Quincy youth soccer teams excel in ’17 season
The secret is, there’s no secret.
“It’s just a lot of hard work,” says Quincy youth soccer coach and director of the Quincy United teams Joseph James, about the success attained by his program’s teams this year.
All seven teams, U-17, U-16, U-14, U-12, U-11 and U-8 boys, and U-15 girls, finished in the top three of their leagues.
The squads compete in three different leagues, the Puget Sound Premier League, the Wenatchee Recreational Soccer League and the Columbia Basin Youth Soccer Association.
The U-16 boys (PSPL), U-15 girls (PSPL), U-14 boys (PSPL) , U-12 boys (WRSA) and U-8 boys (CBYSA) finished in first place.
“A lot of great things (happened),” James wrote. “Our girls took huge strides forward getting ready for high school soccer and our boys (did) really well” against teams from larger cities.
The U-11 and U-17 boys teams finished second, with the latter sometimes battling teams from Moses Lake, Yakima, Seattle and Spokane.
“Most of them are 4A-school areas,” said James in an interview, referring to the biggest high schools in the state.
For example, U-16 team scored 45 goals in those 32 dates, the U-15 girls team beat almost every team by two or more goals, and the U-14 team finished undefeated, one tie away from a perfect record.
The success is pretty remarkable when one considers that Quincy does not hold tryouts or have a Select-level squad.
“If you come and you show up and you got skills, we put you on a team,” James says. “Other towns, they have Select teams and tryouts because they have hundreds of kids from one age group come and try out. We don’t have that in Quincy, so it’s all hard work from our coaches.”
The coaching staff that includes Cully Donovan, Russ Harrington, John Toevs, Ernesto Sanchez, Jessica Trevino, Alejandra Olmedo, Jesus Zafra and James, put in a lot of effort in training the kids, James said, “at the highest possible level.
“I owe a lot to the coaches,” James said. “The coaches worked together a lot this year. I was out there with some of the coaches and it was really a coach’s season this year. The coaches really helped each other out.” Sometimes that entailed having two teams, like the U-16 and U-17 boys practicing together, he added.
“What that does is, if a U-17 player gets hurt, you just put in a U-16 player and they fit right into the system,” James said.
Another way the coaches cooperated was by mixing in the voices the players listened to. It wasn’t always the same faces leading the group. For instance, with the girls, sometimes it was Donovan and Harrington, sometimes it was Zafra, sometimes it was James or Toevs.
“All out there working with everybody, and the kids really took to working together this year.”
The season carries 32 dates, with 16 on the road and 16 at home, in the friendly confines of Lauzier Park.
The clubs and the community are growing, and that creates a more diverse squad of Latinos and Caucasian players almost across the board. Chemistry was great, James added..
“We had one day where Jose Lopez was teaching Sheridan Donovan how how to kick on free kicks,” James said. “How to bend your back, when to use your back and when to stay straight.”
This year, the team had a handful of players from places like Ephrata playing alongside Quincy children, supposed rivalry notwithstanding.
“There was nowhere for Ephrata kids to play,” James said. “We can’t turn kids down, so come on (down).”
Another Quincy squad had two players from Wenatchee. Put together, it all made for an great campaign.
“As a director,” James said, “This is the best season we have ever had.”
By Sebastian Moraga, firstname.lastname@example.org