Month: May 2008

Nebraska plays soccer?

I made it to my first couple girls high school games out here and I’m definitely impressed. The big city has some good teams. Nebraska is one of the other few schools that play HS soccer in the spring. Strangely enough for us Iowans, they play softball in the fall and baseball in the spring, so their aren’t any summer sports. Anyways back to the point, I made it to a couple Millard North games. 1 vs Omaha Burke and the other vs Millard South. Millard North is Amy’s Alma Mater and is currently ranked #1. They have already won their district and are headed to state in the largest class, Class A. I would like to see them play the best teams in Iowa. Their team is very comparable to WDM Valley (I only mention them, because I know the most about them). They are both 1 of the biggest schools around and have great club systems in the area.

They are just one example, but it has been evident to me that Omaha would be a great area to get back into coaching soccer. I don’t know much about the history or reputations of the teams in the area, but would think that anywhere in the area would be a good place to coach good soccer players and have the possibility of being successful every year. Their club system is also very competitive. There are a few different clubs around and also great facilities. I’ve met a few soccer people around her by playing indoor at Off the Wall. It’s nice to get a chance to play with some people from around here and have fun with it. There are always some competitive teams, but I enjoyed it. I even saw some apparel from Central Iowa, Grandview was represented well.

Speaking of which I just happened to run into one of my good soccer friends out here at a HS game. It’s always nice to go to a random game by yourself and happen to see someone from 150 miles away that you know well. Ventsi (Grandview college) and I sat and caught up a little bit, it was nice. He always gets me excited about the sport. I like how soccer is a sport that has such passionate followers, and Ventsi is one of those guys.

So I’m excited that I’m still in an area where I can get back into the game and see some great games, now I just have to do it.

“Rankings”?

So we are on to the 4th rankings now. Of course Newton’s 2-3 record doesn’t look that great, but the loses were to the 2A #11, 1A #2, & 1A #10. So basically it looks like another great year of scheduling has messed up a decent preseason ranking. Obviously the rankings don’t matter and neither does the fact that Newton is not covered by the DMRegister even though we are only 35 miles away. You’d think that we moved out of Iowa, when we dropped out of the CIML. Although I think that the regionals or state pairings are seeded at some point during the year. Which usually goes against our favor. Usually we get paired up with a Valley, Ames, Johnston, Urbandale, or Dowling, but this year Newton is a 1A team so I figured they’d have to be paired up with Norwalk, Pella, Dallas Center Grimes, or someone from Central Iowa that is pretty good. Some how we ended up with the teams that are north and east of us. Which I guess has happened a couple times. Last year we went to Cedar Rapids and my first year we faced Iowa City West (which ended up winning state). So I think the pairings this year could make for a good representation for our conference and central Iowa if things go well. Can you imagine 3 teams from the Little Hawkeye in State? Not the CIML, the Little Hawkeye. I think that would be great, of course I’d plan on a little revenge from regular season loses, but what better picture can you paint for the team that is rebuilding and loss to it’s to rivals, then to beat both of them in State. Oh well, I’m a little bit of an optimist if you don’t know me. I could be down 9-0 in a game and think there was a way to win it. Don’t get me wrong, Newton’s not down by 9 right now, They’ve lost a couple tough ones, but will definately bounce back. We always had a way of winning close games and surprising teams that thought they were better than us, I don’t see that changing any time soon.

So since we have probably ruined our chances of being ranked for the next couple years by losing to 3 good teams, I don’t mind being an underdog and I can’t think of a better time to be an underdog then now. So my challenge to the current team is: take the program to somewhere that I never could, go to STATE!! It’d be the first time in Newton Girls soccer history, and don’t just stop once you get there. Anything can happen at that point. Any team can win any game and you never know how things will go. I’m going to back track a little to make it clear that this won’t be easy, but I’m hoping you can do it. Once you’ve been there, it’s something that you’ll never forget, it’s a great atmosphere, the best fields in the state, and you get treated like royalty. Staying in nice hotels, eating good food and just playing the sport you love. So don’t let the hurdles along the way get you down, there’s a lot to play for.

The team over east

Another frustrating edition of Newton soccer. I left work a couple minutes early thinking I can make the drive and get there a litte early before the 7:30 PM start… wrong! The game started at 7:00. You would think that they would have held the game up so that I could make it. I did have to drive about 170 miles on a Tuesday night, I think Pella could’ve moved their 30 mile trip a little later. So I missed the first Pella goal, but again, things just kinda looked out of wack. There were a few matchups that were off and Pella did a nice job of controlling the ball in the midfield, but didn’t really have any standouts. We had our chances, but it didn’t seem like there was a team sense of urgency. The style of play would make you think that we were up a couple goals against an average team. I think if I had the chance I would put it to either Pella or Norwalk, it’s no holds barred when you face them, along with a few past CIML rivals. I would have to say that the small field played to our advantage, which is maybe why Norwalk has always had an edge on Pella. I wish we would have played Pella on a small field last year. The other thing about playing Pella is that it just seems like we don’t quite get out of the blocks fast enough. We tend to play at a slow pace and let things come to us instead of setting the pace of play against them. I won’t even mention anything about the outcome, but it wasn’t pretty.

It really hit me this game, how much I felt for the girls. They all tried so hard and gave it everything they had. They have faced a lot this year and are reacting the best they can, but have so much on their plate. It really hit me how I kinda just left them hanging. I think that if I had stayed around atleast 1 more year, we might have been able to get through a couple of these games with better outcomes. Who knows how the games would’ve been different, and I guess I would always feel for the team right after I left. I just want them to succeed so much. I was hoping that I’d leave and they’d win all the games, not that they would’ve won all their games with me, just that it would make an easier transition.

After the game I ran down to the field and tried to give everyone a quick pat on the back. I don’t know if I got the message accross that I was hoping, but I just wanted them to know that I care and was rooting for them; to let them know that I had their back. I was glad to see that everyone was so upset, that sounds mean, but that’s when you know that people care about the team. Everyone knows of that person that was on their team at one time or another that didn’t care if the team won or lost, it was about how that individual played and I’m glad I didn’t see that. The one vibe that I felt from hearing from people afterwards was that people were blaming their individual efforts for why they lost. Soccer has always been a team sport and no 1 player or 1 play losses a game. It is good that players recognize when they didn’t do well, and are willing to put the weight on their shoulders, but not if they let it get them down. It wasn’t any 1 players fault.

It was a long drive back, 1st time I’ve ever head a long trip home after a loss for a home game. So after 350 miles of driving and 5 hours on the road, I was finally home in time to go to bed. But I would do it all over again for them.