Tuesday, December 7, 2010

We've Moved!

This blog has moved to www.coreereuter.com


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Good Luck, CCWS!

I was thrilled when Ashley called me last night to let me know that they had won the CSAC semi-final in penalty kicks to advance the Centenary College Women’s Soccer Team to the final on Saturday. I was less than thrilled that I won’t be able to go to the game,  but I will most definitely be thinking about them and keeping my fingers crossed for a good result.

It’s a little funny how often life comes around full circle. Three years ago, I was still on that field, still in college, still trying to figure out where I would go and what I would do, and today, I’m still trying to figure that out. Three years later I’m still as lost and confused and wandering a bit aimlessly through life, but just like three years ago, I have the game to keep things in perspective. So many times I look back on those moments in my life, the moments I proudly wore that Centenary jersey, the moments that have molded and defined me in ways that I still don’t fully understand. I look at the moments with a smile, sure, but now even the disappointing ones I can reflect on with fondness instead of pain.

Three years ago, I sat on the sidelines while my team fought tooth and nail for a league championship title. Even though I didn’t play a single minute in that game (something that took me a long time to understand and accept), I still felt every foul, every missed shot, every bit of anxiety and nerves and frustration as the game ended without us on top. But today, I remember something that Michelle Berkey told me. She told me to stop and take a deep breath, take a good look around, really listen to the national anthem, and be proud of the fact that we got there. How many times in your life will you stand with your teammates in the middle of the field, listening to the song of your country, and know, without a doubt, that you wouldn’t want to share that moment with anyone else?

That, in it’s simplicity, is what playing at Centenary meant to me. It didn’t matter, in the end, that I didn’t play the last three games of my senior year. It didn’t matter that we lost those final games, what did matter, is that we played them. We played the game. We played at a level that some of us, including me, never dreamed of until Kevin Davies reached out and said, “Come to Centenary, play for me, we’ll do something great”. Like all things, it took a leap of faith, a giant, head first dive into the unknown, and when I finally surface on the other side, being a part of it meant more than any record, accolade or recognition ever could.

Being part of a team, hearing your name announced as you run up the center line, listening to the anthem, gathering in the huddle and quietly swearing at the other team to pump each other up. The handshakes. The smiles. The blood and sweat and tears. The knowledge that every single person sharing that uniform with you has your back, no matter what — those are the feelings and the moments you will remember. That is what will stay with you, long after the final whistle has blown on your college career.

To all of the Centenary girls, I wish you the best of luck on Saturday. Leave your heart on the field. Leave nothing to chance. Support each other, carry each other, and fuck shit up. I know you’re not allowed to FSU on the pitch anymore, but damnit, FSU! No matter what happens on that field, you all should be proud that you wear that jersey, and you got this far. So many of us don’t get that chance. Take a deep breath before the game, take a good look around, and soak it all up. You earned it, you deserve to be there, now go and bring home that championship.

Oh, and Ashley … you have no idea how proud I am. Three years ago I was proud of you, and today, even more so. I know I didn’t make you the brilliant goalkeeper you are, as much as we joke about it, but I hope you know that you made my senior year the best year of soccer I ever had. I’ll always be your biggest fan, and you can bet that I’ll be giving you the biggest MH in my head right before the game. Tear shit up, Prod.

Monday, November 1, 2010


I couldn't wait for the game to end yesterday. As the minutes ticked down to seconds, I would get a rush of nervous butterflies each time the ball threatened our goal, but my girls dug in and clawed their way, tooth and nail, to their first victory of the season.

I knew they were capable of winning. I knew they had the talent, the skills, and the ability to come out on top, but to finally see it after losing so many games was like someone handing you a key to a brand new corvette and telling you to go for a spin. It was a great feeling.

My goalscorer was one of my best players, a bright, bubbly girl who has been a terror on defense from the very beginning. I should have put her up front sooner, but I needed her back there. I'm glad I took a chance to put her up top, and you can bet that's where she'll be at the beginning of our last game.

There's been a lot of losses, but there's been a lot of positives, too. These girls have come so, so far since the beginning of the season, and I really think that with the right training this winter, they'll take these teams by storm next spring.

It'll be nice to have an easier schedule this winter so I can work on me a bit. NaNoWriMo starts today and I'm bound and determined to get my second novel done. I'm not sure the first one even counts, though. It's pretty bad. It is 53,000+ words, though, so I guess it's a start. I already like this one better.

Busy work week again. Soccer almost every day this week, again. But I love it. Being on the field is keeping me sane, and in this world, that has to count for something.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Official Frustrations

I hate losing. I really do. Not that I've ever believed that winning is the only way to happiness, but it'd be nice to win occasionally. The girls played a tough, hard fought game on Sunday against a team that was twice as big as my biggest girl.


This team brought a bazooka to a knife fight.

I wouldn't have been too bothered by the whole thing except for the fact that the referee was young and inexperienced and refused to blow his whistle. See that little plastic thing in your hand? Use it. Please.

Now, any of you that know me know I encourage and appreciate a good, tough, physical match ... as long as it's fair. Not all of the fouls that were committed on the field were dirty, but there were certainly some elbows in the back, shoves from behind, and pretty blatant tripping. I'm all for letting play go on, but to me anything from behind is careless and dangerous and should be an immediate call.

I told one of my girls that if she was going to get pushed around and the ref wasn't going to call it, that she should push back. The referee didn't like that too much. I kept my mouth shut after that. Still, the girl who I said that to ended up scoring a great goal towards the end of the game, and I was THRILLED for her since she's one of the players who has really improved in leaps and bounds since the beginning of the season.

After the game was over one of the girls said 'I'm not shaking the referee's hand'. That was not okay. I told her that she would shake the referee's hand and I never wanted to hear her say anything like that ever again. I made her cry. Sorry, kiddo, but you deserved getting that lecture. The parent agreed with me, so all remained well in my camp.

Of course, the next morning I got an e-mail from goal-scorers dad saying that his kid was angry about the other team, and was very sore with lots of bruises. The uber competitive side of me says "IF YOU'RE NOT BLEEDING, BRUISED AND EXHAUSTED AFTER THE GAME YOU AREN'T PLAYING HARD ENOUGH!" But then I remember these girls are only 11. I take a deep breath.

The thing that bothered me was that the parent in question said "I told her to run to the referee and stand in his face to complain about it next time she is elbowed or kicked from behind.  I fear she is only going to hold back for so long before she deliberately hurts the other girls back."

Umm.. please do not tell your child to stand in the referee's face and complain. That is only reaching them that it's okay to disrespect officials and people in charge. Referees are not perfect, either. 
All of these girls are good players and can hold their own on the field, but they have to learn that if you're getting pushed around you have to drop your shoulder and push back. I'm not talking about committing deliberate fouls, I'm talking about stepping up to the intensity of the game you are playing.  That team played tough, physical soccer, something that our girls haven't seen yet. There was definitely a lesson to be learned about how physical these girls need to be in order to be competitive.  I want my players to play with passion, but I also expect them to be classy, fair and respectful of their teammates, coaches, officials and their opponents. 

It was a bit of a disappointing game for me, and despite the positive things I've seen in the girls during our time together, it's hard not to get discouraged.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Time, Time, Time

Another week of soccer has gone by, and while nothing hugely exciting happened on the pitch, I've been trying to organize the next stage in  my coaching education.

I never realized the extraordinary amount of time I would have to dedicate to soccer coaching. Sure, I knew it would take up my afternoons and weekends, but I did not put continuing education on my calendar, something that Loudoun Soccer Club is adamant about. Now, I have NO problem with this whatsoever.. I think it's a very good sign of the passion for the sport in the club, and their desire to be a top club in Virginia. I fully support and appreciate their push for their coaches to take advantage of coaching opportunities, such as the two I have (potentially) coming up on my calendar.

The hard part for me has been organizing my other life, the small portion of my time that I try to dedicate to my personal mental and physical well-being.  Let's face it, we all need a day off once in a while, and sometimes it's hard to even find a half-day to relax during this time of year. We're approaching the end of the season, sure, but we're still in high gear, and will be until our last game on Nov. 7 (which happens to be my birthday). It doesn't look like we'll fit in a post season tournament since I need to do a clinic on the same weekend, but I think the girls will benefit more from using that money to rent indoor space this winter to continue improving their skills.

Still, even looking back on the crazy journey that coaching these girls has been, I wouldn't change it. Sure, it's taken away riding, taken away sleeping in on weekends, taking away my weekday evenings, but it's giving me a hell of a lot more than it's taken away, and for that I can't complain in the slightest.

I've learned some lessons, too, and come face to face with some realities of adulthood. I think, most importantly, I've finally learned to say, 'no, I just don't have time'. While sometimes this is frustrating for me, it's also allowed me to step back and evaluate what's important enough to make time for, and what I can let sit on the back burner for a while. Riding, for example, has become something I do when I have the time, and I enjoy it that much  more. It doesn't feel like a 'I have to go to the barn' anymore. It feels like fun, and it's nice to know that even if I don't get in the saddle for weeks, I still have the skills to ride whenever I want. They can be a little rusty, but it's easy enough to remember, and someday when I do change my focus back to horses, I know that the transition won't be too difficult.

Coaching has also made me realize that if I'm going to do something, I want to do it well, commit to it 100%, and be the best at it. I've often said that doing so many things as a kid certainly made me well rounded, but I never excelled at anything in particular. I was a good soccer player, a good dancer, a good rider, but I was never GREAT because my energy and dedication were pulled in so many different directions. Now that I can focus on one or two things instead of five or seven, I feel that if I want to be a great soccer coach, I can be, and maybe someday I will be able to be a great rider, too.

And while I've learned this lesson in my adulthood, I wouldn't push that knowledge on any of the girls that I coach. Doing so many things as a kid might not have made me great at anything in particular, but it made me much more enthusiastic and happy to participate in all of those things. Doing all those activities kept me from burning out of any one thing in particular, which is perhaps why, after 17 years, my love for the sport has only grown. Sure, there's been times in my life when I felt like throwing away my soccer cleats, but I think that could be said for everyone. We all reach a breaking point, it's just a matter of how you chose to fix yourself that determines where you will go.

I'm looking forward to the last three games of our season, and also looking forward to expanding my knowledge and growing as a coach. This game has so much to offer, and as long as I can continue to find the time to pursue it, I will pursue it with everything I've got.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Chugging Along

It's been a while since I've posted, mostly because it's been awhile since I've done anything soccer related. But, we're back in the swing of things now.

I got back from my work trip and immediately got back into a full week of soccer. The girls practiced well on Tuesday, I had keeper training on Wednesday, and practice was canceled, but I had a game on Thursday. We lost, it was just.. the communication was pretty off. Oh well.

Saturday we had to hike out to Maryland for our game, and even though we only had one sub, the girls played great! We even scored a goal, which was very exciting. If we would have had more subs we very likely could have won that game.

Sunday, however, was a mess. Two of my girls weren't able to come due to injury and sickness, and I had to forfeit. It sucked.

But, I'll stick by my decision, because I really believe it was the right one. Playing a man down would not have done a thing for their confidence.

I had a game yesterday that pretty much sucked.

Stu offered me an assistant coaching position with his team. I'm not sure what I want to do. If I do Loudoun and Stu's team, I will be going seven days a week.

We'll see what happens.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Ups And Downs

There's no doubt that life is like a roller coaster ride. Sometimes you're higher than high, sometimes you can't get out of the low spots, and most of the time we all float around somewhere in the middle. Soccer is usually one of the high points.

The past ten days have shown me both ends of the spectrum.

After our first weekend of games, I heard some things I didn't really like from our team manager. Evidently, some girls on the bench were talking smack about some girls on the field. This is not cool with me, at all, so on Tuesday they all received a stern lecture about positivity, team work, and the fact that if I hear it again they'll run the entire practice. The message must have hit home, since we heard nothing during our next two games. Practice that Thursday was also good, and it was really cool watching some of the girls suddenly understand the idea of crossing the ball. It was similar to how I taught Stu's keeper how to fix her goal kicks. The girls were all under the impression that it takes a huge run up in order to send the ball long, but I showed them how to create a good cross with just one step. And hey, it worked!

I was nervous about our weekend games again, but Saturday saw the girl's best performance yet! They really, really played together well. We ended up tying the game 0-0, which was a huge accomplishment! I was so, so, so thrilled with the girls on Saturday. The keeper I picked up played brilliantly, and I awarded her 'woman of the match' for her shut out.

And then came Sunday.

We were playing a team we've played twice already, both loses, but good, close matches. I don't know if the girls were just out of gas, if I wasn't coaching them right, or what, but they tanked. We lost 5-0. The good side of it was I learned some more things about where certain girls should go, and the coach of the other team came over and told me that it should have been a much closer game, but still, it was really disappointing.

I think I've decided to split time with the keepers, even though the one girl is superb, I think she gets rattled a bit. It's her first experience on a travel soccer team, so I don't want her to be overwhelmed. I also think that I'm going to move one of my defenders up front. I put her in up top at the end of the game on Sunday and she had some really good chances.

I've been getting some complaints from parents, which is harder on me than I admit sometimes. I don't like complaints. I like peace and sunshine and butterflies. I'm finding, though, that it's impossible to make everyone happy, and that I just have to stay true to myself. 

Practice on Tuesday this week was okay. I had to make them run again because they just weren't focused.I can't help but wonder if 1) I'm pushing too hard or 2) if these girls don't want to be pushed.

I see so much potential in them, but I realized that if you don't have the competitive drive, you'll just never reach that potential. I realized that if you don't have the heart or the determination or the passion for it, it's just not going to work out.

I see that passion in many of my girls, but some of the others, I'm not so sure. I don't know if that is something I can teach. I don't think it is. I feel like that competitive edge is something you have to create within yourself, something you have to dig deep and bring to the surface on your own. If you want to be the best soccer player (or rider, or person or whatever) only you can make that decision. I could be the greatest soccer coach in the world, with the most talented soccer players in the world on my team, but if there's no heart, no desire.. then nothing matters.

People talk about heart all the time in sports, how teams, people, horses who are not supposed to be successful rise above the doubters and stand proud on the top of their games. Heart seems like such an intangible thing. You can't train it, you can't make it stronger, you can't make it jump higher or run faster -- it just is. You either have it or you don't.

But the great ones have it. You don't have to be the best, the fastest, the strongest, the most talented.. as long as you have heart and passion for what you do, you will find success.

I won't see the girls again until Oct. 12, and I think it's good for all of us. I hope that when I get back from my work trip we will all be refreshed, confident, and ready to go on and accomplish great things in our season.