I've resisted posting about this so far, but Saturday could be our last game, so it would seem to be now or never. I'm coaching ClipperMax in AYSO soccer, and our Under 12 team, the Blues Brothers, has had a great season.
In 8 regular season games and 4 tournament games in our region, we were undefeated, with 10 wins and 2 ties. In those 12 games the team scored 45 goals while allowing 9. I've been coaching youth soccer for 5 seasons now (and 9 different teams counting ClipperZoe's teams) and I've never had a team anywhere close to this good.
Last week we went to the Area Tournament and won our two matches 2-1 and 6-1 keeping our undefeated string alive. Saturday morning we play a very good team in our pool, and if we win, we'll advance to the Area Finals in the afternoon. If we win that, we move on to the next level, but I know very little about the specifics there.
The funny thing is that I never played organized soccer. AYSO had just come into existence when I was a kid, but I was busy playing baseball and basketball and football of course. While working on the technology platforms for World Cup 94 here in the US and later World Cup 98 in France, I got to watch a lot of the best soccer in the world, and I developed an appreciation for the game. But I still find it incredibly frustrating to play. As a basketball point guard, I see what's happening on the pitch very well - I know where to be when I don't have the ball, and I know where I want to put it when I do have the ball. Unfortunately, my vision far exceeds my skill level - I can see the pass, but I have little hope of making the pass.
Still, good soccer is much like good basketball, particularly at the level of 10 and 11 year olds. Although I really know very little about the sport, I try to coach my kids on a few very basic concepts - spacing and passing and ball control on offense; position, vision and communication on defense. And it's exactly what I would tell them if they were playing basketball. Ironically, the fact that I know so little about soccer seems to have made me an effective youth coach - I don't have that much to tell them, but they've been able to assimilate the few very important things I have emphasized. There may be a lesson in that.
So wish us luck. By the time you read this, our 10:30 Saturday game may have already taken place. The score will be posted here. If we win, we'll be playing for the championship at 1:30.