Sunday, November 22, 2009

when soccer becomes more than a game.....

JD's U15 competitive soccer team won the league title! Very exciting for the boys. The title was cinched with one game to play, so we headed to Carlsbad last night for our final season game. We have developed a significant rivalry with this team over the last 3 seasons so heading into the game there was tension.

As we arrived on the filed, you could feel the edge..hard to explain. Beautiful field, under the lights at 5pm. There was energy in the air and the boys lined up. Whistle blows, kick off and the game is under way. Within the first 2 minutes they other team in in scoring position and the ball to shot but and our goalie is running for the ball, as he dives to capture the ball, the opposing player continued to advance and kicked. The other player's cleat made contact with the goalies face. Whistle is blown, and the referee calls a penalty. Here is where it gets interesting, the penalty is called on us! He calls the penalty on our goalie, gives him a
yellow card, and the other team is awarded a penalty kick. Our goalie has to leave the game, he is bleeding and as the adrenaline of the event wares off, is in increasing pain. We sub the goalie, they take the kick and score.

Unbelievable...meanwhile the menagerie of Dr's and Nurses we have as parents have rallied around the goal. There is a lot of blood and ice on his face. The consensus is he needs to go to the ER. The game continues and it is ugly. The reffing calls are the worst we have had all season, blatantly biased toward the home team. Before the 1/2 ends they again score off a forward that is 10yards off sides- so obvious we wait for the whistle to have it called back, but no such luck. The game is aggressive and the parents are getting frustrated, the comments are louder and the entire scene is intense.

We rally with a goal in the 2nd 1/2 but end of losing the game. The league victory is not compromised but a final win would have been the topping on the cake. When the final whistle blew we had been playing a man down due to red card late in the 2nd 1/2. The final tally was over 11 yellow's and 1 red card.

So we won the league, lost the last game, but the most disappointing thing was that we as a team (parents, kids and coach) allowed ourselves to be brought down to the level of our competition. You cannot control what ref's do and we know that. As the poor calls progressed our team crossed the line to unsportsmanlike on some occasions and driving away that is not a good feeling. One of the parents of the other team confronted our coach and pushed him. How did we get to this....we discussed this as a team with our coach and agreed- this is not how we represent our club! Losing with dignity and sportsmanship is quality of our team and a reason we are proud of the team, the boys and the club. Lesson learned and mistakes recognized.

The sad ending is that our goalie has multiple facial fractures and will be sidelined for up to 3 months. Here we are commencing High School Soccer and he will not be playing.