Written by Jamianne Brewer. Photo by Nicole Skaggs

Santiago is a great program and has shown what our coaches strive to create at King. Santiago is a fun team to watch play and knock the ball around. Santiago is a team that will find a way to win. The program at Santiago keeps getting stronger and stronger year after year, and at each level.

The only problem for King on this day was that the score did not reflect the game. Two key mistakes cost the Wolves 25 minutes into the first half putting the down 2-0.

When a coach like Flemming makes a comment on the way to get ice for an injured player at halftime,  – ”the score does not reflect the game  we didn’t earn one of those goals” … it is an honor to hear those words from a highly respected coach.  At the half, the Wolves & Sharks both had only two corners. The Wolves out-shot the Sharks 3-0. The Wolves had 21 throw-ins to the Sharks 14. The Wolves lost the turnover ratio 15-22. The second half looked much the same with Santiago winning the shots 4 to 3.

The girls were reminded at half time, “we may be losing on the scoreboard, but we are winning on the field”. Every player that steps into the game is doing nothing but working hard, sticking to the game plan, and doing their job to the best they have done to date. Our girls never quit the entire game and battled hard. They battled and won balls from girls twice their size. They won the ground game, which is what our girls have to do this season because of our size.

Win the second ball, and we will be more successful; and they did! It was fun to watch and exciting as a coach to see the results when perseverance and commitment occur.

Most of these girls are learning a different style of soccer they are not used to playing. With that comes bumps and bruises. But they are improving at a rate I did not expect and its fun. I told the girls at half, “We could not be more proud of each player on the field, it brings a tear to my eye knowing that their hard work on and off the pitch, is unfolding in front of their eyes.”

It is working and the strides they are making are huge. Girls are reading the game, intercepting passes from talented players, defending properly, moving the ball, and creating plenty of scoring opportunity against very talented teams.

Our girls barely made it across the field before their legs gave out or tears filled their eyes. This was not because of the score, it was because they did what every coach wishes for players, “to experience what it means to leave it ALL on the field.” These girls did that tonight! We may be extremely unlucky so far this season, however, luck occurs when you outwork your opponent. The harder you work, the lucky you are. Eventually, our hard work will create understanding of what “being lucky” really means. We still have ways to go, the scoreboard may tilt our way or it may not. However, we are so close to hard work creating our own luck will come through when we are ready. We stay humble. Every game we are getting better and quickly.

To start league the way we played, as a coach, I am so proud. We have worked, battled through pain, sweat and tears, and keep getting better individually. We are so close and when it happens, it will be beautiful. This is what it takes to become a winner. These girls DO NOT QUIT. To watch them battle the entire game to the final whistle is one of the greatest complements our girls keep hearing. We are facing adversity every day and we cannot lose focus and stay humble. We are getting better tactically, game after game. Our girls are growing at drastic levels. Our team is super young. Most players have no Varsity level experience. They are little. What they have that showed in the game is heart, buying in to a new way, outworking opponents, doing the little things right. This is what sports is about. These girls are fearless. We have 1 senior starter, majority underclassman. Players believe and battle. These girls are competitors. They will battle with the best of them and proved this tonight.