March 19, 2007

Kicking Chicks update: 2 games, 2 points, 2 goals for, 2 goals against: We were lucky to get a point in this one, scoring our second in the final two minutes of the game. Yes.....the deuces are wild.

posted by Texan_lost_in_NY to navel gazing at 02:22 PM - 12 comments

So...tell more!

posted by lil_brown_bat at 08:22 PM on March 19, 2007

First goals of the season! And well done on the undefeated season so far, Tex. You'll be giving Arsenal a run for their money.

posted by owlhouse at 08:33 PM on March 19, 2007

Texan, in your first game update, you said that this game would be against a side that had won its first by 5-0. Was this indeed the side you played this time? If so, your kids show that they can play with anyone in the league, and will probably do well. What role did conditioning play in your scoring late? Were you just lucky, or did your ladies play better as the game wore on? I echo lbb; details, details...

posted by Howard_T at 08:36 PM on March 19, 2007

Nicely done Tex! Lates goals are always sweet. My team are back in action tonight, after a break in games of a couple of weeks. It's given me time to have six coaching sessions instead of four, so we'll see if that makes things better or worse... Having said which, with the way the wind is today, the first time someone puts air under the ball, we'll never see it again. If I win the toss, do I play against the wind in the first half and risk being a way behind, but with a second-half advantage, or do I go with the wind, possibly take the lead in a game for the first time ever and then try to grimly hang on against the gale?

posted by Mr Bismarck at 05:03 AM on March 20, 2007

I must say - I look forward to these updates, Texan. I am impressed with the enthusiasm and obvious love of the game. That and owlhouse is clearly assistant coaching at this point. You have to start mentioning this in the team meetings: "Good news girls. We've got an assistant coach all the way from Australia, now. He'll be coming up with the set-ups and throw ins... Provided he's online at the suitable times. I'll handle the 'coaching'." "Now get your fucking boot in 'em! Let 'em know you're there! Stomp a few feet! Let 'em know you're there! Tackle high, hard and go for the shin where the skin is thinnest! Let 'em know you're there!!"

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 01:05 PM on March 20, 2007 here's the story... We scored our first goal about 5 minutes into the game. It was a simple pass out of defense to our right wing. She took a couple of touches (like we practiced last week) and then rolled the ball nice and softly into the space ahead of one of our captains and center forward, who was running on to it. We've spent a lot of time on not always playing the ball to a teammate's feet and to use the open field in front of them. That's exactly what happened here. There was still work to do because the center forward had two defenders to beat; she was about 30 yards out and near the right side of the penalty box. She just tapped the ball wide a couple of times to get around the defenders, cut inside and then lashed it into the top of the net from about 8 yards. It was terrific way to start the game and just what we needed. Oh, Howard T, this was the team that won their first game 5-0. The same team beat our girls in the fall league 3-1 and apparently there was a lot of trouble with their coach trying to intimidate our players and the ref last fall. You know, you read about these whack parents and coaches who take things too far and I just can't imagine an adult acting that way. Anyway, I went over and shook the hand of the coach before kick-off, nice as could be. There wasn't even a hint of a problem and the game was played in a good spirit. So it was a big sigh of relief to get the early lead. We played really well until about 10 minutes were left in the half. Our girls were on spring break last week and we had attendance of 6 or 7 of the 15 players on the roster all three practices since the last game. Not exactly the preparation I had hoped. We had one sub (the opposition only had two) and the four girls for whom I try to provide cover were all there. I don't know if I've told you this but we have a big drop off in experience and skill between the top 9 or 10 players and the rest of the team. No complaints. No excuses. I wouldn't want our team any other way, but I do think it’s worth noting. So...with most of the girls not having any exercise for 11 days and eating their grandmother's cooking or even worse, carnival food, we were very sluggish. They scored their first goal 5 minutes before halftime. I just told our girls to keep their heads up and get it know...the usual priceless two cents. So we went into halftime 1-1. We were the better team the first 30 minutes. Not so much the second 30. The wind was around 25 mph hour before the game and remained consistent throughout. We won the toss and decided to go with the wind to start the game (Mr. B....I realize your game is probably over) in hopes that maybe the other team would be worn down in the second half. The problem was their team was much fitter than ours and they weren't worn down at all. They took the second half kick-off right down to edge of our penalty area and seemed to be within 10 yards either side of the box for about 15 minutes. Our legs were gone 5 minutes into the second half. We couldn't run, couldn't clear the ball, nothing. It was just 5 or 6 of our girls hacking away at 5 or 6 of theirs (and vice versa) with the ball somewhere in the general vicinity. It was ugly, it was scrappy, but there was some real determination shown by our girls. I think we finally got the ball into their half with about 15 minutes left in the game. Of course we had one player chase it and it took everything the players had just to get to the halfway line. And with the wind in our face the ball just came right back for another battle. The good news was the other team were getting very few clean shots except for a cross/shot that rolled right across our goal mouth, maybe 2 feet from the line. That was a little scare and came right before a strange set of events. I've mentioned before that this is my first time to coach kids, and it's an adjustment. The laws get slightly modified for the age group and gender. One thing girls are allowed to do is put their hands up to protect their faces and chest. I get that. It’s not hard to understand. The problem lies in the sequence of things that followed in this game. With about 10 minutes left in the game, our girls were really dragging. For most of them, it was all they could do to get their feet off the ground. We were trying to clear the ball from the right side of our penalty area and it comes up and smacks one of their girls right in the face. She put her hands up to block it but didn’t. The customary sportsmanship act in this league when a player gets injured is for all players to freeze where they and drop to a knee when the referee blows his whistle. Our girls were not given time to put the ball out of play with this ref. All the girls did as they’re taught, the ref waves their coach on to help the girl, no problem. The problem comes from the drop ball that follows. Here we are in our penalty box, having done absolutely nothing wrong, and a drop ball is taking place 15 yards from our goal line. Of course they win the drop and we scramble to defend, which we did, briefly. The ball comes out on the other side of goal, right on the corner of our goal box. One of our girls swings and hits and….boom. Right into the face of another girl. These two incidents happened 30 seconds of playing time apart. I know it’s painful to catch a ball in the face, but neither of these girls were bleeding and were back on the pitch within 2 to 3 minutes. So, another dropped ball, this one about seven yards from the goal line. Somehow we win this one and the ball’s rolling to edge of the box. One of their players is waiting for it but one of ours gets there just before and gets a clearance that eases the pressure a bit. Accept the referee blows his whistle. Penalty. He says our girl kicked theirs. I have to be honest and say my view was blocked and couldn’t see it, so I said nothing more. I only found out after the game that when our girl cleared the ball, it deflected off the other girl’s foot; there was no contact at all. You would think with the ball rolling away from our goal, the ref could sort out who got to the ball first. Anyway, they score the penalty and we’re down 2-1. Our best player, normally a central midfielder, had been dropping deep in the second half to help the defense. If it wasn’t for her sweeping and getting a good boot on the ball, there’s no telling how the game might have been. Right after they scored the second, I told her to push up and help the forwards, which she tried to do. The problem was the game continued to be played in front of our goal and it’s second nature for this girl to help wherever she’s needed. I keep telling her to push up and let the defenders handle it and slowly but surely, she does. This girl is going to be an amazing player. She also plays point guard in basketball and has been winning chess tournaments since she was six. She has a brain for footy and I never expected to have someone like her coming into this. It’s going to be a real pleasure watching this one grow as a player and person. It just continues to be really scrappy, when our girls can muster up the energy to make it scrappy. I look at my watch and realize there could only be 3 or 4 minutes left. I just stand there looking at our team and every one of them who isn’t within 15 yards of the ball has their hands on their knees, sucking air like we’re going to run out. Just then the ball rolls out to our central midfielder, just our side of the halfway line. She looks up and sees the girl who scored the goal just easing her way to her right. In our first game, when the ball made it up to the forwards with what looked like plenty of space, time and teammates around them, we didn’t know what to do with the ball. I blame this on the fact that for the last three or four seasons they played with a girl who wouldn’t give the ball up no matter how open her teammates were. And she was the coach’s daughter. She would dribble, dribble, dribble until she either lost the ball or scored, which apparently she did with some regularity. Our practice last Friday included a part where there was a midfielder passing the ball to the winger or center forward about 35 yards from goal. That person would pass to the other forward in the space in front of her and follow the pass to support. Of course there was a little more to it but we didn’t have the players with the legs in this game to run to the far post to drag defenders and be there in case the cross became a shot or the ‘keeper dropped it. The main purpose of this was to impress upon the girls that if they look up and see only two defenders and the ‘keeper to beat, go to goal and put the ball on frame, nice and simple. There are three defenders back when our center forward, now in the right channel, receives a soft pass from our central midfielder. She looks up and sees that she’s about 30 yards from goal and the closest defender is about 5 yards away. The other two defenders are holding their positions in the middle, running slowly back to goal, 20 yards from our player. It was obvious they thought their teammate would win the ball. She didn’t. Our player took the same touch to get wide around the defender just like she did in the first half to beat two. I kept saying “Composure, composure, keep your nerve.” I doubt she heard me at all. In a situation like that, I don’t yell; it’s almost like I’m talking to myself, like I do watching a game on tv. Anyway, she rounds the defender but is outside the right edge of their penalty box. The other two defenders are still making their way back but neither is going to the ball, so we have another one on one with the ‘keeper. Our girl puts her head down and goes to goal. The ‘keeper comes out but our forward just rolls it along the ground to the far post, which was probably all she had the energy to do, thankfully. We didn’t need anyone hopped up on fitness and adrenaline to bash the ball over the bar at that point. I couldn’t tell it was a goal until it hit the net. I just let out a huge sigh of relief, and then told our central midfielder to get back and defend. I asked the ref for a time check and he said we had about 90 seconds. It was obvious to me that we were lucky to get out of there with a point. Of course the last 90 seconds took about a week to play. We got the point and were damn happy for it. The story of the Chicks continues next week after we play two games in two days. And you said you wanted details?

posted by Texan_lost_in_NY at 06:07 PM on March 20, 2007


posted by Texan_lost_in_NY at 07:27 PM on March 20, 2007

Awesome Texan, just awesome. I could see the game as I read. Tell your girls that we're rooting for them all the way.

posted by dusted at 09:36 PM on March 20, 2007

Cool. It's games like that we need to keep the turnstiles clicking. I am a bit perturbed about the drop ball etiquette in your league, though. These days, it's usual for the attacking team not to contest the drop close to goal, and the defending team to whack it out for a throw or something. The ref should have sorted that out. However, I can't believe I'm so emotionally involved, and waiting for the next set of results. Go Chicks!

posted by owlhouse at 10:16 PM on March 20, 2007

Texan, this is great stuff. On another FPP, someone said that we should give up on the idea of "pure sport" except for when kids are playing the game. What can be purer than the game you have described above? There are a lot of kids out there who know, even in their early teens, that they will never be the star, will never get a scholarship, will never make the pros. Yet they keep playing, they keep practicing, they keep coming back for the love of the sport. (I know one of them. It's my son who was just named a scholar-athlete here in NH, and I'm damned proud of him.) Texan, it's guys like you who help keep these kids focused, interested, and loving the games. Thank you.

posted by Howard_T at 11:34 PM on March 20, 2007

Now that's some detail, Tex! That drop ball stuff is crazy and the penalty too. At least you salvaged a point at the end. As for my lot.... our game was abandoned before kick off. The 45mph wind from the north was going to make things difficult, but playable, but then when the snow started... So, we decided to try again later in the year. Next game, next Wednesday for me. Training on Friday night.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 05:22 AM on March 21, 2007

Captivating, Texan. I read every word and it was about as exciting as watching an FA Cup final comeback winner at the death. I'm glad I stumbled 'pon this thread. Keep on keepin' on, the coaching and the writing. It's marvelous to see your love for the team and the sport shine through.

posted by worldcup2002 at 10:58 PM on March 21, 2007

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