Rush Soccer Well-Represented at Girls Academy Playoffs
When the Girls Academy league started this season as a way to fill the void of U.S. Soccer closing down its Development Academy, Colorado Rush girls director Russell Finch was searching for the kind of competitive environment required to develop top talent.
Nearly a year later, it’s safe to say that he found it and then some.
“The Development Academy division we played in was really competitive,” Finch said. “It had the kind of teams in it that even if they beat you, it made you better. So, we feel very fortunate to have found something like that with the GA league.”
Finch is hoping it serves his teams well as they enter the inaugural Girls Academy league playoffs.
Over the past week, Colorado Rush had five teams (02/03, 04, 05, 06, 08) participating in the elite league’s national playoffs in Oceanside, California. New Jersey’s SJEB Rush club had two teams competing in the 08 and 06 divisions as well.
“I think one of the most exciting things is that we were well-represented by the number of teams that we had there,” Finch said. “We were able to cause a raucous when any of our teams were playing, since we try to go support one another with chants and cheers.”
“In terms of quality of the leagues, there were some really good teams competing in this event,” Finch said. “Whatever happened, it’s only going to help the girls improve.”
While Finch has leveraged every opportunity to help the girls in his program grow on the field, he’s not missing any chances either to help develop camaraderie between the younger girls and the older ones.
“We’ve got the older girls mentoring the younger ones,” Finch said. “There’s more to this than just playing the games. It’s nice to have someone who’s been there before you talk about what it takes to be successful.”
“We feel like with everything that’s happening here, we’re building the momentum we need to win championships,” Finch said. “It’s an exciting time for sure, so we’re really excited to participate in these playoffs and the exposure it brings our girls.”
And while Finch is serious about player development and winning, he’s not one to miss out on an opportunity to have some fun, particularly when it comes to prank wars.
At one event, one age group slipped into the hotel rooms of one of the club’s younger teams and cleaned their rooms and then hid their suitcases, leading to a baffled and bewildered group of girls upon returning to their rooms.
Another year, one Rush team ambushed another one with super soakers filled with water and honey before getting coated with feathers.
“The girls looked like chickens by the time it was all over with,” Finch said. “It was great fun.”
No matter the final results, Finch is excited for the girls, especially the ones aspiring to play in college who’ve been affected the most by the NCAA’s dead period.
“With all that we’ve been through with COVID over the last year, it’s great for these older girls to finally get a chance to show their stuff in front of the 300-plus college coaches that are attending this event,” Finch said.
Rush Nation wishes the Colorado Rush Girls Academy program the best of luck in their pursuit of league domination.