Friday, March 28, 2014

Game Six

Game Six. 

Cottonwood. At Cottonwood. 

First Region game this season. 

It'd been an interesting 10 days since our last game. The boys have spent a fair amount of time working on finishing with accuracy, moving the ball through passing lanes, and finding structure and positional changes with the formation. 

The result of the effort came to a head Thursday afternoon. Snow/rain/slush greeted the boys at our arrival. As a result of the conditions the field was slippery, and made things a little tricky throughout the day. I think some of the passing into the middle of the field weren't really errant, but hard to get a clean trap on because of the wet ball. Oh well. 

A scoreless first half. And that wasn't unexpected. After all, we haven't been able to finish well this season. Our shots, however, showed promise. They were on target. They were on frame. They made the keeper work. I don't feel like Cottonwood had any real threats on our goal. Jorge made a great save--but that was late in the second half. 

And in front of Jorge Cisneros...Marshall, Ryan, Bode, and Calum. Solid. Each and everyone of them deserve accolades. Smart and physical, they kept the ball out of threatening position. Fairly easily, I might add. 

If only, we said, they could relax a little. Calm down. Keep the ball off their defensive wings feet, and apply a little pressure--smartly--to the fullbacks on the ball. 

Adam and Nate both pressured the defense well the second half. Chris and Eric and John were unsung heroes...all played exceptionally well and all gave the best games of the year to date. 

Sam Kunkler said at the break that he felt he had all day with the ball. He did. Mostly. He was calm, cool, and collected and made several well timed shots--all quite dangerous. It's when he connected with Carlos Herrera on the right wing, and Carlos collected the ball near the goal line outside the box that his cross found Mathew Mean's header. "I didn't have to do anything but knock it in," Mathew said after the game. Well placed delivery, and expertly finished. 

Calum made very nice runs up the field and even had one very easy finish off of a cross and flick pulled out of the net. Offside? On whom? Is that the second Calum has had pulled out now?

With 30 minutes left and a 1- nil lead, things started to get MORE physical. 

Two yellow cards. Jose and Carlos. One retaliatory, one a late tackle. 

And then a red. Bode. We joked that he just ran with his elbows out and the other guy ran into him. I think though that it was a little more complicated than that...a head ball, elbows up, is a caution at the least. The gushing blood though brought the ejection. 

Cottonwood followed suit five minutes later and we were both at ten men for the last fifteen minutes. And we saw good dangerous balls and a few nice chances. 

All of it ended with Sam being leveled after being hit in the nose (no card for that?)...and his hilarious question after the game: "You saw I got the meg, right?" He did. Straight up meged the defender and got hit because of it. Bloody nose and all...but he got the meg.

And then a true break away. A perfectly placed ball (on a short field that isn't easy, by the way) and Nate was two yards past the defense and on a dead sprint with a ball at his feet. I asked Nate what the plan was afterwards...he said he looked up and saw the keeper playing a little out of position, cheating far post, so he had planned to push it near post. Why didn't he slot in to the keeper's left you ask? Ugh. The Center ref blew the whistle to end the game when Nate had one touch remaining. 

Game Over. 

JV lost I think. I hate losing. Does anyone? I don't lament this, however, because I think they played many many juniors and seniors. I think there must have been 30 JV players and most of them looked 30. Really. 

Don't get me wrong, our midfield structure was terrible. Jared and I changed up the personnel often, and purposefully put athletes in new and uncomfortable positions. But one look at Cade's uniform and you'll see how physical they beat up our freshmen and sophomores. Farhoud blasted a direct to score. 

Hats off to all the JV players for the effort the gave. From Eric and Eric and Hunter and Mitch (who won't be wearing a necklace for a while) and Conner and Yomar and Andrew and Tenzin (who saw ten minutes in the varsity match) Jeremy and Luca and Charles and Jake and Nick and Caden and John (carefully nursing a badly bruised ankle) and I'm sure I'm missing someone that I don't mean to...we saw a team grow. We simply need to shut down the passing lanes better. How? Structure. We'll get there. Which is a whole other blog post...about what in the world are club teams doing? How is the fundamental structure of a 4-4-2 (well, we play a little more of a 4-4-1-1) so foreign to a group of athletes? Oh well--something to work on, I think. 

And be sure to visit Unofficial Husky for more pictures for some great action shots--including Matt's goal. And here at Mytoppix for lots of great action pictures.

Thank you all for reading. Thank you all for your support. 


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Game Five

Mountain View. 

Cold. Dark. 


Let's start with JV. Though the score ended 1 - 0, it was a pretty easy game for the boys. Defense dominated with Eric and Hunter in the middle. Corners saw Eliason, Guldner, Palacio, and Rowley keep pace and take control too. Their structure was spot on. The midfield play of Farhoud and Tenzin in the middle was bolstered by Daniel and Caden. Wings Nick, Adrian, and Andrew played well. Nate and Cade up top, as well as Omid, all played really well, started to find their groove, and had plenty of chances on goal. We're still working on finishing as we emphasize placement over power for our shots. Keep them on frame boys. But, our ability to see the plays is definitely developing and our attacks are becoming fluid. 

And finishing is also, again, the theme for Varsity. A scoreless first half, finally yielded to a goal in the second from Calum off of Eric's assist. That was after countless (well, actually we count) opportunities. Ugh. Did I say that yet? Long, sweeping, curving crosses from Ryan that coulda-woulda-shoulda found the net as four Huskies followed it in, towering vertical jumps to find a head ball from Mathew and Nate, pinball-like ball bouncing off the woodwork, rocketed shots from Sam and Adam, and barely missed shots from Nate and Chris saw a few goals slip through our proverbial fingers. One late goal from Mountain View brought the tie. One early goal in Overtime gave them the win. We'd let Mathew run high and it left the middle a little soft, giving them too many chances. We didn't defend and push attacks out of the middle late in the game either, probably a result of conditioning, and positioning. We're still acclimating ourselves to the new formation, and it saw a lot of promise last night. Early turnovers high up the pitch, and crowd cheering attacks, showed what Hillcrest is capable of. 

Here are the starting line-up pictures from last night's game (see, we are getting better at taking them--Marshall just needs to NOT smile in them...and Calum...?). Still, great boys, great game, and a fun night to play the beautiful game.

And again, thank you all for supporting your athletes. 


Monday, March 17, 2014


We have one large sweatshirt for sale. Plus five nice Nike hoodies in all sizes. I don't have the hoodies yet, but they should be here this week. We can have more made if they're popular as a pre-order kind of thing. $40 bucks for the crew neck sweatshirt. Hoodies are $50. 

Friday, March 14, 2014

Game Four

Okay, now Davis. I'm not sure who picked out their school colors, but it makes me glad we wear Green and White now. 

And thank you all for coming to the games. We've had quite a few coming to watch--parents and student body equally. It's wonderful seeing so many support their team.

The game was interesting from a coaches stand point. We played well, we created chances, we defended well, we communicated, we successfully implemented a new system, and yet...we lost 2-nil.

We genuinely, in my opinion, created quality chances that we did not capitalize on. Those chances were early (in the first ten minutes), and inside the 18 (actually, mostly within 8 yards). We had far more opportunities than Davis, as well.

So, when you can't finish with the ball in back of the net it creates other problems. Namely, having to fend off attacks that wouldn't have occurred had we scored earlier. 

Perhaps losing now is okay. Perhaps not scoring now is a good thing. Maybe it means that we have time to get that bad shots out of us. After all, we saw Sam Kunkler direct a potent and fluid attack quite well. He stepped up and made a few brilliant passes to spaces behind the defense. 

I think as the defense settles into the new routine, and midfield learns their roles defending against attacks, we'll get be more successful when we try to score. 

Up next: Mountain View her at Hillcrest. JV at 515, and Varsity at 700.

Thank you all so kindly for your support. 

Below are the starting line-up pictures (it's an old tradition, that we'll adopt--we will get better at taking them too :) )

Here's the JV starting line up. I think they lost. I can't quite remember the details though. 

And speaking of pictures...Steve has pictures at Unofficial Hillcrest, as well as some for sale from his website MyTopPix

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Game Three

I'm probably like a lot of people that play sports, in that I hate losing. Ugh. 

It's so...pedestrian. 

So, we traveling to Roy. Where, buy the way, I forgot to take a starting eleven picture. Again. I really will remember tomorrow. Really. 

Regardless, we found ourselves in a public park next to a Junior High School just north of Roy High School, playing the Royals. 

It's hard, I think, to walk away several hours later knowing we'd actually dominated the game in so many areas, only to have lost two-nil. We had our early chances, complete with two shots from inside eight yards in the first eight minutes. 

And then Samuel Figueroa went down in pain. Rolled ankle? Kicked? Sprained? WE don't know the details this morning. We do know that we're without our starting center forward for the foreseeable future. That is a huge blow; the team, however, will find solutions. Which, it turns out, is also the theme of the next several practices--getting a group of boys to score that aren't used to scoring. 

And that was the problem yesterday. Not scoring. Miss two fairly easy opportunities, and then we're at the mercy of a team that does score on an uncleared ball bouncing around after a corner kick. 

Other than that really, we clearly controlled the pace and possession of the ball and flow of the game. Midfield was outnumbered on several occasions, yet the managed to shut Roy's offensive game plan down. Defensive structure was terrific and only gave up two lucky goals. 

So, on that note we take on Davis tomorrow. Varsity at 330, and JV at 515. We hope to see you all there. 

JV...We gave up a three goal lead with a couple of careless errors--finishing tied at threes. Huge efforts from quite a few players, including, namely, Tenzin. 


Saturday, March 8, 2014

Game Two

I'd hoped to post a photo of the starting eleven. I'll try extra hard to not forget this coming week. 

What a great night Friday was. A lot of students and parents showed up and the lights made for a special first home game. 

The JV squad really performed well, winning 3 - nil. One and two touch passes and early headed goal by Lucas kept Kearns on their heels all afternoon. Keepers Yomar Palacios and second half Charles Case kept a clean sheet. Terrifically structured defense--mostly allowed just a couple of shots in 80 minutes. 

Varsity keeper Jorge Cisneros posted a clean sheet as the back four and a half--Todd, Pfau, Heslop, Yule, and Guldner defended well. Forwards and midfielders applied pressure high and allowed outside defenders to play well up the field most of the game. A scoreless first half yielded three the second. Midfielders scrambled all night and began to find their groove with great foot work and great off the ball runs. The transitions finally paid off as Adam King scored in the 52nd minute. A push on Calum in the Kearns box produced a PK that Samuel Figeroa easily put away in the 70th minute. A 60 yard run by Ryan Heslop up the east of the field dropped two defenders and eventually found the foot of Nate Walker, who blasted a the final goal in the 80th minute. 

Well played Huskies.

Next up: Roy. 

Friday, March 7, 2014

The Extras

Here are the tops and bottoms. We have a tentative number to order. If you'd like to make sure a parent or sibling wants one, please let me know. I won't actually order until early next week. 

Also, we have several pair of socks...both green and white...the Nike ones available. So, it might help on laundry day. Let me know. 

We have a handful of the gray long sleeve HILLCREST SOCCER shirts available too. 


Our New Crest

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Game One

Two practices down and our game tomorrow will be our first together. 

Game is odd, which in turn makes line-ups a little unpredictable. In the past, and generally, Varsity plays first, followed by Junior Varsity. So if an athlete didn't see much time in Varsity they could play JV. Well, now that's harder. Needing fresh legs, of a player sees JV time, they may be too spent to play for any real time on Varsity. 

So, early on, like tomorrow, line-ups WILL be all over the map and we'll struggle to find a pattern. 

I told the players today to be sure to be patient. As a general rule, I don't like substituting. We'll settle into a rhythm and we'll find natural positions. 

We have 36 players and not everyone will play all the time. Some players, because of things they're working on, won't dress or travel with us to Pleasant Grove. 

I hope everyone comes to watch their son play, but I know the early afternoon is difficult. Our first home game is this Friday with the new and improved times. 

After the game, we'll be stopping at Wendy's I think. So, be sure to bring some money for the after game meal. 

Parents--we'll see you on Thursday (Parent meeting). 

Thank you one and all for your support. 

Monday, March 3, 2014


I've just changed the game schedule. Well, the dates won't change, but the times will. 

The first home game--Kearns--will change. Instead of a 3:30 PM Varsity game, we'll play Varsity at 7:00 PM. 

Mountain View changed their varsity time too. Instead of 3:30, it's 7:00/

So, the schedule on the right is altered to reflect the one confirmed change. And the calendar at the bottom of the blog also reflects the confirmed change. 

Sorry for the trouble. It's a long story, but in reality, because our region games are all at 7:00, this just gets us practiced at them. 

So, bring a blanket; it will be cold. 7:00 PM kick off temperature is supposed to be 45 F.

Sunday, March 2, 2014


Here we go

Goals are tremendously important. How do we know when we fail? When we succeed? Where do we want to be tomorrow? Next week? At the end of the season? 

If all we want is to play at Rio Tinto in April, then we can phone all of this in. But if you want more, then we have to decide exactly how much more. We have to decide exactly what that MORE means. 

Winning a few games is obvious, and it seems trite to just say WIN. So, this task is to decide what your goals are, what your future holds, and where we all want to be in nine weeks. 

So, take this serious. We are.  

1. Read the .pdf titled "goal setting for performance enhancement"
2. Click the link for hillcrest soccer goals.  Set to full screen and use the arrow icon to go to next slide. Press the play icon on the two video links if they do not automatically start.
3. Open the .doc file titled "Smart goals worksheet"
4. Complete the Smart goals worksheet. (it is in .doc format so you can type directly in the document)
  • Make 2 or so short term goals and 1-2 long term performance goals
  • Each of these goals should have at LEAST 1  process goal attached to it. Think of these as stepping stones (smaller goals) that help you achieve your large goals.
5. Print two copies and bring them two practice on Monday

Saturday, March 1, 2014


I had a great time this morning. 

We talked a bit about uniforms and who wants what, and after a little erasing, I think this is what remained:

2 Marshall Underwood
3 Adam King
4 John Goodman
6 Calum Yule
7 Bodie Pfau
8 John Guldner
9 Samuel Figueroo
10 Carlos Herrera
11 Daniel Fang
12 Sam Kunkler
13 Sahand Arman
14 Jose Gonzalez
15 Ryan Heslop
16 Adrian Dagio 
17 Caden Gregoire
18 Farhoud Rezaei
19 Lucas Tardivo
20 Nate Walker
21 Eric Todd
22 Chris Carden
23 Andrew Giacomo
24 Arian Azamayandeh
25 Yomar Palacios
26 Jeremy Saldiva
27 Cade Kartchner
28 Mitchell Rowley
29 Omid Malek
30 Eric Schneggenburger
31 Hunter Boyd
32 Nick Berndt
33 Eric Eliason
34 Tenzin Samdup

Please note that our keepers aren't on this list. 

So, check the list. I know a few names are missing from here. Let's take care of that. Check the spelling, grab a number, and email me. Remember, you can bump someone if you "outrank" them. :)

I'll see you all Monday.