It has been a great fall so far for the U11 and U12 Pre-ECNL Teams, and for the U13/14 Regional Competitive Program team, as they have shown quality play, earned good results, and improved significantly in the first month of the season.
U11 and U12 Pre-ECNL
The FC Wisconsin Pre-ECNL teams are participating in the SECL League this fall, and are off and running with some great results earned with style. "It's very clear that our teams and players are trained with the same game model when you watch the similarities between the style of play across all of the age groups - beginning even with the concepts expressed in the Academy," said Pre-ECNL Director Monica Gonyo. "It's also very clear that our possession-based and decision-making oriented style of play is very different than the philosophy of our opponents in almost every game."
In their first game in the SECNL the U11s consistently connected strings of multiple passes to play through and around a high pressuring Inter Northshore team, showing great understanding of space and sharing the ball under duress. With the confidence to play in a large attacking shape, the opening goal came when the team found Madelyn Stocks wide where she used her space well to attack the goal at speed and struck the ball beautifully to chip the keeper. With minutes left the opposition found the back of the net for a 1-1 tie, but it did nothing to distract from the clearly superior understanding of possession concepts of the U11s.
The second game of the SECL season ended in a 1-0 win for FC Wisconsin against Kickers South. With strong defense and an ability to play accurate and longer passes out of the back, Alayna Gleeson, Julia Skarda, and Rebekah Howard kept the opponent from scoring by suffocating them of the ball. Though many chances were created by the FC WIsconsin players, only 1 found the target but it was enough for the win. The third game in league play for the U11s was against Tosa and ended in a 0-1 loss in a physical game that showed more growth in the FC Wisconsin players. The U11s held possession for the majority of the first half but struggled to create dangerous chances against a Tosa team looking to play direct and knock the ball long immediately in each possession. "It has been a good challenge for the players to face direct teams so much at this age, because it really forces our decision-making in possession to be better and faster," said Gonyo. "The direct play of the opponents in these ages maximizes their effectiveness short-term, but doesn't do much to promote individual thinking long-term. In the meantime, it will help us become more and more accustomed to pressure."
The U12 team is 3-0 in SECL games so far. In their first game against Fond du lac the girls kept a good amount of possession with the ball while looking to create scoring chances through combination play and skill. A pass from Rowen Bell to Olivia Devereaux created the first goal, while on the second goal, Kate Vanden Berg switched play on a nice ball to Taylor Perkins who scored with a good strike. Kate Vanden Berg secured the win with a break away goal to beat Fond du Lac 3-1.
Game two in SECL play was at home vs. Polonia. The girls looked to possess and play with thought behind a typically high pressuring and battling Polonia team. A strong back line combination of Kate Vanden Berg and Ryan Hood kept Polonia from being dangerous as the FC Wisconsin team consistently kept possession with penetrating passes to exploit space behind the first line of pressure. All players worked hard and battled to secure the 4-1 win.
Game three vs. SC Waukesha New Berlin ended in a 5-1 win, and even while playing on a thick grass field the girls still managed to possess the ball beautifully. A number of scoring chances were created by the team's willingness to create width to pull the opponents back line apart and play behind them through gaps. In the end it was an Ellie Staviski hat trick and two goals from Anna Mcknight that provided the dominating scoreline.
U13/14 Regional Competitive Program
The U13/14 Regional Competitive Program team is undefeated so far in SECL play in the U14/15 division. There has been huge improvement in their performance, individually and collectively, from the start of the season. The players' increased understanding of the game model shows in the way they are possessing the ball, and building attacks with short passing and deception consistently from game to game.
The team opened league play with identical 3-0 wins against Racine (home and away) before facing a tougher test against the Inter Northshore. The U13/14s won the Inter match-up 1-0 with a goal by Kylie Kutschera, and kept a clean sheet for the third consecutive game.
Mia Brunelli, Ava Zamora, and JoJo Rosenfeld in goal have been instrumental in keeping shutouts. Katie McNamara has been leading the team from midfield, winning tackles, starting attacks, and being a vocal leader on the field, and Sadie Siebert has been leading the line well up front.
Chloe Adeline has been the main creative player out of midfield with some good individual runs and clever passes to create multiple chances in all the games.
"The U11, U12 and U13 age groups at FC Wisconsin are showing consistent growth and learning, and the style of play is improving every week," said Youth Director of Coaching Andy Lee. "We can see that our players are growing in the quality of their thought, and they are showing the ability to execute at a better and better level. It is great to see so many players making progress in their game, and doing so trying to play a game of thought and creativity."