Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Great Start for CSM Soccer as the Flames beat Briar Cliff

Our CSM Flames beat Briar Cliff in our first game of the season, 4-1. Hoo-Rah! Goals were scored by Melissa King (2,) Daniella Padilla and Katie Archibald. All in all, it was a good outing. We got stronger as the game went on for the most part. The first half we struggled a bit against the wind and were outshot 4-12. A set of nerves plagued us a bit the first 20 minutes. For a number of our players it was their first collegiate game at this level. However, we got things straight at halftime and came out guns blazing and scored 3 goals. I was pleased that after we gave up a goal (to make the game 2-1,) we came right back and scored to make it 3-1. And then added one to put the game out of reach. Briar Cliff played extremely hard and I feel fortunate to get a few past them. It was fun to finally get out there and play after 3 weeks of pre-season.

We even lit a torch and put it behind the bench (we are the flames!) We truly burned bright at times! We were on fire. We were burnin' it up! We just lit up the scoreboard. We were hot. (OK, I'll stop now.)

After the game when I went home I turned on the TV and the Democratic National Convention was on and Joe Biden was giving a speech. I am not much into politics but he said something that I thought applied to our quest for a great season. He said, "Failure is inevitable but giving up is unforgiveable." I think that can really relate to soccer. There are many times that we make mistakes and fail on the field. I make mistakes coaching and managing the team. It happens. What really make a difference and what defines the team in the long run is how you deal with the mistakes. Do you freak out and stop playing? Do you stop hustling? Or do you keep on keeping on no matter what? Our team needs to have persistance as one of its main values. We need to be relentless no matter what is happening and persevere.

We took a step toward that tonight. There is nothing that bugs me more than people giving up on a play or in a game. At the beginning of the game--we made a lot of silly mistakes. Passing to the other team, stabbing at the ball and things like that. We were in an uncomfortable place. But we shook off that funk and were able to persevere. I like that and hope that we continue to grow in that way.

I remember back in the day watching the movie, "The Outlaw Josey Wales." Chief Dan George says something in that great Clint Eastwood movie that for some reason I have always remembered: "Endeavor to Persevere." Ya, it sounds like it applys here. What do you think?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Iowa Western and CSM Battle to a Tie

Coach Ammon Bennett and his Iowa Western Reivers ventured over the river and played us in an official scrimmage with refs on Monday. CSM jumped out to an early 2-0 lead with 2 goals from Melissa King. Iowa Western was able to climb back into the game late with 2 goals--one in an extra 15 minute period at the end. Jackie Swanger saved a penalty kick toward the end of the second 30 minute period that we played. Many good things occurred.

Overall, I thought the team did well. We had some fitness issues at the end of the game along with some other things, however, I could tell that we are getting used to playing with each other and improving. There are many steps still to take this season but we are progressing well.

Our first real game is in a week against Briar Cliff at 5 PM on Wednesday, August 27th. We are looking forward to it.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Alumni Outing a Success!

On Saturday we played a invited a group of Alumni to help us prepare for the upcoming season in the Annual Alumni Outing (see the photo of the Alumni players to the right--special thanks to Walter Fichter.) It was great fun seeing all the ex-players. IN our "large group activity," the Alumni scored first off of a poor clearance by the current CSM defense. The current CSM players came back and tied the score up and that is how we finished, 1-1. It was a beautiful day for soccer.

We were able to see what a lot of the current players could do against seasoned veterans who have 4 years of college playing experience under their belts. It was mostly back and forth in the midfield. Not a lot of chances at goal on either side. The Alumni players looked to be in pretty good shape. I spoke with a number of them after the event and they think they may be just a little bit sore today. :)

We were very impressed with the number of Alums and their families that attended the Alumni dinner at the dining hall. The big thing this year was that we were able to give each Alum a CSM Soccer t-shirt. I had so many of them tell me how much they appreciated receiving the t-shirt. We even had a discussion with Alumni about their old CSM t-shirts. A whole bunch of them have saved their old CSM t-shirts and refuse to get rid of them even though they may be full of holes and ragged. Their old CSM training t-shirts just mean so much to them that they can't bear to part with them. So--they were super glad to get a new one to refresh their collection. (Be sure to come back next year and get another one.)

Also--in the "discussions" with the Alumns after the game--one suggested a "team theme." What do you think about this? --> ONE TEAM, ONE DREAM! I like it, don't you?

A good time was had by all.

Next event: Monday, August 18th, 5 PM at the CSM practice field with Iowa Western Community College.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Practice Mania.

Last night had the pleasure of meeting and practicing with the Greta Remix. They are a good team coached by Digger Hawkins that gave us a nice challenge when we played a large activity at the end of practice.

We ended up scoring 3 goals on them but it was back and forth at times. They had some nice chances and our keepers happened to come up big. Gretna also did a nice job of keeping possession. I would say they had more possession than we did at and we just kinda of sat back and counter-attacked. After a water break we worked on keeping possession in their end and did a better job with that.

Unfortunately, one of our freshman midfielders, Alex Aldridge, got tangled up with one of the Gretna players and fell awkwardly on her wrist ending up fracturing both her radius and ulna. She has surgery on Friday. Be sure she is in your thoughts and prayers. The doctor says she shouldn't be out too long.

I was pleased with our performance for the most part. We still need work on our team shape and defense, but we did do a lot of good things and everyone was able to play.

If any Gretna players read this--I thought you guys did well! Keep up the good work. If you want to post a it! Or if you want to contact me you can call or text me at 402-850-1625 or email me at

Next big event: Saturday, August 16th at 3:00 with the CSM Alumni.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Pre-Season Begins!

I have been very pleased with the start of pre-season. The players are working hard and gellin'. The first day of afternoon practice was a scorcher--very hot and humid but the rest of the week wasn't bad weather-wise. Basically our schedule goes like this...we meet in the mornings at the Omaha Sports Complex at 147th and Giles here in Omaha for Xplosive Edge conditioning. We get back together at 2:30 for a meeting where we have done things like set goals, go over what I want to do for defense and distribute uniforms. Then from 4 to 6 we practice at CSM.

Coach Kim Matzen and I went to a conference in Indianapolis over the weekend. Coach Michelle was in charge of the team in our absence. Instead of practice on Saturday, the team went bowling. I am sorry I missed that because, as the team knows, I use my powers of sports psychology to excel at the sport of bowling. I hear that Jackie and Melissa made quite an impact at the lanes and were the leaders of the winning team. What did they win???? Kim promised to take them out for ice cream. A good time was had by all.

Moving on to a more serious great thing that we have been able to do this year is finish our practices with a big game going 10 v 10. It has been a great opportunity for me to be able to watch players and start making decisions about who is going to start, etc.

Actually, my "starting philosophy" is kinda weird. I try not to put a whole lot of emphasis on "starters" and "non-starters." I do see benefit in identifying the top 12 to 14 or so players, ya. However, just because you begin the game on the field when the whistle blows, doesn't mean in my mind that you are necessarily one of the top 11. I may save a good player for later for tactical reasons. Here's the doesn't make sense to me to put the "strongest" players on the field at the beginning and then sub them out with "weaker" players so you get weaker as the game goes on. I want a balance. Also, I put parenthesis around the words "stronger" and "weaker" because some players are strong in some areas and weak in others.

For example, an opponent may prefer to send long air balls at our defense and run on to the ball. I need players in the back who can head the ball. My best header may not be the quickest player on the field or the most skilled but she needs to be in the game if the other team boots it high all the time.

One of the strengths of our current team is its diversity. I think there are players who will have specific strengths that we can take advantage of when the time is right. It should be awesome to see.