directions to the field as I was noticeably late (I had sent out an e-mail with my cell # for those that may get lost). But with 5 minutes to spare we arrived and started the first of 3 games on time.

Game 1 Summary: 6-0 win for U12B American Strikers


Now for the details...

After having survived 4 seasons of rebuilding and mostly humiliation on the playing field by teams that were systematically better than my oldest son's team, we happened upon a rich and well funded, yet obviously under skilled team in the Grapevine/Southlake Soccer Association (GSSA). We score pretty early and kept the ball on the opposing team's field for most of the first half. I mixed up our team's normal positions to keep the score down but with a 3-0 lead in the first half I new the game was in the bag. Our goalie only had 2 touches on the ball the first half.

I began with a 2nd half challenge of 2 goals in under 5 minutes wherewith they answered the challenge with the first of 2 in 20 seconds and missed the 5 minute mark with the 2nd at 7 minutes. At that point I start putting some more developing players up front and pulling some stronger, more experienced players off the field. We had a PK at 10 minutes which while the shot was strong it went straight into the goalie's chest and we all thought that it was a missed opportunity. We were incorrect. The ball was shot with such force that it caused the goalie to step back and the ball crossed the goal line.

A challenge with playing recreation ball is there are so many levels of skills and development. Across the North Mid-Cities Soccer League (NMCLS) we try to keep like teams in the same divisions to keep competition equal and challenging. Sometimes that doesn't happen. In the event the teams are obviously unequal, the NMCLS has instituted a sportsmanship clause that allows for no more than 6 point differential. As we wanted to keep the other team to a shut out, we could not afford to go beyond the 6 points.

Ever try playing a 20 minute game of keep away? Not easy nor is it terribly enjoyable. But that is the challenge that this team faced and conquered and they executed flawlessly. Interestingly enough, when the pressure of scoring was removed from the game, they relaxed and were more prone to make better passes, get open to receive the passes, and generally played better as a team.

Overall, it sure was nice to be on the end of success with this team and have a great start to the season. May it continue. Oh, and for our 6-0 win, I was rewarded with 60 push-ups; 10 push-ups per goal differential.

Game 2 Summary: 1-1 Tie and best challenge yet


Details...

My oldest daughter's team has likewise undergone a lot of churn and not much if any success in the past 4 seasons. With a turning of the tide last game (6-0 win) they gained some confidence and came to yesterday's game ready to prove the first game wasn't a fluke.

The play was more physical and despite a lot of shoving and pushing, the game was well executed. My daughter scored again, early in the first half, and gave our team the advantage and momentum. But that was cut off a few minutes later when the opposing team returned the blow with a goal of their own.

The rest of the game was played mostly on the opposing team's end but with near misses and almost shots that just couldn't find their way to the back of the net. There were many suspect calls or lack thereof throughout the game but when the final whistle blew the game remained a stalemate. But what a rush for our girls. Finally competitive.

Game 3 Summary: U8 doesn't keep score but if we did it would have been about 8-4


Details...

Once again, the U8B team continues to dominate in their age group with a great core set of players and supporting players. The points came fast and furious and my youngest son walked away with yet another hat-trick (he's nicknamed "Hat-Trick" in our home). There were just 2 players on the opposing team that really posed any great challenge to our team while our point distribution was spread wide among our player with 5 contributing goals and one of which normally doesn't score.

What I loved seeing the most on this team was their ability to now pass the ball effectively and with purpose. 2 goals were score from unselfish passes right in front of the goal which shows how well these players respect each other.

Should be interesting to watch this team develop and improve.


While there was a busy day of lots of soccer, we managed to get a volcano report completed, including a volcano demonstration with real Mt. St. Helens ash, fold some laundry and put it away, wash the dishes and spend 2 hours monitoring at the KSA fields. Oh, not to mention getting horribly burned by the sun. Will have to wear sunscreen next time.
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