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September 24, 2001 To OUR 1990 EAGLES FAMILY: Our 2001 playing season has come to a close. We have our “Olympics”, the “Parents vs Players” game, and our closing party on Sunday, September 30. I look forward to seeing everyone there ready for some fun. Statistically, our team did not deliver the numbers needed to finish high in our league standings. How the South Region will place teams next year is unknown at this time. We will see. A review of our league games is a nightmare of “what could have been”. I can think of no less than 6 games that should have been ours – but they weren’t. Six games are 18 points that went to the top of the league. Our tournament play was commendable. The team delivered a trophy at the Cambridge Tournament – not particularly tough opponents, but a win by any definition. In Brantford, the gang stepped up to take on U12 opponents and surprised themselves and everyone else with their excellent performance. In North Mississauga, we set aside Kitchener and Burlington (both ahead of us in the league) to reach the finals and we lost another close game for the championship. In Oakville we played tough competition and held our own in more close games. The Eagle Cup gave us our first game against the Mississauga Falcons, and their giants. The size and BIG feet intimidated our gang. We will get another crack at them soon enough and we’ll be ready. We held our own with the Demons as we always have and tied up the final game. These results, good and bad, were delivered by all of us as a team. There is no one person on the team who is personally responsible for our results. We did it together. Every game contains a moment we wish we had back when a mistake was made, a tackle missed, a shot missed, a shot not taken, a player match overlooked, or a bad pass made. Some games were missing all or part of players due to vacation, illness or injury. If only, if only, if only,……. The core of this team is sound and most importantly - happy. Time after time I stood back at practices and at games watching the mood of our players. This is one happy bunch of athletes. Of course we don’t like losing - who does? But we all know very well that we seldom ever got “hammered” by anyone. They all know that they are a respectable team that is well respected in the league. The league numbers say we let in almost 2x the goals over last year. The big difference is the physical development of some huge kicks around the league that can consistently launch the ball from a long way out. Last year that was a rare occurrence. Everyone was small of stature. The numbers also say we delivered 1/3 fewer scored goals. When I can’t sleep I count the key scoring chances we didn’t deliver on …….so many – 2000 approx at last count. With a couple of exceptions, our ball control, space management and kicking skills are way behind those of the other teams we play. This is the team’s limiting factor. We will improve. But somehow we manage to compete with these other teams. I am convinced it is the very spirit of this team that makes the difference for the results we saw. I did some quick math to add up the amount of practice the players were offered this season. Starting last November when we began our indoor training we have logged over 120 hours of scheduled practices and clinics. This doesn’t include the private sessions with me, practice that players did on their own, with other players, or with professional soccer camps. Add also the time we put in watching professional games and our sister and brother teams in the Club. Some players maximized the practice offered. Some did less. Some earned respect from their teammates for their practice focus. Others did not. Developed skills were evident on the field. Some in a big way. Some in smaller bites. As the “Coach” I am personally satisfied that I did my best and did what was expected of me in terms of player development. I did not deliver all of the expectations we set out at the start of the year and for that I have little to brag about. Horse races are often won and lost by “a nose”. Our season was like that. I had fun though. In retrospect some things could have been different but the reality exists. I must live with my decisions. I am often criticized for my “patience” with developing players. I don’t expect to change. As long as I see improvement and the desire to learn I will stand by this team and the individuals within it. When this group of Eagles no longer wants to learn, put in the work to learn, and suffer the pain that comes with the training to learn I will know it is time to step away. The number of players on the team that are focussed on skill development is high – much higher than last year. Next year that committed percentage will be higher again because there will be no alternative. It will be fun though. SOME SPECIAL THANKS To our sponsors who provided the funding this year for track suits, shirts, equipment, parties after skills clinics, facilities rentals, clinic professionals, tournament entries and much more. To my coaching assistants, Dan, Steve and Heidi. Each took their Levels 1 and 2 Training as part of their own skill development. We couldn’t have delivered the training program offered without their time and ideas. To Isabelle Chircop, Shabina Rahman, and Liz Dayot who have offered so much time at practices as “practice moms”, ball chasers, equipment packers and draggers. Thanks to everyone who would have if they could have. I understand. To EVERYONE who kept pouring coffee down me at games and practices. To Sarah Macdonald, Erin’s Mom, for the quiet arrival of the half time fruit at every game. Very special thanks to Pam and Randy Leavitt who were pressed into duty last year as Team Manager. They were blessed with the challenge of the team’s paperwork, liaison with challenging personalities in our soccer world, managing the team’s money, and much more. All of this help let me spend more time focussed on the team and my own skill set that has to grow as well. Pam and Randy will be handing over their responsibilities to others at the end of this season for a well-deserved break. Thanks also to the Leavitt’s and the Ellis’ for use of their swimming pools after our clinics. SOME FAREWELLS We say farewell and good luck to Brittany and Jessica who are leaving the team to play with different teams. We will no doubt meet them in future competition. They both made a strong contribution to the Eagles. We also say farewell to Jackie who has elected to take some time away from soccer next year. We wish her well and hope she returns to the game in the future. We also bid adieu to Coach Heidi who is pressured with new responsibilities at work. Thank you to everyone who offered ideas and suggestions through out the year. I truly need your input. I don’t have all of the answers and sometimes I can’t see the forest because the trees are in the way. Thank you for the trust you have given me with your daughter. I hope to meet these young ladies years from now when they are all grown up and try and imagine what part I had in creating their “person”. A special thank you to Laura, my daughter. She has what I have always called the toughest job on the team – the coach’s kid. The pressures on her are significant. Thanks also to my wife Jane for the relentless soccer theme in the household. Thanks also to Lyndsay and Jennifer Tremblay, our U15 examples for their many hours of help in our practices. Now….on to next year. Let’s cross that dotted line. COACH BOB
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