A view from my side.
Wow…it has been FOREVER since I’ve posted here. Sorry about that. But, life intervenes in an otherwise jumbled schedule and has kept me so busy lately that I’ve simply lacked the time and energy to tap out my thoughts lately.
So, a quick catch up. I have two teams this season. One from last year, which didn’t lose a match in the State League play, only to suffer a rash of injuries when it came time to make the State Cup run. The expectations were high and the enthusiasm great. The boys were primed and ready to repeat their run through the league and take home the hardware at the end of the season. The results so far…a dismal record. A keeper that can’t hold the ball and strikers who can’t find the net. Through our first 6 matches this season, this group scored a grand total of 4 goals…our average per match last year. We have avoided getting blown out, but with a record of 2 wins, 2 loses and 4 ties, we able to take the 8th and final spot in our State Cup qualifying and avoid relegation to those that must watch from the sidelines. There is hope, but it will be a difficult road.
The other team I took on this season had not won a State League match the previous year. They were in some disarray and several of their key players chose to play at other clubs. We picked up some new boys and put together our team. Their season has been phenomenal. Only 1 loss in State League and that was with two key players out, guesting with another team in the club at the Regional level that weekend. Another match tied and we took 4th place in the standings. We are well suited for our run at the tournament and the players are excited and training hard. Of the three tournaments we entered this year, we won two, defeating solid sides in each. We have outscored our opponents 52-8 in 18 matches.
It’s been an interesting season. One of mixed results and pleasant surprises. Coaching 16 and 17 year old boys is always a lesson in expecting the unexpected. Their trials and tribulations have such an effect on their teams. One player’s problems at home, at school, or with a girlfriend or group of friends can easily cost a team a match. Life’s pressures at this age are hard and often spill over into all areas of their existence. Some are able to put all of that aside when they step on the field, finding comfort and joy in the game, while others cannot push the problems from their mind to even find a moment’s peace on the pitch. It is tough to watch but that’s part of what this job entails. The best I can hope for is to guide them through it and give them something fun and engaging to take their mind off their problems.
So, it is with these two sides that I head into the State Cup tournament next week. Expectations are realistic but hopes are high. For both. And that’s the promise of such a tournament. Everyone is on equal turf as it begins. Peak now and you walk off with the Championship no matter how great or how poor your season was. Peak now and it can erase all that was. Peak now and the world is yours to conquer.