See photos from the season on Flickr.
Written by Mir'ed Asfour
DC SCORES Intern
After visiting Marie Reed Elementary School a week earlier for their final practice before their first game, I arrived to the school on Wednesday for my second visit and was met with great news -- both teams played very successfully and together, and athletes from both the girls and boys teams reported that they won.
I walked into the gym, where I noticed the girls were eager to get moving. Coach Lacomba warmly greeted me once again. Coach Lacomba and I briefly conversed about the girls she had this year. She mentioned that many of them were new to the DC SCORES program. Lacomba took note of the individuals who had been with her before. One of the very few DC SCORES veterans, Blanca J., talked to me about her experience.
“My friends are here for me,” said Blanca, who has been in DC SCORES for three years.
She continued to explain that her favorite position is goalie because it’s “The toughest thing to do in soccer” and Blanca loves challenges.
Blanca also enjoys the poetry aspect of DC SCORES.
“I get to write poems about myself,” she said. “It makes people understand how I feel.”
Blanca also delved into her memory of Reed’s first game day.
“Everybody was working hard,” Blanca said, noting that there were no shots taken against her.
Done chatting, Blanca ran back and stood in between the simulated goal posts in the gym as her teammates scrimmaged each other. Coach Lacomba had the teams lined up in three lanes. The girls were allowed to pass back and forth between each lane, but they were not allowed to leave it.
Lacomba stressed control as the ball bounced between each girl. She also taught the girls to be more aware of their surroundings as more often than not, two girls on the same team would run into each other as they chased the ball. Control is something the girls will continue to work on, and hopefully see improvements in throughout the course of the season.
After the scrimmage, control of the ball remained the theme at practice. The girls were placed in three lines, and each line had a lane of cones that the girls had to weave in and out of. Coach Lacomba told the girls that it wasn’t a race. She expected the girls to maintain control of the ball as they weaved in and out of the cones, similar to alpine skiers at the Olympics. She demanded that the girls maintain possession of the ball and not end up chasing after it.
The youth of the group was evident as several balls went astray. But as practice continued, the group’s ability to maintain possession became more pleasing to their coach.
I left the girls practice to visit the boys team outside. When I got to the field, members of the group were hard at work scrimmaging each other. It was clear that the effort the boys had put in a week earlier had helped them progress greatly. As the boys scrimmaged, the ball rolled out of play several times. On each instance, a different boy walked up to the sideline with the ball and beautifully made the throw-in, with both heels on the ground and their arms above their heads.
The boys’ hard work has resulted in them practicing great throw-in technique.
Coach Lenaghan briefly stopped play to describe a new skill to the players: shielding the ball. He described how to shield a ball, explaining that when there is a defender trying to take the ball from you, you have to maintain possession and keep your back toward the defender. He commented that it was a legal way to keep the defenders from getting the ball.
As the scrimmage continued, the boys showed that they clearly still had a lot of work to do in that area, but they greatly improved their performance on corner kicks. The players kicking the ball always managed to find an open teammate. This impressive display of awareness would surely pay off in their next game.
Coach Lenaghan ended practice, and brought the team together. He highlighted what he thought they did well in the game, and during practice, noting the players’ sportsmanship and throw-in technique. The team broke as they usually do, with a resonant cheer of “1, 2, 3 REED!”
After practice, another DC SCORES veteran, Jubayed A., took a moment to chat.
“So far there’s only been one game that we won,” said the fifth-grader. “I’ve been in DC SCORES for two years, and my favorite part about it is that we all play together and we all score goals.”
He also commented on how the team displays leadership.
“I kinda tell them what positions (to play), and I tell my teammates if someone comes behind them with the ball to say ‘man on,’” Jubayed said of how he displays leadership.
He noted that he thought his team this year was looking good, explaining how they display good sportsmanship and are also good at passing and dribbling. He mentioned, though, that he’d still like to see more passing during the games, and less individualism.
Jubayed concluded our conversation by telling me how he enjoys poetry as an outlet through which to describe tastes, sights and other feelings.of his.
Both Blanca and Jubayed enjoy soccer, but they also noted the importance of poetry to them. They’re looking forward to the rest of the season, and both mentioned the importance of practice and improvement over the season. Blanca’s team’s focus is control, whereas Jubayed’s team is working on technique and, as he said, more passing.
Blanca and Jubayed’s veteran presences are sure to be beneficial to both teams, and they hope to see their teams progress and perform well in their games throughout the fall season.