On Saturday, the soccer team which I coach had its first "real" game. We played 2 games in one day 2 weeks ago, both against Academy teams (I coach a recreational team), both were considered friendlies. One was a close 4-3 loss, the other was one I'd rather forget.
Saturday was our redemption, we played against a team from a neighboring YMCA club, and won 7-0. With about 10 minutes to go in the first half, up 4-0, I put in my weakest goalie to give her some experience, and put my best all-around player (who was the starting goalie) on the field with one simple instruction...."go tell all your teammates that there is now a 3-pass requirement before you're allowed to shoot." At the next stoppage, she did just that, running to each player and telling them we had to have 3 passes before we were allowed to shoot. We could've scored 10-12 goals that day, but I refuse to run up a score more than necessary. I'm developing soccer players, not sadists.
After the game, I found that one of our better players had apparently been trash-talking the other team near the end of the game, telling them things like "you guys suck," and other such things. So, tonight at practice, I have to be in the difficult position to talk to her and her mother about her behavior, and how there is nothing worse in my mind than doing that. If she wants to do handstands on the field to celebrate a win, that's fine. But the kind of stuff you see in the NFL, to me, is completely classless and must be stopped at this age or it will only get worse. Having this talk is not something I am relishing, but I owe it to this girl to teach her the right way to behave. As Judge Smails once said, "I've sentenced boys younger than you to the gas chamber. Didn't want to do it. I felt I owed it to them." Well, I owe it to her to throw her under the bus in front of her mom (who I know will believe me, and will break a foot off in her daughter's butt on the way home from practice).
The coolest part of the game....one of my players stole the ball and went in on a breakaway. 15 feet from the goal, around where the goal box line is, she realized she didn't have her 3 passes. She turned, fired it back to a teammate, who fired it right back to the first girl, who launched it back to the second girl, who sent it back to the first girl, who then put it right in the net, with the defender and goalie running back and forth trying to keep up with the ball. Afterwards, the opposing coach said he was amazed at our ability to pass the ball.
In a game like that, anyone can run up the score. What I want to do is use that opportunity to teach the game the way it should be played.