49er United Sierra Blitz: My Site News: To a season of "Wow..."

Sunday, January 22
To a season of "Wow..."

Folks I just want to thank you for sharing your children with RD, Paco and I over this last season. The girls (and parents!) were simply amazing! What made the season such a joy wasn’t the trophies (although those are nice, that big Association Cup is quite impressively large! J) but to watch how much the players improved over the year. First in individual skill and then together as a team. I watched them grow over these past 8 months in self-confidence, love for the game and a solid grounding in the value of the kind of ‘day in, day out’ work ethic that is required to do great things. I foresee great things for each of your children in the years ahead – regardless of the endeavor(s) that ends up being their life’s passion.   

As for our team as a whole I also foresee great things ahead. We are only now just beginning to catch glimpse of the skill and style of play – both on attack and defense – that I hope earmarks this team in the years to come. I was asked by someone what my goal was for this year, the next and for the years to come? Was it winning District Cup, Association Cup or doing great things at the next level of play (what used to be called “comp”)? I responded that while all of those where things we wanted to participate in, none of those equated to my vision for this team. My visions have nothing to do with lifting trophies, three time champs of this or that etc. (however those things are exclamation points along the way!) but more in line with a vision of a team playing the game in a beautiful way together -  consistently – game in and game out. 

I watched this on occasion with the older Blitz team. There was one indoor game in particular where the older Blitz team’s backline and keeper played a totally flawless 60min game (I mean flawless!). I have only witnessed that once? Fast switches, trap-touch-pass, tight covering, communication, great skill, solid play – all against a top notch Placer United ‘Gold’ opponent. Watching our backline that night was like watching a ballet in motion.  With the younger Blitz team we have seen snippets of that vision. Even more excitingly for me is that those famous 5-10 second clips that Jo turned into the yearend highlight film for us are starting to turn into 3-4-5 minute long passages of time marked beautiful ball movement. There was one indoor practice session that stood out for me where at the end our intra-squad scrimmage was earmarked by beautiful ball movement away from pressure, quick ‘1-2’ pass combinations and instinctive play and skill. Someone would finally break free and ruthlessly rifle home the shot to the post.  We caught glimpses of that same kind of play in several of our games – RD and I would watch one of these sequences unfold and begin to break into one of those ear to ear grins. When it was over, catch our breath and turn one to the other, grinning like fools, and simply say “wow…..”!  

On the defensive side of things watching the backline and midfield wings move together as one was a beautiful thing to behold. Tight marking by the wings, fluid quick play and line movement by the backline. Covering for each other, quick switches, fearlessly pouncing forward to snag incoming balls and then ‘trap-touch-pass’ them back to connect with their midfield teammates or clear the ball way up the field and away from danger. The crazy confidence I developed that even in the closing minutes of a big match watching the other team get some sort of break away, only to mutter under my breath.. ‘not going to happen.. so-and-so has her!” 

Over the years I’ve become a fan of watching the game in terms of movement and shape. And when it starts to click, and hum, marked by solid skill and bursts of instinctive creativity all I can say is “wow….”! So here is to a season of “wow…!” I have no idea where this team will go, but as long as they stay hungry, humble and in love with the game I would say the orchestra has only begun the first few bars of a beautiful piece of music that will find its own destination.  

That then is my goal for this team, to simply find the piece of music that is theirs to play and learn to play it harmoniously together. There will be some ‘off’ days with sour chords and a few rough practice sessions along the way. The hours may seem long from time to time but then those goes away in a heartbeat when the sun is out, the grass is green and they having wonderful day with their friends playing the beautiful game together. 

Thank you for sharing your gifted children with us for this past season. It’s been an honor. 

elaine J