As a coach you constantly wonder if you are doing the right thing for your kids. I am always trying to strengthen their weaknesses and continue building on their strengths. We keep at with drills, cardio and talking to them hoping to get through. It seems to be working.
Today we played a team on our level skill wise and mostly speed wise. They had 2 girls who were very fast and handled the ball well. They are always a very physical team and tend to throw our girls out of their game. I was really interested in seeing how our girls responded.
First quarter started and they truly showed their physicality. They were legally knocking us around and at first we weren’t responding well. Our defense was solid and we did not allow any breaks. We were really holding our own, we kept them away from the goal. They had 3 shots and all were outside the penalty box. We had a couple of chances for breaks but they kept catching us from behind. We had a couple nice give and goes, even one nice cross, but we couldnt execute. We had 4 shots on goal to their 3. It was 0-0 at the end of the first, and it seemed as if their physicality might take control.
The second quarter started with them with the ball and driving it up the middle. But a great play by our center defender won the ball. Our girls really played tough, taking as much as the other team was giving. We dominated the middle from 30 seconds in. They could not get the balk down the field on us. Our offense was looking good, one touch passes, give and goes and working together to get the ball up the field. Our lack of execution showed. We got 5 shots on goal to their 1. But it was still 0-0 at the half.
I told the girls at half time that they needed to step it up and execute. Our girls came out like a house on fire. We marched that ball down the field and scored a beautiful goal off a one touch pass to go up 1-0. But the other team took advantage off our weaker defense and went directly up the middle the next 2 times they had the call to score, they went up 2-1. Our one girl was being a little too unselfish with the ball, getting rid of it to early, not drawing defenders to her. I told her to take these kids on beat them then make your choice when to pass. She beat 3 girls, faked a pass and scored. I was so impressed with her. We need to work on our defense that was in their to get them worker together better. We had 4 shots on goal to their 3. It was 2-2 going into the fourth.
Before the 4 quarter started I asked the girls if they wanted to play soccer in high school. Each one said they did, I told them that this is when the good players show their heart. That when the pressure is on the great players play their best. Our girls responded. They owned the 4th quarter. Our passing was incredible, we were working the ball up field like we always wanted them to. Our defense was incredible, they could not get anywhere near our goal. These girls worked that ball up the field, moving when the ball was kicked and moving without the ball. We scored a beautiful goal off an incredible pass. Our girl made 2 moves and kicked it past the goalie. We got 4 shots on goal to their 1, we won 3-2.
Our record is now 2-1-1, and these girls are improving exponentially in a short period of time. I told these girls that I want to read about their soccer exploits in the paper 5 years from now. I am so proud of these kids, I only hope that I can keep helping them improve. This week we will work on our defense, teach them how to play the ball when they are running side by side. Better positioning to help stop the attack. Can’t wait for the next practice.
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