Created on Wednesday, 05 March 2014 19:35
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Shared by Coach Marcus Chambers
One of the best coaching experiences in my life began with the red eye flight out of Honolulu headed to Phoenix. This particular experience, for coaches and players alike, can only be found with Rush Soccer Club. This is one of the many reasons I love being involved in and part of this great organization. I had the privilege of being the assistant coach for the Rush Select U15B this President’s Day Tournament.
Rush Select is the Rush Soccer Club’s national teams. It is compiled of some of the best players from around the country. These players are put together for one weekend to compete at the top level, against the best competition with elite teammates. Our U15 boys team had players from all over the nation, including Colorado, Washington, Kansas, New York, Tennessee, and a pair of a great Hawaii boys just to name a few. We even had a player that traveled from the Bahamas! Critics might point out that these boys do not know each other’s style of play, ability, strengths, weaknesses, let alone each other’s names. To top it all off, the coaches have never met the players. How could it be possible for these players be a team and compete? In a very short amount of time, these players went from being a bunch of individuals to a team.
How did they become a team so quickly? This was a big challenge for both players and coaches. All players were due to arrive in Phoenix on Thursday. Unfortunately, Mother Nature had other plans. A huge snow storm hit the east coast of the United States delaying many coaches and players. The players that were in town Thursday evening went on a short walk to a nearby soccer facility to have a kick about and await the arrival of their teammates. Four players sleep in each hotel room to create a bond between teammates. This helps create friendship across the Rush Nation. All players and coaches were finally present on Friday morning. The team gathered their gear and piled into the vans for an hour drive to Casa Grande, the home of the Real Salt Lake Academy. Upon arrival, the teams had one training session with their coaching staff to work out all the kinks and get used to the dry desert air. After the session, all teams walked into the meeting room of the facility for a nice pasta lunch and go over the Rush Core Values and the Rush Way!!!! We all headed back to the hotel for some rest, relaxation, and quality dinner in preparation for the next morning’s matches.
As the weekend progressed, so did the number of wins for our Rush Select teams. We soon learned that we had five Rush Select teams in the final game of one of the top showcase tournaments in the country. This was one of the best showings for the Rush program since the programs inaugural year. Not only did the kids gel together to become a team, the coaching staff did as well. We had Rush Select coaches from other age groups come to our benches to sit, talk, see results, and help give feed back to our coaching staff and players. The Rush Nation came together to achieve the common goal.
The Rush Nation also came together for the “game of the day” to watch the U16B Semi -final as well. All the Rush Select teams went to view the contest against FC Dallas where hundreds of players and parents joined together in song and voice to cheer on the Rush team. As the fans cheered, you could see the passion and play increase in each Rush player. However, the most exciting moment was when the Rush goal keeper made the game winning save in the penalty shoot out and the Rush nation “rushed” the field to celebrate with the victors.
Each player I spoke to at the end of the tournament, whether they won or lost, could not wait for the next opportunity to come back and do another Rush Select event. Both players and parents alike were prodding and probing coaches for information on the next Rush Select event and when it might take place. I felt the same enthusiasm as the players. I am hoping for an event to take place soon and I truly hope to be a part of it. I know that each player I coached was a special part of this team. I know this event will always hold a special part in my memory. Two coaches, whom never met, sixteen players that had never met, became ohana in a matter of days.
I strongly encourage any player that is given this opportunity to except it. Not only for the experience but who knows when an opportunity like this will knock at your door again.