Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Street Soccer Stars Struggle after 2-0 start

Brothers Dave and Michael have had a tumultous week. The family had seemed the most stable they had ever been. Dave upon turning 18 had signed on to work with Michael. Each of them were logging a minumum of 40 hours a week. Their sister Yolanda too found a job, plus their mother still had a part time job on the weekends. The burden of a large family had suddenly tranformed into an assest. Additionally Dave continued to train with the Charlotte United U-18 club. After showing off his speed and skills for the lower level team, Dave was given the chance to train with the premier squad. Hesitant, and even fearful of failure, Dave agreed to practice with the premeir team only when Street Soccer Coach Rob offered to practicce with him. Rob put on his cleats and trained with the team. The rest was history. Dave, according the coach, improves by leaps and bounds each time he comes out. He was too good of talent to pass up on, the coach continued. Dave has been invited to play in the club’s January tournament in Raleigh.

But all that was last week. When one of the two bread factories that Dave and Michael clean at night was shut down due to rennovations, the workforce was downsized by four. Dave the most recent hire was cut first. Michael was cut fourth. They are scheduled to return to work in Febuary, but for the moment they are jobless all over again.

On top of that news, there was death in the family back in Panama and Dave and Michael’s mother is putting her income towards a ticket to Panama for the funeral. In short, the family is staring homelessness in the face once again. Still, Dave and Mike are confident they will find work within the week ahead.

So the above was the backdrop for the McGregor’s when we drove up in the van to pick them up for Tuesday’s game. Yolanda was at work and their mother was heading to Panama, so they were alone with Yolanda's son, Xavier. We drove around the neighborhood to find their brother Junior to watch the baby as the green digits on dashboard counted closer and closer to game time.

We arrived in time, but without much time to get settled and talk about the match ahead. Our opponents were the top team in the league (our league is the premier adult division in Charlotte) and featured a MLS player who is training to make it back and others who have played for the local professional team, the Charlotte Eagles.

Although we showed talent, speed, and proved to be dangerous offensively. We lacked concentration, poise, and desire. Dave played an excellent game, but failed to find a tight mark in the back just 3 minutes into the game. We found ourselves down one-nil. Elmer then missed a tap in that would have tied it up five minutes later. That was the last chance we would have of getting back into the game. We consistently lost our marks and conceded easy goals. While we were dangerous when we attacked, we were unprecise. As the total against us mountained we found a few minutes of intensiy that saw us score three unanswered goals. The final tally was 11-4 or there abouts. Our oppents get all the credit. They even scored two full field shots from the goalkeeper who read our keepr being of his line. He struck two perfect knuckle balls over the head of goals and just beneath the cross bar on two shots, one in each half. You can’t even say our goalies were that far out of position. It was that kind of day.

On the postive side, three playeres stood out. Craig Holley, Dwayne Gourzong, and Pop Miller. These three are rubber players that contribute to bothe the Street Soccer Stars and the 945 squad. Dwayne scored once again. He has now scored in every match he has played for Street Soccer. Craig’s hustle was unmatched. He proved a tough defender for even the most talented of our opponents to get around. Pop as well showed a new agressiveness and more confidence on the ball, although his playing time was limited with this squad.

The message after the game was that we joined this league to challenge ourselves, and that we were facing this challenge right now. Next week we will look forward to playing with more intenstiy. We have an opportunity with this team to change people’s minds. Win or lose, if we play with intensity and fair play, we can achive that in every match.

Record for the season is now 2-2.

Pop Miller is pictured above.

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