The US battles Austria today in the first round of the trophy stage. The winner will play the winner between South Africa and Romania this afternoon. The quality of all these teams is immense: While we did not qualify for the top 8 spots, many of the teams in our current bracket could have been world champions with some better luck. France, whom the US defeated in the first stage of the tournament qualified for the final eight in the Homeless World Cup championship. This shows the degree of parity. Speaking with Chris Lodgson this morning, he confirmed that the team is proud of their effort and achievement thus far. The frustration has been in losing the scoring touch, but the team also feels that they have not suffered for lack of effort or team focus.
The coaches feel likewise. A few more days to train and we might have solved a couple more problems on the pitch, but in the end we have adjusted well to the high level of competition. The structure and strategy has put the team in a good position to reach their potential on the the field.
If the ultimate goal is to develop leaders to go on to greater achievement in life and to improve our local programs, this group is indeed champions. Stay tuned for match results. As always, notes of encouragement are welcome in the form of comments.