This was my first competitive team as Head Coach. I coached this team for the 2012-2013 season and I’m very proud of what we accomplished. We were formed from players directly out of the recreational ranks. We started as a group of “leftovers” of minimally skilled players that hadn’t ever played competitive league soccer and hadn’t selected for any of the other competitive teams. We worked hard as a group and built the essential skills and attitudes of competitive soccer players from the ground up over the course of the Fall, Winter (futsal), and Spring seasons. In the end, the entire group of remaining players ended being promoted up to the White 01G team.
There’s a lot I’m proud of from this team. If ever there was a group of players and parents with Pluck, this was the team. We went the entire season without a win, tying our last game…which was a massive victory for us in and of itself. For that entire season, we never once gave up, got down, quit, or slacked off at a game or practice. We achieved this by defining our own successes for every practice and every game. Irrespective of the score at the end of the day, we were able to point to specifics that we achieved. Our continued growth trajectory fueled the passion of the players (and coach), kept the parents cheering on the sidelines, and made us feel successful as we continued to develop as players and people.
The motivation and positivity of this team remain a massive inspiration to me as coach, leader, and soccer fanatic. One of the most inspirational moments for me as a coach came during an 11-0 loss against a very well drilled team that was much better technically and tactically than we were. We had 11 players…no subs. Neither of our two goalkeepers were were able to get to the game that day so with 10 minutes notice a courageous field player with zero experience in the net volunteered. She stood in the goal with a pair of gloves borrowed from the other team.
We played to 0-2 in the first half which was in itself a huge achievement for us. In fact, during the first half we were the more attacking team…creating lots of opportunities and shots on goal. The girls were tired at the start of the second half but still held their own. Towards the end of the second half the run go goals started and the flood gates opened. However, instead of being dejected, the girls stayed motivated, cheered each other on, and continued to attack at every opportunity. The score at the end of the game really didn’t reflect the quality of the soccer the girls played. More importantly, it doesn’t reflect the character of the players that played that day. That game, in fact, was a defining moment and turning point for us in the season. They never lost another game by more than a few points. They were never “out” of any game played after that one. And while we lost more games, they were never a team that was in the slightest bit defeated.