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ALL GAME REPORTS
Sep. 30, 2017
A L L G A M E R E P O R T S .......⚽️
⚽️ GAME 1:
On September 16th, the Ocala Hurricanes christened their fall season with a tough win over a skilled Power Rangers squad, riding the endurance of nine hard working players running all sixty minutes with no subs. Well into the first half, #13 Martella Asbey drove from the left corner by two defenders along the end line, to break the ice with a quick tap by the keeper into the near netting. The Rangers replied with several golden tries early in the second frame, leaning on their most skilled players, but the 'Canes defense held firm and turned the match.
In the late minutes, a handball was well called on the Rangers in their own penalty area. Sweeper Josh Sieradzki stepped up to calmly skim the penalty kick into the right corner for the insurance tally. Sieradzki also anchored the diamond defense in front of Aiden Chittum's first appearance goalkeeping for the Hurricanes, notching his first shutout with seven saves. Altogether, the Hurricanes fared well in their first outing against a skilled team, taking a hard 2-0 win without three of their own skilled players. They look ahead believing the best for a strong season with their full squad.
⚽️ GAME 2:
On a brilliant September 23rd, the royal blue Ocala Hurricanes overcame an early deficit with a complete team effort, for a tough 3-2 win. They took the barn burner over their familiar practice and scrimmage neighbor, the sky blue Typhoons.
Facing a low and blinding early fall sun, the Canes attackers started a shooting show that scuffled out no results. Then, just after the first water break, the Canes defense allowed a high shot from the Typhoons crafty right winger, launched from that side into the high near netting. After last week's shutout over the Power Rangers, the league's only shutout so far, it was as if goalkeeper Aiden Chittum and the squinting Canes didn't understand the foreign language of allowing a goal. They looked around at each other and their coaches for an answer and they found it fast.
The Hurricanes responded with a sort of businesslike fury back into that blinding sun, with laser passing staging two quick goals of their own. Anthony Minami picked up a feed from sweeper Josh Sieradzki past resistance down the left touchline, for the first answer into the far netting. Right striker Martella Asbey seemed to say "OK I've got one, too", and buried another shot from the other side, past the reeling Typhoons keeper. The Hurricanes finished the first half hammering the Typhoons with deep clearance passes from defenders Emma Wood and Kaleigh Beers, winning loose balls and securing the attack.
The second half opened with a series of Typhoons pressure runs with flashes of good skill up their right side again, and an eventual tying goal deflected off the head of a Canes defender. The Hurricanes, however, shook off the miscue with intensifying resolve from midfielders Savannah Polk and Caitlin Connolly, who both brought plenty of heart to haul the match back into their own schemes and thrusts. Those two girls rotated in and out of the right flank while left midfielder Ryan Dennis harassed and shut down the Typhoons right winger and generated more support along that left touchline with left striker Minami, whose plying ideas were thwarted several times before finishing the scoring with a spectacular winning shot lofted from over twenty yards out.
One way or another, the gripping seesaw contest was waiting for who wanted it most. As a new squad, the Hurricanes are establishing identity early. They again showed focus and teamwork across adversity, finding themselves already atop a competitive league of six. Standing alone with two wins, they now see themselves as hard working winners ready for what's next.
⚽️ GAME 3:
The morning of September 30th began with a rare pile of early rain clouds rolling in from the east, as players at the Big Sun Soccer Complex got their pregame stretching and warm-ups coordinated. Field 9 slated the royal blue Hurricanes (2-0) versus the dark blue Rip Tide (1-0-1). Going into the match, the Hurricanes led the league with a perfect two wins, touting the league's only shutout and toughest defense, allowing just two goals in the first two games. The Tide, also undefeated, played the Power Rangers to a draw the week before, and conversely boasted the best goal production (10) across their two matches. Best attack versus best defense: something had to give.
Just as the colors were raised for the pledge and anthem, the gentle sweeping rain arrived. A wet field with a new young referee would be the setting. The Hurricanes won the toss and elected to defend the east goal with the passing rain and expected sun at their backs. The fog and mist would not lift until halftime, and the Hurricanes proved ready for this setting after forging through two rainy practices during training. Left striker Anthony Minami (#10) opened the scoring immediately with a penatrating run down his touchline that then swung through two defenders for a move to the interior and a point blank opportunity used well. Right striker Martella Asbey (#13) continued to capitalize on a quickly disheveled Rip Tide defense, with two penatrating breakaways and two more tallies, as the Hurricanes hit the first 15-minute water break already leading, 3-0. To finish the half, the Hurricanes kept pouring it on The Tide's best athletes stacked in the back, with a second score from Minami and a third from Asbey. The Hurricanes, missing two key midfielders, still managed to dominate their nearest league contenders, 5-0, by halftime. They received cautionary encouragements from Coach Miley at halftime to keep working hard because that's who they are, a hard working winning team. A goalie change was made to give starting goalkeeper Aiden Chittum some running time in the field, and Ryan Dennis some time in net. Chittum remains the league's best goalkeeper, allowing just two goals in five soccer halves.
The second half opened with the Tide stacking their best athletes up front, but the Hurricanes intensified the coordination of their diamond defense, with stellar plays and support between stopper Kaleigh Beers (#8) speerheading resistance, and left back Emma Wood (#6), repeatedly frustrating the Tide's best striker and biggest boy, #12. Sweeper Josh Sieradzki (#7) had a quick answer for anything tumbling through that side, and also took care of anything that might squeak past a stone wall performance by right back Quadarius Mitchell (#3). Before the last water break Asbey added Goal #6, his fourth of the day, to the runaway shutout of the frustrated Tide across the first 45 minutes.
IMG_4204.mov (video of game action)
It was obvious that the Tide's best attackers had not yet seen a well organized diamond defense. They had racked up an average of five goals a game before this cold greeting from the Canes. Their persistent efforts, however, caught a break when the referee blew a whistle without making a call. Hurricane defenders were out of position while asking for the unspoken call, which was the moment the Tide siezed for a quick kick past backup goaltender Ryan Dennis, which was not disallowed under brief inquiry from Coach Miley, despite the no-call. The Tide seemed to pick up some momentum from that confusion, and continued to press along their right touchline. Sieradzki was busy mopping up incursions, and was forced to clear a play across the goal mouth, which Dennis reacted to as a threat by grabbing it. Unfortunately, there's a rule that goalkeepers can't use hands for a direct foot pass from a teammate -- a finer point that even starting keepers at higher levels don't always honor. That led to a penalty kick which the Tide used for their final tally to save some face. However, the Hurricanes answered with the final goal of their shooting fest, immediately after Asbey was substituted back in after a big breather. He was so antsy to get something back for the Hurricanes, that he sealed the deal with his fifth goal in full stride from the moment he was subbed in, immediately stripping the ball from a midfielder for one more run on net. The final stamp of authority was clear as the Hurricanes took care of their closest rival on a wet field that they enjoyed, 7-2.
⚽️ GAME 4:
On Saturday morning, October 7th, the Ocala Hurricanes walked onto another dew-laden field for pre-game warm-ups as the only squad in their U14 league with a perfect 3-0 record. Touting the league's only shutout, least goals allowed, and most goals scored, they were looking to continue momentum versus the talented 1-1-1 Ninjas.
"The Ninjas are a competitive contender in our league," said Hurricanes Head Coach Miley. "Our players know who they are, and that they have good talent and experience. We know they may at times overmatch us individually, but we're also gaining confidence that no other team can outmatch our team. We feel confident we will come out of this one understanding a little more why we need each other. Our players are communicating and moving for each other better every week. Our counter attacks are snappier. Our passing is more instinctive. Our heads are up better. For threats and connections. We 're learning how to isolate and stop talented individuals on the other side, by forcing mistakes with tenacious challenges and recycling our defenders in waves. While a talented attacker may occasionally get through our lines, we know we're stronger together than other teams are individually. This league is baffled by the methods of our diamond defense. Our attackers are becoming more opportunistic because they're up against the league's best defensive system and goalkeeper every practice. Soccer is more than formations and philosophies and a coach yelling stuff. We know it's a game of connections, and that's how we practice."
The Ninjas were missing several players, so both squads played down to 8 v 8. The Hurricanes won the toss, and speaking Captain Emma Wood elected to defend the east goal on the foggy morning. Like Game 2 against the Typhoons, the Canes seemed to need a wake-up call by allowing the first goal. A smooth penetrating run by #11 of the Ninjas, weaving his way by three defenders and calmly laying the icebreaker by Canes Goalkeeper Aiden Chittum, caught everybody flat-footed.
"You got a strong answer for that, Canes!" shouted Miley, as the Canes jogged back to the halfway line for their kick. And that is what followed. Immediately, left striker Anthony Minami (#10) took up the challenge and set to work with two quick goals from the right and then the left flank. Before the first water break fifteen minutes in, right striker Martella Asbey(#13) returned the hammer to his side, taking a slick feed from Minami for Goal #3, and another sweet assist from right back Quadarius Mitchell who ripped a turnover from the Ninjas. Four fast goals past the sprawling Ninjas defense set the tone for another dominant Hurricanes outing, as Asbey took another assist from Mitchell and swung in for some more net from the left, and striker Nate Ruiz added the sixth goal off a steal before halftime. The second half quieted down with one goal a side, as Miley pulled his starting strikers and jumbled the attack around for more players to have a try. #10 got a second goal past Chittum, who has allowed only four goals in as many matches, but Minami sealed the deal with one more "hello, it's me again" message for the Ninjas, knocking in his third goal from the left flank. In those final fifteen minutes, a Ninjas injury would drop the match to 7 v 7, opening the field even more. The Ninjas went to a 3-3 formation while Miley held onto his diamond with only two attackers to secure the match, 7-2.
"Our squad answered talent with team," said the coach, "and deficit with dominance. Playing smaller sides generally works to the favor of a team that leans on individuals, but our kids hung together strong. We kept the connections we needed, and kept our heads after their star made a good run on us. Our confidence grows every week."
The 4-0 Hurricanes face the 0-2-2 Highlighters next Saturday morning on Field #7 at 9:30.
⚽️ GAME 5:
On Saturday, October 14th, the Ocala Hurricanes added to their perfect start and momentum with their most resounding win, an 8-1 handling of the Highlighters. The match started more even than it ended, as both sides probed for weaknesses and pushed each other hard. Halftime found the Canes on top after two early goals by strikers Anthony Minami up the left flank off a steal, and Martella Asbey finding a seam down the middle off a feed from midfielder Savannah Polk.
The Hurricanes regrouped with adjustments at the half and went right to work. Minami, at 12 one of the youngest players in U14 play, continued his scoring outburst across the league with two more quick ones, first up the middle off a steal and then down the left flank off a loose ball that he claimed at midfield and took to the house. Asbey added the fifth tally before water break ended the third quarter of play. Minami easily added Goal 6, his fourth of the match, with a flick of the outside of his right foot from an Asby feed, and that's when Coach Miley brought Minami to the back of his diamond defense for some experience there. The Highlighters picked up their only point on a free kick awarded to their left flank, about 25 yards from frame. The Highlighters coach gave instructions for #10 to shoot on frame, and he did exactly that, lofting a perfect strike to the top right side netting with the most spectacular play of the day. Starting sweeper Josh Sieradzki, who had shifted forward to the stopper position at the top of the defense, then promptly started assaulting the Highlighter net with three long penetrating runs off three steals, resulting in the final two tallies, as the Canes continued their rampage across the league with another runaway showing, 8-1. An injury to the Highlighters Goalkeeper on his final dive to contest Sieradzky's final tally, was handled with a precautionary paramedic call, but that player's X-Rays came up negative and he will be okay.
Across their first encounters with all five opponents the first half of the season, the Hurricanes continue to lead the league in defense with fewest goals allowed (7), and also in attack with most goals scored (27). Goalkeeper Aiden Chittum has one of the league's two shutouts and the least goals allowed among starting goalkeepers (5). Strikers Martella Asbey and Anthony Minami lead the league together with 12 and 11 goals respectively. Josh Sieradzky leads the league's defenders with three tallies of his own, while anchoring the league's only high level defensive system, a diamond formation following schemes of many NCAA and international squads.
The #1 Hurricanes (5-0-0) next face the #3 Typhoons (2-2-1) this Saturday morning, October 21st, at 9:30, also on Field 7.
⚽️ GAME 6:
On Saturday, October 21st, the #1 Hurricanes (5-0-0) began the second half of their fall season with their first rematch, versus their next door neighbors from practice nights, the #3 Typhoons (2-2-1) . Both squads take each other seriously. The two coaches are friendly neighbors on adjacent practice fields, and as the two squads prepared beside one another this week, both coaches and their players expected this match to be a good test. Sporting their royal blue and white, the Hurricanes ran some new college level pregame warm-ups and routines to kick off their homestretch. Defending their own practice pitch, the sky blue and gold Typhoons were itching for a chance to topple the Hurricanes from their perfect beginning.
"We know there's a target on our back now," said Coach Miley. "This is our first year as a club, and we know this may come as a surprise, but we are here to compete. We are here to be a hard working team. We compare ourselves against who we were to find out who we can become. How the score turns out just shows us more about ourselves. Everybody is on board for our best. We are grateful for a competitive league with committed coaches and players. We think we have something very special happening with our family dynamics and support on this squad. These families are all in. The kids feel that. They each are shining within the team framework. They know that our teamwork is really the only thing that makes us special and distinguishes us so far. I don't have to sell them on that anymore, but sometimes I remind them."
The Typhoons won the opening toss and elected to defend the west goal on the cool and cloudy morning. The Hurricanes found themselves back on their heels more than usual at first, as the Typhoons brought pressure in bursts from three or four players. Water break didn't change the Typhoons' strong start, as they finally collected a tally on a miscue from a Hurricanes defender that bounced the ball by his own keeper, frustratingly into their own net. However, the Hurricanes responded in the usual way when down, 0-1. They quickly reached down to fight back. Striker Martella Asbey worked his way by three defenders to tap one into the near netting for his league-leading 13th goal of the season. Shortly afterward, Anthony Minami nailed what turned out to be the winner, and his 12th of the season, by lofting a high arc just over the keeper's outstretched gloves and under the crossbar -- a classic "pull the string shot". The Hurricanes took the upper hand into halftime, and never let go. And today they raised a new flag -- a hurricane warning flag, for their lap around the field before and after each match. The league is on notice: the upstarts are serious.
Next Saturday, October 28th, the #1 Hurricanes (6-0-0) will face the #2 Rip Tide (3-2-1) for the late match at 11:00 on Field 9. A win or a tie would clinch the first place medal for the Hurricanes in Week 7 of a 9-game season, but the Hurricanes are more interested in competing with themselves, or at least, their former selves.
"We'll expect to be tested again," Coach Miley said. "The Tide doesn't know us as well as the Typhoons do. However, they were upset today by the Rangers, a team that does know them well from scrimmages on adjacent practice fields. Kids at this age thrive on confidence and momentum, and one thing sure about our kids, is they don't like trailing in a match whatsoever. In general, we focus a lot more on who we are than who the other guys are. I have learned to appreciate our squad's indignant responses to the three 0-1 deficits we have immediately overcome. That's half our games starting on the wrong foot, but quickly reclaimed. It's just part of our identity now, to come back with fury if a team goes up on us. I credit the kids for that extra snarl. That's theirs."
The Hurricanes brushed by the Typhoons narrowly both times, yet the experience of handling a challenge has only stiffened the resolve of the young squad. Most of the Hurricanes are just turning 12 or 13 in a U14 league with players taller, bigger, and older. But Miley has emphasized the ground game. "It's a world sport for people of all sizes. Most of soccer is played on the floor anyway," he says. "Our younger kids are closer to the floor."
For the Hurricanes, this first season together is more about finding out and believing in who they are than about beating an opponent. That is the key message requiring complete buy-in.
"And we are getting full buy-in from everybody," says Miley. "There's plenty of heart and willingness here for the coaches to work with, to rally this group forward. We are a hard working winning team and we know our teamwork is what makes us special. What's best of all about all this is how our team feels the team behind them -- our families. This is really for our families coming together around something extraordinary, and that something extraordinary is these kids working together the way they do. I know our parents are very proud to see their sixth and seventh graders outmatching eighth and ninth graders. There's a confidence gained here in some principles that really work and really matter. We may lose a few battles in life, but people who win across big distances together always buy into the same age-old principles. I think this team can win every battle, because they get it."
⚽️ GAME 7:
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 Hurricanes struck 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, one of the Hurricanes' three eighth graders, took a throw-in from rookie right back Quadarius Mitchell, and decided it was time to break loose from his defensive assignment, launching a deeply determined run from his defensive end past three more opponents to make his first goal of the season the 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 the young squad in such a way that blew the ceiling off his own defensive assignment and turned it for the championship tally. Nobody could have scripted anything more heroic for a harder working team player.
With ten minutes left, the Hurricanes landed their big insurance goal when league-leading scorer Martella Asbey took a feed from sweeper Josh Sieradzki 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 wirk 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."
"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. Today was no different. We are a real team. We find our heroes in different ways every time."
⚽️ 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. 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 Sieradzki 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."
GAME 9 REPORT: CANES COLLECT CHAMPIONSHIP MEDALS
On 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 Sieradzki made three runs from the back line for three goals of his own... going the other way against his teammates. SieradzkI 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'll see if the league musters some all-stars to step up to our challenge at 1:00," Coach Miley said after the match. "So far we have heard back only from the Highlighters and Rip Tide coaches. We think we can make it a perfect season, even if the league sends us their best. As always, we will need to show up and work hard as a team."
⚽️ GAME 10 REPORT: CANES COMPLETE PERFECT SEASON
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 also 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 Coach 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.
S P R I N G
2 0 1 8
S E A S O N
⚽️ GAME 1 REPORT: HurricaNew 4 Aqua 0
On a bright and cool Saturday morning, the Ocala Hurricanes continued their perfect run from last season with a perfect 4-0 shutout over Coach Michael Peterson's Aqua squad.
The box scores for all matches are also posted on this site. In the scoring summary for the spring opener, newcomer from Blessed Trinity's championship squad, Justin Arroyo, leading from central midfield, opened the Hurricanes' scoring with a firm strike that sparked his schoolmate and returning Canes left winger Anthony Minami to the second tally before the half was whistled. Newcomer Caleb Lombardo, also from Blessed Trinity, finished the scoring from the central striker position, with two more quick punctuation marks from close range, to seal the solid 4-0 shutout over Coach Peterson's Aqua squad on the regulation pitch.
"We knew we were opening on the big pitch, and our players were ready to run," said Hurricanes Coach Fred Miley. "But, really, our plan under the high sun with more space to really play, was to wear out the Aqua side with our passing. And that we did. Justin and Caleb earned their starting positions today at the center of our attack. Their intelligence, positive energy, and familiarity together will be important for all of us this season. Aiden and the Minami brothers are also in that good mix from Trinity Prep, and this closeknit group has taken a wide open positive approach to all their teammates. There are no cliques in our philosophy. The Liles sisters are very tough and smart additions, and not afraid of anyone who happens to be bigger. They both bring courage and hustle from last fall's Gray squad. We are still experimenting with our diamond defense, and who will be where. We like Aiden and Josh in the back, and we like Railey on the left and Eric up at the stopper slot. The right side is up for grabs. Most of our players will be rotating through the midfield and striking lines. The solidity of our diamond is the beginning of how we build, from the back. The kids in the back need to know each other and have each other's backs instinctively through a lot of overload scenarios. That is why we hammer them as a diamond in practice. They can't make mistakes that aren't covered. Defending a goalmouth is like defending a house or a fort or a country. Any lapse could compromises the side you are on. If our defenders are solid, the rest of us will rally from that. We have a very young team with a fun and fresh culture. They are hard working, but they keep it fun. We are our own team, and we will be strong together."
"Hey, coach," said goalkeeper Aiden Chittum. "We started and finished last season with shutouts. Think we'll do that again?"
"Let's see how many more of those shutouts we can get this season, Aiden," he volleyed. "I got a feeling it won't be just two."
⚽️ GAME 2 REPORT: Huricanes 5 Gray 0
Ocala's confident young Huricanes took the big field (#2) on this breezy Saturday morning, ready for the next contender to challenge last season's title. With nine 12-year-olds and only four returning players on their roster of 15, after the seasonal shakeup in Big Sun's U15 division, these Hurricanes still exuded confidence in their pregame warm-ups and drills.
Coach Marrianne's Gray squad won the toss and elected to defend the north goal. The Huricanes went right to work. Center striker Caleb Lombardo put his team on top to stay, with his third tally in the first two matches. Center Midfielder Justin Arroyo nailed the next one, his second on the season, just before halftime break. Attacking the south goal, left midfielder Daniel Minami rolled out a run that landed #3. Stopper back Eric Osornio took two midfield skirmishes to the front and blasted in #4 and #5 for emphasis. The Hurrcanes have issued an early gale force warning to their league, out-scoring opponents, 9-0, in their first two matches. "Our kids want the title. They don't care how young they are," said Hurricanes Coach Fred
⚽️ GAME 3 REPORT: Hurricanes 2 Burgundy 0
In Big Sun Youth Soccer U15 action Saturday (4/7), the 2018 Ocala Hurricanes continued their spring opening streak from last fall's perfect 10-0-0 run, with a 2-0 win for a third consecutive shutout. The Canes landed both goals in the first half for the defense to hang on perfectly once again. The new Hurricanes return four players from the perfect fall team, as every squad is significantly "jumbled" each season. The four returning players are: Aiden Chittum (#14) still tending goal, Josh Sieradzki (#7) still anchoring the diamond defense, and Martella Asbey (#13) and Anthony Minami (#10) on the striking line.
The new additions are helping the squad start very strong, outscoring opponents, 11-0, in their first three outings. Anthony's older brother Daniel Minami (#15) has blown up the left side of the midfield with intense hard work, a lot of steals, and many crafty counterattacks. The Liles sisters, Railey (#3) at left defender, and Laney (#2) at striker and midfield, have added tremendous positive energy and smart choices with the ball. Eric Osornio (#11) has stormed into the stopper position and Zach Kaiser (#9) locks down the right side of "Chittum's Wall", taking the Canes diamond defense to a new level of awesome. Nathan "Q" Quiroz (#16) has stepped up ferociously as a defensive midfielder on strict marking assignments, while Caleb Lombardo (#4) has exploded on the scene with three goals at the point of the spear, redefining the center striker position with a creativity/energy combination that only Caleb can bring. Angie Loforte (#5) and Kennedy Engelhardt (#6) bring quickness and endurance with solid teamwork to the striking and midfield lines, while Shelby Davis (#12) is the squad's fastest striker generating new chances on net. Finally, the new leading playmaker and "quarterback" of the squad at central midfield, is Justin Arroyo (#8) who brings awareness and skill together at the hub of counterattacks and passing setups for a Hurricanes strike. A contingency of teammates from Ocala's Trinity Prep champion squad (Aiden, Anthony, and Justin) have spread their winning sense of team throughout these new Hurricanes.
"For this level particularly, and remarkably so early in the season, the passing is coming together beautifully," said Coach Miley. "The families are turning out in great supporting force, the players are working hard in practice to build our identity as a team, and the fun is absolutely electric. We have some real personalities stepping up together, and we're having a good time!"
The Hurricanes won their first match over Aqua, 4-0, their second match over Gray, 5-0, and their most recent match yesterday, 2-0, over the Burgundy squad. "That diamond defense has a way without words," said Miley. "We're calling it Chittum's Wall. They have shushed up everybody so far."
⚽️ GAME 4 REPORT
On Saturday, April 14th, both of Ocala's undefeated U15 soccer squads matched up at the midseason point to find they would both remain undefeated, as they remained scoreless for a 0-0 draw. The Ocala Hurricanes held a steady edge over Kevin Gorman's Blue Lightning throughout the match with about 75% possession time, holding the ball deep for plenty of chaotic scrambles as the blue squad bunkered back and made a variety of heroic dives and slides to keep the ball out of their net. The Hurricanes kept storming their gates, out-shooting the Blue Lightning, 7-1, out-chancing them 15-3, and doubling up the corner kicks, 4-2, but none of those numbers mattered on the scoresheet, as the blue side's fans celebrated and the Hurricanes settled for the hard fought draw.
"I didn't have to do much" Hurricanes goalkeeper Aiden Chittum said afterward. "Our defense made it really easy for me." Indeed, Chittum had to work a lot harder to preserve a 2-0 win over the Burgundy squad the Saturday before, with 7 saves required instead of only one.
"Four consecutive shutouts is not bad for any squad," said Coach Miley of "Aiden's Wall".
"Any coach knows you build a soccer squad from the back forward," Miley noted. "Our back defenders are minimizing mistakes, but we were playing aggressive defensive all over the pitch pretty much anytime they touched it. We have the only solid wall in the league. Nobody has touched our net halfway through this season. That's something we can take forward from this match."
Both sides were resilient and fought very hard. The Hurricanes obviously had the younger side, with only two players who are fifteen, and everybody else in middle school. Nevertheless, their edge was in their passing.
"You don't need age or size for good passing," said Miley. "You just need good communication with a work ethic, and we have that. Our kids worked as hard as they do in practice to control this match with passing. Usually that results in a win, but there are never any guarantees in soccer. Each match has a storyline, no matter the score. We were stringing together seven and eight consecutive passes five or more times in each half, and I never saw more than three consecutive passes for our opponent. That's why most of the match was on their end, and that is something else to take forward. It's always easier to possess than chase, and we had them gassed."
Indeed, both sides left everything on the field as morning breezes gave way to the high noon heat hitting the 80s In Florida's horse country.
"Our kids were wanting more time for this match to tumble our way," said Miley, "and I know they are mentally replaying some of the golden chances missed. They'll be looking forward to seeing this blue squad again for the final match. Bobby Herndon, the league director, stepped in for Coach Gorman's absence, and did an excellent job marshalling his strongest players back to hang onto that 0-0 draw. Our goalkeeper needed only one save for an actual shot on frame, and came out a couple of times to disrupt a couple of other chances. Bobby leaned on a few fast breaks for their chances, but they were usually stopped before they could get close. Really, our diamond defense just did another great job sending the battles elsewhere."
The Hurricanes finished the match with a few more deep rushes into the blue squad's penalty area, but squandered their shots wide or over the bar from within spitting distance of open net. "We ran strong till the end," said Miley, "but just didn't finish. I told our kids there's a story to every match. This match was ours to take, but we didn't take it. We did a lot of things we are looking for, but missed the finishing touches on more than a few golden chances. It's a perfect match to build on, because it will make us work harder to properly finish our opportunities -- one of life's greatest lessons."
⚽️ GAME 5 REPORT: CANES STAY UNDEFEATED, UNSCORED UPON
On a breezy Saturday in Florida's horse country, the Ocala Hurricanes silenced a fifth straight opponent, 3-0, continuing their perfect string of shutouts as the youngest squad in their U14 league.
"It's amazing to me how we could start this U15 season with 9 kids not even in their teens yet, and then simply silence all of our opponents with five shutouts in our first five outings. I've never heard of anything like it in youth soccer," said their coach, Fred Miley. "These defenders can be very proud of each other and how they have gelled. They have learned through many reps in practice how to operate a high level diamond formation under a variety of overloads. And now this league of older players is at a loss trying to crack their code. They are a team within a team that refuses to crack. In fifteen seasons as a player and sixteen seasons as a coach, I have never seen five consecutive shutouts for a squad. The only strikers who seem to be able to occasionally beat this diamond are on our team, and that happens only in practice with severe overloads. We run all ten of our other players at our diamond over and over in practice, and only the best plays will occasionally find the net. We call them "Aiden's Wall", and Aiden shows up for business as the last man. It is amazing to watch five players hold off ten players as well as they do. What they do in practice is way more amazing than what they do in matches."
With their coach raving and their families buzzing, Ocala's top U15 squad faced their practice field neighbor, the red squad under Peruvian Coach Cesar Tambini, who tended goal at a national level for Peru. "We were very excited to take on Coach Cesar's team," said Miley, "because we always see each other's hard workouts and keep wondering who is better. He has a very big heart for all of our league's kids, and donated some of his time to help our goalkeeper Aiden earlier in the season, when I asked for him to share his goalkeeping expertise. He did so not only willingly, but with enthusiasm. I respect how Cesar coaches, and their squad actually has a lot in common with our work ethic and passing priority, but I think our diamond made the difference again for us today."
The Canes picked up an early goal from Justin Arroyo to take a slight edge into halftime, and proceeded to lock down the match against a stiffening breeze with a goal from seventh grader Anthony Minami from distance, and an inswinger off a late corner kick from Arroyo. The Hurricanes out-shot the red squad, 18-7, and tallied 12 corner kicks while allowing none. "We still need to capitalize better on our opportunities," Coach Miley acknowledged, "but we did a lot of things we wanted to do today, especially holding it in their back third of the pitch. Our strikers and midfielders worked hard to keep the chaos going on their end, and our defenders just said no again."
The Hurricanes are at the top of the league with 14 goals in five outings, but the five straight shutouts is becoming a phenomenon that the kids in the diamond want to extend. "Railey completely rocked a winger who was trying to get by her, when she took him with a fierce and legal tackle in the first half, and the rest of the diamond stepped up with play after play, coming off Railey's fearlessness, to keep that hard hustling team down to just a few real chances. Our defense is creating a name for themselves back there. They don't make many mistakes, and that is why they are back there. That is the only shutout Coach Cesar's squad has suffered. Our diamond has very quietly silenced all five of our opponents. Nobody has found our net. Aiden's Wall is real."
The 4-0-1 Hurricanes take their league leading momentum into next Saturday's rematch versus the Gray squad, in the 9:30 early slot on Field 7 again. "This is our only early match," said Coach Miley. "We want our players to bed early the night before and ready with an early breakfast."
Bring your family and friends to cheer on YOUR Ocala Hurricanes.
⚽️ GAME 6 REPORT: CANES ROLL, 4-1, OVER GRAY
On Saturday, April 28th, the Ocala Hurricanes extended their unbeaten path in the spring season to 5-0-1, for sole possession of first place in the U15 Division of the Big Sun Youth Soccer League. They blasted by the Gray squad, 4-1, in a rematch from the 5-0 Game 2 victory over Gray. "This was a lopsided load of pressure again," said Hurricanes Coach Fred Miley. "We're keeping the ball on our attacking third of the pitch better and better."
After declining to claim a forfeit from Gray which had only 9 players showing up, the Hurricanes agreed to play 9 V 9. Captains for the day were Martella, Zach, and Kennedy, and the Canes won the toss, electing to defend the east goal with the early match sun at their back. The Canes dominated early, pounding away at the Gray net with 8 shots, only to be answered by a breakaway that landed a Gray goal on their very first shot. That goal ended a five-game streak of shutouts tacked onto the 11-0 finale from last fall. "This was the first goal allowed by our goalkeeper (Aiden Chittum) and sweeper (Josh Sieradzky) in seven matches," Coach Miley noted. "Longest run of shutouts I've ever seen at any level."
The Hurricanes evened the match before halftime with some left flank heroics from Caleb Lombardo, who beat three defenders before launching a perfect cross to fellow striker Martella Asbey, who plugged it into the top right netting. Asbey added the unassisted winner early in the second frame. The Canes picked up another quick insurance goal from central defender Eric Osornio off an assist from central midfielder Justin Arroyo. The punctuation mark on the win was a spectacular half volley from Laney Liles off an assist from Nathan "Q" Quiroz. The Canes outshot Gray, 21-6, and searched in vain for the net with 14 corner kicks while allowing none. "Their strikers were aggressive and created a few quality chances, but Aiden was ready with some wonderful saves to keep us on top," said Miley. "We know that no matter how hard we are working, other squads are working, too. We knew the Gray squad would come to play, but our kids kept their composure after allowing the first goal, and stayed with their identity as a hard working passing team for another strong showing."
The Hurricanes face their two top contenders to end the spring season.
With two matches left, here are the standings:
On May 5th, the Hurricanes face Burgundy, and on May 12th, wrap up the season against Blue. Those two squads tied each other, 2-2, Saturday, leaving the Hurricanes alone at the top. Come out and make some noise for your Hurricanes as they finish with both 11:00 matches on Field 7. You just can't use noisemakers anymore! Perhaps the great team spirit of the Hurricanes families has caused new league rules to surface this season banning the running of a team flag with a post-game gratitude lap, and also banning the use of noisemakers among families and friends supporting a particular side.
"We are hearing some new rules coming our way this season," said Miley, who decided to handle this news with a thorough statement.
"As a coach, I'm a leader, not just an instructor. My intent and direction need to be clear. When my intent or direction is called into question, I like to review my own inventory and continue to work for clarity as a leader, so here are my thoughts on the matters of noisemakers and our flag."
"Our team has an international flavor, with a deeper than usual connection with soccer as a world sport. We have kids wearing international jerseys to practice, they have favorite players in other countries, and they watch broadcasts of higher level international matches. As a team we know the world stage for soccer is loaded with flags and banners and crazier noisemakers than Ocala has ever known. So we smile about Ocala's 'quieting rules' with full awareness that the world has other ideas about soccer, how much it means, and how support is expressed. Here is the most tactful statement I know how to make for all sides:"
"We realize that the league is trying to keep order. We also know we have not been disorderly. We realize that administering an entire league's collections of comments and concerns and complaints can't be easy. In fact, it is very hard work for our volunteer leaders. They try to hear things from all sides and accommodate as much of it as they can, and they can't please everyone. The leaders ideally don't want anyone to be offended by anything, but that may be impossible at times. As a team, we cannot apologize for simple team spirit as the world of soccer would call it. However, we realize that some in our town will have their own ideas about what might be offensive, even though soccer around the world provides our team's models for expressions of support. We realize how "perception is reality" for many of us until our perceptions may change. So, as a team, we know we may be perceived in certain ways just because we happen to be undefeated. That's ok."
"Accepting differences is part of soccer. There are differences in opinions on the banning of noisemakers and the running of a team flag after a match. Many of our families with an international awareness of soccer can't help but notice that these are not rules we recognize from soccer as a world sport. We know the kids like the noise -- it makes them feel as important as they are to their supporters. We certainly don't mind at all when supporters of our opponents make a lot of noise. We want their kids to feel as supported as ours do. We are wondering after asking why we have to be different from the rest of the world, or even our own country's high schools, colleges, and the MLS, which have had tons of noisemakers and the running and waving of team flags all over the place. Although the discussions and team or stadium policies in the MLS have fluctuated over "distracting" noisemakers, flags, and banners, as the changing leadership in each city decides how much expression of support will be allowed, we can see the international stage remains relatively wide open for many expressions of support that do not interfere with the referee's whistle. The Orlando City Lions allowed drums their first few seasons, and now they don't. The "distracting" levels of noise from air horns and vuvuzelas are banned in most stadiums in many countries now, but their mere existence points to the levels of support that many wish they could bring to their young players of this amazing sport. The Seattle Sounders, which acquired American star midfielder Clint Dempsey from Tottenham, is known for the constant cheering on one end of the stadium and the constant singing on the other end. Especially in the cities banning flags and banners from stadiums, we find even more flags and banners with armies of fans marching to matches from tailgating parties. Leadership in each city and town has to figure out how much they can take. But one thing is certain by now -- soccer is a sport of passion for reasons all its own."
"Yes, world soccer has arrived in our country. Pele was the first ambassador for high passion and skill that we needed from the world. We plainly see how these 'quieting rules' are merely extra league rules here in Ocala that do not change soccer as a world sport, while we are merely an expressive, internationally aware team within this league. There may come a day when Ocala quits trying to change world soccer, and that will likely be the golden window when soccer changes Ocala. We know that all over the world people will be people and soccer will be soccer."
"Soccer by nature is competitive. Two teams defend and attack opposite goals. That is by definition, competitive. You can't take the soccer out of soccer, and a rose by any other name is still a rose. There is no such thing as recreational soccer that isn't competitive, because walking a dog is recreational while defending and attacking a goal is inherently competitive. Where there is competition, there will be noise and flags and medals and trophies. If we place goals around the entire pitch, remove the goalies, and tell everyone to kick anywhere, that would be recreational, and everyone could get a participation ribbon. But real soccer has a scoreboard, and no team wants to score for the other team. The problem with bringing in old school volunteer coaches is you can't easily retrain them to buy a new school of thinking about such basic things."
"We know that Ocala is only a small dot on this world soccer map. Our kids and their families are happy to know that our enthusiasm is noticed, and also happy to accommodate any confusion over our gratitude lap with our flag for such supportive families and friends coming out in such strong numbers. Our flag is for our players and their families. It is only a team spirit symbol, and never meant as an offense to other players or their families. We can't apologize for any wrongdoing, but we can erase the confusion of those offended, by furling our flag in the back of our gratitude lap on the coach's left shoulder. The flag still makes the round, but it is not streaming in what could be construed as too much glory for what keeps turning out to be victories. As we know on the team, we will run that gratitude lap every time, no matter the score, but it just happens that we remain undefeated. I think some people may think that our gratitude lap is some kind of victory lap simply because we have never lost, but if they would have asked, they would have known that our gratitude lap will always happen because we are always grateful for our support. This is just a case of mistaken identity because a few people out of our organization forgot to ask before complaining or issuing a decree. We all know we are noisy in friendly, supportive ways, and we all know what our flag represents, but not everyone else will take the time to ask when we are this successful. And that, my friends, is just one more good life lesson for our kids."
"Making a lot of noise with a team flag and maybe even some banners is what things start to look like when you mix family and passion and soccer together. Shall we add some banners? We were just doing what the world naturally does when their kids play beautifully as a team. We were celebrating our kids. We are sad that Ocala does not have a league that accepts this yet. Nobody can tame such a directly competitive sport into something that makes us more comfortable when we may happen to lose a match. What do we want to teach our kids about how to handle a scoresheet in life? There are score sheets in business like there are score sheets in soccer. Schools still give grades. Bosses still select winners for promotions. We still try to elect our best leaders. Businesses succeed and fold. A loss is never a failure if we see it squarely and learn from it. Mistakes are not an education until they are no longer repeated. Do we compete to learn and grow with honesty, or do we overlook the harder lessons in order to feel better? The result of a soccer game does not always say which team played best, but it often does. We usually keep score in our drills and scrimmages for this reason. The scoresheet provides feedback about goals achieved and incursions allowed."
"Ocala may not change soccer, but soccer may yet change Ocala. For a long time, our country has been trying to catch up with world soccer. Our team does not mind carefully handling these unexpected discussions arising from our noisemakers and team flag, but mostly, we know the importance of families as we celebrate our kids with passion. All over the world, older generations passionately celebrate the younger generations who play soccer. We want to pass on things about life that we know are found in soccer. The passion of families might get noisy in this world of real soccer, and the flags for this will always be running around our minds even if we can't have the BSYSL fields yet. We would love to see other teams with flags and banners and gratitude laps, because we know they have passion for their kids, too. Let our expressions go down in the archives as the first effort. Ocala will continue to learn from soccer more than soccer will learn from Ocala. Soccer is established worldwide, and Ocala is trying to climb on board one leg at a time. Team flags are only symbols. Noise behind our kids just tells them we love them. The work of the team is what makes us who we are."
"We are excited about our young squad's teamwork toward success, and glad to accommodate the league's 'quieting rules' with alternative ways to express our support. Some of the moms and grandmothers are talking about replacing the noisemakers with "trilling". Personally, I think that's a fun and harmless celebration until and unless we are notified otherwise. Or, we could blow bubbles when we score. That would be very quiet and kind of trippy. This group will find some fun with this little challenge. Somehow, 9 twelve-year-olds, three 13-year-olds, and one 14-year-old entered U15 competition with only two players in high school, and found their way to the top of the stack. We have done this with families behind our kids. We enjoy making no secret of this. We enjoy watching the team spirit we see with other teams. Other teams are asking their coaches to follow our gratitude lap example. Now we just hang our team flag from our bench canopy and hold it high at our team meetings. It's always interesting to see what an institution will allow from human beings as they challenge the defining qualities of it. Who can confuse team spirit for something less?"
"We define ourselves as a team while the league defines its own vision to give everyone a positive experience. Any league finds its footing with comments and complaints just as a team does. Not everyone will be happy about every decision from league leaders, just as coaches can't make everyone happy all the time, either. Because we are a team within this league, we will accommodate any confusion about our noisy support or gratitude lap by following the new rules, no matter what we may hear next. In the meantime, we know that soccer is always a world sport no matter what Ocala wants it to be, and we will continue celebrating our kids, as creatively as the world may hear next."
⚽️ GAME 7 REPORT: UNDEFEATED OCALA HURRICANES CLINCH TITLE WITH ANOTHER SHUTOUT OVER BURGUNDY
May 5th, 2018
Today the Ocala Hurricanes clinched Big Sun Youth Soccer's U15 title a week early, as they continued undefeated with another shutout. Goalkeeper Aiden Chittum and his diamond defense walled off the tough Burgundy squad, 2-0, once again. Just before halftime, Caleb Lombardo picked up what proved to be the winning strike, his team-leading fifth tally, off midfielder Anthony Minami's fifth assist. Central midfielder Justin Arroyo added his team-leading sixth assist when he sent a perfect corner kick from the left side to Martella Asbey, who headed in the insurance goal, his third on the season. The Hurricanes recorded their sixth shutout in seven outings, and have outscored their opponents, 20-1, with possibly the youngest squad in the league. "I wouldn't doubt if we are the youngest. We started the season with our average age under 13 in a U15 Division," said Coach Miley.
"We are a complete team this spring," Miley noted. "Two players from our right flank were missing today -- Zach and Shelby. That strained my brain for a series of adjustments. In fact, we made a shift in our entire formation to adjust. We went from a 4-3-3 to a 4-4-2, with just two strikers on the narrow pitch. We brought Q back as a defensive center mid, and he shut down their center strikers on assignment. We brought Daniel back as our left back and shifted Railey over to right back. Both of our wingbacks held the touch lines well. We all know the diamond system, but we also had a diamond in the midfield today -- a 'double diamond'. That helped us jam up and own the middle of the pitch for our transitions, and give Josh and Aiden an easy day. Eric did well staying home as our stopper with just a few surprise attacks from back there to keep them off balance. We leaned heavily on Q's intelligence and hard work to outsmart and outwork their go-to strikers, take attacking throws, and run far post plugs on attacks. He was everywhere when we needed him. Angie set up our winning goal for Caleb, by smoothly moving a pass through a triangular attack. Kennedy and Martella ran well up top. We wore them down with our passing, and transferred the battles to their end in the second half. That's been our pattern all season. I was very pleased with how our practices paid off today. Our work rate was superior for the win."
Goalkeeper Aiden Chittum now has six shutouts in seven appearances this season, and at twelve-years old, he has established a name for himself around the league already. "Aiden might be breaking some Ocala records somewhere," said his coach. "I've never heard of a goalkeeper with six shutouts in seven matches. Also, I wouldn't be surprised if we're the only squad with as many as eight players on the books for goals and assists. Last year we funneled most of our scoring through the tandem of Martella and Anthony for a perfect 10-0-0 finish. This season our defense is an absolute machine, and we have scattered our scoring from many angles and sources, more so as it has turned out than as a specific strategy. Any of our kids can score because they all practice against the best defense in the league. Our defense forces the rest of our kids to work for what they get through lots of rapid fire reps on net. And that's how they work in a match, except by then it's personal, because they don't think any actual intruders should actually have a soccer ball. Any guests on our end have to check the soccer ball at our gates for confiscation. We are polite to guests, but as for intruders, they soon learn that Aiden has a few house rules, especially about shooters anywhere near his house. His personal guards are just as serious as he is about this. Some of our opponents may try to run a few daring missions, but they are generally intercepted on the outer perimeters. This is a very defensive-minded team, mainly because we don't think anyone else should have the soccer ball. We think it's our toy, not theirs. Opponents rarely pass the ball more than three times before we take our toy back. Anyone can watch a Hurricanes match and count the touches to understand the story."
Last fall, the Hurricanes scored 50 goals in ten matches. Their attack was heavy like a jackhammer, with a dominant defense. Now their defense is doing the hammering, and their attacks are patient for opportunities. There are reasons, Miley says. "We have done different things this season with our different talent as these kids grow and develop. Continuity in the diamond defense is crucial. That's why you don't see me subbing much in the back line. They have to be extremely well connected with their system. Any changes there are generally to start a match as an adjustment for someone missing. Our leadership has shifted to to the back, and we lean on Caleb and Justin and Q and Eric to outsmart and outwork whatever we find in the middle. These four boys are very intelligent hard workers with quick ideas on the fly. They like to win, and they like to work for what they get. Martella leads the top right, but others are getting some time there, too. Our left flank is blown up by the Minami Brothers with Railey feeding them good clearances, and the rest of our team is rotating across the top line and the right flank to shake up the combinations. The outside midfielders run the most and need the most rotation. Railey's dad, our assistant coach Corey, was Army, and as one of our older players she has taken leadership at the left back position and plays like she could be future Army. She gets targeted by some boys for being a girl, but she generally lets them know who's boss. She has absolutely rocked a few right wingers in our league, and now they don't test her like that in the rematches. We may be one of the youngest squads with over half of our players at age 12 and only two players in high school (Railey and Daniel), but we are a confident group. Our families are very proud of this group and we want them to know it. There's a lot of character here."
In the early match, League Director Bobby Herndon filled in for Aqua Coach Michael Peterson and led Aqua to a 1-1 draw with the 2nd place Blue Lightning, jeopardizing their championship bid to overtake the Hurricanes, who then responded with their shutout over Burgundy to settle the matter of the title early.
With one match left in the Spring 2018 season, here are the standings and stats:
⚽️ BSYSL U15 ~ Spring 2018 ⚽️
O C A L A H U R R I C A N E S (6-0-1)
Schedule of Saturday Matches
DATE TIME FIELD SCORE OPPONENT
3/24 11:00 2 W 4-0 vs Aqua
3/31 11:00 2 W 5-0 vs Gray
4/7 11:00 7 W 2-0 vs Burgundy
4/14 11:00 2 T 0-0 vs Blue
4/21 11:00 7 W 3-0 vs Red
4/28 9:30 7 W 4-1 vs Gray
5/5 11:00 7 W 2-0 vs Burgundy
5/12 11:00 7 vs Blue
2018 Big Sun Youth Soccer League ~ U15
⚽️ 9 : 3 0 ⚽️ 1 1 : 0 0 ⚽️ 1 1 : 0 0 ⚽️
FIELD 7 FIELD 7 FIELD 2
3-24 Blue 3 Burgundy 5 Canes 4
Red 1 Gray 2 Aqua 0
3-31 Blue 3 Red 2 Canes 5
Burgundy 2 Aqua 1 Gray 0
4-7 Red 2 Canes 2 Blue 5
Gray 2 Burgundy 0 Aqua 1
4-14 Aqua 5 Red 3 Canes 0
Gray 3 Burgundy 3 Blue 0
4-21 Burgundy 4 Canes 3 Blue 3
Aqua 2 Red 0 Gray 0
4-28 Canes 4 Red 3 Blue 2
Gray 1 Aqua 1 Burgundy 2
5-5 Blue 1 Canes 2 Red 6
Aqua 1 Burgundy 0 Gray 1
5-12 Burgundy Canes Aqua
Red Blue Gray
⚽️ 2018 SPRING BSYSL STANDINGS ~ WEEK 7 ⚽️
U15 SQUADS POINTS W-L-T G/GA AVG. MARGIN SHUTOUTS
#1 Fred's Hurricanes* 19 6-0-1 20/1 2.9/0.2 +2.7 6
#2 Kevin's Blue Lightning 15 4-0-3 17/7 2.4/1.0 +1.4 2
#3 Cesar's Red 11 3-2-2 17/14 2.4/2.0 +0.4 0
#4 Darren's Burgundy 8 2-3-2 16/16 2.3/2.3 0.0 0
#5 Michael's Aqua 4 1-5-1 11/22 1.6/3.1 -1.5 0
#6 Marrianne's Gray 1 0-6-1 9/30 1.2/4.3 -3.1 0
*Championship Clinched by Hurricanes in Week 7
DEFENSE GA GA/Match Shutouts
Hurricanes 1 0.2 6
Royal Blue 7 1.0 2
Red 14 2.0 0
Burgundy 16 2.3 0
Aqua 22 3.1 0
Gray 30 4.3 0
ATTACK G G/Match Avg. Margin
Hurricanes 20 2.9 +2.7
Royal Blue 17 2.4 +1.4
Red 17 2.4 +0.4
Burgundy 16 2.3 0.0
Aqua 11 1.6 -1.5
Gray 9 1.2 -3.1
MATCH: T 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Caleb 5/1 2/0 1/0 1/0 0/0 0/0 0/1 1/0
Justin 4/6 1/2 1/1 0/0 0/0 2/1 0/1 0/1
Martella 3/2 0/0 0/2 0/0 0/0 0/0 2/0 1/0
Eric 3/0 0/0 2/0 0/0 0/0 0/0 1/0 0/0
Anthony 2/5 1/1 0/1 0/1 0/0 1/1 0/0 0/1
Daniel 1/3 0/1 1/1 0/1 0/0 0/0 0/0 0/0
Laney 1/0 0/0 0/0 0/0 0/0 0/0 1/0 0/0
"Q" 0/1 0/0 0/0 0/0 0/0 0/0 0/1 0/0
The #1 Hurricanes (6-0-1) will face the #2 Blue Lightning (4-0-3) next Saturday at 11:00 on Field 7, to round out the season. They will scrimmage Coach Cesar's #3 Red squad on Thursday to prepare for Coach Gorman's #2 blue squad, a serious ending to a serious season.
"The title is in the bag," Miley reflected, and added with a smile, "but no surprises -- our kids will finish with the character they've shown all season."
#1 Hurricanes........19.......6-0-1......20.... 1......2.9/0.2......6
#2 Blue Lightning...15.......4-0-3......17.... 7......2.4/1.0......2
⚽️ SCRIMMAGE REPORT: HURRICANES CRUISE PAST #3 RED SQUAD, 7-0
The Ocala Hurricanes challenged their practice field neighbor, Coach Cesar's #3 Red squad, to a scrimmage Thursday evening, for a tune-up before the final match. As usual, the Hurricanes started with an even set of presses both ways, but wore down their opponent with better passing for the win.
"Red came at us hard in the beginning," said Coach Miley. "They had something to prove."
The Hurricanes, however, with the late arrival of central midfielder Justin Arroyo, catalyzed their reply with better communication and movement to take the contest convincingly, 7-0. Arroyo set up left winger Anthony Minami for the first score, and Arroyo then nailed the second tally in short order. Anthony's older brother Daniel Minami then knocked one in from left midfield. All three of the first goals were generated from the left side, so right midfielder Caleb Lombardo added to the assault by taking an Arroyo feed and following his own rebound off the goalkeeper for #4 just before halftime. The second half followed the pattern of a Hurricanes signature, as possession time firmly belonged to the early champions, and the ball was regularly getting knocked around the Red defenders until the seams were ripped open again. The last three goals were landed by right winger Martella Asbey, midfielder Nathan "Q" Quiroz, and defender Eric Osornio.
"Seven of our kids found the net tonight with a 7-0 shutout over one of the top teams in our league," Coach Miley said afterward. "We wanted their crafty strikers to run at our diamond defense. At first, they did, but then our midfield took over. That was Red. We are ready for Blue."
⚽️ GAME 8 REPORT: OCALA HURRICANES DUST OFF ANOTHER UNDEFEATED CHAMPIONSHIP SEASON
On Saturday, May 12th, the Ocala Hurricanes handled the last of their contenders with a 2-1 victory, dusting off another undefeated championship season. The Hurricanes remain undefeated after 18 outings this school year; 10-0-0 in fall, 7-0-1 in spring. The fall squad outscored opponents, 50-10, and the spring squad outscored opponents, 22-2. Both runs were dominant, and executed by squads averaging two to three years younger than the age limit for their league division.
Facing the #2 Blue Lightning (4-0-3) for a rematch after locking up the title the week before, the 6-0-1 Hurricanes knew this "battle of the undefeateds" would be their signature match of the season -- just a final test of their character. Not a bad proposition for a squad that continuously demonstrated ready character all season. "All I expected of them was to show up one more time and just be who they are together," said Hurricanes Coach Fred Miley. "We know we are a hard working, passing team."
The two sides traded deep presses early, but just before halftime the Hurricanes scored first, set up by a left touchline attacking throw-in from "Q" for some planned chaos in front of the Blue net, yielding an unassisted goal by left striker Anthony Minami. Early in the second half, Anthony fed his team-leading sixth assist from the left flank to Caleb Lombardo, whose far post run on the right flank landed the insurance tally from close quarters, his team-leading sixth score of the season. The Minami-Lombardo connection proved to be the winner as the Blue Lightning scraped out a late answer with a scramble in front of the Hurricanes net following a free kick from their right flank. The Hurricanes held on with a dominant attack the last eight minutes, including a hard shot off the crossbar blasted from thirty yards by central defender Eric Osornio. With that final bang, the Hurricanes sealed another season as Ocala's undisputed, undefeated U15 champions.
"Our work was done in practice," said their coach. "When I asked them on Day 1 if they wanted to be champions, they all said yes. They are champions because they put the work in, and also because they always knew they needed each other. They can be proud of themselves and each other as a young squad with an extraordinary season. Going undefeated as a champion is always something extraordinary, and the work is what stages all those little successes for the end result. Champions happen by design and by the work. These kids bought into all the basics and did this together quite deliberately. Coach Liles and I are very proud to be associated with these special individuals and their families. We are grateful for this opportunity and proud of who they are together, what they did together, and what they'll always be -- undefeated champions together."
Here are the final scores, standings, and statistics for the Hurricanes and their U15 Division of six squads, at the end of the Spring 2018 season.
2018 Spring U15 Scores ~ Big Sun Youth Soccer League
⚽️ 9 : 3 0 ⚽️ 1 1 : 0 0 ⚽️ 1 1 : 0 0 ⚽️
FIELD 7 FIELD 7 FIELD 2
3-24 Blue 3 Burgundy 5 Canes 4
Red 1 Gray 2 Aqua 0
3-31 Blue 3 Red 2 Canes 5
Burgundy 2 Aqua 1 Gray 0
4-7 Red 2 Canes 2 Blue 5
Gray 2 Burgundy 0 Aqua 1
4-14 Aqua 5 Red 3 Canes 0
Gray 3 Burgundy 3 Blue 0
4-21 Burgundy 4 Canes 3 Blue 3
Aqua 2 Red 0 Gray 0
4-28 Canes 4 Red 3 Blue 2
Gray 1 Aqua 1 Burgundy 2
5-5 Blue 1 Canes 2 Red 6
Aqua 1 Burgundy 0 Gray 1
5-12 Burgundy 2 Canes 2 Aqua 2
Red 1 Blue 1 Gray 4
⚽️ 2018 SPRING ~ BSYSL FINAL STANDINGS ⚽️
U15 SQUADS POINTS W-L-T G/GA AVG. MARGIN SHUTOUTS
#1 Fred's Hurricanes* 22 7-0-1 22/2 2.8/0.2 +2.6 6
#2 Kevin's Blue 15 4-1-3 18/9 2.2/1.1 +1.1 2
#3 Darren's Burgundy 11 3-3-2 18/17 2.2/2.1 +0.1 0
#4 Cesar's Red 11 3-3-2 18/16 2.2/2.0 +0.2 0
#5 Michael's Aqua 4 1-6-1 13/26 1.6/3.2 -1.6 0
#6 Marrianne's Gray 4 1-6-1 13/32 1.6/4.0 -2.4 0
*Championship Clinched, Week 7
DEFENSE GA GA/Match Shutouts
Hurricanes 2 0.2 6
Blue 9 1.1 2
Red 16 2.0 0
Burgundy 17 2.1 0
Aqua 26 3.2 0
Gray 32 4.0 0
ATTACK G G/Match Avg. Margin
Hurricanes 22 2.8 +2.6
Blue 18 2.2 +1.1
Red 18 2.2 +0.2
Burgundy 18 2.2 +0.1
Aqua 13 1.6 -1.6
Gray 13 1.6 -2.4
⚽️ BSYSL U15 ~ Spring 2018 ⚽️
O C A L A H U R R I C A N E S (7-0-1)
Final Results of Saturday Matches
DATE TIME FIELD SCORE OPPONENT
3/24 11:00 2 W 4-0 vs Aqua
3/31 11:00 2 W 5-0 vs Gray
4/7 11:00 7 W 2-0 vs Burgundy
4/14 11:00 2 T 0-0 vs Blue
4/21 11:00 7 W 3-0 vs Red
4/28 9:30 7 W 4-1 vs Gray
5/5 11:00 7 W 2-0 vs Burgundy
5/12 11:00 7 W 2-1 vs Blue
MATCH: T 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Caleb 6/1 2/0 1/0 1/0 0/0 0/0 0/1 1/0 1/0
Justin 4/6 1/2 1/1 0/0 0/0 2/1 0/1 0/1 0/0
Anthony 3/6 1/1 0/1 0/1 0/0 1/1 0/0 0/1 1/1
Martella 3/2 0/0 0/2 0/0 0/0 0/0 2/0 1/0 0/0
Eric 3/0 0/0 2/0 0/0 0/0 0/0 1/0 0/0 0/0
Daniel 1/3 0/1 1/1 0/1 0/0 0/0 0/0 0/0 0/0
Laney 1/0 0/0 0/0 0/0 0/0 0/0 1/0 0/0 0/0
"Q" 0/1 0/0 0/0 0/0 0/0 0/0 0/1 0/0 0/0
Congratulations to all players on both undefeated squads from the Fall of 2017 and from the Spring of 2018. You will always be undefeated champions together. Once a Hurricane, always a Hurricane!
~ B S Y S L U 1 5 F A L L 2 0 1 8 ~
BSYSL U15 MEDAL POINTS
WEEK 7 Points W-L
*Canes 21 7-0-0
Blue 11 3-2-2
Aqua 10 3-3-1
Gray 10 3-3-1
Red 9 3-4-0
Burgundy 0 0-7-0
*Clinched first place in Week 7
HURRICANES HANG ONTO TOUGH OPENER
⚽️ GAME 1: CANES 3 BLUE 2
On a sweltering, humid mid-September Saturday, the Ocala Hurricanes kicked off their fall season versus Coach Moreno's Royal Blue squad with a completely new look, leaning on three of four returnees and eleven newcomers to bring the new chemistry for a third consecutive championship run. The temperature was over 90 degrees by the second half, and the humidity pushed the heat index up around 100. The Hurricanes, with sweeper Josh Sieradzki captaining the defense in front of goalkeeper Josh Gangelhoff, withstood about fifteen minutes of an early rush from Moreno's Blue Crew. "Our diamond defense worked well to stave off their early surge," said Hurricanes head coach Fred Miley.
Catalyzed by some aggressive play from Jack and Ryan Gorman and Tessa Ward, the Hurricanes wrestled to turn the tide, as those three initiated attacking triangles with Tre Ward, Mia Liebegott, Laney Liles, and Angie Loforte. By the 18th minute, Tre found enough daylight just outside the box for a hard shot rattling the crossbar, announcing the Hurricanes were there for a fight. "Tre's first shot was like a warning shot that got us all feeling we were in fact in this thing toe to toe," said Miley. "We were up against some older players, and were without our only 15-year-old, and Tre stepped up as a clear leader. This was just a matter of believing in ourselves and each other, and the choices to fight started to spread for us."
Shortly after that bit of drama, 12-year-old Logan Richie raced off the bench to make a difference among the mostly taller players. Logan wasted no time scooping up a loose ball and laying out a perfect assist to Mia running full stride for a casual strike into the net. "Just like our hot box drill," Coach Miley remarked. "They worked together like it was nothing. Logan's initiative made that happen, and Mia kept a cool head as usual for the finish. A very businesslike first goal for us."
On the ensuing kickoff, Tre showed up as a thief, ripping the ball for himself, beating two defenders, and plugging another one into the net. "Bang Bang. Like John Wayne just showed up. Until those two shots by Mia and Tre, they were outshooting us," said Miley.
The Hurricanes were not only missing Nate "Q" Quiroz, their oldest and strongest returning player, and a field leader, but also Assistant Coach Corey Liles. Aaron Sieradzki stepped in for Coach Corey. "Coach Corey is always a huge difference maker for us, so we missed both him and Q today in a big way, but our kids didn't let that distract them. They believe in each other and we believe in them as a team. They just had to find out what that feels like and looks like under fire."
The Hurricanes took their 2-0 lead into their halftime talk. By then, the heat was making its mark on all of the kids on both sides, and substitutions were necessary at all the right times and positions. "The strength and confidence of our team was clear at halftime," said Miley.
"Our team has six girls, the most of any team in the league, and I'm proud of that. Right around 13, 14, or 15 is when boys usually catch up to or pass the girls with their size. That's our U15 level, and we have mostly younger girls. Still, all six of our girls took on some of their bigger boys straight on, just like they do in practice. Our girls hold their own with no fear. GiGi Leon went up against boys almost twice her size and made them pay for underestimating her quickness and smarts around the ball. Our pressure drills had our kids ready not only for contact, but for the endurance they would need to hang onto the second half. Boy or girl, our team was best conditioned for that heat, and mentally ready for battle."
Moreno's Crew was obviously tweaked and prodded during their halftime talk, because they came out banging away again, using their athleticism and early energy well to win some balls and orchestrate attacks. Their first two attacks of the new half were turned away by Sieradzki and company, as the Hurricanes made some counter-attacks down the touch line. At the 51st minute, Moreno's strikers set up a crossing run with a misdirection shot to finally punch through the Hurricanes diamond. Gangelhoff never had a chance, the shot was so well placed. Much as Tre had done in the first half, the Blue squad siezed the Canes kickoff and flipped the script with a fast second goal of their own. Coach Miley soothed his fighters with the reminder: "Hey, it's zero-zero again. You know what to do. Fight!"
And that is what the Hurricanes did. Loose balls suddenly seemed to have a Hurricanes signature on them through the final fifteen minutes of the match, as the best conditioned team took control. "We were able to settle the contest into better possession time for us, which eventually tipped the match toward our opportunities. We expected our conditioning and our passing would prevail. Our kids knew they had worked for that late edge and they took it," said Miley.
The Hurricanes generated three late surges on the Blue net as they grabbed control of the match. Emily Metzler held out several tries on her right defensive side, and a couple of times sent the ball up to Jackson Walker, rotating in for Loforte who had battled the heat and opponent most of the match at right midfield. Jackson's fresh legs shook up the match like lightning and put the Blue squad back on its heels. The first response to the tie score was a beautiful shot by midfielder Ryan Gorman from a shallow angle over twenty yards out, finding the back of the net like a heat-seeking missile. The shot was called back because of a late offsides call. "That was more potential adversity for our mindset, because none of us could see how Ryan was offside. I had to ask for a clarification of the call, to pinpoint a player for that call. The head ref was clearly just backing the linesman, because he was not in position like the coaches and linesman on the opposite side were. I believe in only making an inquiry, not an argument, but I can tell you our kids had a real mental challenge with that call, and they overcame it together with more attacks on net."
The Hurricanes scrapped for a loose ball on their left flank, with Chase Richie coming out on the winning end, and laying the ball ahead to Laney Liles, who tapped it across to Tre Ward running an interior gap, which he exploited past two defenders to knock home the winner, his second tally of the day. The hurricanes held onto their winning margin the final ten minutes with superior possession time and continuing pressure on the Blue goal. "We really took the match into our own hands down the stretch," said "We had better defensive support systems in place, and were more level headed and confident with our hard won opportunities," summarized their coach. "That was a strong opponent. They tested us well. Sieradzki and Gangelhoff held down the fort against a tough and persisting attack from some good experienced players, and did not get rattled or hang their heads when many other defenders and goalkeepers at this level might have. They held true to what we believe about ourselves and each other. They held together our team as the backbone of it. We needed teamwork and endurance to overcome several adversities beyond the heat."
Miley is convinced the pre-season training was the real difference-maker. "Three out of our six training sessions these last three weeks had to be made up on different days due to lightning and heavy rain cancellations. I don't think the other teams were doing that. We arrived for opening day with all six sessions underpinning our teamwork. In training, our passing and formations under pressure were the emphasis. Our kids worked hard. They were ready to win an endurance test with older and bigger kids, and that's exactly what they did."
The Hurricanes, since their arrival last fall in Ocala's Big Sun Youth Soccer League, remain undefeated after all 20 matches so far. "Team-building requires buy-in from team members," Coach Miley explained. "Each new season, our six U15 teams are jumbled, with maybe three or four players returning to each squad. So far, everyone keeps buying into our quest for excellence and our identity as a hard working passing team. We buy in on Day 1, and then go to work to be the best we can be. That is the simple focus we need to overcome whatever we face. A steady mentality is very important for young athletes. That is always a mark of our Ocala Hurricanes by late season, but I was very glad to see this sort of shared composure in our opener, even without two of our leaders."
⚽️ GAME 2: CANES 5 GRAY 1
North Central Florida's Big Sun Youth Soccer League's U15 Division kicked off its second Saturday of the Fall 2018 season with 25 goals scored in three matches. The Ocala Hurricanes had to work very hard for their five. With the club's 19th win in their third season, the Hurricanes maintained their undefeated trail. They did this hosting a well contested 5-1 win in a first match with Coach Demeola's Gray squad, to move into first place. The Hurricanes have worked hard to rebuild their chemistry around only four returning players, and their strong beginning hasn't missed a stride. The squad continues its reputation as a hard working passing team with a commitment to excellence. "This is a good league for friendly competition," said Hurricanes Head Coach Fred Miley after the match. "We have some great families backing these kids on all sides. They hear a lot of cheers, and you can hear coaches cheering for players on both sides as the relationships continue with the families from other seasons. And everyone is putting in the work to improve each week. We aim to be our own best competition. Soccer leads young athletes into a level work ethic through their ups and downs, and a steady mentality as a team. We keep the soccer in soccer as we expect the best of ourselves learning the sport. Otherwise, we're just kicking a ball. Everybody truly wants to play well, and our two newcomers to the sport are looking comfortable in competitive practices with more experienced players. That's what we're after. We want our kids feeling confident about what they can do together as a team. They all are ready for the matches in a positive learning environment. Teams that focus on building character together often achieve winning results. The scoreboard is not the only measure of winning results. We had an excellent week of practice before today's match. We like our progress."
Hurricanes speaking captain and stopper back Jack Gorman reported the Gray squad won the toss and the Hurricanes would take the opening kickoff north. The first eight minutes went bouncing mostly around the midfield with skirmishes as the two squads grappled for whose brand of ball would set the pace. The Hurricanes eventually reined in the kick and run style of their opponents and started working their shorter passing to take the balance of possession time for most of the attacks. The windows for shots started opening for the hard working Navy Blue Canes, and the crowd could hear mostly Hurricanes doing the talking as they threaded their setups together. In the tenth minute, midfielder Tre Ward snatched a loose ball and knocked in the first tally from just outside the box. A few short minutes later, Tre stole a ball from a Gray midfielder and buried another goal from distance. The Hurricanes enjoyed their first water break in the 18th minute with a 2-0 lead, but the Gray squad set up a throw down the right touch line that found #10 sneaking past two defenders for a quick goal on their only shot of the entire match. "I think that was a first for me as a coach, seeing one goal on only one shot for a whole match," said Coach Miley, "but it was a very well played goal that was well deserved by both the thrower and #10."
The Canes bounced back before halftime with a hard shot from the left flank by Mia Liebegott, which bounced off the keeper's knee for Tessa Ward to finish. "All of our kids know to follow our shots," said Miley. "All of our drills are competitive, encouraging soccer decisions under pressure. We are a team geared for battle. Even the newcomers are onto this after just a few weeks. Tess was just repeating a competitive drill from practice. She is a very fast learner and one of the most aggressive strikers in our league. She was just being herself today, and that landed her two goals."
The second half belonged to the Hurricanes, as Tessa (Tess for short) knocked in another one off her brother Tre's assist. The Canes finished with possibly the best highlight reel, as Lainey Liles headed in a high assist from striker Jackson Walker relaying Tre's corner kick across the goal mouth to the far post. Liles was happy to finish that play just seconds before the final whistle. "That's just one of those plays the Liles family will always remember," said Miley, "because their girl played it perfectly, and it could never be done again exactly like that. A once in a lifetime play. And I'll always remember her daddy's smile after that play. Because he was no longer my assistant coach at that moment. He was all daddy."
The Canes out-shot the Gray squad, 14-1, for the 5-1 result. "The match was closer than the score," said Miley. "The Gray squad played with a lot of heart, and Quadarius Mitchell anchored their defense with a lot of well timed tackles. They played us tough and with great sportsmanship. We needed some stellar goals to stay ahead. Their goalkeeper was smart about cutting down angles and saved nine of our shots -- that's not easy. He also played well on their right wing when he switched out to the field."
"These matches are becoming a real family affair," said Miley. "I met Mia's grandfather after the match, and we all noticed how packed the opposite touch line was with a lot of people cheering for the kids with both sides. We love to see that kind of support for both teams. We have three sets of siblings on the squad. We like it when they get to connect in the matches. It means a lot to the families, so we try to put them in positions where they can connect. We think soccer is about the families, not just the players. That's why we run our gratitude lap at the end of every match to thank them. The kids on both sides can feel the support."
⚽️ GAME 3: CANES 6 BURGUNDY 1
On Saturday, September 29th, through the noonday nineties in North Central Florida, the Navy Blue Ocala Hurricanes hammered out a 6-1 win versus the Burgundy squad, to continue their perfect start at 3-0. That also extended their undefeated streak to 20-0-1 across the last three seasons.
Defensive captain and sweeper Josh Sieradzki, who has been an integral part of all 21 matches, affirmed, "We're working together well. Each week is better. We just need to keep talking out there." Indeed, the Hurricanes do work relentlessly with competitive drills each practice, and expect to finish practices with wind sprints to be ready for the persisting heat wave next Saturday versus Aqua. "We are tougher fighters with each match," said Canes Coach Fred Miley after the win. "We have locked onto a few key drills that push our competitive edge for endurance and contact plays. We have some snarly habits now when it comes to winning loose balls. Nobody is scared of contact, nobody waits for the ball, and nobody fades in the second half. Even our newcomers Chase and Emily have stepped up very competitively. There is nobody just learning to kick a ball anymore. Our kids are connecting already as an exciting squad to watch. They are already at a premier U15 level. Josh wasn't kidding. We build from the back line each season, and he knows. We are a team now."
Hurricanes speaking captain Ryan Gorman won the toss and elected to defend the south goal first, with a slight breeze at the Canes' backs. Two of the Canes girls opened scoring in the eighth minute as striker Lainey Liles took a smooth assist from left midfielder Mia Liebegott, after a give and go from Lainey originally, who ran back to midfield after that razzle dazzle with a big smile for her friends. "We have some very smart and tough girls on our squad," said their coach. "They don't back down for anyone, and they have a lot of fun. All six of our girls are not big and not older players, but our girls are bold, smart, creative and skilled. In a lot of ways, Angie is the heart of the team, and has a great manner of expecting the most of herself in the very grueling outside midfield position, with a smile for everyone. Tessa stands out as probably the scrappiest striker in the league -- she is a fighter down to the bone, stays connected with her passing, and knows her windows for hard, accurate shots. As a striker, she's also one of the best natural defenders on the team, which helps us surprise defenders who keep the ball too long, because she can strip it from some of these bigger boys who underestimate her, and very quickly flip the script. GiGi is our smallest player and will take on the world with her fearless hustle and smarts around the ball as a striker. She has a rugged work ethic, and we see her creating many chances late in a match when others can't keep up. Our newcomer Emily is locking down the right side with plenty of reps now, and she's as good as any defender, with a learning curve as eager as you want. She is reading a soccer book to become more informed in her first season. Mia brings a load of experience and skill, with vision and composure. Nothing rattles her. She is a stellar student and thrives on challenge, with some of her best plays happening under pressure. Our nine boys are there like their brothers. It's a solid team and we have a lot of fun. There's definitely a lot of laughter even as we work hard in practices. And you can hear their humor in the matches."
In short order after the Liles/Liebegott goal, striker Ryan Gorman took a lead pass from Nate "Q" Quiroz, and nailed his first tally of the season. Both boys went up on the boards together with that play, and it was only a warm-up for more things to come from Captain Ryan. The Canes finished the first quarter with a 2-0 lead going into the first water break. "Every water break was important today," said Miley. "We were missing two players, and rotated our two subs in and out of the midfield and striking line frequently. Only a few defenders never came out."
In the thirtieth minute Ryan took another assist from Mia for his next goal, and the Hurricanes gulped down water and Gatorade at halftime with a solid 3-0 start. "At that point we felt good about what we were doing out there," said Miley. The opening of the second half found the Hurricanes sharking around the Burgundy net with even more confidence. Just a few minutes in, Mia threw the ball in from the left touchline to a bolting friend of hers, Tessa Ward, who made quick work of goal #4, her personal third on the season. Mia's third assist in a match is an all-time squad record. Burgundy decided enough was enough and put together a strong counterattack off a back line steal, catching a couple of Hurricanes defenders out of position for the transition. "We don't have our first shutout yet," said Miley, whose squad has outscored opponents 14-4 in the first three matches, "but we are learning from the goals we give up. That was a positioning issue on a fast counterattack that generally requires a bit more experience than our wing backs have at this point, but they both are fast learners, and the lesson won't be lost on them."
Coach Corey noticed that the Burgundy squad was keying on Tre Ward, who led the Canes in goals the first two matches. "Coach Corey picked up on this when we subbed Tre out. That approach of theirs was no accident," said Miley with a smile. "They had some intelligence on our operations," he added with a bigger smile. "But that's what we like. You think you can lock us out because you key on one player, and we will hit you with our whole team. We don't lean on one player or another, and we are very tough on teams who do. That's our public philosophy: be a team. All of our kids come out fighting, and anyone on our squad can step up and score. We see that in practice all the time." Before the second water break, Lainey knocked in her second goal of the day and third on the season, by pouncing on a shot rebounded off the Burgundy goalkeeper. "Lainey's really picking up some timing and positioning on that top line lately," said Miley. "She is seeing the development of each play and wisely learning the art of being in motion off the ball for her chances on net."
At the water break, Coach Corey asked Ryan and Lainey his daughter who would get a hat trick? It turned out to be Ryan, with help from Angie Loforte's first assist. All three of his first goals on the season came tumbling into the squad's first hat trick. "Ryan is one of only three players who has done that for us over the last three seasons," Miley noted. We were glad to see Q and Angie get up on the boards, as well as Mia contributing her own hat trick of assists. We had some great fighters today. Logan Richie fought very hard for loose balls and presented strong attacking challenges around their net. His older brother Chase Richie did well on the one save he needed on his first day as goalkeeper, stepping up for Josh Gangelhoff who could not be here. All in all, a strong outing on a very hot day."
The 3-0 Hurricanes face Coach Hart's 2-1 Aqua squad next Saturday, October 6th, on Field 3, at Ocala's Big Sun Soccer Complex. "We will set up our players as fighters for this one," said their coach. "We know Coach Hart leads his squad with an intense style, and his kids don't quit. Our focus is on competing against ourselves each week. We aim to be better than we were the week before. We expect a fight from Aqua, but we aim to take our fight to them and wear them down in the heat. We calmly believe we can do that. Nobody outworks these kids, and we are starting to own the confidence that comes with the work."
⚽️ GAME 4: CANES 5 AQUA 2
On Saturday, October 6th, the Ocala Hurricanes added to their perfect start, with a 5-2 win over the tough Aqua squad, out-shooting them, 13-3, for the convincing win. Widening an early two-game lead over the field of contenders, the 4-0 Hurricanes (21-0-1 across three seasons) rode a hat trick from Tessa Ward, who broke through the resistance just a few minutes into the match, off an assist from her brother Tre.
"I saw Tessa in the try-outs," said her coach, Fred Miley, "and I did not want to coach against her. I wanted to coach for her. She has a lot of go-getter-grit, and an instant full heart in her decisions. That's an advantageous quality in this sport. She's dynamite in a laser beam with soccer decisions. Doesn't even need a mental process to jam for a soccer ball. Some players in a youth league enjoy soccer, some love soccer, and some are just here to learn a new sport. And then there's the occasional kid who also is hard-wired for what soccer demands. That's our #9. Our team is hitting a passionate fighting stride now, and our girl Tess likes to be at the point of the spear. So that's where we put her."
The Hurricanes took that 1-0 edge into the first water break, but Aqua was there to fight also, and answered with their first shot from running behind the last Canes defender (offsides position) to receive a long pass, setting up an easy surprise one on one for a score before halftime. "We thought the call was missed," said Miley, "but we easily shrugged it off because we know we miss coaching calls, too, and sometimes uncertain officiating calls or non-calls go our way, too. We really like that officiating crew and we know we're lucky to have that head referee at our level." The Hurricanes knew they had to reach down as a team for their own mojo, and the second half would become just that kind of story once again.
After the first water break, the second quarter began tilting toward anyone's match, with skirmishes going both ways. "We found ourselves playing more defense than usual after the first break," said Miley. "That got our attention."
Ryan Gorman certainly noticed the shift from Hurricanes dominance to a stalemate, and shared a challenge with the squad at halftime. "Hey, this is for all of us. We all have to scrap for the loose balls if we want to take this game back. That's how we're gonna take this." Ryan's teammates apparently took his challenge to heart, because the next four goals for the Hurricanes would not only lock the game out of range, but by no coincidence, all four were unassisted, directly from stolen or loose balls. The Hurricanes took a "skirmish and shoot" approach and made it pay. First, Tessa got things going off a steal for the go ahead goal. Then Ryan's twin brother Jack struck from the back line off a loose ball, landing his first tally of the year and what would turn out to be the winner. Then Tessa scooped up another loose ball and added the squad's fourth goal with a quick strike from distance for her first hat trick. Her brother Tre followed the new team pattern with another strike off a loose ball, for a 5-1 firm handle on the match. Aqua scored late with a high bomber from distance, and the Hurricanes answered that with more gale force winds around the Aqua net, banging out five more shots and winning two more corner kicks in the final ten minutes before the contest was settled, 5-2.
"They played us tough," said Coach Corey Liles, "but our kids stepped it up when they had to."
The first place Hurricanes next face Coach Peterson's Red squad at 11:00, Saturday the 13th, on Field 4, where both squads practice. "We scrimmaged them last week with a 2-0 win across 30 minutes," said Canes head coach Miley. "So we kind of know each other from that and from sharing the practice field. Coach Peterson knows what he's doing, and we appreciate his sportsmanship and diligence with his players. We know they have a strong attack when things are clicking for them. We aim to disrupt that and bring our game to them. We are a feisty bunch, so the feistier the better. The competition makes everyone better."
⚽️ BIG SUN YOUTH SOCCER LEAGUE ⚽️
⚽️ O C A L A H U R R I C A N E S (4-0) ⚽️
(21-0-1 across three seasons)
COACHES: FRED MILEY & COREY LILES
BSYSL U15 SCHEDULE ~ FALL 2018
DATE TIME FIELD OPPONENT RESULT
9/15 11:00 3 Blue W 3-2
9/22 11:00 4 Gray W 5-1
9/29 11:00 4 Burgundy W 6-1
10/6 11:00 3 Aqua W 5-2
10/13 11:00 4 Red
10/20 9:30 3 Gray
10/27 11:00 4 Burgundy
11/3 9:30 3 Blue
11/10 11:00 3 Aqua
11/17 9:30 3 Red
Oct 14, 2018 - Ocala Hurricanes Kickers Stay Perfect With 7-1 Win
⚽️ GAME 5: CANES 7 RED 1
On Saturday, October 13th, Ocala's Big Sun Soccer Complex rolled into some more pleasant fall weather, with a crisp and sunny morning. By the time the sun was higher for the U15 midseason 11:00 kickoff between the 4-0 Ocala Hurricanes and the 2-2 Reds, both squads were ready for a good run. "It wasn't so humid or up in the 90s like our first four matches," said Canes Coach Fred Miley. "We train to be a strong second half squad, so I think we had a little more in our tank this time for how we like to finish."
In the 12th minute, Ryan Gorman fought for a loose ball to knock home the first Hurricanes score. That brought an important early edge into the first water break, staging more hard work and good communication shortly after the break with an assist from Lainey Liles to fellow striker Tessa Ward. "Our girls worked out that goal with good communication and hustle," said their coach. About ten minutes later, Red brought a breakaway up their right flank led by their big striker Drake, who nailed what would be the only Reds tally from about ten yards out. Ryan Gorman was apparently irked by this and less than two minutes later answered with another unassisted goal of his own, off another loose ball -- his fifth goal on the season. "Ryan knows how to harness his emotions for the good of the team," said his coach. "He has the respect of his teammates and can quite deliberately bring a great spark for our fighting spirit at any time. He was involved with three goals today, and had a few words for the squad at halftime."
The Hurricanes took that 3-1 lead into halftime, but blew the game out in the second half. Tessa Ward knocked in the fourth Canes goal (her eighth on the season) in short order, off an assist from Ryan, bringing the widening edge to 4-1 at the second water break, to start the fourth quarter. That's when striker Tre Ward recognized some fatigue in the Red defense and attacked those seams with three consecutive unassisted goals. "Tre was just sealing our deal with those three late runs. We had to take him out before he tore a hole in the net," said Miley.
The Hurricanes meet their midseason mark at 5-0, outscoring all five of their opponents, 26-7. "We're off to a strong start, but we know we are remembered for how we finish, not for how we start. The rest of the season will consist of five rematches for all six squads. This is a classy, hard working team. We prize our sportsmanship first. Our players expect excellence from themselves and each other. They will show up with their best teamwork each Saturday," their coach said. "We measure ourselves against ourselves from the week before."
For Game 6, the #1 Hurricanes (5-0 this season, and 22-0-1 across their first three seasons) face the #2 Smokies (Gray squad, 3-2) on Field 3, Saturday, October 20th. That's the early match this time, at 9:30. Players should arrive at 8:45 for warm-ups.
⚽️ MATCH #5 STATISTICS, 10/13/2018
FOULS CK SAVES SOG GOALS
CANES 4 8 3 15 7
RED 4 1 8 4 1
1st half: Ryan
~ water break (1-0) ~
HALFTIME: CANES 3 RED 1
2nd half: Tessa/Ryan
~ water break (4-1)
FINAL: CANES 7 RED 1
BOX SCORE 1ST HALF 2ND HALF FINAL
CANES 3 4 7
REDS 1 0 1
Oct 21, 2018 - Hurricanes Shut Out Smokies, Stay Perfect
⚽️ GAME 6: Hurricanes 3 Smokies 0
The BSYSL's U15 league-leading Ocala Hurricanes showed up early for warm-ups on dew-drenched Field 3, spreading out for pre-game passing drills in their Navy blue and white jerseys. This was their first early match of the season, allowing them a full preparation complete with Spotify jams punctuating their bench under the canopy for the rising sun. GiGi Leon, Logan Richie, and Chase Richie were chosen captains of the day after their excellent week of practice, and speaking captain Chase reported that the Hurricanes lost the toss and would face the low sun with the first kickoff. The first quarter unfolded as a tough scoreless battle with five fouls between the two squads, two corner kicks for the Canes, and the Canes out-shooting the Smokies, 4-1. "It was a skirmishy first quarter," said Coach Miley. The Gray squad ran hard at us, and we ran hard at them. We got a bit caught up in their one-on-one style, and didn't really put our signature on the match till after the first water break."
Central midfielder Tre Ward opened the scoring shortly after the break, with an unassisted breakaway. "Tre clearly wanted a statement goal to pick up the first edge," Coach Miley said. "You could see that in his body language on that decisive breakaway and nonchalant finish. That put our squad back onto our own business plan." Just before halftime, left midfielder Ryan Gorman made it 2-0 on a scrappy assist from Tessa emerging from some thick traffic at the top of the Smokies box. The second quarter took six more Canes shots to pan out those first two goals.
Ryan inserted another halftime pep talk on playful request from his teammates, and then promptly added the final tally for his team after being moved to the striking line about ten minutes into the second half. Ryan (#11) took a hard won feed from Mia -- her team-leading fifth assist on the season. Mia worked the ball down the right flank past two defenders before her perfect cross. Ryan moved in from the left side and took that cross past resistance from a defender and the Smokies goalkeeper at the far post, for the highlight goal of the day. The two slapped hands after the beautiful play. "That's the stuff we practice," said Miley. "That play was exactly who we are."
Ryan's second goal was the fifth Canes shot of the quarter, and fifteenth of sixteen that his team would take this day. It was the play that locked things down for the Canes before the final water break. Everything after that would settle mostly back into the trenches at midfield. "That's the moment we took the match for our own," said Miley. "Ryan practices what he preaches. He has seven goals for his squad, and each of them meant more to his team than just a score. His goals swing his team forward to victory. Ryan is not just a winner. He moves his team to winning ways."
The Hurricanes then held onto the U15 league's first shutout of this spring season. The Hurricanes defense silenced the Smokies especially in the second half, allowing no shots at all. "They had two scary good chances on our net," said Miley, "and we squandered more than our fair share, so we have some work to do. Thirteen of our shots on goal were saved, and we knocked three over the bar from close range -- we will be working more on our shots. Josh Gangelhoff had a good day in goal, and our diamond defense picked up the league's first shutout of the season today. Our defense is coming along nicely."
Handling their first rematch with strong focus and resolve against the hard working Smokies, the Hurricanes maintain their perfect start, outscoring all opponents so far, 29-7. It would appear that their teamwork and confidence continue to build momentum for more heavy impact. "We know the difference between respect and fear," said their coach. "We respect how hard that squad worked and the way they came at us with all they had. But we also knew we had nothing to be afraid of if we just went on with the business of who we are together -- we are very simply a hard-working, passing team. That is what we expect of ourselves."
The 6-0 Ocala Hurricanes face Burgundy for Game 7 at 11:00 on Field 4.
⚽️ MATCH #6 TEAM STATS, 10/20/2018
FOULS CK SAVES SOG GOALS
CANES 5 4 3 16 3
GRAY 4 2 13 3 0
BOX SCORE 1ST HALF 2ND HALF FINAL
CANES 2 1 3
GRAY 0 0 0
~ 1st water break (0-0) ~
HALFTIME: CANES 2 GRAY 0
2nd half: Ryan/Mia
~ 2nd water break (3-0) ~
FINAL: CANES 3 GRAY 0
⚽️ CANES 9 BURGUNDY 1
On Saturday, October 27th, the Ocala Hurricanes clinched the Big Sun Youth Soccer League's U15 Division title with a 9-1 win versus the Burgundy squad. The Burgundy squad showed up with 8 players, so the Hurricanes sat six players, as they were missing only Lainey Liles with a non-soccer injury. The 7-0 Canes knew what to do about their only deficit of the season after Burgundy struck first in the ninth minute with a shot by their striker, #16. Nine consecutive goals later, the undefeated Hurricanes stopped the match a few minutes early with the only 8-goal margin of the U15's six-squad fall season.
"We rotated all of our players in and out frequently," said Hurricanes head coach Fred Miley, "but they had no subs for their eight players. The players were even in number on the pitch, but we had a decided advantage with our full turnout and fresh legs. I guess that teaches our kids the value of just showing up."
In the first quarter before the first water break, the Hurricanes peppered the Burgundy goalmouth with 10 shots to Burgundy's first and final three shots of the match. The frustration ended with midfielder Mia Liebegott's unassisted icebreaker in the eleventh minute to answer Burgundy's brief lead. Three minutes later she laid out her team-leading sixth assist for the go-ahead tally from striker Logan Richie. Ironically, the two had teamed up for the squad's first score of the season back in Game 1, as Logan assisted Mia for that one. The Canes went into the first water break with a momentum that never relented. Logan opened early after the break with his second consecutive score, an unassisted header in a scramble for a loose ball in front of the Burgundy net. Tre Ward knocked in another off an assist from Nathan "Q" Quiroz. Tre added his team-leading 11th goal, unassisted, to carry the Canes to a 5-1 halftime grip on the match.
Soon into the second half, central defender Josh Sieradzki stepped into the attack with two strong results. First, he took an assist from Tre and calmly popped in #6, and then he continued his patrol for loose balls behind the constant Canes attack and laid out a smooth assist for another goal (#7) from Mia, who finished the day with two goals and an assist.
"By then we were losing count," said Miley. "It was an outpouring of shots on their net -- 36 in all. The cannonfire never ceased, no matter what our rotations were. In fact, most teams at any level need four to six matches to take that many shots. It was an energetic outing for our entire squad. Our group knows each other in all combinations, and they always overcome what they face. Always. We don't know what to do with ourselves except our best, and that keeps getting better."
The final water break found the score at 7-1, and Q wasted no time adding an unassisted goal from the right flank. Then defender Chase Richie stepped up to assist striker Ryan Gorman for the ninth goal that ended the match early. That put Chase up on the books and brought Ryan's goal total to eight thus far on the season.
"This was just another solid team effort from everyone," said Coach Miley. "Four different players were involved with consecutive scores today. Mia followed her first score by assisting the next score by Logan. Logan followed that score with another score. Tre took it from there with his two consecutive goals. Even our deep defender Josh Sieradzki stepped up for his first goal, which he trailed with an assist for the next goal from Mia. This pattern says how easily confidence spreads on this team. Players are stepping up to the high expectations they have of themselves and each other. Several players got to try some new positions. Emily played striker for the first time and Jack played goalkeeper. It was a chance to be our best again by leaning on each other's best. Nobody has to carry this team. We carry each other."
The undefeated Hurricanes (7-0 this fall, and 24-0-1 across their first three seasons) secured the BSYSL U15 title early with this win, and look to continue their momentum for a strong finish across their final three matches. Twelve of the roster of fifteen have been involved with the squad's assists and scoring. All fifteen have risen to the highest level in the league. To watch the way they pass and communicate is entertaining and even thrilling at times, as some plays are just amazing to find in a regular rec league.
"We are putting the work in," Miley emphasizes. "Our players know the scoreboard can measure only so much, and we play for so much more than that. We play for excellence as a team, and the memories we are building. We know this is a special group making special memories together. This is about character and class. Our kids and their families understand the priorities we all share. This is a youth sport league. There's a lot at stake as we invest in our kids. Our priorities matter. Soccer has a lot to teach about life. Coach Corey and I are very proud of our group and honored to be helping these kids find out what they can do with some real teamwork together. They have worked hard enough in practice and matches to believe in each other. Teamwork is the reason for their success together. They are doing all we ask and more."
⚽️ BSYSL U15 BOX SCORE, 10/27/2018
WEEK 7 1ST HALF 2ND HALF FINAL
CANES 5 4 9
BURGUNDY 1 0 1
⚽️ MATCH #7 TEAM STATS, 10/27/2018
FOULS CK SAVES SOG GOALS
CANES 1 6 2 36 9
BURGUNDY 2 1 26 3 1
1st half: Burgundy goal (#16)
~ 1st water break (2-1) ~
Logan (unassisted header)
Halftime: Canes 5 Burgundy 1
~ 2nd water break (7-1) ~
FINAL: CANES 9 BURGUNDY 1
Canes Settle for Split with Blues
⚽️ CANES 0 BLUES 2
After a deluge in Ocala, Florida the night before, a crisp November morning glittered across a soggy pitch for a rematch between the two top squads in the BSYSL U15 Division. The 7-0 Ocala Hurricanes had staved off the well-manned Blues squad, 3-2, in the season opener, and clinched the championship last Saturday with a 9-1 win over Burgundy, extending the club's undefeated course across 25 matches and three seasons since its inception last fall. But today would be another story, as Coach Moreno's #2 Blues (3-2-2 going into the rematch) were pumped for the upset and firing on all cylinders.
The Hurricanes opened the early match with a good surge and the first two shots, but the Blues made their first counterattack count, drawing the Canes keeper off his line a bit too early, and landing a goal from their right flank. The Canes returned pressure on the Blues goal after that. "We responded well to their first goal," said Miley. "We showed some composure and took the possession time and pressure back into our own hands." The Blues were called for a foul in their own box, as Tre Ward was maneuvering for a shot. Ward took the PK, but the Blues keeper deflected it to his right and the Canes did not capitalize before the first water break halted those skirmishes in front of the Blues net.
The Blues reclaimed some momentum and breakaway pressure after the first water break. Before halftime the Blues landed their second goal with a low drive from distance through traffic, screening out Canes goalkeeper Josh Gangelhoff from a clear line of sight and a chance to react. "That shot was cranked from a midfield loose ball situation," said Miley. "A page out of our own book."
Both squads ended the first half with only four shots on frame apiece, but only the Blues had anything to show for it. "They converted on half their shots before we knew what hit us," said Miley. "We had to reorganize our heads at halftime to face the biggest deficit in team history. I reminded them that we've strung many goals together many times for 38 on the season. It was just another chance to be who we are: a hard working, passing team."
The Hurricanes did indeed settle the match back into their own style with better passing in the second half, out-shooting the Blues, 5-2, and winning 4 corner kicks to the Blues 2 corner kicks. "We won about five high quality chances on their net," said Miley. Perhaps the most thrilling missed chance was a corner kick from Nate "Q" Quiroz to a header from Mia Liebegott that banged off the crossbar. "It was a tightly contested match," said Miley. "The second half was ours, as usual. We were never out of it and we never hung our heads. I was proud of the kids on both sides of this match. Several parents said it was an entertaining match to watch. Everyone showed up with their best. I just think our opponent was a little hungrier this time, and that's how any squad gets an extra step on the loose stuff."
Although his Hurricanes fired 9 shots on frame to the Blues 6, and earned 5 corner kicks to the Blues 4, those were not the numbers that determine a winner. "Coach Moreno's squad converted better on their chances. For me, that's the summary," said Miley. "We had nine shots on frame and five near misses. They have some experienced players, several older boys, and good goalkeeping. They physically pushed us off our passing game in the first half, and into more of their kick and run style. That's when they got up on us. A competitive match, and well officiated. They deserve the well-earned split."
After his U15 Ocala Hurricanes saw their 25-game undefeated streak across three seasons finally come to an end, he encouraged them to simply overcome the setback. "It's our only loss ever, but it's only a soccer game, and it's really just another opportunity to parallel soccer with life," said Miley. "Our one team word is OVERCOME."
Central defender Josh Sieradzky is the only triple crown soccer champion in the known history of his town and county to go 25 consecutive soccer matches undefeated. He started with Coach Miley as a seventh grader, and looks forward to trying out for the Forest High School Wildcats next year. "Hey, Josh, how does it feel to lose one?" Miley asked him with a wry smile in the post-game chat. Sieradzky, whose head was lowered for the talk, paused before the team, looked up at the coach, and then at everyone. "I don't really know what this is. It just doesn't feel right."
The 7-1 early champion Hurricanes next face Coach Hart's #3 Aqua squad (4-3-1) on Field 3 this Saturday, November 10th at 11:00. "The target is on our back now," said Miley. "We expected this, and we will need to prepare well for Coach Hart's squad. They played us tough the first time, and it won't be any easier for the rematch."
⚽️ GAME 9: CANES VS. AQUA
Field 3, 11:00 A.M., Saturday, November 10th, 2018
⚽️ GAME 10: CANES VS. RED
Field 3, 11:00 A.M., Saturday, November 10th, 2018
Mid-season team video -- "Keep the Momentum":
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