Category Archives: Soccer

It Has Been a Great Ride

Then the clock reached the 90th minute, marking the end of the game. The end of the season. And the end of a high school athletic career.

We LOVED watching you play.

Being a high school athlete is not easy. Being one in the Classic 8 Conference adds another level of difficulty. A scholar athlete, yet another piece of complexity. Having your Dad be the Coach for half of the year adds more. Coming back from surgery to a part of your body required to succeed in both sports just adds to it.  But you did it.

We LOVED watching you play.

You were able to have great coaches in your life that molded, mentored, encouraged, challenged, assisted, took chances, made you expand your horizons. Coach Worzella, Coach Perugini, Coach Hauser, and Coach Ksobiech in soccer. Then on the swim side, it was the holy trinity of female coaches with Coach Sarah, Coach Jordon, and Coach Elle. Not sure what we would have done all four years without them.

We LOVED watching you play.

We had a series of ups and downs over the past four years. And I learned as season 2 was going on that I wanted to be your Dad at meets when you swam. We hardly disagreed on what was best for the team or for you during that time. You were Captain for 2 seasons but in reality had it figured out what makes a team click after freshman season. That was your leadership coming out.

We LOVED watching you play.

Many things we could not have predicted would happen.  Your coach swimming you in JV your first high school meet because he was not sure what was going to happen – it was the 200 IM. Having your first prom as a Sophmore on your birthday after two soccer games that were over an hour away. Most would not have handled that as well as you did. Hating butterfly moved to being a love and a key to breaking the school record and going to State twice. Tearing your ACL and recovering mentally and physically from it. Being named Prom Queen after being told you did not need to wear your brace a couple days earlier. A tough senior swim season not being at 100 percent leading to being named Female Athlete of the Year. Making 17 saves in one game and then a PK the next. There is more. But these jump out as things that we will always keep in the front of our minds.

We LOVED watching you play.

We took a ton of pictures with the new camera. And more with our iPhones. You have some of the best senior pictures ever with your sports shots. Thanks Jason!!  

We created a ton of memories. We had some pretty awesome talks about life. We had a ton of laughs mixed in with some tears. We had a pretty good run at this student-athlete thing. And if Thursday is the last time you lace up your cleats or put the goggles on competitively, we just want you to remember one thing….

We LOVED watching you play.


Next Adventure

To say the past 2 months have been exciting would be an understatement to say the least.

Quit a job, give a speech at National Conference, Spring Break, Start a new Job, Anna starts the season as the Varsity soccer goalie, get asked to give not 1 or 2 more speeches because of the previous speech but rather 3, Anna becomes Prom Queen, Luke goes to his first HS sports meeting.

Whoa

But the new adventure for Anna and for Team Bedalov starts tomorrow at 9:15AM.  That is when the surgery is going to start to repair her torn ACL.  The first couple therapy sessions and the post surgery follow up visit are also already scheduled.

She knows that the hard part is front of her and that she controls the future.  Team Bedalov along with other family and friends will be a great support mechanism to encourage and challenge her, but this will be her greatest challenge in her life up to this point.

I often hear people say that adversity builds character.  But in this case, I know she is strong and determined. It is evident on how she has approached this entire process thus far and telling me that she would play soccer again next year as a senior. I see it every day.

Although I am sure she does not know what she is in for, I know her character is well in tact.  In this case, I think that this adversity is going to reveal more parts of Anna’s character to come to the surface and help define who she is as a young woman.

This is where we will be posting updates on her knee.  I told her that she should start an Instagram or Twitter account for her knew and she just laughed at me.

One thing is for sure….we are all looking forward to when we can see this again.

IMG_0276


Nothing to See Here

SOCCER+USA+010We can now all get back to our normal lives now that the FIFA World Cup is over.  Internet speeds will resume back to normal since no one will need to be streaming from work, not that anyone was doing that.

And I have determined that to get the most reaction out of my Facebook friends, all I need to do is either post something in support of soccer OR wear a pink shirt while eating cake.

All kidding aside, there are some “issues” that I have in my understanding of soccer.  I will admit that I was a casual fan until about 4 years ago when the kids started playing at the select level, so maybe these are known to others and I am just missing the boat.  Some of these, in my opinion, make it tough for casual American sports fans to convert over.

  • It is suppose to be a game of possession.   Which like American football and to some extent basketball are keys to the game.  If football, you will win the majority of the games that you control time of possession.  Minus an Oregon at the college level, if you control clock, you control the game.  But in soccer, the goalie punts the ball past mid field, with not guarantee that your team will retain possession.  Yes it can lead to a great scoring opportunity, but the risk/reward seems low.  If possession is key why wouldn’t the goalie just pass or throw it to a player on their team to maintain possession.
  • Here in the US, we are use to dominating our sport while allowing players from other countries play the sport here where the money is.  Basketball is mostly Americans, with overseas stars coming here to play.  Baseball is played here and some Latin American and Japanese players coming in to play.  Football, no comment.  Even Hockey, a sport created in Canada, plays the majority of its games in the US.  You have to go back to 1993 since a Canadian team won their sport.  Point being that the money in those sports is here in the US.  For soccer it is elsewhere, primarily over seas.  Americans struggle with that whether they want to admit that or not.
  • There are currently great players in the game: Ronaldo, Messi, Neyamr, Van Persie to name a few.  But just because you have a star on the team, it does not guarantee success.  Germany shut down Messi and completely limited his scoring chances.  The Netherlands did the same thing in the semi’s. If someone shut down LeBron the world would freak out that it was the greatest achievement of all time OR like in the case of MJ, the rules would be changed to prevent a “star” from being shut down again.
  • Soccer is a game dominated by Defense, with precision scoring when the opportunity arises.  A 1-0 World Cup Title game is called boring by an outsider, yet Matt Garza pitching a 1-0 complete game in July with nothing on the line is called “Brilliant” and Garza is “the Man”.

It will still take a long time for soccer to become really popular in the US.  There is no doubt in my mind.  There will be pockets and hotbeds of talent, like other sports.  But the World Cup will be like the Olympics here in the US – exciting for a stretch as it occurs and then interest will wane.

In the mean time I will support my kids play soccer because they love playing and I love watching them play.


Schools Out

We survived another school year.  Survived Anna in high school. Survived Luke being in Middle School. It was a year filled with ups and a couple downs, but all in all if was a pretty great school year.

Anna started High School. But before school actually started, high school swim started.  And that involved swimming for her Dad.  North HS had a fire, so we were not able to practice at our own pool for the entire month of August.  For the past three years I drove Anna to school, this year Michelle got the privledge.

Luke started Middle School and had a little up hill battle meeting new friends since most were going to a different Middle School because of redistricting of our area.  He also made it on a Select Soccer team that started practicing in the fall.

We made it through Anna’s first Homecoming, my Mom passing away, Michelle getting yet another new boss at work, Anna swimming at her first WIAA Sectional, me taking over the Men’s program at North for swimming, a couple vacations to here and there (most notably an awesome trip to Rosemary Beach during Spring Break with the Mollet’s), Luke being swimmer of the week in January, Anna making her first 2 state cuts for club Swimming, the Badgers making it to the Final 4, Luke participating in forensics at school and being in three plays at WCAP and really finding his inner voice, Anna playing goalie and getting kicked in the eye.

Wow!  A full year.  And lets not forget school work.  Both kids are doing exceptionally well in the classroom.

Cannot guarantee that the next couple years will go this smooth, but there are not three other people that I would rather go through this with than the those living at my house!


Pay for Play

Just read a note that the NCAA indicates that only about 2% of HS student athletes will be award athletic scholarships to play their sport in college. That got me to thinking about a wide arrange of things.

We are ending our first full season, fall and spring, with the U12 team at our local soccer club at the select level. We made the jump at the end of last spring from the park n rec league thinking that this jump would help with the boys continued passion to want to play more soccer.

We play in the lowest level of the 3 teams at that age group for this club. Personally, I have nothing against youth sports, nor the the fees associated with playing at the youth level. You have to remember that I am also part of a machine at the swim level with a local swim club.

The positives of friendships, team unity, working through challenges, great memories, learning about who you are as a person, family road trips, etc. These are all great building blocks for future endeavors in life. They are some of the greatest building blocks for me along with things I learned in Boy Scouts.

Rubiks CubeBut there are a couple major pieces to this unsolvable Rubik’s Cube that continue to make the experiences that my children are having or did have to be somewhat of a let down from a parental aspect.

The first is that the parents are out of control.  Period.

At any given game for my U12 son, there are at minimum 5 parents on the sidelines who are coaching their children from the sideline.  Minimum.  Sometimes contradicting the coach that they pay to coach the team. And if you listen to them, their kid should be playing up three levels and should be possibly on the next World Cup team that will be playing in Russia in 2018.

Had the great experience of listening to Dr. Alan Goldberg speak.  He would easily contend that although you as the parent may think it is your “right”, or think that you are helping your child, you are actually hurting and harming your child with this constant sideline coaching.  Your child needs you to support them, not coach them. When a kid makes a play on the ball and his first reaction is to look at the parent for approval, there is something wrong with the environment.

The 2nd and the other glaring piece is that the fundamentals are being over looked and it plays into the piece above.

Just sticking to soccer for now.  Winning the game and losing the game at U12’s during the regular season or playoffs is not the important piece.  Having the proper footwork, knowing where to be on the field on a throw in, having a sense on when to make a crossing pass, knowing that you cannot lift your back foot on a throw in ((who would have thought I would know this much about soccer 🙂 just saying )), knowing to watch the back side on defense on a corner kick, knowing when you are off sides on a thru ball….these are the things that need to be worked on and focused on.  Getting better at these will result in winning, but winning the game should not be the focus at the U12 level each and every week.

So what is the correct answer?

If I knew that I would reveal the answer in about 6 years after the youngest decided on his college education plans.  Paying more for your  Select Team environment is NOT the answer.  Hard work will play a part.  Dedication to your craft will play a part.  Grades in High School will play a part.  Being a Leader making others around you better will play a part.

We learned a great deal this past soccer season.  And not all of it was from what happened on the field.


Life as a Goalie Parent

Being a parent is a tough job. Let’s face it, it is harder than almost 95% of all real full time paying jobs. There are no days off. There is no pay.

But I have determined there is a tougher job. That is being the parent of a soccer goalie. I am sure that being the parent of a hockey goalie may be similar, but my recent experience is telling me that this is tougher.

And as fate would have it, Team Bedalov not only has one goalie, but two goalies.

Luke in Goal in 2007Not sure how we got to this point, but I think it started in park n rec soccer when there really were no “volunteers” to play goal, and both kids liked being on the field instead of on the sideline. Most, not all, kids see all the goals being scored on SportsCenter and not the great saves. More stories about Messi and Ronaldo. Not many stories about Shaka Hislop or Kasey Keller. In reality, not many kids want to play in goal. ((A post on on how SportCenter has wrecked the fundamentals in most major sports is a post for another time.))

During the actual game your ability to help as a parent has to be all positive because your are at the mercy of the soccer gods on what happens on the pitch. Encouragement has to be at a high level for the entire length of the game. No one yells at the mid fielder for not marking up. No one yells at the full back for not watching the back side. No one yells at the half back for bunching up and not being in the right position. They yell at the goalie for being where he/she is suppose to be, but not being able to stop a laser beam shot from 10 feet away.

Hearing parents and even the kids own teammates “talk” about your child is where it gets tough.  I keep reminding myself that one plays U12 and the other JV level in High School.  They are not playing for the World Cup, and that a loss on a Sunday afternoon really does not mean to much in the grand scheme of things.

Being a coach in swimming for so long, I try to reassure my two young goalies that they have to have swimming Sprinter mentality. You need to walk onto the field like you are walking to the blocks for the 50 freestyle. The 50 freestyle is the beast event in swimming. There is little room for error in the event because it is so short. Need to have extreme focus and each part of the race needs to be near perfect to obtain a lifetime best performance. Now for how it relates to soccer.

If your race was not great, you need to forget the pieces you did wrong, learn from them, but you need to leave them in the past because that is where they are. You give up a goal. Learn from it. Forget it. And move on to the next play.  Dwelling on the play does not fix that the kick off just started and the ball is back in play right now.

Sunday PaperIt is a tough as a parent to assist the a kid in understanding that process. We have had a great number of long slow walks back to the car after games. Some are life lessons. Some are just about how to get better. Some are just about listening. Win or Lose the walks to the car are the best part.

Luckily both kids have great coaches who recognize that our kids take the position seriously and wear there emotions on their sleeves. The coaches have talked them up a great deal this season when the chips where down, but have never let a win go straight to their heads either.


Transition Time

We survived the end of the girls high school swim season, from a coach standpoint, a Dad standpoint, and WISCA President standpoint.  It was a crazy month or so.  And just a week left of Movember.

2013 SectionalsThe team swam great the last two weeks of the season, could not have asked for much better effort.  Anna swam in a meet the day after Sectionals with our club team and made her first ever USS State Qualifying Time by dropping a mere 4 seconds in her 100 butterfly.

We had the high school state meet which we had kids swimming in and for which I was responsible for getting the award presenters, the National Anthem performers, and the food for the coaches hospitality room.  A little stressful, but all went off without a hitch.

Next day was the banquet, and Anna won the Freshman of the Year awards as voted on by her peers.  She also received her varsity letter.  This prompted an order of a letter-man jacket.  In fact, today, on the day of our first measurable snow fall she wore it to school for the first time.

While all this was going on, Luke was still concluding his outdoor soccer season and starting his Futsal season.  He is getting progressively better every time he is on the field.  Just need to keep encouraging him to keep playing and learning.  And having fun.

But now we are in a little transition period.  Boy’s High School swimming started the day after the banquet.  So, no days off.  Anna and Luke need to start moving back to the pool and get back to swimming.  (Anna took off a couple weeks to recover.  Her words, not mine.)  A little swimming for the next couple months while they play soccer on the weekends.


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