We can't thank the Georgetown Soccer Association enough for putting on a great weekend of friendlies that prepared several of our teams for spring games. We returned the favor by hosting GSA plus a Town & Country squad the following weekend. We wish nothing but the best for all of these teams this season as they compete against teams from across Austin, Round Rock, Pflugerville, Hutto, and Georgetown.
Hats off to Sarah Munoz for capturing some great pictures. We picked our 7 favorite to articulate why we are so proud of this bunch and what it says about our club as a whole.
1. Hard Work Paying Off
A lot of these girls worked their tails off during the winter to stay sharp and continue honing their individual skills. It's inspiring to see the technical details, which they put in the effort to refine, paying off on the field (i.e. some of the nice mechanics on display in this image). This commitment to stay sharp during the offseason was evident across the club, as many WBSA players chose to take advantage of our partnership with Avila.
2. Pride and Responsibility
These girls are learning every position so as to become well-rounded players. While we wouldn't depart from that philosophy, it's nice to balance that holistic approach with the satisfaction derived from doing a specific job incredibly well (and working hard to master others). This is apparent with the accountability and pride our goalies have demonstrated. From fearlessly shutting down a 1v1, to booming punts, to smart distributions, to being our field generals, to eagerly learning every position - our goalies epitomize a true love for the game. It's exciting to see the payoff for teams such as the U13 United and Tigers who have likewise remained committed to overall player development through the years.
3. Considering Developmental Needs (not just age)
We've managed to create a development environment that is mindful of every player's unique needs. We've been able to keep the Acadey girls challenged while prioritizing safety. We are very proud of the 11 U7s/U8s that are "playing up" to remain engaged against appropriate competition instead of plateauing or developing bad habits. Many of our most advanced boys are also holding their own on older teams. Similarly, WBSA has leveraged in-house "hybrid" leagues when appropriate to foster engagement and retention of our newer players. Our executive committee also spends literally hundreds of hours every preseason ensuring maximum parity and the best possible playing environment for all of our U4-U6 players.
4. Inclusive and Welcoming, Not Exclusive and Recruiting
Anyone can coach the biggest, oldest, strongest, and fastest players who conveniently find themselves on the same roster or are recruited to large clubs. Sadly, this is becoming all too common at frighteningly young ages. Not that the end goal is for these children to become professional athletes, but history is littered with late bloomers that would've been turned away from their passions (whether it's soccer, tennis, piano, robotics, or art) had they not found a nurturing development environment. We are incredibly proud that WBSA is capable of consistently developing advanced players while simultaneously integrating countless new families - making them feel welcome and helping those players ramp up quickly. Consider Jullet, who is already thriving alongside peers who have played for 8+ seasons despite being brand new to the sport.
5. Exceeding Goals & Continuous Improvement
Learning to ride a bike, beating an older sibling at chess for the first time, powering through a book they just can't put down, winning the science fair, making it across the monkey bars alone. Remember the look on your child's face when they hit these milestones? There is nothing quite like seeing the TOTAL development of a player. Most notably, all the great stuff they take from "the beautiful game" well beyond the field of play (i.e. confidence in the classroom). We can't wait to see what these girls accomplish after observing tremendous progress with foundational soccer skills such as (clockwise): making a great first touch, possessing the ball under pressure, "seeing" the ball with feet not eyes, and finishing with composure. I can't remember a time when the overall skill of WBSA players was this high across the club.
6. Unrivaled Support System
It's no surprise that these are 20 of the hardest working, most respectful, and most well-rounded young ladies around considering they are raised by 20 of the most supportive families you'll find in the North Austin, Round Rock, and Pflugerville area (and beyond). Not only has this group built a strong community, but the selfless contributions of the assistant coaches + new additions like Ray Ortiz (sprint / conditioning) and Leandro Papasidero (goalies) has had an exponential return. Parent and volunteer engagement is at record levels, as indicated by the remarkable turnout at our coaches meeting. Whereas some organizations struggle to find volunteers, most our teams have 2-3 selfless youth leaders stepping up to help. As they say, it takes a village...
7. Fun Above All Else
There a number of articles highlighting the downfall of youth sports as a result of negative influences ranging from misguided parents and coaches, to premature specialization on a single sport, to a variety of other reasons. We believe that a challenging development environment and an emphasis on fun are not mutually exclusive. The WBSA culture is truly unrivaled and is an extension of the broader Wells Branch community as a whole. The smiles seen all across our fields speak for themselves!
Our New Complex!