News and Announcements
Team Chicago hosted a very successful first round of tryouts this past weekend. The 16U (2002) through 19U (1999) girls age groups kicked off tryout season and 140+ players tried out for our 7 teams.
Next up in the tryout sequence is the boys’ 12U (2006) through 15U (2003) tryouts on Tuesday, May 16th followed by the same age groups for the girls and all the younger boys and girls on Saturday, May 20th. The tryout season finishes with the boys’ H.S. aged teams on Tuesday, May 30th.
We will announce the coaching assignments prior to each round of tryouts.
Please, pre-register at https://clubs.bluesombrero.com/Default.aspx?tabid=315222
You may have seen it. It was the the Highlight of the Year at the State of Sport Awards in Utah. It was the Play of the Year at the Crimson Carpet Awards put on by Utah Athletics. It was possibly the biggest goal in the 22-year history of the Utah Women’s Soccer program.
There we were in Los Angeles facing NCAA giants, Florida State University, in the 2nd Round of the NCAA Tournament this past November. The Seminoles had been to an incredible 5 NCAA College Cups in a row and had another strong team. The game was tied 1-1 with under 3 minutes remaining…and “The PLAY” happened…
That’s Freshman midfielder, Haylee Cacciacarne, scoring on an incredible 18-yard header to give us the 2-1 win. It helped our team advance to the SWEET 16 for the first time in program history…a play and moment to remember. Amazingly, Haylee first entered this intense game with 18 minutes left and the score 1-1 (no pressure!). We were trying to slow down FSU’s play in the midfield and she did that fantastically. And, she topped it off by scoring the winning goal!
More importantly, “The Play” was a reflection of the character that Haylee had displayed through the course of the season. She had grown into a new team, a new position and a new role. The fact that she was ready to make the play is the most remarkable thing about it.
Haylee was in a place where many players would pout, doubt and check out. Why do I say this?
She had not played in the previous four games. We had switched formations after our game with Stanford. Haylee had been playing as a 2nd defensive midfielder and doing a good job. We went from playing with 2 holding midfielders to just 1. She was aced out of her time with the switch. We faced USC, UCLA, Colorado and Texas Tech (NCAA Round 1) in the new setup.
She had not started all year. Haylee had played in 11 of our first 20 games, all coming in as a substitute. Like many college players, Haylee was a standout and starter on all of her teams growing up. This was a big change.
She was playing a new position. Haylee played center back most of her youth career. She is an excellent defender. She heads the ball well and is a good communicator and passer. We had some other players that had been playing very well in the back during the season. We asked Haylee if she would be willing to play in the midfield. She enthusiastically agreed to do it.
She was dealing with her own expectations. Haylee was voted Ms. Soccer in the state of Utah by the Deseret News after leading her Davis High School team to back to back state championships (and a NATIONAL Championship). She was a key player on a very good LaRoca club team. She expected to come in and start and play a lot. Some of her roommates, also Freshmen, were starting. She was frustrated. Among other things, she was fighting feelings she had let us down.
Why this is SO great!
Haylee stayed ready under difficult circumstances for herself. The team was doing well and, yet, she was not reaching some of her personal goals. I’ve seen many, many players over the years get so frustrated in these situations, that they didn’t play well. And, they weren’t ready when their opportunity presented itself.
She kept working hard every day at practice. She spent extra time before practice working on her skills. She watched video and met with staff to learn a new position. She stayed ready. She kept a POSITIVE ATTITUDE
HOW DID SHE DO IT?!
Here are Haylee’s own thoughts on it:
“Staying focused and being ready was something that was key for me throughout the season. I knew that I had to just be ready when my time came and even if it wasn’t exactly what I wanted, I still knew I needed to just be prepared for anything.
“During games I would just be locked in. I didn’t know when my time would come. The only thing I knew I could control though was being ready and being excited to get my chance. I think the coming in and playing well part followed with my attitude and preparation to just being alert and ready to go in when I was needed.
“Because when you’re ready and excited about going in no matter what time of the game it is, I think, at least for me, you’ll have fun, and things will go your way.
I’ll always remember the fact that one person’s positive attitude – when it would have been easy to check out – played a HUGE part in this moment. It’s a great lesson for us all.
Head Women’s Soccer Coach
University of Utah
Team Chicago is excited to announce that Chris “Brownie” Brown will expand his role with the organization and take on the head coaching job for the Team Chicago Academy-2000 Elite girls team for the 2017-18 season. Brownie will work closely with 1999 Elite head coach, and Girls’ Director of Coaching, Dave Lovercheck as the 18U & 19U Elite teams will continue to train together to maximize quality of the training environment. Brownie will continue his duties as a special technical advisor to our Technical Director Phil Nielsen and working with the older Academy teams.
We always strive to announce our coaching assignments for the upcoming season prior to each team’s tryouts. This Saturday and Sunday we will be hosting the tryouts for the 16U (2002) through 19U (1999) Girls. The current teams we have in these groups are listed below with the head coaching assignment for 2017-18:
19U 1999 Elite: Dave Lovercheck
19U 1999/2000 Premier: Greg Frederick
18U 2000 Elite: Chris “Brownie” Brown
18U 2000/2001 Premier: Joe Moreau
17U 2001 Elite: Phil Nielsen
16U 2002 Elite: Phil Nielsen
16U 2002 Premier: Ben Tatham
If more teams materialize based on the tryouts we will assign head coaches for these teams afterwards.
To register for tryouts please go to http://www.waasports.org/Default.aspx?tabid=315222
Greatest Coach You Have Never Heard Of
You know John Wooden, you know Geno Auriemma at UConn or the late Pat Summit but how about Jim Steen? While the head swimming coach at Kenyon College the men’s team won twenty-nine consecutive National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III championship titles while the women’s teams won twenty-one. That record of fifty titles surpasses those of any other coaches in any NCAA sport.
This is Jim’s 2011 commencement address at Kenyon College:
Do you have the imagination to see yourself doing something truly exceptional?
We’re ready for our coaching session. This is a little larger team than I am used to, but let’s give it a shot. I’m not going to ask you get up and move around or stand up and cheer. This session is definitely not interactive. Like generations of Kenyon swimmers, all you have to do is sit there and take it! Decide for yourself if anything makes sense or if you have a better way of looking at things.
I have three coaching points I want to make with you today, and they all relate to one’s capacity to perform. Before I begin, however, allow me the one convention of this business that I fully embrace, for reasons that aren’t necessarily related to sports. (Steen replaces academic cap with baseball cap).
OK, thanks. I’m ready to go!
So, how’s your attitude?
Probably pretty good today. What’s not to be good? You’ve successfully made it from point A to point B and tomorrow you’ll have all the necessary credentials to prove it!
What’s your attitude going to be like on Monday? Or next month? Or next fall? I’m sure some of you have jobs lined up, many of you are off to graduate school, a few of you will be traveling, and still others are uncertain about what you’re going to be doing in the next few weeks, let alone the next few years. From my point of view that’s OK, because regardless of what you’re doing next week or next year, things will change and, in some cases, things will change dramatically. What’s most important in this whole process, however, is attitude.
Back in the mid-90s I had a big, strapping sprinter on my team, with a big booming voice, who won a couple of NCAA titles in the 50-yard freestyle. Fortunately, everybody on the team liked this guy, because when anyone was having a difficult practice, or a bad meet, or an awful day in class, or a problem with coach, his comment was always the same, “Hey, man, it’s all about attitude!” No doubt, an individual of lesser stature offering the same admonition over and over again would have been persecuted! Even though this guy wasn’t the hardest worker on the team, or the most talented, no one ever doubted the direction he was going.
And that’s what’s important to remember about attitude. It’s not whether it’s good or bad, but does it define your direction? If the best path in getting from point A to point B is due north, I’ve had very few individuals on my team who have made the serious choice to head south! People usually fall short because they’re a degree or two off in attitude and, over time and distance that can put you in a place far away from where you would like to be.
You may have honestly assessed what constitutes a journey in the right direction, but if you’re not performing the way you want to perform don’t look at what you’re doing, look at your attitude.
On my team, when I challenge someone’s attitude—and I love doing that—it’s not an attack on their character. It’s a belief in their ability to get back on course.
What you have made of your life today is a result of the attitude you established for yourself when you came to this place in the fall of 2007. Your life in the future will be the result of the attitude you set for yourself when you leave this hallowed ground. If you’re fortunate to have people in your life like you’ve had here at Kenyon—people you trust, people who know and appreciate you well enough to look you in the eye and remind you that you can do better, listen to them and make the necessary adjustment in your attitude. The worst position to be in is not slightly off course, and it’s doubtful that any of you are deliberately going to head due south. The worst position to be in is a belief by you, or those around you, that you couldn’t possibly do any better than you’re currently doing!
We’ve pretty much redefined attitude as it relates to performance. Let’s take a look at your capacity to prepare.
How is your work ethic?
Is it helping you or hurting you in your capacity to perform? During your time on the Hill did you give it your best? Or did you avoid putting in the time and effort necessary to fully take advantage of your opportunities?
Regardless of how you performed at Kenyon, we can all agree—whether we subscribe to the 10,000-hour rule or not—that a sustained period of focused attention and applied effort is absolutely essential in getting better at anything that really matters. And, yet, hard work, in my experience, is not the sole determinant of one’s capacity to achieve. In fact, one’s sense of what can be accomplished in any endeavor—what is truly possible—is often compromised by too much hard work and too little imagination. All work and no play may make Jack a dull boy, but all work and no imagination will most definitely make Jack an under-performer. Of this I’m absolutely convinced!
It’s been my experience that the hardest workers are not always the most prolific performers. The correlation between grinding it out, day in and day out, and the capacity to perform at transcendent levels does not always appear to be direct. In discussing this with my fellow coaches on the faculty over the years, I’ve picked up on similar sentiments. The student who puts in the work is not always the student who is the most creative and engaged in their thinking. If you have a limited imagination—a limited concept of what’s possible—then performing in a truly exceptional manner at any level, in any arena, is improbable at best, irrelevant at worst.
You may have the talent to excel. You may have the intelligence to excel. You may have the work ethic and competitiveness to excel. But the real question is: do you have the imagination and creativity to continuously ‘reframe’ your reality so it is consistent with your highest aspirations? Imagination fuels perspective and perspective puts one in touch with the bigger picture. The bigger picture, in turn, allows for more possibilities and more ideas. Performing at one’s best begins with the creation and expression of an idea—nothing more, nothing less.
Do you have the imagination to see yourself doing something truly exceptional? Certainly it’s difficult to sustain a leap of the imagination that isn’t, in part, grounded in the knowledge and appreciation of one’s inherent abilities. But it’s been my experience that people greatly under value their capacity to perform and, as a result, their capacity to achieve.
Imagination can be improved. Committing the best of yourself to any worthwhile endeavor requires that you do so. By attaching your efforts to whatever it is you choose to do in a way that stimulates your imagination, you enhance your capacity to perform at any level. To quote no less a ‘performer’ than Albert Einstein on this subject,
“Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.”
Threats vs. Challenges
My final coaching point of the day: It’s my contention that in any given moment one lives one’s life in one of two ways, either under a threat or for a challenge. In performing when it counts, it’s one or the other, under a threat or for a challenge. If, as Einstein says, “Imagination will take you everywhere,” then living your life under a threat will take you nowhere.
Perceived threats, often resulting in fear, invariably compromise our capacity to perform in the manner we most desire. And there are all sorts of perceived threats that ultimately reduce us in stature, making us feel small, insignificant, and powerless. There is the threat of failure. The threat of not measuring up. The threat of pain. The threat of humiliation. The threat of illness or injury. The threat of not being appreciated or valued. The threat of being exposed for who we are. The threat of not being understood. And the list goes on and on.
It’s so easy to live one’s life threatened by the outcome we fear that we deaden our senses to the process, content to merely occupy time and space, satisfied with a half-life of sorts. We go through the motions, occasionally wake up, look for our shadow, and quickly scurry back into our den of predictability.
And yet it is possible to reframe our threats into challenges and get a much better return on our performance investment with little more time and effort involved. In doing so, you first have to wake up. You have to be among the living! A conscious decision needs to be made that you’re not going to allow the same threats to keep undermining your performance.
Second, you have to be honest with yourself, recognizing and acknowledging that which most threatens you. It has to be disclosed to someone you trust. It can’t continue to remain a secret.
Third, you need to cultivate the two qualities we talked about earlier that are fundamental to one’s capacity to perform—discipline and risk—and then you need to know how and where to apply these qualities most effectively in reframing threats into challenges. Discipline and risk, when applied directly to living one’s life for the challenge, have a way of offsetting the threats that tend to compromise our capacity to perform.
Ask and answer the following questions:
Do you have the capacity to see the challenge in any situation in which you feel threatened?
Do you have the discipline to prepare for and stay focused on the challenge?
Are you willing to risk predictability in pursuit of the challenge?
If the challenge itself becomes your truth in any endeavor, can you really be threatened? Risk waking up to see your world for what it truly is—a playing field of limitless challenges designed for your personal edification and enlightenment. That being the case, and it is, what threat, if any, awaits you? Only one. Not playing the game.
Herein concludes our coaching session, but on Monday you start a new game. The good news is your attitude, imagination, and ability to see challenges where previously you saw only threats has been sharpened significantly during your time at Kenyon.
David Brooks, in a recent New York Times column, suggests that high performing individuals “begin with two beliefs: (1) the future can be better than the present, and (2) I have the power to make it so.”
When you leave the Hill this weekend accept the challenge of starting over, attempt to perform well in some capacity, and, if you are successful in becoming a somebody at something (and many of you will), I would offer you the following advice Jon Stewart gave his audience at a show in Columbus a few weeks ago:
“Be proud of who you are, but don’t wield it as a club.”
Thank you very much for inviting me to speak to you today.
Eclipse Select Soccer Club has formed a partnership with Team Chicago that will include two of Team Chicago Soccer Club’s directors serving on Eclipse Select’s Development Academy coaching staff for the inaugural 2017-18 season.
Team Chicago Technical Director Phil Nielsen and Team Chicago Girls’ Director Dave Lovercheck will be a part of the DA coaching staff. They will work under Eclipse Select President Rory Dames, who will also be the Eclipse Select Development Academy Director heading into the fall season.
“With the Development Academy being a major part of our 2017-18 programming, requiring additional knowledgeable staff, this partnership with Team Chicago will benefit both clubs and the elite players who make up our DA rosters,” Dames said. “Phil Nielsen and Dave Lovercheck are seasoned directors in Chicagoland youth soccer, and their efforts will play a big role in our inaugural Development Academy season.”
Both clubs will continue to function as separate entities in the Elite Clubs National League, US Club Soccer, US Youth Soccer and the Midwest Regional League umbrellas. The value of the Eclipse Select-Team Chicago partnership will lie in the Development Academy makeup of both the coaching staff and roster makeup featuring both clubs’ memberships.
“We believe firmly in the goal of U.S. Soccer to develop the most productive developmental environment for the very elite players in this country. While Team Chicago would have liked to host our own DA program, we decided that in order to enhance the opportunities for the most talented and committed Team Chicago players, it was important that we joined forces with what promises to be the most selective and elite Girls’ DA in the Chicago market. With the connection to, and potential for vertical integration with, the Chicago Red Stars and the opportunities this affords the top DA players, the Eclipse Girls’ DA program should become the Girls’ DA program in Chicagoland.
With the continued independent operation of Eclipse Select Soccer Club and Team Chicago Soccer Club – and the collaboration strictly at the DA level – it ensures that the two healthy organizations will continue to provide quality programming to their members, while coming together to provide a level of excellence at the very top.
Team Chicago will continue to work every bit as diligently on creating the best developmental environment in Aurora/Naperville for those players who do not want to forego playing high school soccer, are unable or not interested in committing to significant commuting to and from practices, or are not quite at the National Team pool level. In fact, one of the strengths of the Eclipse Girls’ DA program lies in the continued totally independent operation of Eclipse Select Soccer Club and Team Chicago Soccer Club with the collaboration only at the DA level. This ensures two healthy organizations continuing to provide quality programming to their customers, while coming together to provide a level of true excellence at the very top.”
Phil H. Nielsen, Technical Director, Team Chicago Soccer Club