Preparing for 2013 Midwest Regionals

It's been a year since I wrote about the preparation my U13 girls went through to attend the Midwest Regionals for the first time. It was also my first experience with Regionals and I learned as much as the girls did. We were fortunate enough to win State Cup again this year so we're headed to Des Moines, IA.

Last year we played the eventual Regional Chamions, Michigan Hawks, in the first game. We played so tight and scared it was obvious that the occasion was just too much for us. I'm a firm believer that you go through three stages when you enter any new competitive environment. At first you need to feel like you belong. Then you believe you can compete and final you are free to excel. Last year we didn't really feel like we belonged until our third game.

Although we are a very different team this year because of nine players that were selected for the ECNL (Elite Club National League) team, we've had a very successful year. We were fortunate to add some very good player and along with the remaining core group from last year they've turned in to a very good group of girls.

We narrowly missed advancing to the Midwest Regional Leagues (MRL)  Premier Division and then won our Spring MRL division going 8-0. State Cup was more of a challenge as we won both the semi-final and final on penalty kicks. But we got it done, one way or another.

Going into Regionals this year we face a familiar team right out of the gate. We played them recently in a tournament and beat them 1-0.  We know the team so well that we've developed a specific way of playing against them that gives us a lot of confidence going into the tournament. Having said that, they are a very good team and if they execute to the level they are capable of, we'll have a hard time staying with them.

Our second game is against a state that is traditionally one of the weaker ones. But there is a risk of over confidence that we'll have to look out for.

The last of our group games is against one of the stronger states in our region and there representative is a team we've never played so that will be challenge.

Our goal is to get out of group play and into the semi-final. It's a lofty goal but an achievable one if we are able to execute and compete at our best.

Please excuse this rather self centered blog post. With tryouts completed this team is my sole focus so writing about their upcoming Regional experience was good for me and hopefully at least a little interesting to you. I promise to get back to topics with a broader appeal next week.

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Feel free to share your early summer tournaments or plans in the comments section below.

Have a great day!


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