Todays Soccer Game.

       We started our U-14 spring soccer season today. I was a little worried going into the game. We havent had a lot of practice and have never had a full team at practice. We had only one sub today and were missing one of our better players. I had several girls in different positions and a goalie that hasnt played since last spring. So my concerns were justified.

I have stuck with a 3-2-2 formation. I believe a strong defense will lead to solid offense. We play a possession game and use a short, quick passing attack. This is the first time we have had defenders bringing the ball up when they won it, caused a little indigestion. We also began incorporating the crossfield pass, only used once today. We are playing even more aggressively defensively this year. I am lucky as a coach to have a great group of girls.

First quarter started with them kicking off. First several minutes were a bit sloppy, both teams equally missing on passes. They started to control the ball. We were strong, forcing them to the outside, but their girl broke our defender down with a nice dribble move and put the ball just over the outstretched hand of our goalie. GOAL!!! That put them up 1-0. The rest of the quarter was back and forth, although the momentum seemed to be moving toward us. They had 2 shots on goal to our 1. 1-0 after the first quarter.

I let the girls know that I was proud of them whatever the outcome. I told them to play our game and we can compete with anyone. We started the Second quarter with the ball. Our passing attack looked great. We had 2 early shots, both nice stops by their goalie. Our defense was incredible, stopping their build-up, starting ours, cutting off their attack and getting in front of the ball. Our defender won the ball on the sideline, passed it to our mid, who one touched to our forward. Our forward used a nice hesitation move to beat her man, then passed to the other forward, who hit an immediate give and go. Our forward faked one more girl out and deeked the goalie. GOAL!!!!! We tied it up at 1-1. We really dominated the ball from then on. About a minute later we had a great buildup, 4 passes to move it into the box, or forward shot, it bounced off the goalie. Forward got it again, shot again, bounced off the goalie to our mid, who basically dribbled it in. GOAL!!!!!! We were now up 2-1. We had 5 shots on goal to their 2. Momentum seemed to be on our side.

Third quarter started with them kicking off. It was pretty uneventful for about 4 minutes. Then we broke out, shot, had it blocked, shot again and it went just wide. We were clicking on all cylinders, when we made a bad pass at midfield. They got an open run, which our defenders worked hard to shut down. The defender got her foot on the ball as the girl kicked it. The ball went high, landed, took an odd bounce and GOAL!!! It was tied 2-2. We had another break where we got 2 shots and went just wide. Otherwise our defense played well and our offense was moving the ball well. We had 4 shots on goal to their 3. It was tied 2-2 after 3 quarters.

We started the fourth quarter off with the ball. These girls were tired, but theirs were worse off. Our defense played spectacular and our offense was wearing them down. Both sides had several break aways that were stopped by solid defense. We were controlling the ball, getting solid build ups, we just couldn’t finish. With about 2 minutes left one of my girls was knocked to the ground, she made sure I knew it was the third time. I told her it was part of the game, take it out on them with your play. I put in my only sub, I had to because play stopped, according to the ref. The girl I put in then stopped an attack and placed a perfect pass to start a buildup. The buildup was stopped when they kicked it out of bounds. On our throw in, I put the girl who got hurt in. She received beautiful throw, dribbled down the field, took a shot from just outside the box, GOAL!!!!! We were up 3-2. The other team kicked off and the whistle blew to end the game. We had 1 shot on goal and they had none. We won 3-2.

It was a great game. The refs both said how well it was played. Both teams were fundamentally sound. They said how well my girls passed, as well as how unselfish they are. I am very proud of my girls. The unsung girls played great, as did the girls who normally are relied upon. These girls really stepped up. I have people tell me that I am a good coach, but no coach is good without great kids. All the credit goes to them. It is their team and I am but a guide. It was an incredible game.

The Walmart cycle.

               One meme or article after another tells us to avoid Walmart. Which is absolutely right! They subsidize their company by paying low wages, thereby forcing their employees to receive Federal Benefits. That alone costs American tax payers billions of dollars a year. Not to mention the money they receive from Federal and State governments to build stores or warehouses in their areas or the tax breaks and tax havens they use to avoid paying billions of dollars in taxes.

The Walton family are worth a couple hundred billion dollars. While making these billions of dollars they bemoan employees who ask for a higher wage or the right to unionize. All the while purchasing product from China, a Communist dictatorship that not only manipulates their currency but also subsidizes their companies. The Walton maintain that if they raise pay, they have to raise prices. While saying this they reap profits that have rarely been seen in American history.

Now here is the conundrum. The average person making even $12 an hour is that they do not have alot of disposable income. Electric, gas, phone, taxes and even sewer have all seen precipitous increases, all while this person has been stuck at $12 an hour. A family of 4, with mom and dad both working, will in many cases qualify for Federal Benefits. The failure of corporations to raise peoples pay while making record profits has presented these people with a pickle. Do I shop at a cheaper store and get more or shop at more expensive and get less. Where does this leave them?

At a time when Americans need more help then at possibly any time in our history, we have also found ourselves in a period of hyper-polarization. While these people need help, Paul Ryan and Republicans want to cut Federal Benefits while cutting taxes for the wealthy. Democrats led by Elizabeth Warren are trying to extend unemployment benefits, raise taxes on the wealthy, reel in to big to fail and fix income inequality. Bernie Sanders, the only Independent who really matters, my little joke, is fighting along many of the same fronts as Elizabeth Warren. It has become class warfare. Rich saying the poor dont work hard enough and poor asking for a fair share. All of this while 47 million Americans are on Food Stamps because of low pay or no jobs.

Here is where it comes full circle. These people on the bottom end up shopping at Walmart because of their low pay. By shopping at Walmart they are putting people like themselves out of work, as well as giving the Waltons a false sense that their model is a good thing. The person shopping there doesn’t want to do these things, but what company can compete with a monolithic corporation like Walmart. Of course it would be another corporation. What option do these people have? Even if you dont shop at Walmart, the majority of products are made somewhere else.