An old saying that our grandparents believed was what it took to raise a child. Belief that children could be positively influenced by like minded individuals in a community. It seems that society has changed over time. I will not go into the negative side of this change I'd rather focus on how I see the "it takes a village" mantra taking shape within our club. Sunday the Nirvana Illusion 03 team won the ENY state championship. A wonderful accomplishment for a team. It requires: Talent Work Ethic Team spirit Physical effort Teamwork Persistence Overcoming adversity Dedication Belief Luck AND A VILLAGE In this scenario, yes a team won the championship. Yes they stood on the field over many weekends and trained and played more games than one can remember. They made it to the final game and won the game. We can not take anything away from the team's results, they are in fact the ENY state champions. It will remain in the record books long after we forget the score and game particulars. The real story is the village it takes to get to this wonderful place. Not really a village, but a club and a soccer community. Many years ago soccer people would ask me how it was training Brittany Taylor. She has accomplished so much as a collegiate and pro player, was she different from your other youth team players? She was and is a phenomenal person and soccer player. I realized pretty early on that I just had a part to play in her development. That God puts me in situations with people for something bigger than I know. I would tell people, Brittany benefitted with her time with me, and I with her, because I know I'm here always just to do my part. I was part of her village. The reason I bring this up is because I hope that the players on Illusion appreciate that there are many of us as a part of their village. I would like to recognize a few, and I am sorry if I miss anyone. Parents: I shouldn't have to say anymore, but I will. They give up their time and money. They make sacrifices like missing family engagements, days off of work, family vacations and most importantly yard work gets put off. Coaches: Especially the way that we run Nirvana, our team of coaches, Jennifer, Thomas, Eileen, Sam, Elmer, Jack, Megan, commit many hours working selflessly to improve the players. We also make many personal sacrifices to be there for the players at training and at games. Players in the club: Without the added support of the younger players stepping up and being guest players there is no way Illusion could have handled all the games and travel required to be a state champion. There were countless games where we were either shorthanded or players needed a break, and with a quick message we had a group of players eagerly step up. When the younger players do step up and play it leaves a hole in their respective teams which means those holes need to be filled by others, or players must adapt to different positions. Anyway you look at it, our club is the very best in supporting the oldest teams, they always have and I hope we always continue. Just as the young players give to their older club mates, the oldest girls give to the younger, developing players as they guide and adjust them in Beast Mode warm up, add in as tactical adjustment players in their scrimmages, play together in epic Soccer Cage battles.
Some players who really answered the call when needed: Lindsay Ford, Madison Mobray, Lily Rodriguez, Morgan Passley, Keara Johnson, Mackenzie Lennon, and Shannon Sgombick. Other clubs: Believe it or not there is more support amongst local clubs. The Alleycats work with us on scheduling the competition we need for the indoor season, they double up our games, and make travel convenient for us. They invite us to compete with their very best late into the night in the winter in some classic battles. The kind of games that are not recorded on paper, but ones that will not be forgotten in development. Force FC: A strong competitive club in our backyard. Who was happy to compete in friendlies so we could help each other emerge from covid. When we needed a goalkeeper to compete in the Boston tournament, they were there for us. There is support and they are a part of the village. Washingtonville soccer club: When covid came the soccer world seemed to be in flux. As fate would have it, a door opened and we were able to bring Nirvana back to Washingtonville, where it started. Without WSC soccer life and emergence from covid would have been much different. We had a consistent place to train when local fields were being closed, we had a place to have games, and friendlies. We now had a home base. The club instantly made us feel welcome. On a personal note, 20 years ago the Washingtonville Lady Storm team that I had the pleasure of training/coaching won their last of 3 straight ENY state cups. It feels right to have won one this year, with this special team and their village. So in closing, this championship has been in the development stages for many, many years. Now was our time, but not without much appreciation to the village.