I spoke with each girl about what they wanted to achieve and then laid out a plan to get it done. In order to reach the NPL level, we needed to move up a division (State Gold), win said division, and then hopefully advance into NPL. The first season offered many challenges, mainly building chemistry between two groups of 16 year-old girls! I quickly learned this is not an easy task...We lacked communication, leadership and teamwork. Our goal was to finish 1st. We finished 7th.
Naturally, our team was disappointed but I encouraged the players and parents to believe in the long-term vision. We had the talent, we simply needed time to develop as a team. Everyone needed to be crystal clear on their roles and responsibilities within the system. Fortunately, the team bought in and stayed the course one more season.
In the beginning of the season we set individual and team goals. We knew where we needed to improve and we committed to the process of improving. We also knew in order to advance, we needed to win. I usually place a higher priority on development over winning. However, given the fact the girls are U16 and have a goal of reaching NPL (for college showcase purposes) placing a strong emphasis on competing is healthy and important. At the end of the season the girls won their league, with an undefeated record of 7-1-0. Additionally, we won the Nor Cal State Cup - Gold Division. Our progress, effort and dedication was recognized by NPL, as they accepted us into the NPL 2015-2016 season.
These past two years offered many challenges and obstacles but reaching our goals were incredibly satisfying. Most importantly, the girls experience will help them in many areas of their lives. They've realized they can set realistic goals, and if they commit to the process of attaining them (the most important part), they can accomplish them. As always, I'm sad to leave the group but I'm happy they're in a very good place moving forward.