10 years ago, I began coaching soccer. It all began when I felt the urge to be involved in competitive soccer again, but my playing days were over so I was going to have to be a coach. I was hungry to prove myself, I wanted to do a good job and be successful.
My first job was a girls JV coach at McKeel Academy. I devoted dozens of hours to being the best that I could. Every day we had practice and I poured my heart and sole into it. We finished 11-3 and I fell in love with coaching, cried my eyes out at the banquet and was totally, completely hooked. But, I noticed JV soccer was not as respected as the varsity team.
There is so much to say about this that I am not sure I can fit this into one post... so I am calling this part 1. Also, I am admitting to being totally biased here, I am going to come right out and say that I do not support development academy's. I fundamentally disagree with their premise, something I plan to explain in detail over the course of these blog posts.
I have always been in impressed with coaches and teams that give of themselves. It doesn't matter if it is though a service project, mentoring kids or helping in the community. I have always believed it is a good thing. This year McKeel Academy Girls Soccer is giving to Africa. (Just in case the link doesn't work...)
"Girls share love of soccer around the world
The varsity and junior varsity girls' soccer teams of the McKeel Academy have set a goal to score as many goals as they can this season, and with every goal scored they will donate one soccer ball to children in Cameroon, West Africa. Last year the girls set a season goal of 100 goals. They surpassed that goal and plan to do the same this year, which means they will need to raise a minimum of $800 to purchase the soccer balls. Bread for Life Ministries has established "soccer for development" for the children of Cameroon.
These are by far the toughest decisions I make as coach; who starts, who plays, for how long and where.
In high school soccer, I coach the highest and most competitive level 90% of American kids will play. As such playing time is not going to be divided up evenly, nor does it have to be according to Dr. Nicole Lavoi, Associate Director of the Tucker Center for Research on Girls and Women in Sports However...
Every week, every game the starting 11 is up for grabs. If you want to start, get lots of playing time and play the position you want, you better meet three criteria to even be considered. First, physically show up to practice. If you don't come to practice, even for a good reasons, you miss the lessons on how I want you to play as a team, therefore you may not play. Second, when you show up, be there mentally also, with the right attitude. If you are physically there but mentally somewhere else, it shows in how you practice. It is painful to watch a group of players "practice" who aren't really practicing. Third, be a skillful player. Even if you attend everything and are mentally fully engaged you must be more skillful than the other players who have met the same criteria.
As I mentioned in my last post I would continue the conversation about club vs high school in future posts. Well here we go, part 2.
Competitive and high school is much like club and country. This is a...
Social media has become a part of soccer these days and it can be a good thing. Right now twitter is the media of choice for many of the girls on the team, so I use it as a way to communicate with them. The part of twitter I like the most is the post-game tweets. During the hours after the game I can go on twitter and find tweets that are uplifting or encouraging after a loss or a win. Here are a few I read recently. I hope that the team will keep this tradition of positive posts going for a long time!
Great job tonight cats! Couldn't be prouder of that win⚽️❤️ - Morgan
s/o to @Talisee1 for the flawless header tonight that gave us the win! - Kaitlyn
First high school game was success! 5-0 with 2 goals. Great job Cats! ? Prayers are going out to the Auburndale injured players. ⚽️??? - Danniane
"McKeel takes the win (5 - 0) over Auburndale in the opening game of the 2015 season. Goals for McKeel were made by Danniane Arboleda - 2, Talisee Carpenter, BooBoo Jones and Asha Zuniga with 1 goal each. Assists made by Ellory Jones, Tallisee Carpenter, Bailey Peters, Elaine Garcia and Makayla Peddicort with 1 each. Keeper Solo Baker made 3 saves to keep the shutout. McKeel girls soccer would like to send well wishes to the injured player from tonight's game and hope for fast recoveries."
This game was a nightmare for AHS (and almost a nightmare for us) in the first two minutes of the game, just released Molly L. had another head injury. It was very scary. In all the concussion courses I have taken over the years the "re-injury" is by far the scariest part to a concussion. Unfortunately, that was the end of her game. But from then on it was bad for AHS. In the first half of the game one of their players suffered some kind of back injury and they called the ambulance. That was the first game I have ever been the coach of that required an ambulance. But it got worse for them, late in the second half another AHS player went to the ground with a pop from her knee. I could hear the pop on the sideline. Another ambulance. I felt for the coach. I can only imagine how he is feeling watching your team fall apart in the first game of the season.
My girls were very mature by showing compassion and praying with and for the AHS girls that were injured.