Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A Lesson in Truckee Pride

Truckee Pride girls soccer and coach Jason Matthews
I had the good fortune to coach a group of kids in soccer this past fall. I've been playing the game for 30 years and coaching for about 4 at the AYSO recreational level. We called our newly formed team Truckee Pride since we live in the small town of Truckee, California. It was our first season playing in the competitive division of club soccer, and we went into it more than a bit unprepared for the challenge. A few of our kids had little to no experience against seasoned teams, and nearly half of our kids were young enough to be in the U12 league instead of the U13 which we played in. A result of these factors led us to play older, larger and much more experienced teams.
It wasn't fun or easy enduring a 14 loss, zero win season. Many of the early games turned into drastic blowouts. A few times the other goal-keeper never once touched the ball as we had trouble maintaining possession enough to move down the field and get off any shot, if even a weak one. Our first loss was 8-0, another was 7-0, another was 12-1 and another was 10-0. This was not only tough but disheartening as the kids gave it everything they had until the final whistle even while facing sure defeat. It felt like life was saying, "You can't win no matter what."
There were tears, plenty of them. There were temper flare-ups and sleepless nights before and after games. And I'm talking about me, not the kids.
For whatever reason they never gave up, though I wouldn't have blamed them. Even after the last game when they played their hearts out and took a very strong team well into the second half holding onto a 2-0 score and getting lots of shots ourselves, they never quit. We ended up losing 5-0 but from the amount of chances we had to score and the number of times their goalie was forced into great saves and the realization that we were making such strides, you'd of thought we had won the game by the look on their faces.
We plan on playing a lot of indoor soccer (futsol) now that the fall season is over. We want to come back in the spring and show those teams how much better we've become. We want to win at least one game in the spring and hopefully a few more. We also want to show life, "We can win no matter what."
Thank you, kids, for never quitting on the game, on me as a coach and on yourselves. If anyone's doing the coaching here, it's you kids coaching me in life and in true Pride.
Truckee Pride girls soccer and coach Jason Matthews
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