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⚽️ H O M E ⚽️ O F ⚽️ T H E ⚽️ #1 H U R R I C A N E S : ⚽️ YOUR SOCCER HQ ⚽️ Arrive for warm-ups 45 minutes before match kickoffs⚽️ Practices are now at 6:00⚽️ Begin hydrating the day before each match⚽️ You're a champion, so eat a champion's breakfast, and a good packed lunch beats a school lunch⚽️ Start everything smart; finish everything strong⚽️ Give a good ball, defend savagely, talk about everything⚽️ Work supporting angles on attack and defense⚽️ Fall down? Get up fast. Really hurt? Help is on the way⚽️ Know your teammates. Connect. Never strand a friend⚽️ Practice how you play in uniform. Do the uniform proud⚽️ Prepare for excellence in every way, on and off the field⚽️ Thank your supporters and go for the top⚽️ Thank your competition. They sharpen you⚽️ Build your teammates at every chance. They build you⚽️ Watch higher level performances. They inspire you ⚽️ Take what you learn here into your family and school. Win ⚽️
Nov 19, 2017 - League Leader & Team Awards
⚽️ T E A M ⚽️ A W A R D S ⚽️
⚽️ L E A G U E ⚽️ L E A D E R S ⚽️
Nov 18, 2017 - The Perfect Storm: Hurricanes Finish 10-0-0
In U14 Big Sun action this morning, the Ocala Hurricanes hammered out an 11-0 win over the Highlighters, the young championship squad's third shutout to finish out their 10-0-0 perfect season. Three players notched hat tricks in front of Goalkeeper Aiden Chittum, who needed only three saves aback his rock solid diamond defense. In goalkeeping, Chittum finishes the 2017 fall season at the top of the league, having allowed only 0.9 goals per match. Meanwhile, striker Martella Asbey ended as the league's scoring king with another hat trick and 23 goals on the season, also notably having scored in every match. The Hurricanes allowed only 10 goals on the season, thanks to a diamond defense spearheaded by Kaleigh Beers and Savannah Polk, flanked by Emma Wood and Quadarius Mitchell, and anchored by sweeper Josh Sieradzki, who led the league in goals scored by a defender with ten on the season, more than most strikers ever pick up in ten matches.
The marauding tandem of Canes strikers Martella Asbey with 23 goals and Anthony Minami, second in the league behind his teammate with 18 goals, combined for an incredible 41 goals in ten matches. What team ever has two players stacking over forty goals in ten matches? The Hurricanes. What team runs attacks from the back of their own defense? The Hurricanes. What team ignores age and size disadvantages for excellence? The Hurricanes. What team never wants a season to end? The Hurricanes. What team hits teams an average of five times as hard is it gets hit? The Hurricanes. But what makes this team different? Just a few basics, according to their coach.
"That tandem of Asbey and Minami may have set a league record with 41 tallies on the season," said Coach Miley, "and unless anyone can verify otherwise, we will claim it. We also think 50 goals on the ten-game season may be a U14 record until and unless we hear otherwise. Ten goals for a defender in ten matches is unheard of at any level. Sieradzki was off the chain this year. He was an artist in motion when it came to catching other teams extended too far into our zone. He made them pay for that ten times."
The Hurricanes averaged 5.0 goals scored and only 1.0 goals allowed per match. "We had the complete package because we prepared ourselves as a complete team," said Miley. "Our strikers were constantly drilled against the best defensive formation and players in the league, and our goalkeeper Aiden Chittum also proved to be the best. People didn't know it, but we all know from our practices that if we didn't need Ryan Dennis at midfield, he would have shown the whole league that he was the best goalkeeper, too. The next best defense in the league gave up 2.4 goals a match on these 70 x 30 fields, and we gave up 1.0. We can thank a few familiar college level drills and a lot of attention and hard work from our kids for our results. We didn't have a lot of standing around during drills, but we did have our sit-downs for strategies and concepts. Concepts were clear and applications were prompt. Soccer begins from the back of any team, and our defenders learned enough diamond dynamics to isolate and lock out the most athletic and skilled attackers. Really, the best goals against us were amazing strikes from distance or an occasional set of excellent moves on a penetrating run by an older player, like ESPN highlights. We didn't usually let teams work their regular game into our back bubble. As the youngest squad, we ran away from the competition when all was said and done. These families have plenty to be proud of. Their kids will always remember the power of true teamwork from this season, because all their families were behind them. Our family unity made our team unity. There was no stopping our momentum once we could feel the truth of who we are together as a team."
Match 10 with the Highlighters started with 6 v 6, well down from the usual 9 v 9. Hurricanes Coach Fred Miley had ten players to Coach Darren Johnson's six. They had played 7 v 7 their first match because the Highlighters were down to 7 that week. Miley's squad picked up the first and winning goal with six players, but he explained to Coach Johnson that he was not prepared to sit four players, and rather than call it a forfeit or sitting too many players, Miley played 7 v 6 after the first goal was notched as the winner.
"We were planning on ending the season the way we began it -- with a defensive shutout," said Miley, "and that's what we did. I believed we needed just one goal to win this, and Anthony found the first score fast, so the rest of the match was a series of substitutions."
Striker Anthony Minami scored another off a steal to follow his first. "That second goal by Anthony came so fast that it really gripped the rest of the match for us," said Miley. "It was like he got them to sign over their rights to the contest with his authority on that steal and strike."
For the Canes' third tally, right striker Nate Ruiz took a breakaway fifth assist from rookie of the year right back Quadarius Mitchell, shook a defender, and buried his second score of the season. Before first water break, sweeper Josh Sieradzki staged his first of four raids on the Highlighters net from his own end.
"That was beyond a hat trick," said his coach of Sieradzki's four-goal outburst. "That's not what defenders usually do, but Josh is not your usual defender. He knows he has my green light to hammer any weakness he finds. He is a wonderful defender, and keenly detects where another defense is weak. He understands the element of surprise can become a weapon in martial arts; that makes him a nightmare to coach against and a dream to coach. We want our kids making their own decisions out there. I knew my defenders had the right mindset to lock out the two opposing strikers. They were skilled, but we disconnected them from one another, and by halftime, had six of our own players involved with our first five goals. Anthony with his quick early strikes and Josh with his pirate ship raids, along with Martella and Nate slashing away at the front is how we ended the season. Aiden was just smiling behind all that. People who worked it out the most were Zander and Savannah and Ryan in the midfield, pressuring anything the other guys wanted to try, and winning loose balls. Our wing backs, Emma and Q, were lights out as usual. We were missing Caitlin and Kaleigh and Coach Chris (Rosa) today, and we wish they could have been with us for the final shots fired and our pizza party, but the holidays are closing in, so we finished with these ten. We are really twelve."
Miley cites the unity of the families as the key to their perfection on the season. "This belongs to the families. Coach Chris, too. He led our kids well and helped them stay connected and encouraged. This also belongs to our team mom Audrey Asbey and all our parents, for the same reason. Our kids were truly connected with all our families behind them. They absolutely felt that. It was a convincing finish to a great season."
League leading scorer Martella Asbey opened up another hat trick of his own with his first goal of the day before halftime, cashing in on a Ryan Dennis feed. The second half figured to be a runaway with all ten well-conditioned Canes players rotating through the lineup, and it was. Five scores flooded the third quarter: Sieradzki with a big hello from the back again, Asbey in full stride from a Minami feed, Minami with a hard strike from distance, and Sieradzki on two more merciless raids before final water break. The fourth quarter opened with an immediate Asbey tally from another Minami feed, and that is how the Hurricanes ended their ten-game season with 50 goals. Those eleven unanswered goals pushed the whistle early as the fourth quarter became unreasonable. The Hurricanes players really wanted to face the league's all-stars on their familiar Field 7 at the 1:00 challenge time, but only two out of the other five coaches showed interest in assembling any such all-star squad. "We had ten ready," Miley volleyed into the silence of the end.
"We know we ended as ready as we began, only a lot better at soccer now, and a lot more confident that there wasn't anything here we couldn't handle. We're not ashamed of our excellence or our vision for that. Establishing excellence in anything is a great accomplishment and feeling for kids this age. It's what will be expected of them in future endeavors. And they know they are remembered more for how they finish something than how they start. This season they finished ready for more than anyone could bring. They feel good about that. About as good as they would have felt stepping up to the league's best if the all-stars had answered our challenge," said their coach.
With almost all sixth and seventh graders facing kids a head taller throughout the season, Miley's squad learned early to let their soccer do the talking when there was any chatter. Maybe also because the season was stretched an extra week due to Hurricane Irma, an extra soccer match didn't seem especially inviting from a squad that nobody could topple. The Hurricanes players know their challenge was voiced to all the other coaches by their coach and declined. "That final challenge was the right way for our team to finish their journey, even though it was a bit awkward among the coaches. What matters here is that our young players know they could have taken this season a lot farther. They found their rhythm and identity in their teamwork and did not want that to end. The buy-in on the basics became confidence and enthusiasm toward excellence. That's one way to know things are going as they should. Nobody ever needs to apologize for excellence. Whenever a championship team hits the highest mark of a perfect season, no matter the style, the most classic reasons are always there. After awards are handed out and our families have time to reflect, the new friendships and our team website will keep alive the reasons we became the perfect Hurricanes. We were not just kicking a ball."
Players signed over the team flag to Miley at the final pizza party, and their team poster now hangs on the walk-in "wall of fame" at the area's best New York pizzeria, La Famiglia, along with Yankees and Scarface memorabilia, but there is more to the ending. The 2017 Ocala Hurricanes will never stop connecting as a team with the memories, and their way forward in life.
Nov 17, 2017 - Will the Canes Finish Perfect?
The 2017 Ocala Hurricanes are just kids. In fact, they are some of the youngest kids in their Under 14 level with North Central Florida's Big Sun Youth Soccer League. Their rivals haven't let them forget that with some of the pregame chatter as they have continued to roll up a 9-0-0 record with just one more match to go. Every year of age difference matters more in athletics, the younger a level is. Sixth and seventh graders know full well when they are up against eighth or ninth graders in any sport. Soccer is no different.
"I heard some of them saying they're going to beat us, Coach," said sixth grade midfielder Zander Lema, the youngest Hurricane, to Head Coach Fred Miley before a recent match, "but I didn't say anything."
"You did well," Coach Miley answered.
"We all know we don't have to say anything, Coach," Zander returned. "We all know soccer is how we talk."
Medals were awarded last week after Game 9 signified the official end of the season, due to a midseason administrative adjustment securing voluntary matches to throw Week 1 (postponed by Hurricane Irma) forward to Week 10. And so, although the Hurricanes collected their championship medals last Saturday, they still consider Game 10, a voluntary rematch with the Highlighters, to be part of their season.
"Nine contests is not a season for anything," Coach Miley said. "We need ten matches to call this a soccer season. Our kids want this season to keep going. Nobody wants it to end. We added a challenge to the league for a Champions/All-stars match because we didn't want it to end."
That challenge to the league's other squads, inviting two or three players from each of the other five teams for one final match against the young champions, did not raise enough response, so the Canes must be content with the number ten.
"We had only two other coaches respond with any availability or willingness for an eleventh match," said Miley. "Our kids just wanted everyone to know they were up for that. So I voiced their confidence with one last challenge to everyone. Even with scheduling challenges, we were ready to field ten players to take on the league's best. I reached out to all five teams with the idea. Only two other teams were prepared to send two or three players to us, so our challenge for an all-star squad to be mustered went unmet. Our kids recognize this unmet challenge as part of their season. Zander wasn't joking. Soccer is how we talk."
Coach Miley's dad took him to season ticket games for the 1972 Miami Dolphins, through all home games for their unmatched perfect season 45 years ago. "I was only nine, but I remember every game, and today I could tell you the whole lineup including the backups. Those guys were our heroes. Florida didn't have a baseball team back then, and I had to learn soccer when we were in Mexico because our Miami coaches didnt know it in my grade schools. They'd just roll out a soccer ball maybe two weeks a year and tell us to go kick. I had to join a league to play soccer. As boys in elementary school, we were all about football. We had the Dolphins football cards, we knew their stats, we traded Namath and Bradshaw for our linemen, we all wanted to be Csonka, Warfield, Griese, Scott, or Fernandez, and even though we won the Super Bowl again the next year, we were deeply troubled that our Dolphins lost two of those next 17 games that following year. We didn't know it at the time, but now we all know in our fifties that there is something very special about a perfect season at any level of competition in any sport." The young Hurricanes will have the opportunity to experience that rare accomplishment if they remember their tough teamwork ethic this coming Saturday. They know the Highlighters are well coached and always compete.
Several things about the old Dolphins remind Miley of his kids. "First of all, they were all very bright and they bought into Shula's discipline and winning philosophy, as well as strategies loaded with innovations and preparations for players to adjust on the field with their own decisions. I tried to bring a strong mental side to our kids' field decisions by incorporating a heavy emphasis on pressure passing drills. Decisions under pressure require a lot of reps to become automatic, and so does field communication. You can't just preach that. The kids need to do that. A lot."
Also, Shula was the league's youngest coach and actually ran with his players in the Miami heat. Miley knows players respond when coaches get into the running and skirmishes with them, at least occasionally. "I had a few coaches like that and we kids always liked them best," he reflects. "Players have to know their coaches care and that they are for real. Our kids bought into a drill-supported teamwork philosophy early, and they are all very bright. I knew we could make a run at a perfect season by Game 3."
When you hear the old Dolphins reflect on the '72 season, you often hear them talking about how they never knew who would step up in a big way, game to game. "It didn't have to be a star," Miley recalls, "because they were a team and they absolutely knew it. That family confidence in one another was the difference, especially in the closest contests. The only goal Ryan Dennis scored so far required a decision to break off a defensive assignment for a long penetrating run through a seam that he saw across over half the field. He understood his green light and took it to the house for the goal that clinched our title in Week 7 ahead of the Rip Tide. That is the kind of team we are, too. We never know who will step up or how, but someone always does."
Like the Hurricanes who played four of their nine matches close with three other squads, the Dolphins won six of their seventeen tighter games by a touchdown or less.
As with any other sport, every successful individual or team needs to get used to that target on their back. Parents know that's how it goes in all kinds of business, not just sports. And parents generally want sports to help their kids in life. Miley is on board with that. "This is an important time for our kids. Of course I want my players to finish perfect, but the Highlighters won't hand that to us. Coach Darren coaches at a school like I used to do, and he believes in excellence for his kids, too. In fact, he was one of the coaches to respond to our challenge by offering to provide three of his players and coach the All-Stars. Our players respect him for that, as well as his knowledge and sportsmanship. We know his team shows up with talent, experience, desire, and a chance to win any match. We have to remember our own work ethic and continue to compete against who we were to find out who we can become. Our players understand competition is meant to bring out the best from both sides. We want the best anyone can show us. We want the best from ourselves."
Nov 16, 2017 - Player Awards
Parents and players:
At 2:30 after our final match, the Hurricanes will top off their championship season with a pizza party at La Famiglia Pizzeria. Players will eat free, as owner and chef Steve sponsors our celebration, so let's pack the place and make this our pizzeria going forward. He has offered his walk-in wall as our "wall of fame", for our perfect run at Big Sun's U14 title this fall. So he let me coin an extra slogan for his business: "Perfect Pizza for Champions"! Can you guess which person of impact will be the name on your player's award after our stellar season? I have left some of you a few clues along the way!
A perfect season sets up a bond of families for more than memories. Along with the excellent memories of our unity together across this season, especially as parents have seen see what our kids did together along their way toward becoming future leaders in their own fields, these friendships formed will be our greatest take-away. This time together has been nothing short of extraordinary. Thank you for the opportunity to lead your kids this season. Nate Ruiz came up with our name in an early team meeting. Now we can say after our perfect run: "Once a hurricane, always a hurricane!"
Nov 13, 2017 - A Look at Week 10
With Daylight Savings Time driving us off Big Sun's unlit Field 7 that was assigned to us, Hurricanes practices will now take on a new feel under the Jervey Gantt basketball and volleyball lights. We will play some small-sided matches and drills on the flat grassy area at the west side of the courts. We'll also play some soccer volleyball in the sand, so be ready for some fun team-building times to finish our awesome season!
Announcement for parents:
The Hurricanes issued a challenge to our U14 league's coaches for a match with their all-stars this Saturday at 1:00 on Field 7. As the challenger, we called the time and place. Even with scheduling challenges, we had ten players ready to face the best in our league. Our kids wanted everyone to be clear that they were up for it. However, not enough coaches were on board with two or three of their own players to answer our challenge, so there will be no Champions/All Stars match. Our flag stands uncontested by the league's best.
Nov 13, 2017 - 2017 U14 League Leaders
Nov 12, 2017 - Week 9 Update/Game Report/Medals/Photos
November 11th, the Hurricanes faced the Ninjas for their Week 9 rematch. The Ninjas had to forfeit when only four players showed up. The Hurricanes donated four of their own dozen players to even the scrimmage match at 8 v 8. Martella Asbey scored four times for the original Hurricanes squad while central defender Josh Sieradzky made three runs from the back line for three goals of his own... going the other way against his teammates. Sieradzky led the rebellion against his mates along with goalkeeper Aiden Chittum, defender Kaleigh Beers, and striker Nate Ruiz. The match ended up exciting and very even as the original Hurricanes worked their diamond defense to a 4-1 lead, only to watch it slip into a barn burner when Sieradzky would not relent. The Hurricanes were awarded their first place medals a week early, and will face the Highlighters and possibly the league's all-stars next Saturday, to finish the season.
"We think we can make it perfect," said Coach Miley. "As always, we will need to show up and work hard as a team."
Nov 9, 2017 - Three Announcements
1) WE NEED LIGHT!
The time change has driven us off our darkened Field 6 At Big Sun. Our final T/TH 6:00-7:30 practices are switching locations to Jervey Gantt, in the grassy area adjacent to the brightly lit basketball courts.
2) PIZZA PARTY
My friend Steve, owner and chef at La Famiglia Pizzeria, has agreed to supply three extra large New York Style pizza pies and drinks for our players between 2:30 and 4:30 for our team party after final matches on November 18th. La Famiglia Pizzeria is located just up Maricamp from the Big Sun fields. Let's pack the place with our families and be sure to thank Steve and his long time crew, for supporting our team. He already is displaying our champion Hurricanes on his wall of fame as you walk into his pizzeria. Remember to visit him again as we remember our kids' amazing season! I recommend the supreme pizza and the garlic knots. He always prepares New York Style pies, and makes great subs and pasta, too. His website with full menu is linked to his logo in the margins of our site. My opinion: this is the best pizza in North Central Florida! Our kids are the best and deserve the best. Let's bring our families together for the best pizza, team awards, and one more great time!
3) RAISING OUR FLAG
I'm presenting the idea with us, for challenging the rest of the league with a "Champions versus All-stars" match as a final match on the 18th or 19th. What do you think? I can't see the idea of an all-stars match being accepted as an extra week going into the holidays. However, it might work as an add-on match after the late match on the 18th, at 1:00., or alternatively at 2:00 after church the next day.
I would hope to coach against two of the other coaches, since I have Chris as an assistant coach. I also don't want this to become a coaching duel between two personalities, in order to keep the focus more on the kids. I realize that the all-stars should be offered by each team's coaches. I'm fine with the all-stars having three selections from each of the other five squads, which gives them three more subs than we would have, but also some wiggle room for a few no-shows.
If the other coaches can organize this, their organizational job would be harder than ours. I know our team has the enthusiasm and ability to hold our own with signature style and flair, but could we also schedule an early afternoon rally for such a challenge match before Saturday's team party? Or after Sunday services? We are talking about a whole Saturday or a Sunday afternoon. The sooner we announce our challenge, the better. The other squads can always accept or decline our challenge. We may be able to get one or two of our league coaches to referee in case we can't get the short notice officiating coverage. Everyone has been itching to topple us, and we could stand there and let the whole league take one more stacked up try at us, but I really don't think the results would be any different. I know we all believe in our team, so this is only about scheduling.
Of course, we need to know we can field a team before we announce the challenge. I have presented this as only an idea with league administrator Bobby Herndon. We would need at least nine players for the usual 9v9 match. I would take any nine out of our dozen, with no subs if necessary. And then we would wait for a reply to our challenge.
Parents, I realize the short notice may not allow us to schedule two matches on the following weekend. So, let's put the word out among ourselves. If we can get at least nine commitments and put the challenge out, let's do it loud and clear with one last wave of our flag. I want our kids to know they can challenge the whole league and confidently wait for a reply. Regarding our final weekend of the 18th/19th, please reply on our text thread: "Saturday (1:00) and/or Sunday (2:00)" or "Not available for all-star challenge". It's our challenge, so we can announce the time and place. Just like the Old West. I will announce to the other coaches our challenge, with league permission, as soon as we have enough parents for our team's voice on this. So let's be swift and sure. Our flag is a black square on a deep orange backdrop. We want their golden stars. Thank you!
⚽️ Coach Miley
Nov 6, 2017 - A Look at Week 9
Nov 4, 2017 - Week 8 Tracker
Nov 4, 2017 - ⚽️ Game 8 Report: Canes Stay Perfect
On Saturday, November 4th, the early champion Ocala Hurricanes extended their perfect season through Game 8, taking a rematch over the Power Rangers, 4-1. Rangers Head Coach Steve Tweedle informed Hurricanes Head Coach Fred Miley that he had only 8 players, so Miley dropped his starting lineup from the normal 9 down to 8 to even the sides. "We were missing Emma, one of our top defenders with one of the best attendance records," said Miley, "but they were missing three or four of their players. We had three subs and they had none. In Game 1 with the Rangers, we held on for a tough win with no subs while they had three. That was the only time we played with no subs. Our good attendance comes with the enthusiasm of being part of something very special this season. We will take every edge toward excellence as a team, and really, that starts with basic attendance. Business teams build on strong attendance, too, and these are the points I emphasize with our kids. They know we are in this for life lessons, not just soccer lessons."
The Hurricanes never trailed and never looked back. Tri-Captain Anthony Minami won the 9:30 A.M. coin toss and elected to defend the east goal, placing the bright November sun behind his league-leading goalkeeper Aiden Chittum. Chittum needed only two saves behind another strong outing from his diamond defense. He again stepped up to his regular numbers and respected name in the league, allowing only one goal. Minami, second in U14 scoring with 15 goals, trails only teammate Martella Asbey with 16 goals. The red hot tandem maintained their blistering pace, each adding two more tallies toward the convincing win over the feisty Rangers. "Our kids heard some of their kids jawing before the game about how they were going to beat us -- regular kids' stuff -- but we've stayed away from pregame sabre-rattling. Our kids have been hearing chatter from older players on other squads since Game 3 as we started pulling ahead, so they're used to it now, and they follow our plan through that. Don't engage. It's always good for winners and future leaders like this bunch to experience a target on their back," said Coach Miley.
Being a younger squad invites even more provocative chatter than most winning squads generally hear, but the Hurricanes are taking these little challenges to the bank and cashing them in. "Coaches can't stop kids from chatter, but we can teach them how little it matters," Miley observed. "This is a very bright bunch, and they are keeping successes in perspective and turning their challenges into successes. Losing a battle can't hold a winner down from the war, and winning a battle can't make a winner smug. One of the hardest things for middle schoolers is to establish and foster their own team work ethic. When they can brand their own ethics as their own, they start to become a team. Coaches need buy-in from everybody. It's an age when kids usually like to get noticed individually. What's special is how they are finding unselfish and supportive expressions of their talents toward shared excellence this season. They really have each other's backs. I'm proud of them for that," their coach added.
The first fifteen minutes looked a bit like the early stages of an even match, but the Hurricanes picked up the first goal just after the first water break from a long feed by sweeper Josh Sieradzky up to Asbey, who promptly bypassed two defenders and the keeper for an early edge that the Hurricanes would always hold. The eventual winning goal soon followed when Minami looked away and juked away three defenders for a 2-0 start. The Rangers answered with a breakaway counterattack that caught Sieradzky forward of his stopper on a recovery run. #11 scored for the Rangers to keep them close, finishing the first frame with the Hurricanes up, 2-1. The second half was all Hurricanes after a stout halftime talk and the eventual edge of fresh legs and excellent conditioning on the side of the league champs. "We played a rotating, shifting triangle in front of our diamond," said Miley. "That creative activity seemed to cross up their marking assignments. We always prefer to have a full squad out there to bring the full impact of our passing game. This was a wide open 8v8 match with big lanes for the best athletes to make their moves. Still, we had more passing than they did, plus fresh legs. This match was tilting our way by the twentieth minute."
Soon after the second half settled into some more Hurricane rhythm, Asbey fed his frontline buddy Minami an assist for the third goal, and followed that with another score of his own off a steal in the final ten minutes, sealing the solid win, 4-1. The Hurricanes thanked the referee and their opponents, and ran their big hurricane warning flag around the field as they thanked their families and fans with high fives along the opposite touchline
"We heard them talking, Coach," said midfielder Zander Lema after the game. "But we were ready."
At 9:30 again next Saturday morning, November 11th, the Hurricanes will test their 8-0-0 record on the 1-5-2 Ninjas. "I saw the Ninjas give the Rip Tide a hard fight in the late match today," said Coach Miley. "Any one of these teams can stand up to any opponent on any given Saturday," Miley noted. "The Ninjas have some fighters and they are always competing."
Every week the young Hurricanes seem to understand they will have to play smart and tough to overcome some talented older athletes on the other side, with steady support on attack and defense as the best answer for any talk. The Hurricanes are finding out what they can do and who they can be together. This is the unfolding of a team that expects excellence of themselves.
"We know our hard work is smart work when it's teamwork," said Coach Miley. "We will need to keep our heads in this one with the Ninjas, just as in every other challenge."
Nov 1, 2017 - A Look at Week 8
Ten matches were slated for the Big Sun Youth Soccer Leagues, with Week 1 thrown forward to Week 10, due to Hurricane Irma's direct path through Ocala's sprawling horse country laden with majestic oaks and falling limbs everywhere. So, the final three matches now comprise a November homestretch for all age levels of the fall soccer season. The U14 level has bowed to an early championship run by the upstart Ocala Hurricanes. The Hurricanes have no 9th graders, only three 8th graders, and mostly 6th and 7th graders as the youngest team in the league. New to the league as a club under a former college player and high school coach who had been away from soccer for six years, the young Hurricanes gelled rapidly into a Cat 5 force that needed only seven matches to clinch the U14 championship. Now the Canes look to defend their perfect season with the same methodical work ethic and ready confidence that the league has come to expect, as they face the #3 Power Rangers on November 4th at 9:30 on Field 7.
The two squads first met in the season opener. The Canes in royal blue and white outlasted the Rangers in burgundy and white, 2-0, for the hard won victory. Mostly a tense 1-0 match, it was finally sealed by a late penalty kick from Josh Sieradzky, following a Rangers handball under heavy attack, for the insurance tally. Canes striker Martella Asbey had nailed what would become the winner early in the first half, which staged the defensive standoff. Goalkeeper Aiden Chittum recorded one of the league's two shutouts there in Week 1, and ironically, the Rangers recorded the other shutout, 1-0, two Saturdays ago in Week 6 over the Rip Tide. That was the first victory for the Rangers, who also went on to take another one-goal win over the Highlighters this past Saturday in Week 7. So, psychologically, the Rangers do have momentum with two straight wins to break their opening draught. They not only beat the Tide and Highlighters most recently, but also tied the Tide and the Ninjas earlier. The Rangers tend to produce low scoring results, with the worst attack (only 18 goals scored) and the next best defense behind the Hurricanes (19 goals allowed). The Rangers allow 2.6 goals a match while the stellar diamond defense of the Hurricanes allows only 1.3 goals a match. Meanwhile, the Hurricanes are torching the league with the hottest striking line by far, producing 4.6 goals a match. Fans can bear in mind that the only losses for the Rangers came narrowly against the Hurricanes and Typhoons, two of the league's toughest squads. They are now ranked #3 behind the Hurricanes and Tide after their recent surge. No doubt, the Rangers are tough, and both squads carry momentum into this rematch.
"We take the Power Rangers seriously," Hurricanes Coach Fred Miley said. "We remember them with respect. Both of us coaches are defensive minded. They gave us a hard battle and we expect another battle. We are glad they found a winning track before this rematch. Still, these matches are always more about us than than our opponents. We are competing against who we were to find out who we can become. That is our team philosophy that we all believe as a guide for our mentality together. Every match is a fresh challenge, and we always treat the score as 0-0. We are a hard working winning team for some important reasons. This is no accident. This is quite intentional. We connect and take care of our business together. I believe in our kids and they believe in each other and in what I'm asking them to do. That's because they know and believe in why. The way players think together is what opens their opportunity to be a team. We are not just kicking a ball."
Oct 31, 2017 - TRACKER UPDATE
Oct 30, 2017 - 6 BULLETINS FOR PARENTS
6 HURRICANES BULLETINS...
1) We won't have enough players for practice tonight as an alternative for Halloween scratching our regular Tuesday meeting. Too many other schedule clashes for our families.
2) Also, this Thursday evening we will play full field under the lights again, 5:45-7:30.
3) Anybody interested in making up our missing team practice on Friday eve? Please submit your Friday availability with Coach Miley today or tomorrow. We need at least 8...
4) More news: Just spoke with BSYSL administrator Bobby Herndon. He has confirmed we will play the Highlighters at 9:30 on November 18th for Game 10. We have clinched the league championship early, and the league will award medals after Game 9 (November 11th), since Week 10 was not finalized as a make-up for Week 1 (Irma) until today. All U 14 squads will play Game 10 on November 18th. We will have our team party after Game 10. Details on the location will be announced.
5) Also: I presented to Bobby the idea of possibly challenging our league's "all-stars" as a post-season opportunity. I don't care if we take on all the other coaches. All I need is my assistant Chris and our team mom Audrey and our new team manager Annie (my daughter) with the usual support for our kids. I think our kids would do quite well in such a match, and it would further illustrate to them the value of truly being a team. That would require some organization outside our team and some more commitment for one more week from our families; we will table that idea for now, but I will keep you posted.
6) Main message our kids need to be hearing as they finish strong: we believe in them!
Oct 28, 2017 - ⚽️ GAME 7 REPORT: HURRICANES CLINCH U14 TITLE
On Saturday, October 28th, at the 11:00 match, the #1 Ocala Hurricanes (7-0-0) clinched the U14 Big Sun title with a 3-1 win versus the #2 Rip Tide (3-3-1). The young Hurricanes pulled down tallies from three different players as they continued their perfect run.
Ocala's Big Sun U14 league's top two squads prepared carefully through Week 7 for their rematch. For the Tide, a loss or a tie would bounce them from any chance at a comeback run for the title. With younger, smaller players, the Hurricanes emphasized their passing and quick transitions from college level drills. Their recycling "wave defense" from diamond formation was braced to overcome taller, stronger players with a sort of organized swarm of traffic designed to isolate and disconnect the Rip Tide's top strikers and steer them out to the touchlines if they tried to do too much on their own. It worked.
In their first meeting, the Hurricanes cruised into a 5-0 halftime lead, and then switched everyone into different positions for more experience, for a 7-2 finish that ended their contender's undefeated bid, while adding to their own perfect beginning. This time, the Rip Tide won the toss and elected to defend the east goal with the sun at their backs. The Hurricanes faced taller players and a blinding October sun, but went right to work. Once again, the younger squad would strike first. A few minutes in, one of the league's youngest players, Caitlyn Connolly, claimed a loose ball at midfield, and slid a perfect feed to another 12-year-old, Anthony Minami, who calmly buried his 13th score past the Tide's goalkeeper, with a little smile that got his teammates smiling with him. The game was on.
Before halftime, a Tide handball visible to both benches was missed by the referee who was screened by some traffic. The Tide capitalized with a tying goal to end the first frame. This would be the only halftime finding the Hurricanes not in the lead. They handled the challenge in stride.
Before the second water break, defensive midfielder Ryan Dennis (#11), one of the Hurricanes' two eighth graders, took a quick long throw from rookie right back Quadarius Mitchell (#3), and decided it was time to break loose from his strict defensive assignment, catching the Tide overextended with a deeply determined run from his defensive end up the right touchline, past three more opponents, to hit his first goal of the season -- a left-footed blast from the top of the box. This spectacular strike (see photos below) proved to be the game winner that would clinch the Canes championship. The absolute grit and determination of this play by Ryan Dennis will likely remain in the memory of teammates, coaches, and cheering families as the charge that captured the spirit of the 2017 Ocala Hurricanes. How fitting that one of the only older players would seize such a moment to lead his young mates, all the way from the back end, at the right moment, for the championship tally. Nobody could have scripted anything more heroic for a harder working team player. And for first timer Mitchell, that was already his fourth assist from the back line. "Q's eyes for the opportunity opened up Ryan's run," Coach Miley noted. "They felt the chance together and took it from our house to their house."
With ten minutes left, the Hurricanes landed their big insurance goal when league-leading scorer Martella Asbey (#13) took a feed from sweeper Josh Sieradzki (#7) on a dead run, maneuvered past two defenders, and decisively hammered his 14th goal in 7 matches past the Tide keeper and into the right netting, settling the rematch as a 3-1 Canes victory. Now widening their separation at three-and-half games ahead of the Tide as their nearest contender in the cluster behind them, the Ocala Hurricanes emerge as the early champion of the U14 division, with a perfect record to defend on their homestretch.
"Drill-supported teamwork with a clear team philosophy is the secret that we don't mind sharing," said Coach Miley. "Mentally and physically, our younger squad has remained ready to excel. We are all proud of them. Any distinguishing advantage we enjoy always comes down to cultivating our identity as a hard working team. That's who we are together. Only a team can beat a team. We want to challenge other teams with the best teamwork, isolating their best individuals until they get the message. We haven't met our match yet only because of the complete buy-in and hard work with the basics. For us, that's fun," Coach Miley smiled.
"Our team showed up with the same focus again," the Canes coach emphasized. "We compete against who we were to find out who we can become. Ryan Dennis wasn't joking with his winning strike. We are serious about our fun through the pursuit of excellence. Today was no different, except that we're better as planned. We are a real team, and we're better every week because that's the design of us. Give us another short season and we'd like to test ourselves against a select team. The league handed us their best idea of a batch of kids that would be competitive on par with other kids in this rec level, but I would select this team out of the whole town for this age level. There's a whole lot to work with here when you recognize how these families have come together behind a group we all believe in. We find our heroes in different ways every time. Ryan was our hero today."
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