Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Soccer Life - Kevin

1. Name:
Kevin Thompson

2. Role (Player, Parent, Coach, Referee, General Spectator, All of the Above, None of the Above, Other):
- player, referee (youth league, very limited), spectator

3. Soccer-specific Nickname (and any story behind it):
Two nicknames.
- Catfish: This is the nickname that dad (my coach for many years) gave me because a catfish is all mouth and no brains. I would get a lot of yellow cards for talking back to officials. The name just caught on and my teammates would call me Catfish too.

- Twig: this was my high school nickname. Drew’s nickname was Stump (which makes no sense really) so they called me Twig because we’re related and thin like twigs. We should have been called Twig and Twig Jr.

4. Age started playing:
- 4

5. First recollection of the game:
- scoring a lot of goals and looking in the paper where they would show how many each kid had. I liked having a lot and usually had more than any of the other kids

6. Highest level of play achieved:
- high school, intramurals in college

7. Last competitive match – Date (if known) & Level of Play:
- fall of 1995, loss in sectionals (high school)

8. Position:
- primarily midfield and forward. Played some goalie whenever we had big leads…I usually gave up a goal to the other team. I played sweeper too as a youth, but preferred midfield because I could play both offense and defense. I wanted as many chances as possible to touch the ball and help control the game.

9. Jersey number:
- 17, 21, 10, 7, 14

10. Most memorable moment(s):
- winning a tournament when I was around 14 that we had no business winning. I believe the game went into overtime.
- Also I recall an undefeated season on a youth league.
- Indoor games at Indy Indoor are also very memorable.
- Bus trips in high school were fun.

11. Least memorable moment(s):
- missing several games of my senior year due to being on crutches after a surgery to remove a gland in my leg.
- Getting kicked in the face by Coach Scanlon in a “don’t flinch” free kick contest. It hurt even worse because I was wearing braces on my teeth. I’ll never forgive that jerk. 
- Getting a very bloody nose (broken?) from Coach McNabb during a scrimmage. He was 40+ years old but was ripped and in as good a shape as any of us. It bleed instantly and lightly blackened both my eyes. Nose was sore for weeks.

12. Favorite team:
- Indy XI,
- Everton (because they’re known as “Everton Blues”, which I like),
- Argentina (because I like Lionel Messi),
- USA of course

13. Favorite player:
- Pele,
- Valderrama (the hair!!),
- Alexi Lalas,
- Tony Meola

- Lionel Messi

14. Indoor vs Outdoor:
- I loved the speed of indoor. Outdoor was fun too because I enjoyed being outside and the length of the game. Being able to run long distances is better than indoor too.

15. Grass vs Turf:
- definitely grass. Getting grass raspberries was much better than turf. Turf hurts in every way. We played on some crappy grass fields full on rocks and ruts but still better than turf.

16. Coaching experience:
- very little. Worked with some kids during high school at summer camps

17. Refereeing experience:
- youth league. I was around 13-14 years old. Also worked as a sideline official.

18. Favorite World Cup moment(s):
- mostly revolve around the women’s team since they’ve had more success. Watching the men’s team improve and consistently make the World Cup has been cool too. Seeing the USA host in 1994 (still the highest attendance in history of WC).

19. Honors/Awards:
- letter winner in high school.
- Academic all state in high school.
- Some team MVP awards on youth teams (can’t remember specifics)

20. Other sports played (and to what level):
- basketball (rec leagues)

21. Other Comments:

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Indy Eleven vs Rowdies - 01.27

- Opponent: Tampa Bay Rowdies
- Location: Tampa Bay, Florida
- Attendance: 6,377
- Final Score: 2-2 T
- Starting XI: Nicht, Frias, Norales (Captain), Miller, Franco, Smart, Smith, Mares, Pineda, Ambersley, Rugg
- Substitutions: Jhulliam 70' (Smith), Okiomah 77' (Norales), Moore 90' (Mares)
- Goals: Smart 47' (unassisted), Jhulliam 88' (assist Pineda)
- Bookings: Miller 12' (Yellow)

All good things come to an end and the inaugural season for the Indy Eleven finished the way it started about seven months ago, with a solid effort, a brief lead, and a tie.   In a season filled with as many ups and downs as this season has seemed to hold, maybe it's fitting that the end brought it back around to the beginning.  While the result of the game was the same, the team, both on field and off, have made tremendous strides.  For a team that finished the Spring Season in last place at 0-5-4 and last on the table, they finished the Fall Season in 7th place, and very nearly finished in 5th place if not for the late goal scored by the Rowdies.  The draw against the Rowdies also kept the Eleven in 9th place in the Combined standings instead of 7th place overall.  It just goes to show how the little things and the late collapses along the way can affect the overall standings.  If the team could have turned a few of those late draws into wins or those late losses into draws, and this goes from a rough Spring Season but improved Fall Season to a successful inaugural season.  Hopefully that's the lesson that Coach Sommer is able to get across to the young guys on this team.

Fall Season Table

Combined Season Table

The off-field product also was vastly improved between game 1 and game 27 was so different that it's important to remember how difficult that first game went from a concession, parking, logistics standpoint.  There was only the one point during the last home game with the concession issue that I ever noticed anything wrong with the way those same things were done.  Parking was fine, concession stands operated more smoothly, and the halftime entertainment was always enjoyable.

I'm off topic since I'm supposed to be recapping the game versus the Rowdies, but I think it's important to keep in mind the entire season when looking at this game.  The Tampa Bay game is the fourth game in a row where the back five have consisted of the same players and if you consider how early in the New York game Hyland was forced to leave due to his injury, they were all together for five games.  Their record in that stretch?  3-0-2.  The Eleven front office continued to search for players to help the team succeed as the injuries continued to mount even as it became apparent that the team was going to have a very difficult time making The Championship.  The players never stopped fighting and their successes at the end of the season are a testament to their desire to finish strong.  I saw some lapses (Frias got caught ball watching again on Tampa Bay's first goal and Miller didn't get good position on the free kick at the end of the game), but the team continues to fight.  I hope that trend continues next season.

I saw today that FC Edmonton released 6 players and I have to wonder which players from the Eleven's current roster will be around at the start of next season.  Spencer, Frias, Smith, Pineda, Pena, Franco, and Rugg are all on loan.  That's a lot of guys who have become regular contributors at the end of the season.  I count 8 players who were injured at the end of the season, but I would think they should all be healthy come training camp next year.  Do they players add depth on the bench that has been missing this year or do some of them or the ones on loan find new homes?  I saw some good things out of them so I hope they all form the core to a very strong and confident team.

Congratulations Don Smart for being voted for the Goal of the Week!

Congratulations Jaime Frias for being named to this week's Team of the Week!