U13 Girls ID Camp Day 5 - The Squad is Announced
After saying their goodbyes to fellow ID campers at the closing ceremonies the night before, players made their way back to the GA Rush soccer Complex at 7:30am to be shuttled to the airport and return home to the respective states. Although it was early and the girls had spend 5 long and tiring day with an action packed soccer schedule, they all seemed to be upbeat and excited to be back at the fields.
Not only was it a time to say goodbye to 52 remarkable young ladies that had embarked on a journey unlike any other, but it was also a time for Head Coach, Russell Finch and his staff to reflect on the camp and finalize the player pool based on their observations and evaluations over the past 5 days in Atlanta.
"Considering players were at the complex for 12 hours a day, I feel that time went extremely quickly. I also believe that we were incredibly efficient on all that we put on the table for these players. Each day contained a game, two training sessions and a classroom session, which ultimately gave us many opportunities to see the true qualities of the players both on and off the field." Russell Finch, GU13 Rush Select Head Coach
Assisting Russell throughout the week was Erik Bushey (CO Rush Technical Director), Ried Thiel (GA Rush Director of Goalkeeping) and Chad Iharra (HI Rush Coach). Coaches would meet after every session and every game and share their thoughts and observations throughout. They would also get to the club early and make sure that everything was set up, the players had plenty of fluids and went over the days itinerary one more time. With this being the first ever girls ID camp for Rush Select, there was a huge amount of pressure on Russell Finch and the rest of the staff to make sure it was an extremely safe and competitive training environment as well as creating as many opportunities for the players to prove themselves. The staff would also like to thank the host families that gave up their free time to accommodate the players, transport them to and from the fields and basically be mum and dad for 5 days.
"Your organization of the trip was impeccable. Everything went very smoothly for Ella and put us at ease back home. And I simply cannot say enough great things about Dan and Stacey Morgan. They were 'mom' and 'dad' to Ella this week and couldn't have made her feel more at home. They were perfect for Ella. Karen Kirk, mom of DE Rush player, Ella Kirk
Rilee Tilton (at right), IA Rush, turned 13 while attending the camp and her host family showed "empathy", one of the Rush Core Values, and made a surprise visit during the players free time to give her a card and the players cupcakes.
"We played against the most elite players our state has to offer (98's and 99's ODP) as well as the best GU13 team in our top state league division (United Futbol Academy). I wanted to put the players in an environment that was challenging and at times would cause them to fail. I would rather help a player overcome adversity than continually see them succeed, much like I prefer to coach teams that don't win every week as opposed to a team that goes undefeated. These players were certainly taken out of their comfort zone" - Russell Finch
Erik Bushey had barely got off the plane from being at HI Rush for their winter soccer camp when he was boarding another flight to Atlanta. His willingness to be apart of the camp added such value to what went on over the 5 days and the advice he was able to give to the players both on and off the field.
“Overall I think the Rush ID camp was a great success. Throughout our Rush clubs across the U.S. we have a long way to go with trying to consistently develop the best players in our country. We are not there yet for sure. But throughout Rush Soccer we certainly have examples of players who are blessed with both talent and potential. Helping to develop and identify those players who have those attributes along with real passion and desire may be the truest challenge. This was a great start however and all the players in attendance represented themselves and their club with a healthy pride and a big heart. Credit to Russell (Finch) for spearheading this effort.” - Erik Bushey, CO Rush Technical Director
All the players arrived home safely, shared their experience with their families who didn't attend and went to sleep anticipating if they had made the GU13 Rush Select National Team. Russell Finch selected 18 players for the Del Sol Presidents Day Tournament and an additional 8 alternate players that could be called upon due to injury, sickness etc.
"Whether they are one of the 26 players in the pool or not, they made a decision to better themselves, get out of their comfort zone and be challenge both on and off the field and for that I have nothing but respect for them as a player and a person. The outcome of this ID camp does not define them as an overall player. Maybe it defines them as a player over 3 days, but if they continue to work hard and set both short term and long term goals that not only might get you in the pool next year, but make you better overall as a player among your Rush team, then the camp has been a benefit for everyone!"
Here is the final list for the 26 that made the players pool for the GU13 Rush Select National Team.