Tuesday, January 21, 2014

This was my 8th year with teams at the FC Portland Showcase.  As always the weather is never the same. Though we had an ice fog making very freezing temperatures it was far better than some years with brutal wind, icy fields, or snow coming down.  The last day we even had warm sun! Always thankful for one of my favorite coffee shops, Insomnia, right next to 53rd fields to keep warm fluids in my all day.
Travel with three teams and just 45 players seemed a piece of cake following last weekend with three times as many. Plus not as many parents come to this. Why would you take this over San Diego or Phoenix in the winter. Completely understood.
Our U18 girls had a tough time finding wins and a couple of tough injuries to some key players took its toll, but it was fun to see them progress each game and get more composed and competitive with each game against stronger competition as the weekend progressed. Bekka Ord did well up top in the first game and we had a nice goal from Mia. We really enjoyed our guest players Talya from Montana ODP and Maeve from Sequim WA. They were very dominant and controlling in our center midfield. It should also be noted that really this was a U17 team, playing U18 to give our few seniors on the team a chance to get out and get recruited by college coaches in attendance. Hoping we return with this same group again next year where we will certainly be more competitive.
U18 boys were similar with tough injuries early on after losing a close one to a Montana team we should have done better in. Expecting tough last games but we got to play spoiler with our 3rd game against the tournament leading team getting a 1-1 tie taking them out of the title race, then in the final game against a strong team sitting in third looking to win the event but a last minute nice corner goal earned us another tie to take them out of contention.
U17 boys had a tough draw, toughest I've seen in my 8 years with teams here, but stepped up. After a tough loss with 15 shots on net to one against they stepped it up to tie #1 ranked club team in WA, then beat the #2 ranked WA team, then in the final game go up 1-0 at half to the #1 ranked OR team before losing by one in the second. This team had a few very nice goal first from Jack playing a great whipped in ball at full speed to a great header by Braeden between two defenders. Trask also had a very pretty goal our last game taking the ball off his chest to a wicked dipping volley.  Some of the best goals I saw from any of the games from any teams.

A very strong showing AK can compete with the best in the Northwest!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Travel day is always crazy. I've coordinated trips for ten years, more than 40 multi-team trips, but have never gone with nine teams.  No matter how the rest of the tournament goes I find it a great success to have 143 players and 20 staff (and all accompanying parents) all make it off planes, into vans, to the hotel, and well fed without any major complications.  Kids were great traveling, patient waiting for vans, and good into hotel rooms. It is really fun to see over 100 of them all lined up for a good pasta buffet dinner (thanks Macaroni Grill!) in a great outdoor setting (thanks Embassy Suites!).  This is about as nice of winter weather as I've had in ten years of coming to Phoenix.
This morning teams had training sessions near the hotel before games started in the afternoon.  ODP Championships always prove a tough event as rather than just playing top clubs we play the top players of all states combined from the top clubs we normally play.  It is very obvious population genetics work against as we have a very small population from which to pull the fastest and biggest players, while we go up against teams like So Cal that have thousands of players from San Diego, LA, Riverside, Tijuana... to find the best sixteen players. So we struggled a bit with wins, but we did have some great individual play.  Some teams showed we can compete with the best. The 01 boys had a tough loss to WA but then came back to tie CO 2-2 in a game they certainly could have won.  The 98 boys had two excellent games starting with a loss to CO 0-2 that had a number of close opportunities missed, then they closed the evening with a 1-2 loss against WA, one of the upper level states in Region IV. Though not wins, they are certainly something games to be proud of.
Resting and hydrating tonight for another round of competitive games tomorrow.

Monday, December 30, 2013

ODP Championships schedule is out.  Lots of tough games ahead for AK players, but certainly some opportunities for teams and individuals to showcase well.   Check out the schedule, coaches attending, and other tournament news at http://regioniv.usyouthsoccer.org/odp/odp_championships/

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Getting ready for ODP Championships

With nearly 350 player trying out, far more than any year in the history of Alaska Youth Soccer, the new ADP program is proving a great success.  From the tryouts approximately 300 players were selected to continue training this fall in preparation for Nomads and now on the premier event, ODP Region IV Championships January 9-12 in Phoenix.
Alaska is sending nine teams: 97/98/99/00/01 boys and 98/99/00/01 girls.  Sixteen players from each birth year were selected to represent Alaska competing against the best players from sixteen Western states.This means a traveling party of 144 players, ten coaches, ten managers, and another 100 enthusiastic parents ready to cheer us on. Hope Phoenix is ready for us!

Pictures from championship team at Nomads and a happy coach!

Nomads Success!

The first trip for the new ADP program traveling to the Nomads Thanksgiving Tournament in San Diego was a huge success.  We had U18 boys, U17 boys, U16 boys, U18 girls, and U15 girls teams: 80 players with six coaches, six managers, and many parents to cheer us on.
U15 girls were close in every game. U18 boys had one good victory in their tough bracket. U17 boys and U18 girls both took second in their pool in the top flight and narrowly missed advancing to the next round - a great showing at a top event.
U16 boys stole the show winning the championship scoring 14 goals and 0 against in five games.  Great start to ADP a great future ahead for this talented group of boys! Thanks to coach Barat Killian for a great job with the team.