Berry busy weekend

What a weekend for weather in town! This past weekend has been quite interesting when it comes to rain/cloud/sun/storm repeat…

This weekend in particular was quite busy as we were getting our AC unit installed (finally after 5 years of sweating in the summertime), getting Anthony to his swimming lessons, going to the Milton Strawberry Festival and then going for team pictures for Milton Magic.

The Strawberry Festival in Milton is a must attend happening that we almost missed. The weather wasnt as outstanding as it was in the past but I noted to a few people who saw me walking around the fairgrounds with my umbrella (unopened of course) that as soon as I took it out of the car, the sun came out. So for that it was good luck. There were so many vendors this year, it was hard to see them all with the limited amount of time we had.

Albert Casson was there again this year and I wished I had some time to drop by because it looked like he had some new work there to show. You might remember Albert as one of the initial inductees in Milton’s Walk of Fame last year (wow, has it been a YEAR already…time does fly)

You can check out some of his work on his official website.

www.albertcasson.com

Next week is Canada Day weekend…again a MUST attend for ALL Miltonians as our celebrations are the best in the GTA. Lots of things happening this year so check out www.miltoncanadaday.ca for the details.

One more game to go

Last night was the second last game for this years soccer season and will soon close the book on my debut as a soccer coach. Its been an interesting and challenging few months but something I know I’ll look back on as one of the most fun and rewarding times in my life.

Initially I was pretty unsure of what I was doing, never having coached any sports in the past. Ive played on many teams in a number of sports like hockey and the odd softball league but to have 12 little ones looking to you on a regular basis for help and encouragement…that was a challenge.

At the beginning of the season I had a few goals. One was to help further teach the kids the game of soccer. Most of them had played at least 2 summers worth of the game but there are a couple on the team that are complete rookies to the sport. There’s obviously an importance to keeping your positions and looking at different options while the game is going on.

One of the other goals I had was to make sure that by the end of the game, each one of Team Chudleighs had a good time and had fun. I think both goals have been accomplished big time.

I wouldn’t have been able to do the job I did without the help of the parents on the team. In other years I noticed there were some parents who just showed up, watched the game and then went home. This year was totally different. The parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles were part of the team. Every week they were there … cheering on the kids … encouraging them to do well … applauding at every great offensive and defensive move. It was amazing.

I know there’s one week left but I really wouldn’t have got this far without the help of one parent in particular. Gary Hans (Sunju’s dad and former soccer coach himself) volunteered to help out when my assistant coach had to back out because of work related complications. His strong dedication to the sport has helped inspire me to do better. His enthusiasm was and is contagious and the kids are better soccer players for his teaching. Thanks Gary.

I also have to thank my wife Pat for her help in all this. People have made comments like “wow, you’re really organized!” and that’s only due to Pat’s help. When practices had to be cancelled due to pouring down rain or other things that came up, she was the one who made the phone calls to all the parents. Thanks Pat.

And finally I have to thank the kids on the team. Each one of them has done their very best and whatever the score was of any of the games they always reminded me why they got involved in this…to have fun. Everyone one of the kids on the team has improved so much over the summer and hopefully both Gary and I can take some credit in helping them with their skills. They may have learned things from us but believe me, Ive learned a lot from them as well. They are the greatest bunch of kids Ive seen in a long time. So to Nathan, Anthony, Jordan, Lawson, Matthew, Sunju, Ethan, Jessika, Madison, Syndey, Nicholas, Katie and Kyle…THANKS!!!

Team Chudlieghs will always rock!

So we have only one more practice before the last game and the skills competition. The skills day is a chance for all the players to showcase what they have learned throughout the years and to get their trophies and see all their friends in one place.

I’m asked quite a bit if I’ll do this again next year…and despite the challenges of scheduling practices, following up with parents, getting things ready, making phone calls etc… I think I’ll be back (if they’ll have me of course) for next year. Its been a great summer of soccer and I look forward to many more.

Are you gellin?

Team Chudlieghs is definitely gelling. Last Thursday was a big time game against Tim Horton’s Navy Blue team. The temperature was well over 30C without factoring in the humidity and it showed no sign of letting up.

Topping all of that both teams found themselves short staffed and looked like they’d be pulling an “iron man” style of soccer. Both myself and the coach of the other team agreed we would only play 20 minutes per half and LOTS of water breaks in between.

For the first half it was quite the defensive duel as both teams made it down to the oppositions end but came up short shooting on net. The heat was definitely a factor in this one. You could see it on both sides faces it was getting too warm but they wanted to keep playing.

I was running around the field most of the game with a big water bottle, giving as much water to both teams as possible because you dont want to have anyone pass out and hurt themselves. It got a kick out of the parents watching so…

After half time the teams looked a bit more enthusiastic and ready to go. Opening the second half kick off was Madison, who played a stellar game in net for the first half, launching the ball well into the other teams zone. Matthew raced up the side and with his quick feet, scored a very quick goal. Shortly after that…a second goal was scored.

Another big story of this weeks game was Nicholas. He has grown into a great defense player and he was showing it off early and often in the game. When the opposing team made it anywhere near where Nicholas was……bam! It was gone up the sides, textbook style and back into the possession of Chudleigh’s players. Ethan was also doing a great job passing the ball to open players such as Anthony, Matthew and Madison.

Anthony played goal for the second half and once again showed his risk taking skills off by making those much needed saves. Ethan was passing the ball again to Madison and Matthew which resulted in another Chudlieghs goal!

When it was all said and done Chudliegh’s pulled off another win 3-1. What I, along with many of the parents on the side, found was they were playing positions, calling out “IM OPEN” and doing the big kick and runs like at practice to perfection.

They have gone from a group of kids wanting to play soccer and have now gelled into a soccer team. These kids are an amazing group and it also reflects on their parents as well. For my first year coaching (and its not over yet) I think we’ve done a great job and I really dont want the season to end.

Team Chudlieghs Pull Off a Victory

As the dark clouds loomed overhead and the threat of more rain was seen on the horizon our team prepared for its game against Milton Chrysler at Kinsmen park.

Last weeks game was called off due to lightning and it looked like we might suffer the same result but the clouds began to break as the game started. Madison took to the net for one of her first times in goal and looked ready to go.

The game played on and as I was running up and down the field with our team barking out commands, I noticed our team was ready. Matthew was highlighting his skills making sure he kept the ball in the field and running quickly up the field. Nicholas and Ethan were great on defense and as the other team tried to make it towards our net, they quickly kicked the ball away and gave our team another chance.

Sunju showed grit as he made amazing improvements with running the ball and making sure he stayed open in front of the net. The goalie for Milton Chrysler (I didnt get her name off the game sheet) did an amazing job stopping hard shots from Katie, Nathan, Matthew and Sunju.

At half time we were only down by one goal and Madison made her way from the net up to the front. Anthony showed risk taking abilities in the second half by diving out into the crowd to get the ball. A few of his saves made some of the parents (including myself) gasp in the hope he didnt get hurt, but he made the key saves when they were needed.

Jordan and Madison did another great job on defense and kept our team in the game. Matthew scored a couple of quick goals on key passes from Ethan and Nicholas that was the deciding factor.

Both teams played a very spirited game and each time I called out and asked if they were having fun, both Milton Chrysler and Team Chudleighs screamed out “YAAAAAAAAA!”

As a coach, Im quite proud of the team. Not for the win, although it was a good game, but for the fact theyve learned and are now applying the things both Gary and I have taught them about positioning and passing the ball. They improve with every game and I feel guilty that Im probably having more fun then they are.

Our First Win

Last night was a good night for soccer. The sun was just setting at Our Lady of Victory fields as Team Chudleigh’s prepared for the game. We knew it was going to be a hard one seeing the size of the players on the opposing team, but our kids were not intimidated in the least.

Theyve learned a lot over the first few weeks of the season. Gary and I have worked on a number of essentials to soccer with them including the importance of passing and staying in position. Last night all of that paid off.

The final score ended up being 5-3 for us securing our first win but I saw a few things in our team that was much more important than the score. One of our best players Matthew is a bit smaller in stature than most of the players, but in this case the other team had a much bigger crew. There were a few times Matthew along with Anthony and some others, got knocked around. That kind of stuff happens in soccer and will probably happen again.

As the game started to wind down I went to him and said dont worry about being knocked down, lets get a goal. And with that, we did. Nathan made an amazing pass up field to an open Matthew and bing….right in the net. Our team set up for the opposing kick off after the goal and I went to each of them and said, “Lets do it again.” Jordan turned to me and said “Im tired, coach” but she got right back in there and was running up the field to stay in the open.

Sure enough another key pass and shortly after another goal securing our victory…the first one of the season. We had some key goaltending from Ethan as well who showed off his toughness with his newly cropped mohawk haircut. 🙂 Everyone of our players put in a ton of effort. Sunju had some key defensive saves in our end as well as Kyle. They all showed hustle and everyone of them deserved this win.

More important than that our team showed heart and determination far beyond their years. Everyone of those kids deserves a big high five and they never gave up and stayed focused. Another one of our players Nicholas hurt his foot and couldnt play, but he showed up to cheer on his team. Last night I have never been more proud of our team. Not because of the score, but they are doing two important things coaches want them to do…learn the game, and having fun.