Pomeroys participate in national soccer convention

January 25th, 2013 | Jovan Jeftich

SMWC Soccer Team
SMWC Soccer Team

Nine members of the Pomeroy soccer team represented Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College at the annual National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) National Convention held at the Convention Center in Indianapolis, Ind. on Thursday, January 17, 2013.  The NSCAA Convention is held once each year by a host city in the United States and is known for being the largest gathering of soccer coaches in the world. 

Soccer players from Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis  (IUPUI) joined the Pomeroy players as demonstrators in two sessions in front of hundreds of coaches from all over the country.  Both sessions focused on attacking and the final pass in front of goal. 

The first session, instructed by Nancy Feldman, head women’s coach at Boston University and NSCAA National Staff Coach, was titled “Coordinating a Functional Training Session for both Forwards and Goalkeepers.” Players from SMWC and IUPUI engaged in training exercises that focused on playing balls in and behind the back line of a team’s defense.  The warm-up involved many technical touches and passes with the ball in groups of three.  The session progressed to a more game-like situation where passes were made to target players in hopes of creating shots and opportunities in front of goal with a goalkeeper.  At the end, players were split into two teams and finished with a scrimmage

After the completion of the first session, players were introduced to their next clinician, Janet Rayfield, head women’s coach at the University of Illinois and the assistant coach for the United States U-20 Women’s National Team.  Her session was titled “A Session from the Road to the U-20 World Championship.”  This session included players from the U-20 Women’s National Team who won the U-20 World Cup this past summer in Japan.  Coach Rayfield instructed players to perform passing sequences as one would see in the game of soccer.  Players had to move dynamically on and off the ball, showing at different angles and using one and two touches before making the next pass. 

“I did not know what to expect at the NSCAA Soccer Convention, which left me with some nerves, but more excitement than anything else,” said junior soccer player Julie Debish from Kenosha, Wis.  “To be able to demo some drills for a room full of coaches, for me, is just about a once-in-lifetime experience.  I had a lot of fun working with Nancy and Janet.  They had a welcoming presence and took time to get to know each of us on a personal level.  This made it easy to work with them and definitely made it a wonderful experience overall.  I would do it again if I had the chance.” 

Junior soccer player Samantha Morrison from Bloomington, Ind. also experienced the convention for the first time.  With a coaching career in her near future, she was glad to have had the opportunity to be a part of something special.  “The NSCAA Soccer Convention was a really unique experience,” said Morrison.  “It was a soccer player's dream with the MLS (Major League Soccer) SuperDraft occurring in the upstairs area and some big name people in soccer wandering around the building.  I personally enjoyed just being around so many people who love soccer as much as I do.”

SMWC head soccer coach Mike Aycock was thrilled at the opportunity when he was contacted by members of the NSCAA looking for demonstration players for a few of the sessions.  “This is such a rare opportunity for players that I just had to see if we could work it out,” said Aycock.  “When we were given the go-ahead, I was excited and admittedly a little nervous.  Our players would be on a national stage doing sessions with no more advance preparation than a few words of explanation.  But they did very, very well. Nancy Feldman, in a note to us after the convention, expressed her appreciation for the way our girls ‘stayed locked in mentally and physically’ in the session.  That’s high praise in this kind of a situation, and they deserved it.”

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