Sports 20 Dec 2018

U14 boys’ football life lessons

By Max Doornbos, grade 9 (Lakeside)
Photograph by CIS Communications

As the U14 boys’ football team, we have been trying our best to perform well. We train often and give 110% whenever there is a match. Challenges faced so far have been tough to overcome, but thanks to the lessons we’ve gleaned from our losses, we now understand that these challenges are easier to overcome when we do so as a team. This insight will definitely be a game-changer in our future games.

The first game we played was a home game against AIS. Although we tried our best to equalise the game in the latter half, the full-time score by the end of the game was 4-2 in favour of AIS. Losing the game was a real test for us as individual sportsmen and as a team on the whole because everyone had worked really hard for the match. But despite that, it brought us closer together as a team and reaffirmed the values that our team stood for: perseverance, respect, sportsmanship, cooperation and integrity. It also helped us realise the fact that we as are now in Division 1, we have to work harder as a single unit, and not as many individuals.

Our second game was against the UWC East A team. It is safe to say that we failed as a team initially. The coach was consistently giving the team advice on the best strategies to follow and tips on what direction the play must go. In the opening half, the team was behind our opponents by 9 goals, but after a motivational and informative half-time talk by Coach Lespagnol, the team started to turn the game around. Our team tired our opponents out, so they started playing with less momentum and started making some errors. Our team thrived and scored two great goals (thanks to Koray Cona, a late addition to the team).

From an outsider’s perspective, the match might seem very one-sided due to the fact that our opponents were stronger, but as Coach Lespagnol said, our opponents don’t necessarily have a better team - they are simply linking up better and their passing was more fluid. All we had to do to defeat them was to work together as a single team. Unfortunately, the match ended soon after our renewed efforts to win the game but it was clear to us that we would have been able to achieve a tie if we had had more time. Our team was naturally devastated by the loss, but at least we managed to score two goals - a good sign that our team was learning how to move as one. To have been able to score these goals, the team had to put their pride aside and keep working as a team regardless of the score.

The last and most recent game we played also ended in a loss. The first half was especially hard because of the blazing sun, which made all players exhausted. The opening half had a good start but there was a significant shortage of opportunities to score a goal. The second half started, and we were down 3-0. During this half, the team’s defence was well executed, but we had trouble advancing and getting the ball upfield. The team relied a lot on our keeper who saved many goals and stopped our opponents from scoring multiple times. The defence also played very well, except for a particular weakness in man-to-man marking. Nevertheless, we worked hard as a team and kept our opponents from scoring. The second half was, therefore, a success. Overall the team played well, but the coach as well as the players themselves, are expecting more from the team in the upcoming matches.

“I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” This famous quote by the great sportsman Michael Jordan can be applied to our team. Although we have lost numerous times, we have developed the ability, will, perseverance and team cooperation to win our future games.

Go Huskies!