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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Inside the season at Marie Reed Part IV: Target practice

This fall, DC SCORES intern Mir’ed Asfour is following the boys and girls teams at Marie Reed Elementary School, the flagship school of our program. Check back each week for posts highlighting the students and coaches at Reed; detailing the successes and struggles of the season; and placing in the spotlight everything that goes on behind the scenes during a DC SCORES soccer season.

See photos from the season on Flickr


Written by Mir’ed Asfour

“Nice job, keep it up, keep it up.”

Finally, it was as if all the girls’ struggles suddenly disappeared. The girls dribbled, up and down the pitch, as Coach Lacomba praised them wholeheartedly. The girls, for the first time that I’ve seen, were able to maintain possession of the ball. No girls were caught chasing balls. No girls made Lacomba upset. Not once did I hear her say, “I’m not happy.”

Lacomba was enthused with the girls’ progress. She decided they didn’t need to devote as much time to dribbling and maintaining possession as they usually do; instead, she turned the girls’ attention to shooting the ball.

“I really want you to concentrate on getting your planter foot, lean over that ball, don’t go back, lean over, and bring your leg and hit it,” Lacomba instructed.

All great things take time, and it looks like the girls have found something new to work on -- shooting technique. As the drill began, balls veered toward the sideline rather than the goal. Lacomba instructed one girl after another to avoid leaning back when kicking the ball. Every girl shot the ball four times, twice against each of the two goalkeepers Lacomba rotated in. Of all the shots taken, only a handful traveled between the goal posts.

While the drill session continued, I noticed a girl watching from afar. Usually on Wednesdays the boys practice outside with the girls in the gym, but the boys had no practice so the girls were on the field with plenty of space for friends, fans and family observers.

“My name is Gabriella,” the girl said by way of introduction. “I graduated last year from Marie Reed and this year I go to Hardy Middle School, and I’m here because I just help out Ms. Lacomba with the girls. I actually miss this team, I really like playing soccer, and the fact that I don’t have soccer at my school … so I just like coming here and helping.”

Gabriella commented on the current state of the girls team:

“They’re getting better, they got really good players and they’re getting better. I think that goalie is getting better and the other goalie. The defense is looking very strong right now … They need to make more contact to each other, they need to talk, communicate more so they can pass the ball to each other.”

Gabriella then spoke about her team from last year before giving her thoughts on how the team practicing in front of her could improve.

“We had bigger girls, they were pretty good, we really communicated and we did well. They should communicate more, they should also get better at shooting goals. They use their toes; they should probably use the side of their foot. They’re improving, so I think they’re going to do well. I hope they get better.”

Gabriella also talked about her love of DC SCORES, saying: “It’s awesome. I like mostly the soccer part. I started playing since fourth grade and ever since I got really good at defense, and then they put me more at midfield and forward, and I really like it.”

As far as the poetry aspect of the program, Gabriella said, “I like it, it’s just that I’m not very good at poetry. I like going on stage and performing my poetry.”

While I conversed with Gabriella, the girls team took the field to scrimmage each other. The girls did a good job of maintaining possession, however they had some trouble passing. “Chin up,” Coach Lacomba repeated a few times, urging the girls to look where they were going and passing. Lacomba had to direct girls to their correct positions a few times, also.

It seemed as if there were few positives to take away from the scrimmage, until, in the last minute, a strike from one of the girls a few yards out zoomed past the goalie and hit the back of the net. As practice concluded, there was hope that the shooting technique they worked on and demonstrated in their scrimmage will be evident in their games going forward.

Lacomba ended practice after the beautiful shot and made a few final remarks, noting that the team needed to do a better job at “taking it easy, getting in position, looking around, and doing a nice pass.”

Lacomba also highlighted the performance of one of the new girls to join DC SCORES: “Nancy, for the third day, you’re doing pretty good on defense!

The Reed teams have a lot to look forward to with Fall Frenzy -- featuring a handful of soccer games against teams from throughout the District -- this Saturday. The games will offer more chances to hone their vastly improved dribbling skills and refine their shooting technique.

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