Kick-off of the Rec and Select In-House League a Huge Success

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Saturday the 29th marked the first week of play for TC with the kick-off of the Recreational Program and the Select In-House League. The sunny Saturday morning was perfect and the Pepsi Complex buzzed like a tournament where over a thousand players got their first games in for this fall season.

For the Rec Program, players from Pre-K all the way to 8th grade started their first of 6 games. Players used their skills, scored some goals, and most importantly, had fun. The games exemplified the core philosophy of the Rec Program: providing a safe and encouraging environment where players feel comfortable to try new things and express themselves.

This environment was only possibly because of the work of our volunteer coaches. It was clear that they are passionate about this philosophy. Rec coaches are vital to the program as it would not function without the time and effort these dedicated volunteers put in. We’re eternally grateful to their time and commitment.

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This weekend also featured the first games for our local referees. At TC, we have a firm belief in the use of referees for our Rec League. Not only do referees serve as a vital piece to creating a safe environment by enforcing the rules of the game, they also help educate the players about the game. These two reasons contribute to the fun atmosphere we strive for in our Rec Program.

In the F-M area, referees can be a scarce resource and we do our best to cover all of the games. Many of the referees officiating games in the Rec Program are first-year referees and thus learning a whole new side of the game. TC is the only club in the area that offers refereeing education and many of the referees in the F-M area began their careers in the TC Rec Program. Whatever your age, you have the ability to give back to the game, while also making a little extra money!

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For the Select Program, Saturday morning featured the first of the In-House League games where Select teams played one another. The In-House League serves three vital functions, firstly providing an opportunity for Select teams to get more games in. For most, the games also allow for a crucial glimpse into a game atmosphere before teams travel to tournaments. The games are meant to challenge teams and give them opportunity to play new opponents than the ones they see at practice all the time.

The second purpose is to allow coaches to coach game scenarios in a more interactive way. The games are run and refereed by the coaches. The idea of the In-House League is to allow the coach to step on to the field with the kids, to take advantage of stoppages to talk about where players should be on the field and how they should move as individuals and as a team within the flow of the game. Reviewing how to do a goal kick for younger groups or how to communicate to teammates, shift, and stay connected for older ages are just some examples—things that are more easily learned in a game. These games were not meant to be training session but rather games that allowed coaches more access to players in the game that they wouldn’t normally have.

The final purpose of the In-House League is to provide a club and event-like atmosphere we feel players and families all enjoy. The games are all at one location, either Pepsi or Moorhead, and played alongside the TC Rec Program’s league. In this manor, the club is seeking to build a tighter bond among its members—from players to parents to coaches.

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Thank you to everyone that made this first week of games such a huge success—volunteers, team managers, coaches, referees and staff. We can’t wait for the next round September 12th. See you then!

 

 

Pooled Training: What is it and Why do we Use it at TC Storm

“True player development focuses on the development of the player, not the development of the team. Up to U12, this should be the only criteria used in designing and running youth soccer programs”

-Dr. Ron Quinn, Leading contributor to US Youth Soccer Programming

What is pool-training?
Also known as Academy, Pool-Training is an alternative training system to the traditional training environment—i.e. one team, one coach, set rosters for the season. Pool-Training is an “Education First” environment where all players involved with each age follows the same curriculum under a group of coaches. In other words, players of the same age-group are not confined to one team with one coach but rather a rotation of teams and coaches within the age group.

What are the advantages of pool-training?
At TC Storm, the development of the player is the primary concern. Focus is on providing an age appropriate soccer education with logical progressions throughout a player’s youth soccer career.

The issue with the traditional method is that wins and losses become the measurement of performance—for both player and coach alike. This Team-Centered approach does not bode well for the individual development of the player as the focus is on the performance of the team rather than the player.

The pool-training environment is a Player-Centered coaching method that follows the same curriculum for all players in an individual age group. In this manor, the A, B & C hierarchies are reduced, which allows for several benefits for both player and coach development. It is because of these benefits that so many revered soccer bodies advocate for the Pool system including US Youth Soccer, Barcelona FC, Manchester United, etc.

Who benefits?
Player:

  • Expand the number of opportunities for players to perform tasks
  • Learn to adapt to multiple environments
  • Easier to fit into a system when guest playing
  • Narrowed development gap amongst the entire group
  • More chances to play with and against better players
  • Increased opportunities to learn leadership roles
  • Improved upward-mobility for games
  • Emphasis on learning/performance vs. winning at all costs
  • Access to different coaches that provide different strengths, styles, and voices

Coach:

  • Developmental curriculum ensures age-appropriate teaching and learning progression
  • Less stressful for the coaches
  • Coaching education is constant
  • Create opportunities to learn from each other (Mentorship)
  • The opportunity to work with other coaches to achieve the same goal of player development

Club:

  • More efficient use of space
  • More effective player evaluations
  • Many opportunities to develop young/new coaches
  • Players will be developed based on the club’s philosophy
  • Increased potential for player retention at the older age groups
  • Adopting a club-wide style of play

So what does it look like?
A Pool-Training environment might look something like this: 25-35 players divided into smaller groups (8-12) rotating from station to station. At each station, a coach will lead an activity with a certain focus (1v1 attack for example). After, the group rotates to a new station with a new coach and a new focus (passing for example). The standard is that at the end of the session, there will be a free play session where teams are divided up into smaller groups and play small-sided games (3v3, 4v4, 6v6, etc.)

What about games?
Similar to training, the pool system philosophy is applied to games. If teams are in the same division, the pool-system allows for player to play with new teammates under new coaches. This improves a player’s adaptability insofar as playing with new teammates provides different scenarios than playing with the same teammate over and over might not. In the same way, getting coaching from multiple sources also allows for new coaching points. It is these skills that a player can carry with them throughout their entire soccer career—from U10 to high school to college and beyond.

Where can I learn more about this?
Here are a few different sources on pooled training/academy environment. If you want to find more resources try searching for either pooled training environment or academy soccer.

Importance of Watching Soccer

A record 26.7 million American viewers tuned in for the Women’s World Cup final to watch the US Women’s National team beat Japan 5-2 to claim their first championship since 1999. It would seem that, simply based on the numbers, Americans enjoy watching soccer. Perhaps this number was inflated by the fact that the US was a contender in the final. However, other World Cup viewer turnouts suggest otherwise: 26.5 million viewers for the 2014 Men’s World Cup (Germany vs Argentina) and 24.3 million viewers for 2010 final (Spain vs Netherlands).

Yet how many of Americans can answer the following question with conviction: who is your favorite soccer team?

We don’t mean country—we mean club. It’s not a common question you hear around America—let alone the Fargo-Moorhead area where there isn’t a necessarily strong soccer culture. Perhaps Manchester United of England, Bayern Munich of Germany, or Barcelona of Spain ring a bell. Perhaps you know some of the player’s names—Messi, Ronaldo, Neymar. Perhaps you have seen these teams play in finals or high steaks games. Perhaps you even have a jersey. But how frequently do you watch games at the highest level?

If your answer is I catch all of the games I can—Bravo! Unfortunately you are one of the few. Despite the leaps and bounds of soccer in America in the last couple of decades, soccer is still not quite a mainstream sport. Why is that?

There exists article after article that about reasons as to why soccer isn’t watched in America—Among these, cultural differences, competition between other sports, and even the suggestion that Americans find it “boring” have been cited as reasons. However, while we find this fascinating, we’ll leave these theories to the marketing groups of professional teams. What we’re interested in is the reasons youth soccer players should be watching soccer.

The importance of watching soccer as a player:
Consider first how much time a coach has to teach their players. Here at TC Storm, teams typically have three training sessions a week. Depending on the team, this only amounts to 3-6 hours a week dedicated to the game. Roni Mansur, a nationally licensed coach in the United States and youth coach since 1999, notes that this is simply not enough to create players of the highest level. But he doesn’t suggest more coaching: “Soccer players take their game to the next level by practicing on their own, by playing soccer with their friends outside the team environment and by watching the game.” (Watching Soccer to Elevate Game Awareness)

If you have an intrinsically motivated player who wants to play all the time, this is easier to do. But what about the player that doesn’t think to go in the backyard to play on their own? Watching soccer can serve as a great motivator for those players. Give them a good game that they get excited about and you’ll see them naturally head outside at half time and after the game to play with the ball.

It’s relatively easy for a youth player to develop a favorite player—usually it’s the one with the coolest tricks or scores the coolest goals. Simply showing a young player YouTube videos of creative players like Ronaldinho or Neymar can make a youth player’s eyes wide. It opens up a whole new world of how the ball can be manipulated and serves to expand their imagination as to what they might be able to do with extra practice. As Mansur notes:

“Who better to demonstrate these skills and techniques than the best players in the world…LeBron James and Kobe Bryant grew up watching Michael Jordan, who in turn watched Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and Dominique Wilkins. Tom Brady grew up idolizing Joe Montana. Steven Gerrard, the current Liverpool captain, was an avid Liverpool fan who grew up watching the team play at Anfield whenever he could.”

Imagining one’s self in the shoes of a pro athlete, striking a free-kick into the top corner to win the World Cup for example, is not only commonplace for any fan, but it’s actually a tool of top athletes to perform their best. In the field of sports psychology, the act of visualization—imagining one’s self performing a certain action over and over—is a proven physiological and psychological benefit to the athlete. EEG scans show that when an athlete is visualizing the motions of a specific action, the same part of the brain that controls those specific muscles lights up. In this regard, watching soccer can serve as a form of visualization. Young players, having watched their favorite player score an amazing goal, might spend some time imagining themselves scoring that same goal.

Because soccer is a free flowing sport, one without plays or routine stoppages, there are an infinite number of possibilities of what could happen at any single moment. In only 3-6 hours per week, it’s impossible for a coach to cover all the possibilities. Therefore, we must develop players that can think critically and independently in the midst of a game—being able to recognize patterns in a game and make thoughtful decisions.

What the best players in the world do is figure out ways to break down these patterns in the game—creative solutions to manipulate the game in their favor. There are countless studies that show real and long lasting learning can occur through observation. If we are to consider our youth players as students of the game, watching soccer provides extra lessons outside of the training session—the game itself becomes the teacher.

Most people that find soccer “boring” struggle to recognize and appreciate these subtleties—how the pros maintain possession, position their body in reference to their teammates and opponents, or break down defensive lines. If payers learn to recognize these substiles, they will be able to not only appreciate the game more, but also apply it to their own game. As the player begins to recognize these patterns in the games they watch, they will start to recognize these same patterns forming in their own game.

The importance of watching soccer as a parent:
Perhaps this is obvious but it can also be easily forgotten—if you want your youth player to watch more soccer, it helps if you watch with them. Like learning soccer from watching the game, children learn a lot from watching you. Therefore, if you want them to be a fan of the game, you as parents need to start becoming fans of the game. Besides, once you educate yourself about the nuances of the game, you will most likely find the game more enjoyable.

Watching Soccer in the F-M area
While watching soccer on TV is often the easier option, watching a game live has great benefits, but perhaps the biggest reason is for developing a passion for watching soccer. For any sport, really, being in a live atmosphere is far more stimulating and exciting than watching on a TV. The sights of the players up close, the smells of the grass, the sounds of the crowd and the players—it simply cannot be beat.

Unfortunately, the F-M area is void of a pro team. However, there are still plenty of opportunities for youth players to catch good soccer live around town. NDSU and MSUM both have NCAA D1 and D2 women’s programs, while Concordia has both men’s and women’s NCAA D3 teams. Not to mention that there is a plethora of high school teams in the area.

If you were willing to travel a little: to the north, WSA Winnipeg plays in the USL Premier Development League; to the west, the University of Jamestown has both men’s and women’s NAIA teams and University of Mary in Bismarck has both men’s and women’s NCAA D2 teams; to the south-east, there are plenty of college teams to watch in the Twin-Cities as well as the newly-added MLS team, Minnesota United.

Growing appreciation for soccer in America combined with new viewing platforms, it’s becoming increasingly easier to watch the world’s game. NBC Sports, Fox Soccer, ESPN, beIN Sports, Telemundo, Mun2, GolTV are just some of the providers of soccer games on TV. This isn’t even considering all the games available online!

The following articles are some guides for the new-soccer fan:

Training to Game Ratio: Finding the Right Balance

This summer the US National Teams have been impressive on the international stage. Earlier in the summer, the US Men’s teams displayed impressive wins over the Netherlands and the defending-world-cup-champions Germany.  They then carried that momentum in to the CONCACAF Gold Cup where they had some solid performances before slipping up in the semi-final and finishing in fourth place.  However, the big story of the summer is the US Women’s National Team claimed their first World Cup Championship since the 1999 season after beating Japan 5-2 in the World Cup Final.  They displayed great defensive performances and turned up offensively when it mattered most.

The recent success serves as an example that the US is taking soccer more seriously these days. A revamping of the US soccer system over the past decade or so has produced the players we see playing today. As we continue to improve as a nation, it’s important to ask the questions that might push the next generation forward.

Here in the Fargo-Moorhead area, the question of game-to-training ratio comes up a lot. Here, the game-to-training ratio is infrequent and imbalanced. For most ages, there is no league. Teams rely on traveling long distances for tournaments. Coaches and players alike can find themselves frustrated with long periods of time without a game. Then when they arrive at a tournament, most teams struggle to get their feet under them for the first game. Coaches often times find things in games that they hadn’t realized needed work—mostly tactical concepts like switching the ball and team defensive shape—things that are difficult to bring into light in training.

Compared to other areas around the nation with denser populations, the Twin-Cities for example, it would seem that we’re at a disadvantage. Consider the following diagram from USYouthSoccer.org. It shows all the games that some players in these dense-population areas have access to:

Player pathway

 

It begs the question of whether or not the players in our community are being deprived of the most essential part of the youth soccer experience—the game.

However, despite this conception, research suggests something else: for player development, the training session is more important than the game. And in this regard, perhaps our players have an advantage.

Tom Turner, a prolific writer and proponent of player development, breaks down the touches on a ball during a game:

In a study of 1500 ODP level female players, the average number of games reported played over the previous twelve months was 116. With an average game duration of 80 minutes and a maximum roster of 18, and with the ball out of play for an average 33% of the game, the typical player would experience 1.5 minutes of active play per game for a total of 174 minutes per year. That’s less than 3 hours of ball contact! (http://soccerthought.com/training-v-games-the-key-to-making-professional-and-collegiate-soccer-players/)

If that isn’t illuminating, consider the following study from Manchester United comparing the differences between fifteen 4v4 games compared to fifteen 8v8 games. Here are the results:

  • Passing: Increased by 135% in a 4v4 game, translating into 585 more passes over 15 games compared to an 8v8 match.
  • Shots: Increased by 260% in a 4v4 game, translating into 481 more shots over 15 games compared to an 8v8 match.
  • Goals: Increased by 500% in a 4v4 game, translating into 301 more goals scored over 15 games compared to an 8v8 match
  • 1v1 encounters: Increased by 225% in a 4v4 game, translating into 525 more 1v1 duals over 15 games compared to an 8v8 match.
  • Dribbling: Increased by 280% in a 4v4 model.

(http://thecoachingjourney.org/2015/04/17/when-are-we-going-to-play-the-real-game/)

U9/10 players play a 4v4 possession game

Juxtaposing these studies, something is clear—players get significantly more contact on the ball in practice than in games. And in this regard, for the development of players, the training session is superior to the game. This has to do with the ball-to-player ratio—a powerful advantage of training vs game. The smaller this ratio, the more contact with the ball, the more opportunities players have to experiment with trying new things. These small-sided games with low player-to-ball ratios are precisely the training sessions our coaches run.

But if the training session is far better than the game, why not abandon the game entirely? It’s a hyperbolized question, but asking it is important for understanding the training-to-game ratio. The game is the most fun part. Not only that, but there are plenty of things that a game can teach that a training session can’t. This is painfully clear when teams head out for tournaments, dramatically shifting the game-to-training ratio. For the player, there is an element of competitiveness present in games that even on the most competitive teams can’t be matched by the game—and this is often enjoyable to the player. For the coach, there are scenarios in a game that reveal the “holes” in their perception of the team. In other words, gosh, we really should’ve been working on trapping the ball out of the air… Something that a team can’t work on until they return home and get back to training.

With this in mind, most suggest a 3:1 or 4:1 training-to-game ratio—a practice-three-times-a-week-game-on-the-weekend structure. But as we all know too well, obtaining this ratio for the F-M youth soccer community isn’t easy. We’re limited by our community size, our proximity to other soccer communities and also by the weather.

At Tri-City, we encourage our coaches to implement session plans filled with small sided-games and technical work that greatly increase the player’s contact with the ball. We are not looking to create players that can go win 50 local games at the u13 level. We’re looking to develop players with a passion for the sport that might take them to levels beyond those 50 wins—to state championships, college, and possibly beyond.

In this light, perhaps we can look find a silver lining: isolation calls for more training sessions to compensate for a lack of games; more training sessions with our development-oriented coaches means more touches on the ball for each player; more touches means the players develop the technical side of the game quicker.

Preparing for the Approaching Storm [Tournament]

As of this morning, the countdown timer on our website reads 7 days, 7 hours, 8 minutes, 29 seconds until the kick-off of the first games of our 8th annual Tri-City Storm Youth Soccer Tournament. A week to go. With each tick of the clock, the final preparations are being made.

The field crews: hard at work making sure the pitches are in their best shape—measuring and mowing and lining, often at the expense of relocating practices and scrimmages to other local fields. We’re grateful to the Fargo and Moorhead Park Districts for their cooperation and dedication.

Moorhead Fields

The Moorhead fields are looking great leading up to the tournament.

The parents: finishing up the forms, taking off the hours at work, washing player uniforms, (and the infinite other things parents do for their kids). They’re checking the oil, anti-freeze, tire-pressure, and all of those other things we’re supposed to check before long trips. They’re doing the trench-work for their children to enjoy our tournament (and we’re so grateful for that!).

The Pepsi fields freshly mowed as the ground crew starts lining new fields and setting up goals.

The Pepsi fields freshly mowed as the ground crew starts lining new fields and setting up goals.

The coaches: fine tuning their teams, tweaking formations and line-ups, creating session plans filled with shadow play, set-piece work, and plenty of scrimmage time. With some final attention dedicated to those crucial elements of the game—the shape of the back-line, switching the ball, and of course, finishing—they’ll lead the way.

And finally, the players: getting the extra touches on the ball, getting mentally prepared, and hopefully getting the proper nutrition! We’re excited to have so many young athletes making their way out to these fields to compete and have fun in our tournament. We can’t wait to see all those step-overs, slide-tackles, diving-saves, and of course, all those goals.

Medals just arrived for the U9/10 players!

Medals just arrived for the U9/10 players!

Here at the office, if you asked, we might admit to weathering a storm of our own. It’s no small task putting on this tournament—scheduling 265 games for 150 teams from all around the region, coordinating referees to fill 667 openings, all the paperwork (oh, the paperwork!), calling the Dippin’ Dots guy… Yes, you read correctly—there will be Dippin’ Dots. But we don’t fear the storm here. We welcome it. Good luck to everyone in your final preparations and we can’t wait to see you in a week!

College Recruiting Seminar Snap Shot

by Ben Schneweis

TC Storm will be offering College Recruiting Seminars for boys and girls on March 8th and 9th respectively. As those events approach, I’d like to offer just a snapshot of the presentation we’ll put on before we get to the Q & A with a panel of college coaches.

We live in a part of the country that isn’t known for consistently producing top soccer talent, so much of the recruiting process often falls on the recruit. Recognizing and embracing that is a huge part of the recruiting process. TC Storm works hard to provide college showcase playing opportunities for its older teams, but not every player gets contacted by colleges that are the right fit for them at those events. Having grown up near here (Grand Forks), and having recruited athletes to play soccer at two local institutions (North Dakota State University and Concordia College), I’d like to share some thoughts on the experiences I’ve had as a college recruited and as I’ve worked to help TC Storm players that I have coached find the right school. This is just a brief look at some of the information we’ll share at our recruiting events in March.

THINGS TO DO:

TALK TO YOUR CLUB COACH
The first and most important thing you can do is have an honest, open discussion with your club coach about what level of college soccer is right for you. I have seen far too many players set their sights too high (usually NCAA DI) only to realize late in their high school career that that isn’t going to happen and they are too far behind in the recruiting process to find the right school and program for them.

START THE PROCESS EARLY
It’s ideal to give yourself as much time as possible. Starting to look and think about college as a sophomore, as hard as that may be, is a great idea. Parents: I understand how difficult it can be to get your son or daughter to think about college at 15, but taking them to a few schools and talking about college is a great way to get things moving early. Visiting/touring colleges as you travel with your family or for soccer tournaments is a great way to get them to start thinking about it.

THINGS TO NOT DO:

SEND MASS EMAILS:
Just as you would want a personalize email or letter from a coach, it’s important that you personalize your communication to each coach/school. Take the time to spell the name of the coach correctly! It’s the little things that matter.

BE VAGUE:
It’s super important to provide specifics when you contact college coaches. Vague, general emails leave much to be desired. Whether you’re introducing yourself to a coach for the first time with video or emailing them to let them know where and when you’ll be playing at during your next event, provide as many specifics as possible. Let them know why you’re interested in their school and program, and if you’re emailing about event, provide field numbers, game times, jersey numbers and colors, what position(s) you typically play, and any other important details about your games.

Click here for more info on the College Recruiting Seminars!

Ben Schneweis serves as the Technical Director for TC Storm Soccer Club. He is also the Head Men’s Soccer Coach at Concordia College and has previously worked as an assistant women’s coach at North Dakota State University and the assistant men’s and women’s coach at Bellarmine University in Louisville, KY. He also has extensive club soccer coaching experience at all ages as well as administrative experience with clubs in North Dakota and Kentucky.

Presidents Cup is Great Experience for TC Storm

This past weekend six Tri-City Storm teams traveled to Sioux Falls, South Dakota to compete in the 3rd Annual Presidents Cup at the Sanford Field House.  Representing the girls side were the U12, U13, U14 and U16 girls teams, while the U14 and U16 boys rounded out the remaining Tri-City teams.  As expected, the tournament featured top quality competition from around the region across all age groups.  At the conclusion of the weekend, three Tri-City teams were crowned champs, while another narrowly missed out on a top place finish.  Overall, the quality of soccer on display was encouraging from all the teams and for the most part the results followed suit.  Continuing reading to see how each team fared at the Presidents Cup.

We’ll start things off with the three championship sides – The U13 girls, U14 girls and the U14 boys.  The U13 girls confidently swept aside the competition this weekend as they won all four of their games by a combined score of 10-1.  The lone goal they conceded came in the championship game, which they won 3-1 against a strong Minot Magic U13 girls team.  Team members: Madeline Etter, Alyssa Heacox, Lauren Hodny, Sara McMullen, Annie Mund, Breanna Nelson, Emily Post, Molly Sundbom and Gabby Tunheim.

The U14 girls also showcased some fantastic soccer throughout the tournament and ultimately earned a first place finish.  The girls played in a five team bracket where they played each team once and the team with the most points after the four games would be declared champion.  Over the four games they recorded two wins and two draws while maintaining a positive six-goal differential.  Their record gave them 8 points over the weekend and meant that they edged out both Dakota Alliance teams who each finished with 7 points. Team members: Megan Barnick, Brooke Boyer, Kylie Englund, Sophie Gjesdahl, Ashley Hansen, Abigail Hoff, Anna Lambertz, Niesha Mancini, Haley Peters and Kendall Swanson.

Rounding out the first place finishers was the U14 boys, who earned a trip to the championship game after recording two wins and a draw in group play and then beating DUSC 3-1 in the semi-final game.  The boys showed some great individual and team play at times while they scored 11 goals and conceded only six.  In the championship game they came up against Dakota Alliance Spitfire who they had previously lost to during group play.  The boys found themselves down by three goals right away, but they showed their mental strength by battling back and scoring four unanswered goals.  After 36 intense minutes of soccer the boys had claimed first place.  Team members: Alhasan Alomar, Gabe Borowicz, Conner Bosch, Jarin Entzi, Casey Haldis, Camerson Hoff, Ethan Olson, Jack Olson and Tate Simpson.

Also playing in a championship game were the U16 girls.  Overall they had a great weekend as they faced some quality competition from around the region.  Two wins and 10 goals in group play helped earn the girls a spot in the championship game.  In the final they came up against a very strong BHR U16 girls team and were beat by a score of 1-5.  Team members: Cory Duffield, Ruth Hegstad, Madison Lucas, Jensen Odegaard, Molly Sarafolean, Allie Stover, Destiny Valdez, Peighten Watson and Lauren Zanotti.

The U12 Girls had some unfortunate results against quality competition but still showed some great signs of improvement. They tied their first game at one goal a piece, but then narrowly lost their next two games by scores of 2-4 and 1-3.  If the ball had bounced a little differently maybe the results would’ve been different, but that is beside the point.  What is important is that the team improves and learns from the experience of playing against quality opponents.  Team members: Mikayla Barnick, Maria Borowicz, Ally Peters, Chloe Strom, Sydney Tweten, Liana Ulness, Olivia Watson, Amber Weibye and Maria Zanotti.

This weekend proved to be troublesome for the U16 boys.  One look at their results and you see that they had three losses, but that doesn’t paint the whole picture.  The boys were unlucky to lose all three games by one measly goal, 3-4, 3-4 and 0-1.  A single decision can be the difference between winning and losing these games and so the boys shouldn’t be discouraged with the way they played.  Surely they have positives to take away from the weekend, as well as some areas that need to be refined.  Team members: Bassel El-Rewini, Noah Gjesdahl, Hunter Maloy, Brian Rapp, Matthew Russell, Devon Thompson and Trey Waltz.

Overall the Presidents Cup in Sioux Falls did not disappoint as all the Tri-City Storm teams that were in attendance faced some really good competition and displayed moments of great soccer.  Win or lose, what’s important is that the kids continue to develop as individuals and as teams.  Great job to all the Tri-City Storm teams that made the trip this weekend!  Now its time to get back on the training field and continue to get better.

Minot and Bemidji Join TC Storm in Weekend Jamboree

The Tri-City Storm Select teams are a little over three weeks into their season and this weekend they experienced their first competitive action of the season as Minot and Bemidji soccer clubs traveled to Fargo to compete in a futsal jamboree.  Thirty-two games were played over the weekend at the newly renovated Soccer Central, which was a fantastic way to break in the new mezzanine overlooking the field.  The arena was packed from nine in the morning till ten at night on Saturday and for most of the day on Sunday as friends and family cheered on their respective teams.

There was some fantastic soccer on display throughout the weekend.  Glimpses of individual brilliance and inspiring passing movements were routinely counteracted with fantastic defensive stands as players showcased their skills.  Countless games were decided within the last few minutes as teams were generally very evenly matched.

Overall, we couldn’t be happier with how the weekend went, as there was some fantastic soccer played, great determination and sportsmanship shown by all teams.  The jamboree was a great way to allow the players to show off what they have been learning and test themselves against some quality competition.  We would like to thank Minot Soccer Club and Bemidji Soccer Club for making the trek to Fargo and helping make this weekend such a great event!  We look forward to doing this again!

Select teams continue with their training this week as they further their development and prepare for some upcoming events.  In February several TC Storm teams will be heading to Sioux Falls for the Presidents Cup and Bismarck for the Frosty’s Cup.

Check out some photos from the Saturday morning games below.

 

Goal Fest in Sioux Falls

This weekend six TC Storm teams participated in the 7th Annual Indoor Winter Games, hosted by Dakota Alliance Soccer Club at the state-of-the-art Sanford Fieldhouse in Sioux Falls, SD.  All six teams came out of the weekend with positive goal differentials; four teams made it to the championship game; and three of those teams ended the weekend as the top team in their respective divisions.  Over the course of the weekend TC Storm teams scored a combined 124 goals and conceded only 55 for a positive goal differential of 69.  Congratulations to all teams for their effort this weekend and to the U16 Girls Black, U16 Boys Black and the U18 Boys Black for winning their respective divisions!

The U16 Girls Black beat DASC in the championship game.

The U16 Girls sent two teams down for the tournament and both teams had strong performances over the weekend.  During group play the U16 Girls Black scored 17 goals and only conceded two en route to two wins and a draw and a trip to the championship game.  In the final they came up against DASC who they had previously tied 1-1 during group play.  The championship game was a different story however, as the U16 Girls Black prevailed by a score of 3-1.  The U16 Girls Gold team also had a strong weekend, but unfortunately weren’t able to overcome a loss in their opening game in order to advance to the final.  They lost their first game against DASC, but bounced back and won their next two games by a combined score of 11-0 to finish the weekend with 13 goals scored and 7 allowed.

U16 Girls Black: Cory Duffield, Ruth Hegstad, Tabatha Kelsch, Madison Kramer, Emily Leier, Madison Lucas, Jensen Odegaard, Molly Sarafolean and Allie Stover.

U16 Girls Gold: Abigail Hagen, Emily Heinrich, Andrea Kramer, Ashley Matter, Rachel Nguyen, Brianna Schaub, Destiny Valdez, Megan Zander and Lauren Zanotti.

U16 Boys Black after defeating DASC 6-4 in the championship.

The U16 Boys also sent a couple teams to the tournament.  The Black team drew their first game against Minot at 3 goals a piece, but came back dominate in their next two games winning by a combined score of 14-5 to earn a trip to the championship game.  In the championship they came out on top after beating DASC by a score of 6-4.  They finished the weekend with 23 goals scored and 12 allowed.  The U16 Boys Gold won their opening game, tied their second and needed a win in their third group stage game in order to advance to the championship game, but unfortunately they couldn’t edge out DASC and lost narrowly by a score of 3-5.

U16 Boys Black: Jonathan Deitz, Noah Gjesdahl, Joseph Grundstrom, Jacob Reinholz, Kyle St. Germain and Natenael Teshager.

U16 Boys Gold: TJ Anderson, Dawson Breyer, Matthew Nemer, Brian Rapp, Matthew Russell, Devon Thompson and Trey Waltz.

The U18 Boys also split into two teams for the weekend and each team represented the club fantastically.  After the final group stage games had been played both teams remained undefeated with three wins a piece and set themselves up for an all Tri-City Storm final.  The Black team finished the group stage with 24 goals scored and only two goals allowed, while the Gold team tallied 21 goals and allowed only 11.  The championship game was a thrilling affair as both teams know each other in and out.  Action was back and forth and both teams demonstrated great ability and in the end the Black team came out on top by a score of 6-5.

Both U18 Boys teams after their thrilling championship game.

U18 Boys Black: Braden Axtman, Caleb Dachtler, Sam Gess, Isaac Judisch, Ben Olson, Benjamin Schleicher and Aaron Syvrud.

U18 Boys Gold: Aaron Beyer, Justin Foslie, Richard Lancaster, Aronah Mukhtar, Nick Nguyen and Austin Peterson.

Again, congratulations to all Tri-City Storm teams this weekend!  The players represented their teams and club admirably and really showcased some great attacking soccer.  Great job to everyone who played this weekend and let’s keep it going throughout the rest of the winter season!

High School Girls Spring Fling Tourney is a Hit

Last weekend Tri-City Storm Soccer Club hosted the first ever High School Girls Futsal Tournament in Fargo.  8 different teams from Fargo, Moorhead, West Fargo and Grand Forks competed in the 3-day event held at Soccer Central.  The tournament was a great opportunity for North Dakota girls to get ready for their upcoming season and for the Minnesota girls to push themselves and continue to improve.

Moorhead Matrix (black) vs. Shanley Oak Grove (red)

The 8 teams were split into two groups of 4, with the top two teams from each group advancing to a semi-final game.  After playing games Friday night and all day Saturday Shanley Oak Grove, Moorhead Matrix, the Samurai Thunder Birds and Fargo North found themselves in the semi-finals with a chance to advance to the championship game.

Hannah Riveland from Moorhead Matrix dribbles past her defender.

In the first semi-final game Moorhead Matrix came up against Fargo North.  The game was back and forth the entire time as both teams were evenly matched.  In the end Fargo North squeaked by Matrix by a score of 6-5.  They would face the winner of the second semi-final game between the Samurai Thunder Birds and Shanley Oak Grove.  The Samurai Thunder Birds came out strong and had a firm grasp on the game.  After the 40 minute game, the Samurai Thunder Birds had earned a spot in the championship game by winning 4-0.

Karissa Sanchez of Moorhead Matrix rips a shot on goal in the consolation game.

If the games weren’t exciting enough already, they were about to get a lot more intense in the 3rd place game and championship game.  Moorhead Matrix took on Shanley Oak Grove in a very competitive consolation game.  The game was close the whole way, but the Matrix were able to take advantage of their chances and ran away with the game at the end by a score of 5-2.

Fargo North (green) took on the Samurai Thunder Birds (white) in the championship game.

In the championship game Fargo North came up against the Samurai Thunder Birds.  The two teams met earlier in the weekend with the Samurai Thunder Birds winning comfortably 8-3.  However, this time it was a different story.  The game was very intense with the action back and forth the entire time.  Both teams spent the weekend scoring goals for fun, but that mentality changed as both defenses tightened up to keep the ball out of their net.  After 40 minutes, the teams were deadlocked at 2 goals a piece, which meant that overtime would be needed to determine the winner.  The teams came out determined to score the winning goal and the Samurai Thunder Bird’s own Allie Stover did just that to claim the championship by a score of 3-2.

No subs, no problem.  The Samurai Thunder Birds with their championship trophy. Congrats girls!

Overall, the weekend was a great experience as the girls got to showcase their skills in a very fun and friendly environment.  We were so happy that so many teams were able to join us for this event and we would like to thank the Grand Forks teams for coming down to participate in this inaugural event.  Thank you to all the teams, players, parents and volunteers who helped make the first ever Spring Fling Futsal Tournament a success!  We hope you all had as much fun as we did.