The first FC Wisconsin Girls Intra-Club Event of 2016 was held in Madison on August 20 - a grey day that could not dampen the excitement and enthusiasm of the players as the future of FC Wisconsin was on full display.
With nearly 50 players at the U11, U12, and U13 age groups, from both Madison and Milwaukee, the Intra-Club Event was the biggest in club history, and a sign of great things to come in the club. The day started with fun games in warm-up to train balance and coordination - but with a ton of laughs. Technical skill training, and particularly some air control exercises, were next in the warm-up, again with some funny games and moments incorporated in the process.
The bulk of the event, however, was reserved for competition, and were the players were ready to go at it! While the 2005 and 2006 players competed in a 4v4 round robin, the 2004 players did the same in a 7v7 format. After the group games were complete, the 7v7 "final" was watched and cheered on by everyone - finishing in a dramatic penalty shoot-out. Closing the day, the players hung out with each other over pizza sharing stories and laughs from the games.
The Intra-Club Events are a key part of the FC Wisconsin experience in the club's U11 - U13 Intermediate Program. Off the field, these events build camaraderie and a shared culture across all age groups and locations, and friendships across the state. On the field, they provide a great opportunity for players to test themselves in an environment that encourages thinking, creativity, and the type of possession soccer FC Wisconsin is known for.
"When both teams are trying to pass, combine, and control space, you have the opportunity to reward creativity and thoughtfulness in players," said coach Hayley Lavers. "It makes such a difference when the players are free to experiment and one team isn't just pressing and kicking. It is critical for development at this age and the Intra-Club Events provide that opportunity."
"I see such a marked improvement in the thoughts and awareness of our players from this time last year to now," said Youth Director Andy Lee. "Their intentions to control space on both sides of the ball, and their determination to maintain possession individually and as a group, were great. When you see all the fun that they are having with each other and meeting new players, it makes it even more exciting."
The Intra-Club Events are only one part of the competition schedule for FC Wisconsin players. While the teams will participate in multiple tournaments and selected other league games in the fall, the Intra-Club Events allow the most clear glimpse of the concepts being worked on in training at these critical age groups. The future is bright for the ASPIRING players of FC Wisconsin!
For photos of the event, see below: