[Editor's Note: The following has been lightly edited]
Our final record in 2011 was two wins, eleven losses and five draws.
Our final game, a loss in the last minute, was played against a team that was not going to the tournament. All seniors started and played more than in any other game (for some, more minutes than all games combined). In my opinion, it was a game we would have won with our regular-season lineup. That game, winning was not important. Coaches and captains decided that it would be just a fun way to play out the season.
Five of our 11 losses were by one goal. One of them because of a penalty kick that the other team converted into the winning goal. Every practice included activities geared toward going to goal and finishing.
On Comments Section of Reading Patch Article
One comment stated that some of the “best soccer players” leave because of my “reputation.” I’d like to see who those “best” players were. Our youth program plays in a divisional league, so the players can compete at different levels of ability. The division one players are competing at a higher level than the division four players. Maybe these “best players” are division three or four players who decide to try something different. Reading Memorial High School (RMHS) has strong athletic and performing arts programs and maybe it was just time to try something different for those players.
Another comment was about me being “narcissistic and egotistical.” My goodness, that’s a personal attack. I’m guessing the narcissism is my red and black coaching outfits, and, after 11 years, an extensive collection of t-shirts and coaches polos. The “egotistical” being my buck stops here attitude. Decisions have to be owned by someone and I made it clear that I was the one who would be held accountable for all decisions. I also told my players that any newspaper interview would not “call out” any player for mistakes on the field. It takes 11 players on the field to score a goal and 11 players to cause a goal to be scored against us.
I constantly reminded the bench players, that without their daily efforts, we would not be able to compete in this league. If they didn’t push the starters during practice, the starters would not be strong enough to compete. I believe there is a “catch 22” of sorts here; the harder the bench players work, the better the bench players get and consequently, the better the starters get.
I never called anyone “names” or belittled players. I adjusted skill work at practice to try to ensure that everyone would feel part of the team and not feel like she could not do something that others could do.
Every year, there are players who play in summer leagues and attend camps. Some players who choose to NOT attend these, suffer no consequences. Those who attend are better players than they were before attending … they might NOT be better players than those who did NOT attend … I know, not fair, but guess what about life? Many of the players who attended made themselves good enough to make the varsity or junior varsity teams, but maybe not good enough to get a starting role.
I leave knowing that I loved almost every minute of coaching, or, I should say, I loved every minute of COACHING and none of this craziness that, unfortunately, goes on behind the scenes. The RMHS coaches have been an exceptional group. Fall coaches work together, each year, to divide field space for all of our teams and the respect from team to team, across sports has been enriching and professional.
In my 15 years on staff, I can’t come up with two or three names of players who were not respectful; and even at that, let’s remember that they are adolescents. Their lives are filled with confusion and “adult” decisions, so sometimes their not so good moments, are caused by this stress.
I leave with the disappointment of not returning next year to try to improve our record, and the hope—if you’ll allow me this “egotistical” moment—the hope that I’ll be missed.
I hope your judgment of me is based on who I am and not how much playing time your daughter got.