On December 6, 32 unseen Rush players from all over the U.S. flew into Atlanta, home of Georgia Rush, for the second annual GU14 National ID Camp. The plan was to form two teams and complete in the Nike Cup held in Atlanta every year. Unfortunately due to heavy rain, the tournament was canceled early Friday morning, but that didn’t keep the ID Camp from being a success.
Players arrived from as far west as Washington and as far north as Massachusetts. They were greeted by ID Camp Director, Russell Finch (GA Rush) ID camp staff Jordan Angeli (CO Rush) and Cameron Bushey (CO Rush), and transported back to the team hotel.
The players settled in quickly, and they began playing small-sided games on the Georgia Rush indoor field right away. Coaches watched and made evaluations of stand-out players that caught their eye early on.
After two hours of small-sided games, there were two hours of classroom sessions. During these sessions, the players learned about developing a winning mentality, applying the 11 Rush Core Values, defending set pieces the Rush Way, and finally how to play up 1-0 versus playing down 1-0.
“Its my first hands on experience with the Rush Select Program. I have recommended a number of players since beginning my time as a director with the Club, but I hadn’t been to any of the events the Select program is involved in. Our Club is like no other in the country. Maybe others are catching on to the trend (which we started) of branching out and so called ‘franchising.’ However, while other Clubs are branching out, we are coming together. Unity is a Rush Core Value.” – Cameron Bushey, ID Camp Coach
Lastly, the players ate dinner and were driven back to the hotel where they received their updated itinerary due to the tournament cancelation.
With the tournament canceled, the staff called several local teams and arranged scrimmages. This was imperative, as seeing the players in the most competitive environment is vital in the identification process.
“I don’t believe in bringing players in and just training or even playing inter-squad scrimmages. We need to identify players that can compete, solve problems and be successful in the most competitive environment, one in which they are not familiar with.” -Russell Finch, GU14 Head Coach
The group played two games against North Atlanta Soccer Association (NASA) Premier and also a game against the GU15 team from GA Rush. The Rush ID Camp teams won both games against NASA, and also against the GU15 team from GA Rush. The coaches took turns coaching while the other two evaluated the players. While one team was playing, Rush alumni and coach Jordan Angeli led the Rush chants from the sidelines. The team concluded the day with a motivational sports documentary, “The 99ers,” where they learned about the 1999 Women’s World Cup champion team. It was also an opportunity to introduce the group to Civana Kuhlman, a current Colorado Rush player, who was born in 1999 and is the youngest U.S. player to score a goal for the U17 U.S. National Team.
The group woke up for an early breakfast and headed to the fields for training sessions, which included combination play and finishing through combination play. The camp ended in a 1-0 up vs. 1-0 down tournament. Here the coaches took one team each and played a double round robin of 5-minute games where a team was either 1-0 up or 1-0 down and had to solve the problems based on their classroom sessions and information received over the course of the weekend from the coaches. If a team held 1-0 up or scored to tie or win when 1-0 down, they claimed a victory. The entire tournament came down to the last game between Cameron Bushey’s group who was 1-0 down against Russell Finch’s team who was 1-0 up. Bushey’s group was able to put one away to tie the game, and win the task.
I was honored to be a part of the Rush National ID camp in Atlanta. To see our club go from where it was when I started here, to where it is now giving girls from all over the country a chance to compete and grow as a Rush family was very inspiring for me. The work ethic and enjoyment the girls brought to the field, even with all the changes that happened throughout the weekend, was very impressive. I think it was a rewarding trip for all the girls and I was happy to share with them what it means to be a part of the best club in the world…Rush. Jordan Angeli, ID Camp Coach
The camp came to an end and those players that were accompanied by adults into Atlanta left and the ones that remained went to watch the NCAA Women’s Final on TV which featured FSU coach Wes Hart who used to coach at Colorado Rush before taking an opportunity at the Seminoles earlier this year.
“I was extremely pleased with how the camp went considering the fact the tournament was cancelled on day 1. Jordan and Cameron were first class,, having Rush Alumni as ID camp coaches goes a long way in my opinion, since they have the passion for the Rush not only as a coach,. but also a player. I’d also like to thank Melissa Norris and Jim Fairbairn for Chaperoning. I believe ID camps are a crucial part of the Identification process and also teaching players about the Rush Way. Now we can move forward not having to have ID camps for U15 up due to having seen over 100 players.” – Russell Finch, ID Camp Director
In 2013, 54 players came to Atlanta for the GU13 National ID Camp. The goal now is that with over 100 seen and recommended players, the current GU14 division can win all three (Desert Classic, PDT and Surf Cup) tournaments entered in 2014. Good luck ladies.