Soccer Tournament

        It has been awhile since I have posted. The Tournament was very difficult to swallow. Our girls left it on the field and unfortunately the refs took the chance of winning away from them. I know it sounds cliche, but I do not normally complain about the refs. I realize they have a hard job, but consistent calls are what I am looking for, as would any coach or player. The coach from the other team said the ref blew at least 6 calls that should have gone our way, especially the last call.

Our first game was incredible. It was a back and forth affair. We were losing 1-0 until the third quarter. Our girls had 3 give and goes down the side and put a shot just over the outstretched hands of the goalie. We then scored in the fourth quarter to go ahead. We ended up giving up a goal with a minute left. This is where the calls got questionable. The girl fell, hit the ball with her towards her teammate who kicked in the goal. I don’t know if it was intentional or not. I thought it should have been called and the ball should have been ours. Maybe I am wrong, if you read this and know for sure let me know. We went into overtime and played a scoreless 5. Started the next one and it was scoreless with 12 seconds left when the next call hit us. The ref on the other side didn’t make a call the entire game, called tripping right outside the box. Giving them a direct kick, which of course went in and ended the game. I saw plays like that go uncalled all game, to call it there was very inconsistent and cost young girls the game. The ref cost us that game in my opinion. We lost the win on a shady call and the game on another. Our girls were crushed. We lost 3-2. Other than those calls it was a great game.

Our second game was the next day. We have not had much succes against this team. Lose to them by one goal each time. It was another great game. They went up 1-0 real early in the first quarter. From there we played great defense. Our offense was being held up again. The other team was packing our side of the field, making the short passing game harder to use. So we made an adjustment. When they pulled up like that we started chipping it. That caused several scoring opportunities and opened up the field. It was a very physical, a lot of pushing on both sides that wasnt called. Arms out pushes to the back, by both teams, no calls. It was consistent. Once our short passing game was opened up we began to control the game. We finally scored a goal in the fourth quarter to tie it up. We went into overtime. With a minute and 45 seconds left we gave up a goal. Our girls got right back at it. It was down to 25 seconds our girl passed into there penalty box where it hit there girl on the arm. She put her arm in front of her when it hit and they got the ball. HE DIDNT CALL THE HANDBALL. If he went by the rules the handball wouldn’t be called if we retained possession, but we didn’t. After the game my assistant and I were asking him why he didn’t call it and he ignored us. When we got right to him ge said he didn’t call it because she bent backwards. The coach from the other team said it should have been a penalty kick. We may not have made the PK but she should have had the opportunity. We lost the first game 2-1 and the second one 3-2. Both directly effected by the refs calls. I was told the refs were trying to stay out of the games unless the fould were egregious.

Because of how the season ended I decided to come back and coach. This may seem harsh but I am only saying it to explain our philosophical changes for next year. Our team gave up 27 goals. 21 were given up when one girls was on the field and 17 were directly effected by her. Meaning they came on her side. I did not say this to her but I did discuss it with my coaches. She did not take coaching and refused to put herself between the goal and the offensive player. That being said we need to hide her elsewhere. We put her back on defense hoping our other defenders could bail her out, in the end it didn’t work. We were reluctant to put her anywhere else because she wouldn’t move up and down the field at mid and wouldn’t shoot at the goal at forward. Then she gets angry when you coach her.

The big change in philosophy is moving that girl to forward and putting a better ball handler back on defense. This will give ud a strong defender who can push the ball up the field. We lack team speed and our defenders are generally slower, which puts us at a disadvantage trying to have them push the ball up the field. If we put a faster player back with good ball handling skills, teams will have to adjust to that. By doing this we are putting offensive responsibility on the defense. Hopefully opening up the field for our mids, creating more scoring oppurtunities. I have a lot of faith these changes will work. We began having the defense do it this year; we were just a little to slow to push it farther up the field. It also fell on the mids who didn’t work back to recieve the pass from the defense.

There will be several other changes but that is the major change. Throughout the season I noticed a shift in the way other teams played. The long kick was moved away from to a shorter more controlled attack. One coach told me he liked our style of play and altered theirs to a system along the lines of ours. I was very flattered. We also had several referees say how well our girls passed the ball. I am very proud of my girls, they have come a long way. The last game at half-time I told them the game was on them, they knew what to do. They did it. They left it all on the field and cried afterwards. They care about not just winning or losing but about how to play the game. I feel that we have done pretty well up to now. So for now I will be coaching girls basketball and will be back in the spring for soccer. I will begin blogging about basketball soon. Thank you gor reading.

The last 2 weeks of the Soccer season.

           I have had to take a bit of a break from talking and writing about soccer. The school team for my daughter ended up 0-12 and were outscored 108-8. It was very difficult to watch and had a horrible effect on the girls who played for my Rec team. I had to sit down and reevaluate what we were doing, to find the key to bring them back. A bit of soul searching and speaking with my assistant coaches, not to mention tweaking practice may have gotten it done.

Last week I was very disappointed in how my kids played. A short summary of the game follows. Our girls were not moving without the ball and there was walking all over the field. Our goalie scrapped her footwork and just about everything else we taught her for a much lazier version. Our defenders were not getting position abd our offense was just kicking the ball, no idea where it was headed or who was there. There was one excuse after another and it was easily their worsr performance since we took over. We went down really early and the girls seemed to give up. We lost 3-0 and out of the 3, one was a beatiful shot. The other 2 hit our goalies hands and bounced into goal. We literally beat ourselves.

Today our kids showed some incredible resilience. We started slow, which we tend to do. They were playing well for the most part. Girl from the other team hit an incredible shot from the side, it was beautiful, our goalie didn’t have a chance. We came right back to tie it up. Second quarted our goalie was a bit ill and we had our backup in, she did a fantastic job but still gave up 2 goals. Our girls came right back to tie it up. In the third quarted the other team went up again. The fourth quarter our girls killed it. The moved the ball up the field, passing beautifully. Short, quick, accurate passes to cause the defense to move. We came back to win 5-4 against a quality team. These girls never showed any quit and were completely different than last week.

I believe in aggression on defense, put the pressure on and force them to take a shot or pass they dont want to. I always tell them if you get beat taking position and aggressively defending I will not say a word. One girl on defense stood there and watched a girl take a tea break in the penalty area in front of the goal. She did not even move. We immediately pulled her and spoke to her on the sideline. I told her that we teach you this way because this is what works for us. My assistant spoke to her as well and after that she had a great game.

It is tough finding the happy medium between fun and teaching, as well as that right touch of discipline. We want them to play within a system tailored around their particular athletic talents. To sell a kid on this takes some doing. They see big kicks from other teams and want the same. But you also need to be flexible enough as a coach to see when that long kick is necessary. We start our County Cup next week and I hope we can kee p this girls on track. The 3 years before we took over they won 3 games combined. They were resigned to losing each Saturday. Their confidence has grown, but has been shaken recently. We need to keep that up.

In a few weeks I hope to be starting as an assistant coach for our schools girls 7-8 grade basketball team. I hope it works out and I get it. After the County Cup my soccer coaching is over until I can catch on with a high school team. I really would like that challenge, I want to see if I could help them as well. It was a frustrating week, but I believe I found the right way to get this done. I will be writing again this week and am up for whatever challenge is thrown at us next.