The group started off the day with another small sided games tournament. This time it was outside as Atlanta decided to warm up to 65 degrees, much to the joy of the Hawaii players, who before today had worn multiple layers of clothing since it was much colder than their home climate. The games were exciting, as they were broken down into 4 teams where the group played a round robin to determine semi-final games. It was certainly the day for the underdog, as the first semi-final saw the fourth place seed knock-off the first place team. The final was extremely exciting, a closely contested affair, but there could only be one winner.
During the players' free time, the staff separated them into groups that they were unfamiliar with. They were responsible for coming up with questions for our selected panel in a scheduled afternoon Q&A. Each group designated one spokes person who would present the questions to the panel. The girls thoroughly enjoyed this part of the itinerary since they were allowed to ask any question, many of which provoked an awkward moment or a humorous response. So much so, that Erik Bushey sometimes lost focus on his camera.
Due to a lack of goals over the past two days, GU13 Rush Select head coach conducted a session that worked on creating attacking ideas and chances in the final third. Here the attacking players solved problems when they found themselves with their back to goal, had numbers up, had numbers down, as well as, movement patterns to create space a opportunities for those on and off the ball.
"I feel too many times in youth soccer, as well as in the American game, teams attack in only straight lines whether they are on or off the ball. This makes both teams and individual players predictable and lack any real creativity. The session really forced them to combine with one another and think about their movement on and off the ball." - Russell Finch, GU13 Rush Select Head Coach
The final games were both inter-squad scrimmages and were final opportunities for players to catch the coaches' eyes, and push for a roster spot on the GU13 Rush Select National Team. It could be debated if the session sparked creative juices going forward, but there was a total of 11 goals over the course of the two games, including one as well as an assist from full-time Hawaii Rush goalie Jodie Lillie who only got an opportunity to play 10 minutes on the field, a request from her teammates who cheered her on emphatically from the sidelines. Post game interviews followed before heading up for their team dinner.