Category Archives: Soccer

True Coaching Stories

Will Ferrell Kicking And ScreamingThose of you who read last night’s Odds And Ends post already know my son’s soccer team lost their playoff game. What I didn’t mention – because I was in the middle on a bile-fueled brain aneurysm – was the circumstances surrounding the loss.

My team has a total of eight players. In indoor soccer, you play six players at a time – five players and a goalie – for two 20-minute halves. So, at best, I have two substitutions. Remember that.

On Tuesday night, I received a call from one of my parents. She said her son was “sick” and wouldn’t be able to make Wednesday night’s game. Okay, if you’re sick, you’re sick, but why not wait until Wednesday to make a decision? The truth of the matter is this mom didn’t want to travel to West Philly – da ‘hood – and I think the sick excuse was simply that: an excuse.

But it was okay, because I still had another sub…

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Playoffs? You Kidding Me? Playoffs?

Jim Mora PlayoffsOne night last September, Mrs. Earp took my 9-year old (now ten) son Erik to his first outdoor soccer practice of the season. I would’ve taken him, but I was laid up with vertigo. The missus came home and said Erik’s team needed a coach… and she “volunteered” me.

I coached high school lacrosse for 19 years, and helped coach my oldest son’s soccer team, but a head soccer coach? I was apprehensive, but confident in my abilities.

We finished the outdoor season with a record of 0-10.

Indoor would be better, I told myself; it almost had to be. If we won one game, it would be an improvement. The boys played well – especially Erik, who was my superstar in outdoor – and we won a game. Then another. Then another…

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U.S. Lands El Grupo De La Muerte

US National Soccer Team 2014

The U.S. Soccer team landed in The Group of Death for the 2014 World Cup. They’re seeded in the toughest group, and will be facing Germany, Portugal, and Ghana. (Yes, I know none of my readers care about the World Cup, but I do, so I’m posting about it.)

United States head coach Jurgen Klinsmann described his team’s World Cup draw as “the worst of the worst” after it was pooled with Germany, Portugal and Ghana in one of two “Groups of Death.”

Klinsmann could scarcely believe his ill fortune after the draw was made in Bahia, Brazil, with the Americans lumped into Group G and a situation that immediately installed them as long shots to reach the last 16.

“It is one of the most difficult groups of the whole draw,” Klinsmann said. “It couldn’t get any more difficult or any bigger but that is what the World Cup is all about. We are looking forward to the challenge and we don’t see ourselves as any kind of outsiders. If you want to get into the top 10 or 12 teams in the world you have to beat these guys.”

He’s right. The U.S. has a terrific squad this year, so I’m not counting them out. That said, if they get past the first round, I’ll be surprised.

Hail To The Victors!

Julia And Kevin Soccer Champions

Julia and Kevin won the Academy Sabres Junior Varsity soccer title on Saturday!

They played the first place team – Kevin and Julia’s team was in second place – and after losing by a score of 2-1, came back to win late in the fourth quarter. As for the kids, Kevin played well… for a half. He spent much of the second half sitting with us on the opposite sideline. Julia played okay… when she wasn’t dancing on the field with her teammate. Considering this is their first time playing organized sports, they did rather well – and landed some hardware to boot.

Congratulations, Blue Devils! We’re proud of you.

Welcome To Fort Bragg

Erik Soccer

Erik, my 9-year old (center, blue jersey), opened his CYO soccer season tonight. Unfortunately, I had to work, but Mrs. Earp kept me apprised of the goings-on.

Things went very well.

Erik’s team won the game by a score of 12-6, and the boy had a field day. Erik scored five goals and added an assist in the opener! Nice work, boy! Your $6 will be waiting for you when you wake up tomorrow.

(Oh, the photo is from last week’s club soccer game.)

The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

Family Soccer

Well, technically the second-most wonderful time – everyone knows the most wonderful time of the year is back to school. Today was the start of soccer season, and the first time every one of the kids are playing competitively.

Kyle (second from right) earned a 5-2 win against Houston, and looked stellar in goal. Erik (far right) lost his season opener, 4-1 – probably because of my terrible coaching – but he scored our only goal. His team played better than they had in a while, but mistakes cost us in the end.

Kevin and Julia (left and second from left) won their in-house game by a score of 2-1. Julia played out of her mind, running back and forth as fast as she could. Kevin also played well, and copied Kyle by taking a turn in goal.

All things considered, it was a pretty good day.

Rope-A-Dope

Kyle and Erik Academy SabresFor the past year, I have been a coach on Kyle’s soccer team. I’ve coached him in lacrosse before, but never soccer. It has been a good ride, as we earned a trip to the title game during the outdoor and indoor seasons. This season, I was taking a powder, because Kyle’s team combined with another Academy Sabres team, and the two head coaches were going to run things.

I liked coaching, but it would be nice to sit back and watch Kyle’s games as a parent, instead of a coach.

Fast forward to Monday. The missus took Kyle (left) and Erik (right) to their first Sabres practice of the new season. She took them because my vertigo was acting up. When she came home, she walked up to me and said, “Hey, would you like me to get you a beer?”

I knew something was askew…

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Take A Walk On The Wild Side

soccer ball in grass field

A man trying to dribble a soccer ball from Seattle to Brazil died this week after being struck by a car. Gooooooooool!

A man less than two weeks into a planned journey to dribble a soccer ball from his home city of Seattle to Brazil, the host nation for the 2014 World Cup, died on Tuesday after being struck by a car in Oregon, police and the man’s supporters said.

Richard Swanson, 42, was struck as he walked on the shoulder of a road on the outskirts of Lincoln City just east of the Oregon coast, said Lincoln City Police Sergeant Randy Weaver. Swanson’s soccer ball was found nearby, Weaver said.

The car was given a red card and suspended from the next two vehicular homicides.

Shoot For The (All) Stars

Erik Sabres All Stars

Erik’s soccer season officially ended this morning with the Philadelphia Department of Recreation All-Star Game. It was nice to see him recognized for his efforts all year, even though his team didn’t fare too well during the regular season. Erik (on the right with his teammates Michael and Ryan) played well during the game, capping it off with an unbelievable top corner goal in the first half.

As much as he loves soccer – it’s his favorite sport – it’s nice to have a break. Now he can play lacrosse for a few more weeks, then rest up during the summer for Fall soccer.

Bomb Sunday

Academy SabresKyle’s soccer team, Academy Sabres (United) began the indoor soccer season with a record of 1-3. They then went on a four-game win streak, finishing second in the league, and earning a first-round BYE in the playoffs. You know about Kyle’s wrist, but his teammate Jake also broke a toe on his kicking foot, and his other teammate Frankie suffered a severe asthma attack a few days before the city semifinals. Those were Friday night, and since I was home on death’s door, the missus took Kyle.

And she let him play the game.

Kyle talked her into wrapping the cast in bubble wrap and letting him play forward. Since the boy thinks he’s going to live forever, he figured playoffs were more important than his growth plate.

Not only did Kyle’s team win, but he also played out of his mind.

The city finals were played yesterday, and Kyle’s team was the favorite. Four kids on the team (including Kyle) were trying for their third indoor title in a row. Sadly, a three-peat was not in the cards…

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