So Far, So Good

a few thoughts,,,

After several years of average to below average returns for their hard practices, the U16 Rovers’ hard work is paying off as they are continuing on a path for an undefeated season. So far, they are 11-0-1, with 2 games remaining. Unless something dreadful happens on the pitch in the last two games, they should qualify to move up another level in the classic divisions. 

 A strong defensive team of John Michael Worsham, Chris Robinson, Matt Robertson, Clayton Pierson, Mallery Pindar, Sean Taylor, and Sam Vernon, with occassional help from Tim Mccarthy and Alex Heebner, has yielded only 9 goals in 12 games. Not too shabby. No team has scored more than two against them in a game; that’s rather impressive.

Midfielders Michael Russell, Tim McCarthy, Mallery Pindar, John Hannaford, Alex Heebner, Carson Villa, and Evans Jones, with assorted players thrown in the mix from time to time, have disrupted passing offensive lanes, gone after 50/50 balls far better than in past years, and maintained a solid physical presence in most of the games. They have sent some seriously pretty balls through to the forwards, usually resulting in a goal scoring opportunity. 

Newcomer Josh Ball leads the rejuvenated attack with over 20 goals, which also makes him the leading scorer in the bracket. With a very sure footed set of moves, and just enough smack talk not to get a yellow card, he has provided the offensive spark the team has missed since the days of U12 ball. His one day in the net provided Sam a well-earned opportunity for some field time, which he took with a grin the size of California on his face. Opponents have taken to double or  triple teaming him, which frees other players to score. He is also that fun loving spirit that keeps the team upbeat.

Blake Seale remains a seriosuly dangerous player, with enough goals to be the second place leader on the team and in the top 10 for the bracket. Sometimes I think his speed should be bottled and put on the market for sell. A smooth runner, when he hits second gear, few defenders can catch him. A solid performer with a fierce intensity on the pitch that belies his otherwise quiet demeanor.

And of couse, we have the youngsters--Melvin Neely and James Kempa. What can we say about these guys? Two whirling dervishes? True. Enthusiastic? Again, true. Great additions to the team --without a doubt.  Playing up in age can intimidate some people, but not these two. They jumped in like two pros--legs flying from Melvin as he almost obsessively chases the ball, hair bouncing (I am so jealous) and fluid crosses from James, and positive attitudes from both guys, have allowed them to fit right in with the team. In the first game of the season, they combined for one of the prettiest give and gos of the season, and it earned them some serious respect from the other players. Of course, both have tremendous senses of humor, with Melvin being the jokester (Did Carson ever get his ball back?), and James being the sharp-tongued quipster. Hopefully, both will stay away from the temptation of rec ball and return to the team next year.

Those are my thoughts on a cold Monday morning...let’s see what the next two weeks bring. If I left anyone out or forgot to mention something, mea culpa.

D. Robinson






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