Friday, September 29, 2006

Random Catchup

It's been a while since I've posted and I know how the 3 people that actually read my blog get when I don't keep up with it...

So let's see - in my soccer league we've started the post-season. We finished in 5th place (out of 9) and would have been in 4th had he not had to forfeit the last game because our team didn't show up on time. When they did get there - about 10 min late, we played and won 6-4.

Then last week was our first post-season game, which we didn't win, unfortunately. We were short a girl, so we had to play the game 5 on 6, and then our best player sprained (hopefully didn't break) his ankle and was out for part of the first and all the second half. Then our second best player (that was there) twisted his ankle midway through the 2nd half and would later pass out and be puking from dehydration (it's Ramadan and he had nothing to eat or drink all day, yikes!).

So, while it was 2-1 in our favor at half time, things deteriorated quickly as the second half wore on. They had more than enough people and subs, and our team got tired quickly being short a person and without any subs even for the guys. I'm guessing the score was about 6-2 or 7-2 but I lost track and was too exhausted to even keep track. Playing goal was like being in a video game - I'd make a save and then they'd be right back shooting again, save, shoot, save, shoot. Man, that was tiring. I sprained my own ankle near then end of the game, and landed funny on my wrist as well, both of which are still a little sore, but really nothing to complain about compared to what happened to the other guys.

We play again this Sunday. With two guys possible out to begin with, I really hope some people show up. How annoying. In the fall I'm thinking of switching to a league with a bunch of Delta Sigs from college, if the game schedule permits.

In other news... last weekend Ames and I headed out for a date-night and went downtown. We were having a drink at RAM Brewery when the Jacksonville Jaguars bus rolled into town with the team. From what I could gather, it looks like all the out of town fans gathered at RAM as well because there were a bunch of Jags fans waiting for them to arrive and cheering (a lot meaning a half dozen or so).

After that, we walked over to St. Elmo's Steakhouse for dinner. They didn't have reservations available, but suggested we just try to walk in, which we did. They gave us a wait time of 20-30 minutes.

While we were waiting, who should walk in but Byron Leftwich, starting quarterback for the Jags, along with two guys I didn't recognize. He asked for a table, and upon hearing he'd have to wait, said something about "man, this is crap" and left. His two buddies we laughing at him as well.

It was pretty clear that the girls working the check-in area had no idea who he was. Not 30 seconds after he left, our table was ready. So, I guess we can say that we got Byron Leftwich's table. LOL.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

And in less important soccer news...

In my adult leage, we tied our game tonight 4-4. That gives us a record of 2-3-1 with one week to go before the tournament. I played ok, but we'd probably have won if I wasn't up until 3 in the morning the night before with Dana's party.

Go Purple Rockets!

It's the start of a new season of soccer for Kaitlyn and Coach Daddy. We've now moved into the U6 league, and have a whole new group of kids.

Our first game was a little rough. I work a lot on trying to teach the kids basic positioning and passing, since I figure that will help them to understand and enjoy the game of soccer instead of just participating in a game of chase the kid with the ball.

The result of that coaching, both last year and this year, is that the kids look very confused for the first few games.

After the first game, which was pretty rough, Amy heard me voice my usual complaints about our particular soccer club's rules: we have only 4 practices and then it's all games and no more practices, we get all new kids every year, and now the coaches can't go on the field (which makes my complaint about no practices that much more). The only practice we get now is the 15 minutes before the game, if everyone gets there on time.

I was very happy to see that we really improved in our second game, which was this past Saturday. I could see the kids starting to "get it" in terms of where to stand and why that actually helps, plus they were learning that passing can be better than just dribbling and that they should look for that.

And in some very exciting news, Kaitlyn scored a goal! This is her second goal ever and the first of the season. Kaitlyn is the best so far at understanding that she needs to get away from the big clump of kids and move into the open, and call for the ball (since this is her second year under Coach Daddy's system, it's not surprising that she's ahead in some of the more mental aspects of what I'm trying to teach).

The video clip is here. Aunt Dana was fortunate enough to have her camera rolling, because our camera crapped out for good during the game.

Having the chance to look at it now, there are really several things to make a coach happy in this play. At the start of the clip, you'll see that one of our forwards, Faith, is in process of stealing the ball and taking it to the inside. In the same frame, you can see our two backs, Austin (#2) and Cole (#4) actually standing back and letting Faith do her thing. No, they are not quite as far back as I'd like, but compare that to the other team which is in the classic "clump". (and don't worry about the kid who appears hurt at the start here, you'll note that he's very excited to run into the goal and retrieve the ball after Kaitlyn scores! :)

Kaitlyn is not in frame here, as she's just run away from the group to the center and is there by herself. As Faith dribbles with the ball, she sees Kaitlyn, who is in process of calling for it (you'll see her raise her hand), moving toward the goal while looking back at the ball (this in and of itself is quite an accomplishment).

Faith then passes the ball up to Kaitlyn on purpose. If you pause it, you'll see that Faith sets her feet and strikes the ball with the (mostly) proper form I've been showing for passing, using the inside of her foot, but it's easier to see in the original footage vs. this compressed youtube garbage. It's a nice pass, just past Kaitlyn as it should be, and thanks to the good positioning Kaitlyn dribbles it uncontested into the goal. Whoohoo!

We have another game on Tuesday, so we'll see if we can keep this up, I'm certainly very happy to see that the kids have improved so much just over one game.