595 and 233.
Do these numbers mean anything to you? They are about to take on some meaning. Give me a little bit, though.
Before the match, we talked about a few things we wanted to focus on. I asked you all to play hard and to play for each other.
I also asked you to get valuable experience to learn the game.
Check. In fact, I think every player can probably reflect on that match and think of something she could have done differently. That’s called learning! That’s part of this process.
Let me explain those numbers.
These numbers have to deal with last season and this season. The first is the number of matches combined that the roster of last year’s team had under their belts. The second is the number of matches combined that our team who played tonight has under their belts.
That is a MASSIVE difference. Over 300 games of experience worth of difference.
This is a good thing. Do you know why? You all are fast learners! This team, more than any team I have coached, seems to pick stuff up quickly. It is exciting to see. Were we outplayed tonight by Taylor County? Yes. Will we learn from that? Absolutely. By the end of this season (of which we still have AT LEAST 20 more matches), our combined experience will be close to 595 games played combined. We will get there, girls. We cannot learn all we need to know in one match, but we can pick up some things along the way to help us play better next time out.
Let me highlight some great moments.
Abby, you made some awesome saves and kept us in this match! I can think of one in particular, a hard shot from close in, that I thought for sure was going in, yet you reached up and snagged it! Thank you for keeping us close.
Lauren, you made your varsity debut tonight, and you showed tremendous promise on the right side of defense. I can still picture that interception you made late in the match, when you were tired yet still going hard, and that makes me proud. Thanks for that!
Chloe D., what I told you after the game I will now share with the world. You have such a calm manner about your defending to where I am confident you will own every situation. Late in the match, you controlled a ball before passing it. Beautiful! Thanks!
Skylar, you made your varsity debut tonight, and you played exactly how I hoped you would. You were aggressive, you never gave up, and, when they kept coming, you stood strong back there. I am proud of that. Thank you for your toughness!
Kate, you made your varsity debut tonight, and I loved how you were willing to go into tough challenges and battle. There is a lot of running on that left flank, but you did not shy away from it. Thank you for your willingness to work hard in defense!
Olivia, you had a nice game in defensive midfield, getting forward and covering defensively. You are one of the veterans on this team, and you played like it tonight. Thank you for working hard for the team!
Anna, you made your varsity debut tonight, and you should be proud of how you played. I am! The midfield is a battle zone, but you were ready for it. The game will only get easier the more you play. Thank you for stepping up when we needed you!
Aubrey, you made some excellent pushes forward and were one of our biggest threats offensively. It is only a matter of time before your name is on the scoresheet. You have the grace of a natural wing player. Thank you for sharing it with us!
Autumn, you led like a true leader out there, and your assist from the corner was part of our first ever goal from a corner kick in my tenure as coach. The sky is the limit for you this season, and I am glad you are on our side. Thanks for being a model captain!
Chloe P., you took up a great position on the back post to sweep in your first of many goals! That was awesome! I look forward to the future, and your footwork is clean and getting better each day. Thanks for sharing your talents with our program!
Marcy, you got a taste of life at the front against tough opposition, and you really came on strong in the second half. I see many goals in your future, and they will come sooner than you may think. Thank you for not giving up tonight! I’m proud of that.
Morgann, you made your varsity debut tonight, and you provided some solid minutes at the forward position. If you keep working hard and getting into good positions, you will give yourself a chance to score like you did in practice! Thanks for being on our team!
Delaney, you went past a girl once tonight and that got me very excited! You have gotten so much better since last season. All that you need now is experience, and you will get it! Thank you for working to improve your game! It shows.
Paige, you played several positions tonight, and you did yourself proud in each spot. Thank you for your spirit, always positive, and thank you for your play, too. You have improved greatly since last year and the year before!
Amber, you put in some great minutes tonight and got into the action. Thank you for fighting for each ball that came your way! I appreciate that determination, and I am proud of you for playing!
Caleigh, you got a taste of the varsity life in your debut tonight, and I enjoyed watching you play. As you learn more about the game, things will become simpler. Thank you for playing for us and bringing your positive energy to the team.
Isabella, you put in some good minutes tonight, and I appreciate how much you care about playing! I could tell you were really giving it all you had, and I love that, and it makes me proud! Thank you for being a positive light for our squad!
Mariah, even though your ankle is recovering, ruling you out of playing tonight, you made me proud by helping with the ball on the sideline. I love that you are eager to play, and I promise it will be soon, and you will love it! Thank you for helping tonight.
Sydney, I know it was tearing you up not being out there tonight. Once you are cleared, we will unleash you on the soccer world. I promise you NO ONE is ready for that! Thank you for your support, and, once you are in, you are going to destroy our opposition.
This was the first step on our journey. When our season is over, and we reflect on tonight, it will seem so far away and in the past. For now, just know that I am proud of you, and, with experience, we will be ready to take on whoever lines up across from us. I think I’m going to go eat now. Rest well! You have earned it tonight. I’ll say it again: I am proud of you.
Coach (Mr.) Garrett