Today was the last game of our spring league. It some aspects it was a trying season, completely unsoccer related. Of course we had times during games and practices that were tough, but these girls persevered, show a lot of heart and absolutely no quit. I am proud to have coached these kids.
The First Quarter was completely dominated by our girls. One of our weaker defenders was absolutely on fire. Any time the ball came near her she stopped the attack and started the build up. Was taken completely by surprise. The passing was incredible and our defense only fell asleep once on us. Our girls passes were incredible and they were playing really intellegently. We scored off of one of our girls staying active, she stole it off of one if their defenders, beat 2 girls and kicked it right past the goalie. Despite complete domination we were only up 1-0. We had 5 shots on goal to their 1.
Second Quarter opened up with them taking the ball right down our middle, defense was completely out of position, but our goalie made a beautiful save. That was the only shot they had the entire quarter. As the quarter went on you could see our relentless pressure was cracking them. They pulled 5 out of their 7 non goalie players back on defense. Our kids field vision and awareness were off the chart. I have never seen them play better. Give and goes up and doen the field, crossfield passes and excellent teamwork. Our firsr goal came on a beautiful give and go, girl passed it outside, took off, got it right back and smacked it into the back of the net. Our second goal came when one of our defenders worked the ball into the attacking half, passed to our mid, who juked out 2 girls and made a beautiful shot with 2 girls around her. We were up 3-0 and we were really taking it to them. We had 7 shots on goal to their 1.
The Third Quarter was back and forth for the first 5 minutes. Neither team could get near the 18. Our pressure was still bothering them, but they were playing a little better. But both of our mids normally were defenders. We eventually got a 3 on 1 break and our mid scored off the ball bouncing back off the goalie. It was a great hustle goal. We were out physicaling them, they couldn’t handle our girls keeping pressure on them. One of our girls knocked one of their girls down, ref called a foul, he was completely right in calling it, but the coach from the other team ran out onto the field screaming at the refs. The refs told him to calm down or he would kick them off the field. They did get a couple shots on goal and ended up scoring on a beautiful shot from way outside the goal post. They had 3 shots on goal to our 4, we were up 4-1.
Fourth Quarter started and we put all of our defenders at mid and forward and told them to give their all. Our 3 defenders were a wall, they didn’t let them have a shot on goal the whole quarter. We were on the attacking side for 9 and half of the 12 minutes. One of our slower runners almost scored a goal, it went off the post, the whole team was running down the sideline cheering for her, the parents were all screaming for her as well. We had 5 shots on goal to their 0 and won the game 4-1.
We had girls heading the ball, which rarely ever happens, one touch passing, looking to pass before shooting, defense was incredible, it was easily our best game ever. Our focus from the beginning of the Spring Season was on passing. One touch, give and goes, but most importantly crisp accurate passing. We really stressed the team concept, as well as being more physical. Even during a successful fall season we were unable to handle teams being physical with us. This spring they couldn’t handle our physicality. Since we took over last fall the girls are 11-3-6, they didn’t win 6 games in the three years combined before that. I realize wins are not the only indication for improvement, but they are a good barometer.
After the game the ref came over to me and thanked me for our coaching approach. He said he did 4 of our games this spring and never heard anything negative coming fron us. He said it was refreshing to see coaches use positives to correct when a child is doing sonething wrong. He said the same goes for my staff as well. I thanked him and passed it on to the other coaches who truly appreciated it. It was a great season, I am improving my in game adjustments and our coaching strategy works. Now I will work on getting ready for the fall. Thank you to my girls, their parents, the refs and the other teams. I will post some of my strategies for the fall periodically over the coming months. Thanks for reading.