Creating a Club Culture
Last Updated on Saturday, 05 April 2014 17:54
Do you think there are clubs around the country that have 15 year old players driving out of their way on a Friday night to support their 9 year old club mates? Well Colorado Rush does and it is about to get more and more common….
Girls Youth Director Russell Finch feels that outside of a player development, personal development through the 11 Rush Core Values are as equally important, if not more.
“Seeing growth in a player on the field is a great feeling, but seeing personal growth off the field is far more rewarding. Players are judged by their decision making both on and off the field. At Rush we are 'developing good people to become good soccer players'. We feel confident that our teachings both through the club’s philosophy of The Rush Way, and through the 11 Core Values will enable them to achieve many great things in and outside of soccer.” - Russell Finch, Girls Youth Director
Finch feels that the Core Values do not only have to be taught through words or a definition, but that they can be expressed through events, programs and experiences. On Friday, March 14, 2014, Finch set out to teach “UNITY” and "PASSION" to the Girls Youth Division. It was his goal to unite an entire club through the passion for the “R”, not during a W-league game, an ECNL game or any senior division game, but a game that featured 8 and 9 year old girls, players from the Girls Youth Division that he oversees.
GU9 RUSH ANGELI played against one of the top teams in the state, a team they had never managed to beat. That was until shortly before halftime, with the game tied 1-1 (goal by Sophia S) Rush players from many different teams began to gather around a couple of Rush banners in the corner of the field. From the whistle that signaled the start of the 2nd half to the one that ended the game, the Rush support was loud, passionate and some may say a little influential. Bella Scaturro (GU13 Rush), Nadia Morris and Natalie Evans (GU14 ECNL) led the younger players by starting a lot of the chants! As each Rush shot or pass was completed the Rush fans got louder and louder, cheering on their fellow club mates.
Rush went up 2-1 (goal by Sidney W) and continued to grow in confidence, passing the ball quickly and swiftly, looking dangerous every time they broke into the opposition’s half. Creating many chances, Rush was awarded a PK which was blasted into the bottom corner to make it 3-1 (goal by Morgan J). Time passed and with a huge roar from parents, players and traveling fans, a bunch of smiles and it was all over. Players shook their opponents' hands, ran over to clap the parents hands then it was on to a tunnel created by the traveling fans!
Finch is determined to create a culture within the Girls Youth Division where all players feel a sense community within the club.
“Erik explained to me when we discussed the potential move to Colorado that each division was a ‘club within a club’ and that excited me because I often have a lot of ideas to better the experience for the players and make them feel a sense of belongingness as well as a sincere passion for the “R” on their jersey. I’m certainly not reinventing the wheel here in Colorado, they have had the ‘Blue Bloods’ for many years, but I am trying to bridge the gap from the U11 Rush and Cinza player as well as the U9 and U16 player, that is my goal.”
Parents within the Girls Youth Division have also noticed a difference.
"We are excited to see the new changes in the Girls Youth Division that Russell Finch is implementing - like Girl of the Game, Game of the Week… to name a few. Our daughter attended her first Game of the Week last Friday night, which was awesome! Now more than ever, it is important for girls to belong to a club that realizes the importance of creating an environment where girls support each other regardless of age, team, level of play, or their individual goals. Kudos to Russell and Colorado Rush for continuing to promote an atmosphere where girls can train, get better, have fun and share their love of the game of soccer. Russell’s efforts are priceless and I know they will help to ensure that the Colorado Rush girls will continue to have a fun soccer experience like no other.” - Kim and Peter Wackman, parents of Emma W (GU10 ANGELI)
Check out the photo of GU15 ECNL player Aspen Headrick who drove across town with her father to support the GU10 ANGELI team in their game Saturday afternoon.
All the Girls Youth Division teams played well with an overall record of 6-2-2 and appreciate the support they got over the course of the weekend from their traveling fans. GU9 RUSH ANGELI won the gold division and bumped to #1 in the state. Congrats to all the teams!