Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Monday, March 23, 2015


So, Matias Vazquez took video of Friday's beatdown of West Jordan. He managed to get get all three goals on video. Enjoy.

Thanks Matias!!

Sunday, March 22, 2015


Friday afternoon game versus West Jordan. 

Varsity's game started at 3:30, but we'll start with a discussion about the Junior Varsity game that started at 5 something. 

Firstly, however, a shout-out to the coaches that help. Coach Jaussi, Schoenrock, Gasser, and Pia all do a great job and care a great deal about the boys and the team. It's really great to have them help, and have their attention and care. 

Secondly, our tie--rather than a straight win--is completely on me. I probably [read: SHOULDN'T] switch a formation in the middle of the game...while it's still playing...while some play one formation and some are playing another...to a formation we've never practiced. Nonetheless, however, we have such talented athletes, they handled the transitions well. They seemed to quickly grasp the changes and new demands. The header from Kartchner was spectacular. Notable performances include Andrew playing in a new spot. Berndt was solid as again, Logan connected well, Paradis settling in well, and Nichol playing superbly in his new role. 


3 games into the 4-2-3-1 and you can actually see it work. The boys dominated from beginning to end. They controlled possession, pace, and direction. If we didn't connect, it showed, and if we did make great passes and traps, it showed. We had a very nice rhythm. The first 15 minutes of the games started strong, with the first shot from Nate coming minutes in, just above the crossbar. Then it happened. Really, the only way for us to lose this game was to self-destruct. Tick tick tick. A couple of passes that didn't connect. Tick tick. A couple of shots that didn't connect. Tick tick. A couple of chances that didn't put us up. Tick tick. A little frustration. Tick tick. Hottest day of the year for us. Tick tick. 


We have two players that are emotional. Their game is fueled by funneling their energy. Emotions up? They play well.  Frustrated? Their play is ragged. It showed. They exploded. We pulled them and they sat. And our game suffered immeasurably. Tenzin was out sick, and so our close quarter ball control dwindled. And we played even. Our defensive third maintained control, but middle half struggled to keep control. Again, it was all emotions. Their love for the game spilled over. Their frustration was worn on their sleeve. They were both stupidly wrong. 

Half time. Things change. Captains were charged with fixing the problem. They were in the locker room before the coaches came in. They dealt with the problem, so it's a job well done for captains Heslop, Yule, Walker, Armand, and Underwood. They are wonderful set of boys, and a great group of leaders. We didn't make any adjustments at half, we just needed to play our game. Sam and Farhoud returned to the game and their impact was noticeable. They are sooooo very good. 

Thursday's practice was all about set pieces. 

11 minutes after the half started a foul and a direct kick from 22 out. 
Near post, curling ball. It's great to see the new nets wrinkle. Sahand scores with a beautiful shot. 

Head over to twitter @hillcrestsoccer to see the videos.

I'd pulled Hussain to the sideline to chat about pressuring runs. Essentially, the strategy is to push a team to the wing. And if you're the forward attacking the ball and player your run shoudn't necessarily be straight at the player, but angled to cut off escaping passes. It takes practice. I turned him loose, and Hussain instantly won the ball high and pushed slightly right and blasted it near post. 

West Jordan scored. Ugh. Ball delivered from a throw in, no one cleaning it up and clearing it. 2-1 now. 

Then...well, first a note about the tone of the game. The problem with passing around opponents, is that it frustrates people. Sahand and Farhoud and Sam burn a bunch of people easily. They start fouling. Nate's ankles are a sign of that. Chippy little foot fouls add up. W Jordan started fouling, and it got heavier and heavier. There is a picture on http://www.mytoppix.com/ that shows an example of the fouls occurring. Cade's shirt pull is a straight yellow--tactical foul. It was in the box. It was the last defender. Arguably, it was a straight red. It was the first of two fouls against Cade that should have drawn red cards. Props to Cade for drawing them, and bigger props for not losing your head in the process. So, when referees don't call the fouls, and don't get our of passing lanes, it's a little frustrating, and the tempers flair. Through the heated confrontations, we didn't get a single yellow card. We kept our cool. emotional players that can explode...didn't. So, well done boys. 

The final nail in the coffin came in the 72nd minute. Ryan Heslop scored from 45. Perfect delivery. 

The game finished 3-1. One confrontation too many (including the keeper incident, and the one that led to Sam the opportunity to fight their only real player) and yet, he didn't. Really showed maturity after 80 minutes to not draw the ejection. 

Puts us at 3 wins in a row. 

Brandon Todd is our team manager and is really great at his job. He takes it seriously and the results are wonderful. He keeps statistics as part of his routine through an app on his phone. It gives us data like this

My Team: Hillcrest High school
Posession Breakdown:
Total: 56% - 44m 58s
First Half: 56% - 21m 28s
Second Half: 56% - 23m 30s
Shots: 28
Corners: 9
Freekicks: 16
Fouls: 0
offsides: 2
Yellow Cards: 1
Red Cards: 0

West Jordan
Posession Breakdown:
Total: 44% - 35m 50s
First Half: 44% - 17m 09s
Second Half: 44% - 18m 41s
Shots: 11
Corners: 1
Freekicks: 7
Fouls: 0
offsides: 0
Yellow Cards: 1
Red Cards: 0
It's great. Thanks Brandon. 

Another great crowd. Our first region game is Thursday at Granger. Varsity plays at 3:30. JV plays afterwards at about 5:15 or so. If a Varsity game ends regulation play in a tie there are 2 ten minute overtime periods. It is a golden-goal situation (a goal wins and ends the game). So, it's plausible that a JV game could start 20 minutes or so after it would have otherwise. 

Next Friday, the 27th, is a teacher-prep/professional development day...no school. We won't have practice. 

Really everyone...thank you. Players, parents, fans, coaches. Great effort. Great results. Thank you. 

The stats so far...

Hussain Qaisar 2 goal (vs MV & WJ)
Nate Walker 1 goal (vs SF) 
Marshall Underwood 1 goal (vs Roy)
Ryan Heslop 1 goal (vs WJ)
Sahand Armand 1 goal (vs WJ)

Nate Walker 1 assist to Hussain (vs MV)
Sahand Armand 1 assist to Walker (vs SF)
Sam Kunkler 1 assist to Underwood (vs Roy)
Marshall Underwood 2 assist (vs SF & WJ)

And pictures. Steve Carnaham takes the incredible action pictures. Those are available for purchase and can be seen here http://www.mytoppix.com/p1036177301

I forgot to take pre-game pictures. Please remind me. So, here's a couple afterwards...

Saturday, March 14, 2015


Friday the 13th. Home game versus Roy. 


Let's start with JV.

Here they are looking mean and stuff. 

Kyle, Nick, Raty, Andrew, Brendan, Trey with his eyes closed, Cade, Jake from State Farm, Pete, Cole, and Jackson rounded out the first 11. The scored 1:45 after kick off. The dominated the first 15 minutes. Then...we made simple mistakes. We got cute, we didn't have very good structure, and reached for the ball instead of picking up good position. But we did learn a few things. Like Logan is pretty good outside. That Cade can take a penalty kick. That Bailey and Brendan are starting to work better together. We learned Cole plays better and better on the outside wing back. And we saw Nick's new sparkly boots. And we also learned that we still have a little work to do with the formation...too many (as in more than zero) still seemed unclear about defensive spacing, and middle field patterns).


We played Roy last year. It was our first game. Samuel was tackled hard and rolled his ankle. He was done for nearly the entire season. We lost 2 or 3 to nothing and our season long scoring drought started.

Here's the group Friday night (with the giant husky in the background).

Schneggs in the back with Farhoud, Hunter, Nate, Sam, Nick, Conner, Andrew, and Hussain in the back. Tenzin, Bobo, Marshall, Cade, Sahand, and Ryan in the middle, and Caden doing is best prone position in front. 

Speaking of Ryan...
Varsity started at about 7:00 after the lovely rendition of the National Anthem and the starting lineups were announced, with t-shirts the seniors tossed out to the crowd. Here's a few of the seriously great crowd. No, really. They were great. If you're reading this, then make sure you tell them how great it was to have them at the game. they applauded when people came off the field. They jeered, the cheered...they were loud. And they were fun. 

The game. The 4-2-3-1 does several things very well. First, it puts a lot of people in the middle of the field. Two center backs, two holding mids, and four forwards--that's eight. Our ball control and possession was wicked great. We passed around and through the Roy team. the other thing it does is separate the defense in ways they don't want to be separated. To defend against the four forwards, the two outside defensive backs have to play up a little to cover players like Hussain, Sam, or Nate. The minute they do that though, they're stretched a little. And that little stretch allows holes behind them, and passing lanes become more apparent. Sam, late in the game exploited those perfectly. His vertical runs across the defense turn horizontal the moment the through-ball was passed, leaving a foot race behind the defense. Good for us, bad for them. 

Perhaps though, the thing the 4231 does best, is expose the weak-side wings (play on the opposite of the field that the ball is on). Sam Kunkler high in the corner drew defenders to cover his run. The cross across the face of the goal and Marshall Underwood finished the goal with a clean, tidy side-net shot. Perfect cross. Perfect shot. One up, with 25 to play. Our energy level picked up again after the goal and our passing became crisper and cleaner. It frustrated Roy, and the started fouling harder and harder. 

Yet, despite the intensity of the game, we remained calm. We remained composed. We kept doing the things that got us the lead. After 80 minutes, the whistle blew, and we'd won. 

We can do a few things better I think. We can learn better fluid movement among the top four. You know, follow your pass kind of thing. We can transition out of that better too. Balls in the middle need to feed out towards the corners I think, followed by crosses inside (kinda like our goal was scored--just more). And I think we need to work on defending corners...plus taking them (again). 

So, our varsity totals so far:

Nate Walker 1 goal (vs SF) off corner kick from Underwood
Hussain Qaisar 1 goal (vs MV)
Marshall Underwood 1 goal (vs Roy)

Nate Walker 1 assist to Hussain (vs MV)
Sahand Armand 1 assist to Walker (vs SF)
Sam Kunkler 1 assist to Underwood (vs Roy)

Here's the link for the Deseret News page.

Thursday, March 12, 2015


Bright and shiny new. 

Tooele game is canceled. We're looking for a replacement, and we'll keep you apprised. 

Tomorrow's game (Friday, the 13th). 

  • Remember, everyone wears a tie. 
  • JV must be dressed (uniforms) by 400 PM. 
  • There are a few things we need to have done before the game (before 4--corner flags, goal weights, ice, gatorade, etc.). So, please help without being asked (okay, I know that's what I'm doing now...but still, you get the point, right?).
  • Varsity is expected to watch the JV game. Dress in either your school clothes, or your white uniforms. It's all one or the other. Seniors and captains please decide.
  • Because we're announcing the starting line up and doing the national anthem BEFORE the varsity game (at about 645), Varsity needs to be dressed and ready to play at 600 PM. 
Be sure to stop by and ask if you have questions. Be sure to stop in and make sure you've got your shirt sizes written down. 


Game Two and Three

I haven't had a lot of time to process either game quite yet. I've run them around in my head a little, and here's what I think I think. 

Mountain View has several players from the State Champion La Roca team on it, in addition to three ODP players. Technically, they're probably better than we are. They did win 3 - 1. However, when you take a peek at the game a little, it doesn't play out that way very well. MV goes up 1 off a PK given up by Schneggs. Was there contact? Yes. Was it a lot? No. Did the payer fall and make more out of it than it was? Yes. Was it a PK? Um...sure. Second half sees Hunter and Nick in the holding mid together, with Hunter nursing an injury. It didn't feel better, and a run up the middle left us down 2. Marshall sub to keep him a little fresh for the remainder of the week, and a score form that corner...down by 3. Out? Nope. Push from Sahand out wide, Nate catches it and turns for the low shot, Hussain finishes. Our passing returned. We were on the hunt and finished stronger than we started. Along the way though we discovered something else...that we can play the 4-2-3-1. We can overlap from the outside, we can track backwards and cover, and we can run a pretty creative front 4. 

JV? So, this is interesting...we tied. I mean, tying isn't really interesting, but...it a long way from Thursday's game and we finally started to see something, a sparkle. 

And then JV against Spanish Fork, we were super sloppy. Really sloppy. Errant passes, bad traps, and unnecessary mistakes. Sloppy. Yet, through it, they dominated from start to finish, winning 4 - nil. Goals from...Andrew, Trey, Cade, and Pete (thanks Brenda and Nick).

Varsity's trip to Spanish Fork ends up the same way. Sort of. An easy win. A lot of tired legs. Jorge kept a clean sheet with help from Eric and Ryan and Marshall and Conner. Nick and Tenzin played well together. Hunter played well in the middle too for a bit. Off a corner that we'd worked on, Sam deflected it past him, and the ball bounced around a little, until Nate turned it and drove it upwards into the top of the net. We had a mirror like chance in the second half, but failed to capitalize. More than anything though, we're able to learn the system. We're able to practice our runs, and work on positioning. 

Our short schedule...home game tomorrow versus Roy. JV at 5. Varsity at 7. 

Next week: Tuesday at Tooele. V at 300. JV at 5. Thursday sees regular practice, then pictures at 430 on the stadium turf. Friday, March 20 is our final non-region home game versus West Jordan. We have a normal 330 JV start time, and a 515 Varsity start time. 

That's a lot to digest. 

Here then...are a few pictures to look at instead...

Tuesday, March 10, 2015


Okay, so this week we have a few things happening. 

1. We travel to Mountain View High School in Orem for a varsity kick off at 3:00. 

2. Tomorrow we travel to Spanish Fork High School. Kick off at 3:00. The trivia here to be gleamed here? It was my first coaching experience [boys and girls head coach], so long ago that Red Coats fought the Rebels. I built the field we'll play on.

3. Friday is our first home game. JV kicks off at 5:00, and varsity at 7:00.

Finally, orders. I have to order on Monday or Tuesday next week. So, that means if you want a shirt, or jacket, or backpack, or pants, or zip top, or black t-shirt...you HAVE to get me your size. You HAVE to get me your money. 

And boys HAVE to finish their fundraising sales. I know there are a few that haven't sold any. We all benefit from their sale, so please help those out that haven't sold them. 

Last thing...I know the team takes great pride in their crowd. They appreciate everyone who takes the time to come and watch and support them. I appreciate it. All the coaches appreciate it. Please say hi. Please introduce yourself. Game days are distracting and stressful, so it's always extra nice to visit with those that have come.

Thank you everyone.


Friday, March 6, 2015



Varsity lost 3 - nil
JV lost 2 - nil

There, I got that out of the way. Why did we lose? Well, I can count four easily: Calum's broken foot kept him off the back line, Ryan's one game suspension for a game that happened a year ago, a handful of lingering injuries that kept our substitute list down to three, and eligibility requirements [transfer status, physicals, fees] that kept a few out. 

JV lost because we've never played together, and NO ONE seems to know how to run a 4-4-2. Grrrr. It's not really anyone's fault mind you. It was the first time we've actually seen grass since tryouts. It's the first time anyone of our boys have passed the ball to anyone else since we've made roster. It's the first time for a lot of things. 

There were signs of brilliance from both squads. A back heel from Sam to Tenzin missed the mark by a step. A shot ran a foot high 28 out from Cade had pace. Nate cramped up on a sure goal from 20. Hussein missed a sliding connection by a half a step. Really excellent stuff from a team that hasn't ever practiced together. 

And JV...well, it was nice to see the cobwebs shake off after 20 minutes or so. There wasn't so much poor play from anyone as there was simply never playing together ever. And not knowing positioning is a learned skill...that takes some practice. On grass. On a field. 

Find the positive. Find the silver lining. And move on to the next--namely, Mountain View on Tuesday.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015


I sent home an order form with all the items we have available. If you didn't get one, please let me know and I'll get one to you or your athlete. 

On the list:

1. Heather gray Dri fit long sleeve $30
2. Heather gray Dri fit short sleeve $30
3. Dark green Dri fit long sleeve $30
4. Black cotton/poly long sleeve (green stripe) $20

1. anthracite (dark gray) with crest $45

Training bottoms
2. NIKE with initials $40

1. Black Ambassador $100

NEW...we found a backpack we like...
1. NIKE club backpack (we'll put a large crest on the top, and embroider a name on the lower panel) $45

Honestly, we're excited that parents and family would wear team gear. Thank you. Again, please have all orders to me by the 16th...and we'll get it all ordered (the jackets may take a bit longer to do).

Here are a few pictures of the items:

We'd love to make any item work for you...if you want initials or number on an item...we'll do that. 

Please...let me know.