End of soccer season

Our last game of the season was last Saturday. Yesterday we had an end-of-the-season soccer party at a local pizza place. Fortunately all 8 players were there. After everyone had eaten pizza and cake, we acknowledged each player and how he improved over the season, then handed him a trophy with his name and his official photographs (one team photo, and one individual photo.)

The team gave me a card that was signed by each player (well, technically, printed, since 5-year olds generally cannot write in cursive…) Some of the kids wrote some of their letters inverted, as if they were looking in a mirror.  I wonder if this is normal.  I also got a gift card to Big 5 (sporting goods store.) I guess I should buy a soccer ball…

I had a lot of fun this season, and if my schedule permits, I would like to see these kids again next year.

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Soccer game #10

(In case you noticed there was no blog entry for game #9, that’s because it was rained out and will not be made up.)

This week my squad consisted of C, D, and Je. The other team was short on players so instead of the usual 3-on-3, we played 2-on-2. We ended up losing today, because the one thing I was afraid would happen all season finally happened today for the first time – for some reason, we were really confused about what direction we were going in, even though I kept shouting “Go the other way!” We lost 5-2, but we scored 3 wrong-way goals. They also scored a wrong-way goal, so if everyone was going the right way, we would have won 2-1. (Not that this is of any importance in this league, but I’m just saying…)

This was the last game of the season, so there will be no more soccer blog posts. We’ll see what my schedule looks like next year. If I can do it again next year, I should be a better coach.

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Soccer game #8

This week my squad consisted of C, Je, and V. The game was at noon today, and it was warmer than usual for late October. Je still can’t find his jersey, so he wore a different number again.

We were aggressive today. This is good, because I’ve occasionally had problems with aggressiveness with a squad of Je, V, and S, and I had Je and V today. Je was all over the field today. He was running after every kick, especially if the ball was going out of bounds. He must have fallen down at least 10 times doing  this, but he got right back up every time. C was much more active and aggressive than in the past.  Also, he managed to play the whole game without being tired, which had always happened in the past. V was, as usual, very aware of what was going on (this is a problem with some of our players.) He dribbles very well, and was more aggressive than last week.

The first half was a well-played match. Unfortunately, we were losing 1-0 because we accidentally kicked the ball into our goal. Because our other squad was beating their other squad decisively, we decided to switch opponents for the second half. This was also a good half, which really should have been a 0-0 tie, but the referee incorrectly scored a goal for their team when we executed a throw-in in the wrong direction and it went into our goal. (You cannot score on a throw-in.) I didn’t make a big deal out of it because the score isn’t important, but maximizing the playing time is.

It was fun, with no untied shoelaces, though J’s shoe did fly off his foot once.

Only 2 more games in the season. Wow, that was fast – it seems like our first game was yesterday.

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Soccer game #7

This week my squad consisted of Je, V, and S. The game was at 10:15 a.m, and the weather was nice. The only peculiar thing was that Je had apparently left his jersey at his aunt’s house, so he had to wear a different jersey.

We were not very aggressive today. I don’t know if it’s a coincidence, but this is the same squad I had 2 weeks ago when we had the same problem. It turned out fine, as the game ended up in a tie, 1-1. We also had a lot of big kicks, with players trying to score from midfield. We may  need to work on our passing in practice.

There is one thing I would like to comment on. My philosophy (for coaching 5-year olds) is basically to cheer them on and to minimize coaching to the times when player(s) are not paying attention (which happens frequently with some of the kids), out of position, are not doing something correctly (e.g. the throw in) or running the wrong way (which surprisingly, I haven’t seen yet.) I believe that this maximizes the fun factor for the kids.

On the other hand, today’s opposing coach liked to bark out (and I mean bark) more complex instructions, such as “Michael, where’s the ball? You need to watch where they are going to throw it in and be there!”  I wonder if kids respond to this type of coaching. It didn’t seem to work for that coach… even if it did work, I wouldn’t coach that way.

I just noticed that “complex” things that work in practice don’t work so well in games. In our latest practice, we had players run down the field in anticipation of another player doing a throw-in in that direction. However, in reality, the player would throw it in before the other player started running, so the other team would get to the ball first. I think we may have to simplify things in practice.

Again we had no shoelace problems (but the other team did) and no one on my squad got hurt. What more can you ask for?  Until next week!

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Soccer game #6

This week my squad consisted of C, D, S, and Jo. The game was at noon on Saturday (10/11), but it was somewhat cold because it was unfortunately also somewhat windy.

The first quarter was somewhat of a struggle, with neither team scoring, though Jo came close twice, with his shots missing the goal by one or two inches.

During the second quarter, Jo went on a rampage. He scored 3 goals in the middle 3 minutes of this quarter (5 minutes), and had a few more near misses. With some luck, he could have had 6 or 7 goals in the first half, which would have exceeded the 5 he had last week (which I didn’t see, because my friend was coaching that game.)

The third quarter was like the first quarter, though Jo didn’t quite get as much action, as the other players were taking more shots, though unfortunately they didn’t make any.

Jo was scheduled to sit this quarter. (There are four players to a squad, and three are playing at a time, so everybody has to sit one quarter.) His mom said right before the quarter started “Jo is REALLY going to be mad.” And she was right. Jo stomped off the field. It’s really annoying when adults do it, but that’s kind of funny when 5-year olds do it.

The fourth quarter was going like the first and third quarters, when we had a defensive lapse. They scored two quick goals when we weren’t paying as much attention as we should have.

The final score was 3-2 in favor of my squad. It was a good game, with all the scoring being done in spurts (Jo’s spurt in the second quarter, and their two quick goals in the fourth quarter.) Other than the defensive lapse, we played really well. There were no untied shoe laces or anybody being hit in the face by the ball, so I was really happy.

Until next week!

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Soccer game #5

This week my squad consisted of Je, V, and S (initially – I’ll get into change in personnel later.) The game was at 8:00. Even though the weather report had forecasted rain, making today’s games questionable, the weather was good at the time.

Unfortunately, we lost 3-0 today. I don’t know why, but the kids weren’t as aggressive as usual today. Even Je and V, who are always wherever the ball is, played more passive than usual. We let the other team dribble up the field without challenging them, and they had the ball near our goal quite a few times.

We switched players at half because our other squad (each team has 2 squads, so we have 2 games going on at the same time) was dominating their other squad, so I got Jo and C, and lost S. Since I now had 4 players, Jo was scheduled to sit the third quarter.

The switching of players did not change anything. We stil were not very aggressive. To make things worse, C got hurt in the third quarter by a ball that bounced into his face, so Jo (who scored 5 goals in the first half in the other game) replaced C.  However, Jo himself got hurt a while later and left the game. Fortunately, C was feeling much better and came back in.

Maybe we need to practice aggressiveness, though they are VERY aggressive in practice. Oh well, I guess they just had an off day.  Just wait till next week!

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Soccer game #4

This week my squad consisted of C, D, Jo, and V. The game was at noon, so it was fairly warm.

Our opponent was much better than the previous. In fact, they scored first, which hasn’t happened since the first game of the season. V scored in each of the first two quarters, but that was all the scoring on either side for the rest of the game, so we won 2-1.

Even though I had V on my squad before, I was really impressed by his on-field awareness, dribbling, and defense. He is also capable of big kicks (one of his goals was a long one), which is Jo’s trademark.

Speaking about Jo, I am really impressed. In addition to his big kicks and throw-ins, he is amazingly fast. There were many occasions when the other squad was threatening to score (or at least shoot) when he outran everybody on the field and kick the ball (usually out of bounds, which gave the other squad a throw-in, but allowed our squad to get set.)

I also like how C and D always manage to get in front of the ball when the other squad is moving up the field. They’re not as fast as Jo or not as field-aware as V, but they’re not afraid of getting their bodies in front of the ball, and have taken many balls off their shins (fortunately shinguards are required). Sometimes they aren’t paying attention because their attention span is a little too short, but I’m pretty sure that’s pretty normal (especially since D is only 4 and I suspect C also may be 4.)

Another great week of soccer with no loose shoe laces (on our squad)…

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