High school, club soccer a delicate balancing act for PWSI Courage 94 Red coach Celia Mosier
By Jimmy LaRoue
NOKESVILLE, Va.–Celia Mosier had a delicate balancing act during the now-concluded PWSI Icebreaker tournament.
As coach of the PWSI Courage 94 Red girls squad, Mosier wanted to ensure she had a competitive team while taking into account that most of her team is in the midst of their high school seasons.
The team, Mosier said, has a couple of distinct groups to it–some together for a few years, and others coming in just this year. While it’s a Under-18 team, there’s some U-17s, and even a few U-16s, sprinkled in as well.
After the team’s second game Saturday, a 4-1 win over CYA Rumble, Mosier was thankful that the Courage got early leads that she could substitute liberally.
“If we were chasing the game, it would be a totally different situation,” Mosier said. “And then you would just have to make a choice. The kids’ health is far more important than winning a tournament.”
Most of her players are playing as many as three games per week with their high school teams, then playing three or four games on the weekend during a tournament with their club.
“It’s a tough situation,” Mosier said Saturday. “Fortunately we’ve been up in both of our games so I’ve been able to rest some kids. We’re just trying to be aware of who’s played what this week and who isn’t playing high school [soccer] at all so we can get those kids more time.”
In the win over CYA Rumble, Mosier put her regular goalkeeper in as a forward in the second half because she had more rested legs. She has been stressing stretching and other recovery efforts to keep her players as healthy, fit and rested as possible.
Mosier was able to do that because Caitlin Sullivan, one of the U-16 players on the squad, scored four first half goals.
“She’s nasty,” Mosier said. “She’s a good player. It’s her awareness. She’s a good athlete, but her awareness, but she’s one of the kids that’s just taken the stuff that I’ve tried to implement since I came and just everyday gets better. She sees things around her and makes everyone around her better. She puts herself in good spaces. She was always good, but she’s really taken it to a new level the past few months.”
But it’s not just Sullivan standing out right now, as Mosier is impressed that the players have come back from their high school teams without any appreciable loss of intensity and good habits. She said the girls on the team have no attitudes and have bought into the team’s goals–“it’s a love-fest all the time”
Mosier said she wants the team to look good, to have her outside backs get forward while always putting pressure on the ball in the midfield, and everywhere else, for that matter. She wants her team to be unpredictable and play more sophisticated soccer.
“I’m really pleased with our kids and where they’re at right now,” Mosier said. “There’s a bunch of things that we’ve been working on through the winter, and they’re making adjustments really well.”
It ended up being a mixed blessing when the Courage fell narrowly in the semifinals to STN Angons of Pennsylvania.
While the Courage was unable to win the Icebreaker title, the loss meant an extra 80-minutes or more of much-needed rest.