Yes, I know the actual ‘soccer’ posts have been few and far between recently. Not unusual during the youth soccer season – but worse when I’m neck deep in multiple projects. So my apologies. Today’s my day to recharge so I guess that’s a better time than ever to write!

So what exactly have I been doing these past couple months? Well, besides the paying stuff? Soccer, soccer, soccer!

  • Coaching my two youth teams. Season is winding down. The U8’s have done very well. After only winning one match during the Fall regular season and allowing 48 goals in 8 matches, they’ve only allowed three goals so far in 5. Yes, we got relegated this Spring, but we had a lot of skills work to concentrate on in the Fall – I wasn’t worried about the results. This Spring they’re doing much better, controlling the ball for the majority of the match, and having a great time. We’ve only scored 12 goals, but many kids on the team are scoring which is very very good. They’re starting to understand the need to pass the ball forward and feed teammates, which is always exciting to watch as a coach. In their last match, they started to finally realize that most opponents follow the ball and when they do, pass to a team mate who is most likely open. I’ve lost track of how may times I’ve told them that. Seeing it sink in? Priceless.
  • The U10’s are having a great season. We split our U10 division in the Spring and we’ve had to face strong teams in every match. They’re undefeated so far and have allowed just over one goal per match after six matches. We’ve been able to experiment with all sorts of lineups, players have gotten to play in a variety of formations and roles, and they’re having a great time. 2-3, 1-1-3, 3-2, you name it. They continue to maintain possession of the ball very well and everyone is working to contribute. We still have a number of league matches left to play, but the kids are getting excited about attending a couple of tournaments later this Spring. We’ll be at the Wrangler Tournament in late May (if accepted), possibly getting another chance to play the one team that beat us in the State Cup last Fall. We’re also planning to attend the NC State Games in late June. It should be a lot of fun. I’m still preparing myself for ‘the end’ though. While some of the players joined our team within the past year or two, I’ve started coaching many of them since they were in U6 or U8. They’re a great group of kids that I’ve been honored to coach. Out of 11 kids, at least 7 could probably play Challenge next year if they wanted to. I’m a very proud coach – they’ve worked very hard.
  • Planning for our Fall season. We expect to have a number of new travel teams and more kids at tryouts. Our Challenge coordinator is working on a new tryout format so we’ll see how that goes. We expect to have a record number of Recreational players as well. I’m hoping we can arrange a few friendlies with area clubs for our Rec teams.
  • Another issue will be the Academy program, which was recently approved (more on that in another post). Our league board voted to oppose the proposal, feeling that any perceived issues with the current U10 Challenge program could be addressed and the program improved. As expected – the larger clubs will drive what the smaller clubs have to do. Already there is a meeting tonight in our regional scheduling league to see what all the leagues plan to do. If the larger clubs plan to pull their U10 teams from Challenge and do only an Academy, it will significantly alter the competitive landscape in U10 Challenge. There likely will still be plenty of teams left to form a division for boys and girls, but we’ll likely travel farther more often to play teams from smaller leagues. Plus, there’s no denying the impact on overall competitiveness if the big leagues pull out their top U10 players into Academies. We may have no choice but to do the same if we want our kids playing against top kids from the nearby metro areas. That’s not taking anything away from the smaller leagues like us in terms of ability and skill. But there is no denying the metro teams are perennially strong – that competition will be missed.
  • and a variety of other soccer related things. Life is good!

What have you been doing?