u12 soccer player

11 Year Old Soccer Hooligan

Well our soccer season is officially underway. After two weeks and six practices the team played its first match Saturday. Although it was a friendly match, it was a match none the less and one that gave us a measurement of where we are as a team. The outcome was not supposed to matter but tell that to the twelve eleven and ten year old’s that played. Final score: our opponent 1, us 2.
We got off to a sluggish start but managed to find some rhythm and get two goals in the first half. The first goal came on a good cross scored by our center midfielder about seven minutes into the game. I’m really proud of the second goal setup by our goalie that rolled the ball out wide to an outside midfielder who took the pass all the way up into the attacking third before passing it off to a striker who fired a blazing shot into the goal.

Our second half was full of adjustments and beating the heat. We started the same group of kids as the first half but our opponents were playing harder. My plan going in was to move the kids around as much as possible to see who was comfortable where. The lone goal from our opponent was a good shot right up into the hands of our goalie but slipped through. They pressured the rest of the game but never really threatened as I moved our most skilled players back to defense to preserve the win.

It was nice to get a win in exhibition to give the kids some confidence. We start league play in two weeks and it will be competitive.

Taylor is really blossoming. I tried to hide my excitement. I’m not sure how to respond when someone pays her a compliment. I mean it’s the coach’s kid so how is the coach to respond? I usually say something like “well she’s working hard” or something generic to mask my pride. But you should have seen her Saturday!

I had her playing an outside midfielder role and my expectation was for her to dominate her side of the field. And she did. Each time the opponent tried to move up her side she would steal the ball and immediately threaten down the line or pass it up into space for her teammates. There was one particular play that she made that sticks out in my mind – the opposing goal keeper zipped a goal kick up the field and just as a pro would do, Taylor placed her body in line with the ball and took it out of the air with her instep. Amazing!

As you can tell we’re excited about the season. We have four more practices to go before the games start to count. There’s lots of work yet to do and with all the young kids on the team, this is going to be a learning season. But I do believe we can be competitive as long as we continue to improve.

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