NLS Athena at Virginia Beach Spring Classic


TVirginia Beach Spring Classichis past weekend, my wife and I took a mini-vacation to Virginia Beach, Virginia. We took my daughter, my eleven-year-old granddaughter, and our four-year-old grandson with us. We went to enable my granddaughter to play with NLS Athena in the Virginia Beach Spring Classic soccer tournament.

We left early Saturday morning to make the first game which started at noon. Athena’s coach wanted the team present for warm-up by 11:15. We arrived at the soccer center with thirty minutes to spare.

Athena took control of the game from the first whistle. They scored in the first two minutes. Halftime found them leading by four goals to none. The second half mirrored the first with Athena scoring four more goals. Their opponents could not put the ball in the goal but received a gift when an Athena player scored an own goal. Final was 8-1 in favor of Athena.

The second game started at 4 pm. Once more Athena scored in the first minutes. The game settled as the two teams exchanged possessions. As the first half was winding to an end, Athena permitted a goal from outside the box. The ball sailed over the goalkeeper’s head, just under the bar. Halftime score 1-1.

The first ten minutes of the second half saw each team driving the ball into their opponent’s half without scoring. Then Athena suffered a defensive breakdown on a throw-in by the opponent. The ball popped up off one player, not sure which team she played for, before being headed by an opponent into the goal. Athena had their chances but couldn’t get another score. The game ended with Athena on the short side 1-2.

Athena still could make the finals if they won the noon game on Sunday. They saw this opportunity vanish when the game ended in a tie. Tournament results: Athena one win, one loss, one tie.

nls athenaThis tournament is the last my granddaughter will play for this coach. He played his starting lineup exclusively when Athena was even or losing. He let four young ladies stand on the sideline on a 30 degree, windy day waiting to get into the game and help their team.

I wouldn’t find this an issue if he didn’t call these young ladies out in a team conference. He told them they were not being played because they missed practices or were not playing up to his standards (hard was his word.). In defense of the ladies, they don’t drive and have little control over their availability at practices. I believe in the minds of these ladies; they were playing hard. Embarrassing them in front of their teammates was inexcusable. These were 11 or 12-year-old young ladies and deserved better.

Their parents deserved better. This was an away tournament. The coach should have told them their young ladies wouldn’t play many minutes if any, and the reasons. Then, the parents could decide if they wanted to drive the four hours each way, bear the expense of a rental room, etc. to watch their daughter stand on the sidelines through the hour-long games.

I am interested in hearing your opinions on whether this was proper conduct for the coach. Use the comment form to give me your thoughts.


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