Tag Archives: Girls Soccer

Some Times it is all about Haley Anne

I’m putting this moment on paper because Haley Anne had an awesome weekend. Yesterday, in particular was both great and tough. And, one moment is pivotal (literally), and forever emblazoned in my minds-eye.

Even though she is only fourteen Haley Anne has has a great history of U16 play. She is often called-up to support her older “sisters”. In fact, Shockers have always been called-up and exceeded expectations. Christy Tovar is another great example.

In any event, Haley Anne was playing against the U16 UFA Rockets Sunday. Their intrepid and storied coach, Allison Miner, always bring a first-class team to the pitch. Yesterday, as a Defender, Haley Anne had three assists on goals. She was ON FIRE. Show OWNED the middle. She seemed HUGE.

There was a melee in the middle (the Rockets are very skilled at ball-play in tight quarters; almost like a knife-fight). The ball came off a Rocket players head and took an odd bounce towards our box. Haley Anne did the most unlikely and athletic pirouette I can imagine, her body strangely contorted. She caught the ball square with her odd boot and sent it hurtling up-pitch. It landed in the OTHER box. Our right-side Stryker Esmerelda one-touched it and blasted it behind the hapless Keeper for our 9th goal. There was a gasp from the crowd because the play was so unexpected and fantastic. But, I knew instantly Haley Anne was hurt. She was hands on hips, unable to move, and fighting back tears.

We quickly pulled her off the pitch. It was clearly bad enough that her little sissy Emma Jo (U10 Shockers Nation, see two posts ) rushed right over and sat herself right next to Haley Anne in mute support.

Joanne is taking her to a clinic this morning. Fingers crossed. She’s tough and determined.

She’s had such a tough year. First the spider bite at the Kennesaw Cup in the Fall. But, she fought through all that pain and sideline and helped lead her U14 Shockers to both a Kohls Cup and a UFA Cup. Then she lost half of the Spring season because of the issues with cysts. She was just coming back into form – and, perhaps her best yet.

Please don’t feel sorry for us. I’ll submit the Cork’s have had a “Chinese interesting” year. But, we are fully aware of how blessed we are. That certainly includes being surrounded by families like you. Cork’s have a knack for being where the action is. Never count us out.

A lot of people read this and my other blogs. I’m hoping you will lift Haley Anne up and will any injury away. The heaviness of her heart (and mine) aside, she has the first round of State Cup tournament play next weekend. She does not desrve to be denied that.

Coach Brian

That’s Shocker Ball!

There were a lot of Shockers – both in name, as well as spirit on the pitch that day. All of them hearty and ferocious.

That, is Shocker Ball!

Thank you Haley Anne.

Coach Brian (Daddy)

We Wanted The Ball

Behold our Mighty and Ferocious U10 Shockers Nation!

I feel so good after the match this past weekend (I told Jason Dell, Dennis Covington and Joanne that I felt like we had just won World Cup). Most of the families have athletic histories with siblings. So, you understand what it means when a team like ours “turns the corner”. And, for me that is a key reason why I love to coach.

JBS U10 Shockers Nation 7 vs. JBS U10 Cyclones 0

 The kids actually reward me when they pull it together.

The first time we played the JBS U10 Cyclones we they beat us decisively at 3-0 despite our athleticism and dominating their side of the pitch. I am keenly aware that team has been together for several years and average a full year older than our squad. So, our performance this past Saturday was astounding and gratifying. The improvement both in simple play, but field vision and positioning was impressive. Every single one of our players has improved since the beginning of the season. Not only are we reinforcing solid citizenship and being good sports, but our ability to play as individuals and as a team is ahead of the U10 soccer-play curve.

Key improvements realized themselves in our one and two touch control and passing. Also, “crashing the goal” after a shot. And, of course taking those critical shots on goal. Once a player gets a taste of that you will notice a dramatic change in their style-of-play – and joy. One of the really cool elements of our rising play was the fact that we had four different scorers. And, two of the players could have had “hat-tricks” (three goals) if I had not put them in the goal.

By the way… Even though it slows our collective scoring process, and possibly frustrates goal-minded players, I will continue to rotate Keepers (goalies). Who would have guessed that Mary Elizabeth would have the instincts to fall on a ball to protect it from an opposing Forward (but, I won’t strand her in the net)?

Coach Brian

U10 Shockers show great form in opener

U10 Shockers Nation:

We played very aggressive football pushing our Defenders up high. I’m confident we played ninety percent of both matches on our opponents side of the pitch. By the way, that is both historically and traditionally referred to as: “Shocker ball”, and a term you will hear more and more often from me.

When you have an opposing coach grousing an entire match about the refs you know your team is under his skin. By the way… The ref was fine, and our Shockers were awesome in terms of effort and sportsmanship (it means a lot to me when a ref tells me my players are excellent sports).

We had several good attempts around the goal – especially the second match on Sunday. We’ll be learning how to “finish” this coming week in practice. I’m confident Jason and Joanne agree with me we did a solid job of swarming opponents with the ball. But, we’ll also need to work on transition skills (taking the ball away from opponents). I was particularly pleased with the way we kept pressure on the opposing team during the entire match. As the season progresses we will sort-out where our players are strongest, and I’m certain you will see the begin to take shape in terms of passing and tactics.

To put things into perspective, that Cyclones squad has been together for a number of years under the same coach. They Cyclone players average a full year older than our Shockers. A terrific way to measure ourselves in terms of both player development and coaching will be our progress against that more mature squad as the season progresses.

NOTE: At U10 I’m an advocate of letting every player try their boots at all of the positions. Some of them will show natural affinity for ball control, fast-breaks, passing, defense, etc. (My own U14 Haley Anne is a natural Defender, and she has always thrived there). But, half the fun at this age is learning all aspects of the “beautiful game”. Let’s be clear… I like to win (legacy Shockers parents understand what that means). But, it’s more important for them to build confidence, then skills, and have fun. As it turns out, winning tends to follow that view of the game. The one exception is Keeper (goalie). We’ll need to eventually find (maybe recruit) one or two players that have the nerve, presence of mind, and strength to “man the cage”. The little ones often can’t even defend themselves under fire.

I believe we have the core of a team that could play together for several years. Building on tradition and feeling part of something that is wholesome and grounded in integrity and teamwork does wonderful things for young girls.

As the season progresses I will highlight particular play and effort (I know parents keep these summaries). But, for today, I think it’s fair to say that WE ARE SHOCKERS. And, we proved that we WANTED THE BALL. You’ll recognize those as elements of our team cheer.

Coach Brian

the give-and-go

Last night at my U10 Shockers soccer practice I had a small turn-out. Tuesdays are “extra” practice for the little ones.

This gave me an option to work very closely with the team and I decided to try and work on some fairly advanced “give-and-go” drills.

“Think simple about giving the ball to a teammate and then running up pitch and calling for them to pass it back. Give-and-Go, Give-and-Go.”

To both my astonishment and delight, and that of one of the more experienced mothers, we pulled it off. The girls knew thay’d done well, and we all felt great about practice.

So, seeing my keeper roll the ball to an outlet player that deftly passed the ball to my little Emma Jo who then set up the “go-pass” was inspiring and deeply satisfying – both as a coach and a Dad.

I can’t wait for the match this Saturday.

Coach Brian

great promise but even better delivery

The U16 JBS Shockers Nation put everyone on notice this past weekend at the 2011 Spring Lanier Cup. The finals was a gritty barn-burner. Our newly formed squad exceeded even my own expectations dropping the final to perennial state champions LSA Jaguars 1-0.

Details with some pictures are pending. And, we have our schedule for the regular season.

Was that passive aggressive mumbling we heard from the far sidelines? I’m delighted that’s not my problem any longer.

We are upon you.

Coach Brian

2011 Spring Season Rosters are Posted

2011 Spring U10 JBS Shockers Nation Roster

and,

2100 Spring U16 JBS Shockers Nation Roster

Friends and Teammates

 

  • Brittany Collins of U14 JBS Breakers and and Haley Anne Cork from U14 JBS Shockers Nation during the all JBS Final of the Fall 2010 Kennesaw Cup.
  • Brittany and Haley Anne have now teamed up to make a run for the perfect season this Spring.
  • U10 Shockers Nation debut in RILS

    Stay tuned. But, the mighty and ferocious JBS U10 Shockers are upon you.

    Yes, they certainly are.

    We’re mounting siege on the state of Georgia.

    Coach Brian

    I can’t bare saying goodbye, so, I’ll bid you all, collectively, adieu.

    Shockers Nation:

    I’ve been quiet. And, that’s obviously unusual for me.

    I’ve simply been thinking. Considering options.

    In any event, I’ll offer a short overview of the Fall season for both the U16 and U14 Shockers, and move on.

    U16 Shockers:

    Our U16 Shockers had a successful Fall campaign by any measure with rare defeats at the hands of a standing State Champion and a State Runner-Up. Along the way we amassed a winning regular season record of: 5W-2L-3D, scoring 31 goals and with 14 goals allowed in a bracket that was hands-down, the toughest in the State of Georgia. We also played in three tournaments, including the finals at the Kennesaw Cup in the pre-season with half the squad newly added and facing a State Champion in the finals, fighting through the Kohl’s Cup with no losses (three well played draws), and narrowly missing the finals of the UFA Cup by a single goal, but two significant wins. Tournament play is the best measure, and our Shockers had a tournament record of: 4W-3L-3D. In doing so, we scored 29 goals (thats huge) with only 16 against (only 3 against us at UFA).

    We all have our highlights. And, what made me most proud of this particular squad was our unique ability to reorganize ourselves yet again, overcome ridiculous outside influences, bond, and compete at the highest level of youth soccer. We never had one match where a coach did not walk up to me without the highest commendation for our spirit, teamwork, and obviously keen desire to play the beautiful game with integrity. I also had the unique opportunity to see a number of girls hone their skills AND maturity to a new level, and make the critical difference through a very long season.

    U14 Shockers

    Our U14 Shockers had all the odds stacked against them going into the Fall season. We barely had enough players to comprise a roster that would be acceptable to GA Soccer. Still a young team with half the players being new fought through a pre-season tournament and narrowly missed bringing home a Cup against a perennial State powerhouse in our sister team Breakers. Somehow each match of the regular season saw us pull just enough players to compete each weekend. But, we did not simply compete – we absolutely dominated. There were complaints that we were in an easy bracket. But, I assure you we simply played like the elite team the Shockers have been year-over-year since 2005. We finished the regular season with a record of: 7W-2L-0D that included 73 goals scored (new season scoring record), 8 shut-outs, with only 7 goals allowed. We further demonstrated that was no fluke by winning two of the most coveted Cups in Georgia – the prestigious Kohl’s Cup (a view of what the State Championships promise in the Spring) and of course the UFA Cup where the U14 squad matched the U16 squads dramatic Cup win from the prior Fall. Over the course of our tournament play our record was: 9W-4L-3D. Through that we scored and astounding 32 goals with only 13 against. I’ll have to add that Gracie Razo and Haley Anne Cork added to Shockers Nation honors by also guest-playing for sister team Breakers for the NASDA Cup win. That means they played in four post season tournaments (including the ill-fated RYSA Cup clearly impacted by what will always be known through Shockers nation lore as “the great divide”). I know that many tournaments are obnoxious. But, it’s also pretty cool.

    JBS has issued regular season trophies and we need to get those distributed. Some of you already have yours. We are coordinating the best method to get the rest to you.  

    I’ll pause, here, and point out that although this level of success is typical for Shockers Nation, it’s considered highly unusual.

    in youth soccer.

    Moving forward

    I’ve sat here in front of my Mac trying to sort out what to say next. Too many options are ripping through my head, and this is, of course, why I’ve waited this long to send off this missive (NOTE: if Kaitlin Siech was standing next to me, she would eagerly ask, “what does missive mean coach Brian”? I would explain with some additional example, her teammates would animate for several excited moments, and then we would be back to the hearty business of being ferocious Shockers).

    Unexpectedly, soccer has suddenly changed for me and Haley Anne. And, likely forever. Shockers Nation, poised for our greatest combined Spring season ever, will never be the same with the “great divide”. We’ve been ripped apart by unforeseen and certainly unexpected forces. And, I have to believe, if not simply hope, there are other positive forces at work that will leave us with an explanation and good results for another day. But, I’m humbled by the great run we’ve had together, and my own small role in it. It’s never, not once, been lost on me that Shocker parents had to put up with a lot from me over many seasons. Three clubs and a lot of tournaments later, the best I can come up with, here, is thank you, and sincerely so, for trusting me with your daughters.

    …It’s no secret that I don’t like the way Chris Tovar has handled things. However, I also want to make it very clear that I do think he has the makings of a good coach. Now he needs to become a leader. Time will tell. He has my support, if that matters. My only, possibly controversial, request going forward is that the team now established at UFA not refer to themselves as “Shockers Nation”. I admit it’s personal. I coined the phrase Shockers Nation because it was apropos to our journey and unique desire to stay together against almost unsurmountable odds. That clearly changes with the move to UFA. So, that would be all I ask of you. It’s about respect, a unique style-of-play, philosophy, and history. Corollary to that I expect everyone of the players to hold dear to principles around being “pleased and being satisfied” (and, so much more). By all means, go forth and be Shockers. I know you’ll make me proud, Shockers all!

    I’ve had a few recent email exchanges with Marion. That exchange really more than anything else prompted me to get this post (with an email to follow later today) off once and for all. So, the season is finally memorialized. We all have our highlights. We had a great final season, and we did it together. Players new to our system, and seasoned veterans alike. And, we’ll always have that.

    I can’t bare saying goodbye, so, I’ll only bid you all, collectively, adieu.

    Coach Brian – January 24, 2011 0600 Hours

    a Dream Team is born

    Stay tuned. More to follow.

    There most certainly is!

    Everything (everything) I tell you, happens for good reason. Some better than others.

    Coach Brian

    long live the shockers says my broken heart

    this post was been updated on january 21, 2011 to include a music file.

    “ALL GOOD THINGS MUST COME TO AN END” – There is an end to everything, to good things as well. The proverb dates back to about 1374 (Chaucer). First attested in the United States around 1680. The word ‘good’ was added much later. ‘Everything has an end’ and ‘Everything comes to an end’ are variants of the proverb.

    As one of our parents so aptly pointed out… Perhaps they, my hearty and ferocious Shockers, have become accustomed to the unique experience and take it for granted (this includes parents). Now, they must drink from another cup, and make that their comparison.

    Let’s listen to: No Ceiling by Eddie Vedder.

    Coach Brian

    U14 JBS Shockers are 2010 UFA Cup Champions

    The 2010 U14 JBS Shockers continued a season of dominance by winning the 2010 United Futbol Academy Tournament.

    The Shockers scored a tournament high thirteen (13) goals with only one (1) against through the finals where they met the vaunted SDY Lady Jaguars and pulled-off magnificent and courageous 2-1 come-from-behind victory to secure the gold Cup.

    Coach Brian

    U14 Shockers Are 2010 Kohls Cup Champions

    JBS U14 Shockers Nation are 2010 Kohl’s Cup Champions

    We had a slow start Saturday morning losing to the Hinesville Gators (that apparently were undefeated through the regular season and the tournament with no goals against), but surged in the last fifteen minutes to set the pace for the rest of the tournament. We saw some dramatic action, and we proved that we can play and beat anybody with fantastic play from each and every player. In the finals we got that first match back against the Gators for the tournament Cup.

    Thank you, and Shockers all.

    NOTE: In last year’s Kohl’s Cup U14 Shockers Christy and Mars guest played for (now) sister team JBS Breakers who beat that same Hinesville Gators team in the finals. It was also that very same Gators squad that hurt (then) U14 Breakers Colette with an injured ACL. So, a JBS U14 team has won consecutive Kohl’s Cups and fought through the Gators to earn that distinction, while exacting a form of satisfaction (we should not use words like revenge or vengeance – oops, I just did!) for Colette along the way.

    Fall 2010 Captains

    I’ve named Mallory Charlton and Grace Guthrie as Captains of the U16 squad and Haley Anne Cork and Gracie Razo as Captains for the U14 squad for this season.

    Traditionally Captains are picked less for star status and more so for leadership qualities. This can include team spirit and a willingness to do what ever is best for the team.

    I had originally looked at Lindsay Wojcik to lead us. Without question, Lindsay was the most improved player across Shockers Nation over the past two years (four seasons). However, when Lindsay moved on it created an opportunity for other players to step up as emerging leaders.

    In this case, Grace has shouldered the responsibility of learning the Keeper position  under “trial-by-fire”, and contributing vitally as a utility player. Mallory has more talent than she realizes, and is an easy threat with fiendish guile and smart passing at the top of the box. A willingness, on both their parts, to lead by example has boundless value to a team that is often in transition and needs a “can do” attitude more than anything else to be successful.

    Of course Haley Anne is my daughter. But, that aside, she has proven a formidable defender for her teams since she was nine years old playing up at U12. She is relentless and can score as well. Haley Anne won’t miss a practice – even when she was spider bit (that was tough), and even goes out of her way to support the U16 squad at away matches. She leads by example on and off the pitch. Gracie Razo is one of those quiet leaders that is also a spiritual guide on our vaunted defense (that only allowed seven goals against last season) shuts down strykers, and lets her actions speak volumes over words.

    Coach Brian

    Our new Club

    The rumors abound. And, as providence should have it – that which has us joining the mighty Andrew Collins and his legendary Breakers, is true.

    We are, thusly, proud to call ourselves JBS Shockers Nation.

    We’ll be flying new colors as well. Gray to be clear about it, with our traditional yellow tye-dye socks.

    We’ll be training at the beautiful Chukkar Farm Polo Fields in Milton.

    And, we are accepting challenges for “friendlies” to prepare for the up-and-coming Fall season.

    Coach Brian

    Finding the will to win

    Our hearty and ferocious Shockers found themselves in unfamiliar territory this past Saturday at the RYSA 3v3 tournament.

    However, as it turns out that format matches both the way we train and our style of play. We fight for the ball and score on smart passing.

    The U14 Shockers learned quickly and adjusted with improved play the entire tournament, and earning their way to the finals where they only lost in sudden death against a veteran squad aptly named the “five fab”. In any event, we’ve qualified for the National Championships in Orlando, Florida.

    Congratulations to Haley Anne, Christy, Rachel, Suzane and new Shocker – Kimmy Gibson for a job well done.

    Coach Brian

    some things should never change

    Shockers Nation:

    This communique is about both change – and, that which never shall.

    In the next few weeks and months you’ll begin to see the email distribution list expand as new players and families come on-line. We are in the process of adding new players to the very successful U14 Shockers roster as several of our players move up to the U16 squad. I am also including Andrew and Penelope Collins. They are a big part of the vision for the Club we are joining – JBS. We can expect a great deal of collaboration with their mighty Breakers with both the U14 and U16 squads going into the Fall season.

    Meanwhile… We’re saying so long to two of our own… Loren Philbrook and Melissa Cuellar. They’ll be moving on to U18 group play. Hopefully in time we’ll extend our reach to that age group. Until then, they are always welcome amongst us. They can certainly help coach, manage and train as vital members of a long-line of champions.

    I was reminded recently that a core group of our players have been with me since they were nine years old. And, most of our players tend to stick with us. I believe this is because of the common goals of our families that like the focus on citizenship, student athletes and the simple fact that our daughters are being taught they are capable of anything they set their minds to. As parents we both lead the way, and find ourselves inspired by the result.

    I am also going to lift-up Chris Tovar and Patty Wojcik. Chris and I have built one successful Shockers team after another. That success is based on good sportsmanship, a pedigree of championships and Cup victories and a decidedly unique style-of-play that is based on teamwork. That means all players improve skills, confidence and fitness year-over-year, and grow together. Patty (Lindsay’s Mom) joined us a Team Manager in the Spring of 2009, and quickly established herself as both a force-of-nature and steady influence in terms of the proverbial “Mother Hen”. If his school schedule allows it, we’re hoping young master Anthony Kennedy can intern with us as an assistant coach. I get a lot of thanks form parents and “well dones” from the soccer community. But, the simple fact that we have a fantastic team of committed parents and athletes is the best element of our formula for success.

    I’ve asked several parents with unique skills and experience to help us with several committees. A critical one is the building (or acquisition) of goals and nets for training and matches at the “Chukkar”. If you can help, or have ideas, please let us know ASAP. Start thinking about carpools. And, be on the lookout for notices around Summer Training Camps, Scrimmages and a possible Tournament.

    Looking forward, we have several U10 teams (including a state champion) requesting to come on-line with Shockers Nation. We will also be trying something new… My own Emma Jo wants to play soccer again. She wants to be a Shocker, just like her “sissy”, Haley Anne. So, we are inviting twenty to twenty five U9 players to develop an intra-club skills development and match playing system. The focus will be less on competition, and more on fun, skills development, interaction within the sport. The older Shockers can help coach and referee the younger players. I feel this will broaden everyone’s feel for the “beautiful game”. A mentor of mine told me, and many times, that “the best teachers are more often students who reflect represent”. So, I hope to realize that within our own Shockers Nation. Please spread the word amongst our Shocker families and friends.

    Coach Brian

    Back to State Cup

    Our hearty and ferocious U14 Shockers are heading back to State Cup in Columbus.

    We had a great District round with a record of: 2W-0L-1D.

    Keeper Paige Mitchell extended our season-long unbeaten streak with her fifth, sixth and seventh shut-outs of the season.

    Here is the District Cup summary:

    Saturday Shockers 4 vs. Jackson Bulldogs 0

    Saturday Shockers 0 vs. SDY Lady Jaguars 0

    Sunday Shockers 4 vs. GSA Strikers 0

    Sunday Shockers vs. SDY Lady Jaguars for a Shoot-Off for the finals. Fifteen (that’s what I said) shooters later – Jaguars advantage 8 to 7.

    We’re heading to Columbus, and everyone is going to know it.

    Coach Brian

    U14 Shockers are Spring 2010 2A League Champions

    Our U14 Shockers are the undisputed League Group 2A Spring champions for the second year in a row. The U14 Shockers were undefeated this regular season with a record of 8 – 0 – 1. We scored 28 goals and had only 7 against us. We had four clean-sheets (shut-outs).

    Hit this link for PDF image:  U14 Shockers are 2010 Spring 2A League Champions

    Coach Brian

    little things with big impact

    The great stories from the Athens Finale tournament are numerous. And, they will be chronicled, as best I am able here, over time – and, elsewhere.

    I’ve coached Michelle Higgins since she was eleven. She was on my first Shocker team and created a lot of learning opportunities for me as a coach.

    I think Michelle gave me three of her best matches this weekend.

    It was the little things. She seemed to hustle more than usual, and was engaged around the ball. She also took two hard ball shots to the head and stuck with it. When I was on the pitch in the last match looking after Lindsay (“I’m okay… GAME ON”), I had an opportunity to take a quick look at Michelle (I wanted to see her eyes after the last shot she took). She had tears, but she gave me a brave nod.

    All I could do was give her a kiss on the top of her head, and feel more pride than I could ever convey.

    Thanks Michelle.

    Coach Brian

    Tuesday’s Practice

    Shockers Nation:

    Last nights practice was one of those times that makes being a coach extra fun and interesting.

    It was like a family reunion. The girls had not been together en masse for almost two weeks. And, they were clearly delighted to be together. There was a great deal of laughter, and catching up. The comraderie is easy and comfortable. Generally, there was also a lot of excitement over the trip to Athens, and a sense of purpose.

    We won’t be having practice tonight, and obviously because of the cold rain. The hoped for practice tomorrow are diminishing by the hour. Anticipating this, I had urged the girls to give me their best last night. I was admittedly concerned that the U14 squad may have lost a step being out of action for about ten days. And, the U16 squad was coming off their dramatic ASA Cup victory – and, it can be difficult to reorient after an event like that. So, we had only two hours to get thirty-three players mission ready with the new elements getting up-to-speed with our style-of-play. We actually went almost twenty five minutes over schedule. But, they could have gone on for another two hours in good cheer. I deeply appreciate the patience of the faithful Shockers parents who stood bravely in the chilled air (with smiles for the most part I should add).

    I realize that, year-over-year, this has become a hallmark of being a Shocker – and, this includes the families. The girls genuinely care for, and about, one another. Grace Gutherie can refer to her new soccer ball as “like Battlestar Gallactica”, and the girls completely understand in a bemused and loving manner. When KC needs to decipher and verbally reprocess one of my observations, the team stands by patiently and often nodding approval. And, of course there are endless questions and opinions, in the post practice huddle, around what represents “dairy” (which is to be consumed in limited portions between now and Sunday). Shockers Nation is something they want, and enjoy being part of. It’s healthy, and they all understand that they are improving as athletes, both in terms of individual performance, and as a team, as well.

    We had five of the six new players that will be joining us in Athens (across both squads), three of who will be joining us full-time in the Spring. I started out the practice with a warning that I yell a lot, but usually with a smile on my face. This elicited a lot of enthusiasm. And, in typical Shockers fashion, the new girls dialed right in. We could tell everyone was comfortable within the first twenty minutes (even though most teams are not accustomed to the running and drill work we start each practice with). The “Aggression Drill” can be intimidating. But, I can tell you that is where the girls sort out what they are made of, and where they improve quickest. They have no choice because everyone is watching – and, being supportive.

    Last night was also quite unique in that we had four Dads with players on the Athens squads who all happen to be coaches in our league. I’ll stand firm in the belief that they (we) had as much fun as the girls. And, we clearly agree there’s not been a finer group (in terms of athleticism, spirit and citizenship) in conceivable memory.

    As we wrapped up with the announcement we hope to have a team dinner and meeting Friday night the girls were fully charged. As we drew together, the new girls shoulder-to-shoulder with their new teammates, our cheers of: “Who Are we?” (Shockers!!!) “What Do We Want?” (The Ball!!!) And, “One-Two-Three, WE ARE SHOCKERS” echoed joyfully and fiercely across Central Park.

    Athens isn’t going to be easy. The competition will be fierce. The weather will change a few times over the weekend. But, we are trained, fit and ready. And, truly so.

    Please coordinate with Patty to make sure we know how each player is getting to Athens (does anyone need a ride?), where they will or want to stay. Bunking overnight Friday is probably a very good idea (and, cellular telephones will be handed over to Patty). Make sure we have your cellular number.

    I’ll thank each family, again for trusting me with your daughters. And, it’s really me that’s the most inspired.

    Coach Brian

    2009 U16 League Champions

    The U16 Fusion Shockers are 2009 League Champions.

    Coach Brian

    U16 Shockers Win 2009 ASA Cup

    Our 16 Shockers are the 2009 ASA Cup Champions.

    Coach Brian

    Fall 2009 U14 League Champions

    With a decisive 3 to 1 victory over Fusion Lightning last night at Central Park, our U14 Shockers are the Fall 2009 league Champions.

    This match was one of the most measured and balanced displays of prowess that I have seen in this squad. Everyone contributed in a significant way.

    Hayla started our scoring right in front of the goal with a big booming assist from Rachel on the right side.

    Minutes later, Rachel added a 2nd assist with a smooth pass to Mars right through the box.

    In the 2nd half, Mars offered a deft pass to Christy who fought her way through a hard kicking crowd of opposing midfielders and defenders to blast one into the back of the net from 20 meters out.

    Our Midfielders Hannah E. Caroline, Sarah, Emma and Rachel fought for every ball, and we OWNED the middle. That is, of course Shocker Ball. I was particularly pleased, and actually proud that we could rotate our midfield and get everyone a lot of minutes. Sarah did a fantastic job of transitioning from Stopper to Stryker, as needed, and has emerged as a solid and reliable utility player that keeps our momentum strong. This means our players are thriving in the “system” and style-of-play. This keeps our legs fresh, and our opponents reeling.

    The Shocker defense was naught less than dominate. Haley Anne was everywhere and stuffed 80% of the Lightning play 40 meters off our goal. She also had a terrific fast break right up the middle. Meredith bedeviled the Lightning attack AT THE MIDLINE and frustrated them like a pick pocket. AC was like a ballerina (despite being knocked to the pitch twice), blithely floating past all opponents and then accelerating with blinding speed that left the Lightning drop-jawed and frustrated. Shauna demonstrated her athleticism and growing confidence by standing up to a number of fast-breaks and deftly transitioning the ball to waiting midfielders. Emily came up with a booming kick to Mars that set the stage for Christy’s goal that put the match away for us.

    Hannah D. came up with three key saves including a point blank shot with four minutes to go that took all the wind our of the opposing attack.

    I feel the highlight, over all, of the match was the passing and general teamwork. This, with our style of intelligent play, was a terrific way to end our regular season, and set the stage for our march on Athens in two weeks for prestigious The Athens Cup Finale, and then the Spring season.

    Coach Brian