The Ridgefield Avalanche’s hardest game of the season ended with a success for the team as they became champions in the Washington Youth Soccer Recreational Cup’s U11 bracket this month.
On Dec. 10, the team made up of 10 to 12 year olds, played at the Starfire Sports Complex. They won 3-2 in overtime against Northwest Sound Youth Soccer Association’s U11 team. Following 4-0 and 8-0 shutouts in the first stages of competition, Northwest Sound’s team more than put up a fight for the Avalanche.
Down 0-2 in the first half, the Avalanche, which represents the U11 division for Pacific Soccer Club, managed to tie the game.
“That second half … we gave them the pressure and it showed,” Avalanche coach Larry Jones said.
After a goal in the first five minutes of overtime, the squad managed to hold on to their lead to take home the trophy.
“It was a team that hasn’t lost,” Jones said about their opponents in their final game of the season.
Avalanche is a team that usually only loses one game a year at most, making them a solid match.
Jones said the referee of the game said the teams played more competitively than those in the older age brackets.
“It was a nail-biter,” Jones said. “It was intense.”
Jones grew up in Clark County and played with an “exceptional” coach when he was young.
“I’m kind of here to bring that to the next generation, really,” Jones said.
The Pacific Soccer Club is a community league in North Clark County. It includes La Center, Ridgefield and Woodland.
“It’s a league that takes a lot of the small community to make one big one,” Jones said.
This year’s success makes the Avalanche’s approach to “select” competition in the spring the next goal as they hope to win Washington Youth Soccer’s Founders Cup.
“These girls really worked hard and had fun doing it, too,” Jones said.
In terms of coaching strategy, Jones said he focuses on teaching the team to be all-around players before focusing on specific drills and plays.
“Confidence is very key for us,” Jones said.
Good fundamentals and an understanding that the girls are playing against teams around their same ability level helps the Avalanche be successful.
“When they go back to their high schools, middle schools or wherever they are playing at, the coaches can see that these girls have been trained to be an all-around player, where they can learn and understand differently than most girls coming up at this age,” Jones said.
Jones also coaches for one of Pacific Soccer Club’s older leagues. He said having a perspective across age groups helps determine how and what to focus on as a coach.
“It’s been working fabulously,” he said.
Although he believes his coaching style is different from other coaches, the results speak for themselves, Jones said.
“I’m very blessed and very thankful that I have these girls, and the parents that are willing to try something different,” Jones said.
No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here