Tuesday, 20 August 2013

The 2013 Soccer Champs

Last night's soccer game was probably one of the best games I have ever watched. It was so intense! Our U12AA Kingston boys' team definitely went into this game as the underdog, and who doesn't love to see the underdog come out on top, for at least a bit, or give the Alpha Male a really good scare. By the time I arrived at the game, Fundy was winning 2 - 1, and having seen our boys play against them before, I kind of thought I knew how this game was going to go down. 

The back story:

Kingston Soccer is a small club. We are situated in a small, rural area, with just a handful of kids to choose from each year to make up our teams. I say choose, but honestly, I don't think we have ever cut anyone from a team because we need all the bodies we can get. Every year it is a struggle to field the AA teams, and sadly, this year we were only able to put together a boys U12 and a boys U16 team, which is why Baby Girl had to jump ship last year and join a neighbouring soccer club, Hampton.  Most years, our teams are comprised of kids with varying levels of skills and experience and with a wide range in age; for instance, this was the first year our goalie had ever played on a AA soccer team. In fact, I believe he just started to play soccer this past winter during Kingston's indoor program. We also have a handful of kids who technically should be playing on a U10 team, but we needed them to join us in order to put a team together, which is why Avery, who is only 9, plays alongside his big brother who is 12. Not to mention, our young players, since they have always played with the older kids, are very, very, strong soccer players. 

Fundy Soccer Club, on the other hand, is situated in an affluent suburb, only fifteen minutes (and a ferry ride) away from Kingston. Their club is comprised of literally hundreds, if not a thousand, kids, and they are able to field teams of all kinds: house, AA and premier. The kids who are on their competitive teams have been playing soccer since they were little and have gone through all the various training camps, workshops and winter programs the club has to offer. 

So, I think it is fair to say that we, Kingston, were definitely going into this game as the underdog. In fact, we ranked fifth in the league and they ranked first, and we only secured a spot in the play-offs after we beat the fourth place team on Saturday in St. Stephen. I also think it is fair to say that Fundy went into this game pretty confident that they were going to win it hands down, and why wouldn't they? The first time we played them, they beat our team 10 - 2! In fact, one of our parents overheard one of the Fundy kids exclaim: "Why are WE playing this team, the fifth place team?!" . . . tee hee!

Anyhoo . . . 

When I arrived and heard we were losing by one goal in the middle of the first half, I really did think the game was over. I expected to see an onslaught of Fundy goals heading our way because that is what typically has happened in the past, and although our team has beaten teams that have beaten Fundy, we can not seem to get it into their heads, that they are just as good, if not better, than them. Our players seem to have a mental block when it comes to Fundy: "Oh, they are the best and we can not possibly beat them!". Nonetheless, I quickly sat on the bench, and started yelling words of encouragement to our players. Then out of nowhere, Elliot, who has become an insane goal scorer this season, blasted out from the pack of Fundy players on top of  him, with the ball at his feet and sent it clear into the upper left-hand corner of the net. It was beautiful! Our bench erupted in cheers and applause!  Then he scored another one to bring the score up to 3 - 2 for Kingston. This really made everyone sit and take notice. Judging from the look on their faces, you could tell that the Fundy players were feeling a little shaken up. Their world was being rocked and they did not know what to do about it. 

By the second half, Fundy had Elliot's number and they shut him down before he could even touch the ball. Then they scored two goals to bring it up to 4 - 3 Kingston. By this time, the game was uber intense. I was clutching my seat and whispering: "please, please, please! Just let them score another goal!" And then it came. Cameron, one of our defensive players, with an amazing kick on him, sent the ball flying into the net and tied up the game. We lost it! Our bench was in full celebration mode. Kingston maintained the tie for the remainder of the half, which meant we were going into overtime. The only thing worse than overtime is a shoot-out. Ugh! They are so painful to watch because, in my mind, at this point, everyone is a winner, but heading into provincials, there could only be one winning team.

I should mention that poor Mr. Level-Headed, who has coached this team for the past two years, could not be at the game because he had to be in class, and was getting all the play by play from me via text. Finally, I texted him that the score was 4 - 4 and that we were heading into overtime, and his reply was:

I am enroute!

ha, ha! 

It was killing him to not be there, and during his break, he went up to the professor to apologize for spending so much time checking his phone during class. After he explained why he was doing this, the professor exclaimed:

Why are you even here? Get going! Your team needs you. I will email you the notes.

And so in record time, Mr. Level-Headed showed up at the field and was able to see the second half of overtime. Unfortunately, by then Fundy had scored a goal, Elliot was being completely shut out of any scoring opportunities, and we just could not catch any breaks. 

The game ended 5 - 4. Fundy celebrated their victory, and in true Kingston fashion, our boys congratulated them. In fact, many of our players, my boys included, told Fundy they would show up to cheer them on during the finals on Wednesday night. After seeing this, I knew without a shadow of a doubt that we, the U12AA Kingston boys team are indeed the true winners of the 2013 soccer season. We may not have a gold medal, but instead, we have thirteen boys (two were absent from this game) who grew over the course of the summer. Not only did they learn how to play soccer, but they learnt how to work as a team, how to support one another in their weaknesses, how to face difficult situations and to still give 100%, and how to smile and encourage others even when things are not going their way. And so, may I present the best all-round soccer team in the Southern Region Soccer League of New Brunswick:

The Kingston U12AA Boys:


Okay . . . so if you look closely, Elliot is definitely not smiling, but everyone else is . . . tee hee!

Elliot taking a corner kick!

You can try all you want, but my boy is getting there first!

Cameron - the other goal scorer of the night

Oh, and you know you played a good season of soccer when your cleat falls apart in the last few minutes of your last game:

For further explanation as to how Avery's cleat fell apart, read what Coach Blee had to say:

And another thing... down 5-4, with about no seconds left in overtime, after playing nearly the entire 70 minute game because we were short on subs, 9 year old Avery wins the ball on the touchline and beats two 12 year old players by doing a Maradonna that leaves them standing there looking at their feet and wondering what just happened. No wonder Avery's cleats fell apart by the end of the game. Imagine how the older boys felt trying to keep up with him...

 . . . tee hee! Way to go, Avery!

I am so sad to see the soccer season come to a close. It's been a great one, and I love nothing more than to watch my little munchkins play the game they love so much.  Luckily, Baby Girl's team came second in their division and are playing in the Provincials this weekend. She plays Friday night and three games on Saturday . .. eeek! Wish her luck!

Phew . . . Does anyone else need a kleenex after this one? Or is it just me and those darn pregnancy hormornes?

Have a great day!

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