A view from my side.
Ok then. Another unexpected break from my digital life. But, I’m back, at least for a bit, and have much to comment on. Since the meals I’ve been cooking lately are nothing special, simply grilled meats and veggies, I’ll start out with soccer.
Our club recently held its try outs for the new season. I’ve been assigned two teams this year, one, the group I had last fall and another, a year behind them. Both teams are Division 2 teams and well placed. I expect both to be competitive and I expect the older team to have a legitimate shot at the State Cup Championship later in the year. The boys from both squads are excited to be back at club after mixed high school seasons and all are looking forward to training.
One thing I’m looking forward to this year is the ability to bring both teams together at the same time. A problem I often run into when training just a single team is working on tactics for a week and then trying to find a team to “try it out” on. It’s one thing to train on the practice field against your own players. It’s another to put it in play against another team. It can be difficult, even within the same club sometimes, to find a “friendly” match to play.
This year, that won’t be a problem as the two teams are only one year apart in age and I control the practice times. I’ve already spoken to the players and parents about it, telling them I am looking forward to bringing them together often to put in play the tactics we’ve been working on. While the teams will play a similar style, I don’t think they will play the same formations. The talent is different on each team and it will take a while to sort through what we’ll be able to do. As always, so much depends on the keeper. A strong, aggressive keeper with good foot skill enables a team to do so much more than a keeper that is afraid to be played a ball. We will start in the back and work our way forward.
Another thing that is new this year is I will be taking the boys away for a team camp. We are headed out of state this July for a week long residential team camp at a highly competitive University. I am looking forward to the training and the conditioning, but most importantly for me is the camaraderie that will come with it. Both teams have several “new to the team” players and I want these boys integrated into the psyche of the team as early as possible. Team Camp will give us 4.5 days of nothing but soccer and team building activities, in a residential setting with no moms/dads around to screw it up. We will go up as a team and a few individuals, but we will come back as a cohesive unit ready to play together in full confidence of each player on the team.
Our season starts early. Our first tournament is the second weekend in August. We normally only have two weeks of training before that tournament and this team camp will give us two extra weeks. We go up in mid July and when we return, we will step directly into a training schedule. We will train a week, then go into our club’s “Team Camp” week. While other teams are just getting together for conditioning and introductory sessions, we will be ready to compete.
We will have 5 tournaments this season, two early, one mid and two late. Two will be College Showcase tournaments, since the older boys are rising Juniors. Another thing I will be doing with these boys is introducing them to the NCAA Eligibility Clearinghouse. Most have never heard of it, but if an athlete is to play at a NCAA school, s/he must register and be “cleared” by the NCAA. I’ve already spoken to the parents about it and have mentioned it to the players. We will take at least one night at some point in our season to sit in front of a projected computer screen so I can show them what they need to do. There are a few players on my older team that would love to play in college and could, with some hard work and effort, easily contribute to a decent Division 2 program.
Try outs are over. The teams are set. The boys have a few weeks off to rest and enjoy their summer. And, of course, I have life going on as well. My oldest will be heading off to Auburn. My middle and youngest sons will be roommates about 20 minutes away from here as they go in together in their own business. I wish them luck and hope they do well. My youngest, Kid#4, will be traveling across the country to visit relatives and to go on what my boys and I used to call “wild and exciting adventures.” I will be moving into a new place in two weeks and come July, will have it all to myself. And, of course, there is always something going on at work.
I have many things to post about and will do better at keeping up the blog. It’s nice to be back in the saddle.