Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Denmark Veteran Daniel Martinez pictured above.
Daniel Martinez' smile came in through the window first, so that he seemed to follow it in through the door. But that is Daniel these days. He just finished his first semester at the community college. You look at Daniel and you feel like you are looking through your first pair of prescription sunglasses, he in sharper focus than anything you have seen before. He got a raise and is working night shift now, which excludes him from our league games. He gets his soccer on the weekend, coaching latino kids in Rock Hill, about 25 minutes South of Charlotte. Daniel will attend a coaching clinic to begin to get his coaching liscence this spring at the same time that coach Rob will go to get a more advanced liscence. Our hope is that one day Daniel could even coach the US street soccer team at a Homeless World Cup. In the meantime it will be a good way for him to earn extra money.
The Street Soccer Stars finished their regular season tonight in one of the top four spots, meaning they achieved their goal of making the play-offs. With this finish, they have finished higher than any other Street Soccer team in any competition. In contrast to the victory last week, the Stars did not make the other team unravel. Our Colombian opponents maintained their focus. It was the Stars who slipped out of their passing game and into a bit of long ball. A needless foul at the top of the box by Mike McGregor let to a quick start goal. A poorly set wall led to another. A third goal near the end was a result off not getting back goal-sides, something the team has improved on tremendously this winter. Those slip-ups made the difference in the game. We had our chances, but couldn't quite get a finish. We settled for complicated passes when the simple would have sufficed. The greatest thing of all is that we can point to a handful of slip ups and pinpoint our weaknesses. In all the years of working with street soccer teams, we have never had so few problems to address. As coaches in the past we rarely ever got past the basic fundamentals. While bad habits change slowly, we must give credit to the team despite its 5-3 loss. Another positive is that our solid opponents have taught us what we need to work on ahead of the playoffs.
We might add that few of the other team's players got up at 4am and walked to the bus stop in 20 degree weather like our goalie Tim. Most people weren't hunting down immigration papers and stressing about the status of their greencard like Dwayne. The McGregors, God bless them, are staring eviction in the face since it was their mother's name on the lease and now she failed to return from Panama. Dave was almost frantic talking with Rob yesterday on the way to pracitce, "I don't want to be homeless again, I got to get a job, I got to get education."
Stay tuned for more. Tomorrow night the 945 squad is in action. Next week is a rest before the playoffs the following week.
Posted by Lawrence at 9:14 PM