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Global Sep 02, 2012

Toys for Tots: Bolanos blends styles, backgrounds with Reston City

By Roger Gonzalez

Randal Bolanos has experienced it all as a coach and player. A Costa Rican, Bolanos played in his homeland professionally and has coached for years in the United States, now with Under-14 boys side Reston City.

Many coaches like him have had to decide how exactly to incorporate Latino players into American teams. The 2012 PWSI Toys for Tots Tournament offers another chance to push this process forward.

“We try to use what the kids can adjust to,” Bolanos said. “Coming from Central America, I like the short passing game, I like the soft touches, the fast breakaways. The Americans don’t like that, they like the long ball. We have adjusted how the team plays. We build from the back, play to outside defenders, back to middle and out to the corner flags.”

The team has been together for around two years, but it is still a work in progress. Trying to get two different style of players to buy into one system, well, it can’t be that easy, can it?

“Very hard, very hard,” Bolanos said. “They have two different ways of looking at the game.”

Bolanos said that the Latino players sometimes try to do too much with the ball, and play individually. That’s one reason that may delay the progression of the team-based play.

“Latinos are, in a way, less disciplined,” he said.

His squad’s first game at Toys for Tots, however, featured a quality performance as the team moved the ball around well and earned a 1-1 draw with NVSC Jr. Royals Gold. But in the second game, Reston lost 2-1 to FC Milan, leaving them two huge games on Sunday if the boys are to have any hope of advancing to the final stages.

“They have been able to adjust well,” Bolanos said.

“They can get far. What we have done, we have worked and developed the kids. We have built the team individually; now [we are] putting it together. There is nothing greater than the team.”

Bolanos’ guys will have to put it together quickly, though, if they want to finish the competition with a trophy.

They face VSA Heat 98 Gold at Chinn Park on Sunday morning at 10:00 a.m.

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