I'm on my third year coaching my daughter's team (U7). Our home league is a fall outdoor league, which I've had 5 or 6 of the girls from peewee on, with others adding/dropping over the years. This year, after the fall season, we got the girls entered into an indoor season to keep the skill development (and the fun) going in our off-season. Five of them decided to play indoor, and we added another 8, some from another team, some being friends of my players. In essence most of the girls have never played together, and many of them haven't played indoor soccer before. So that's where I'm starting with things.
We're four games in with a record of 2-2, having lost to the 1st and 3rd place teams (we're currently 5th but have only played four games where many have played five already). I'm very impressed with the way the girls have gelled. You wouldn't know that half are from one team, a few from another, and still more only knowing one other girl on the team. While I had started to work on defensive positioning with my girls last fall, I had to introduce the concept to the new girls on the fly (we don't have practice in this indoor league) and all of them really took to it. There are a lot of soccer smarts going on out there, and a lot of teammate awareness that I just love to see.
Some highlights so far:
We held the first place team to 3 goals where they've scored 4 or 5 on the other four teams played. AND we're the only team to put a goal on them yet this season.
Last weekend we won 5-1. After every one of our goals the girls were high fiving each other, even those on defense. It was wild seeing them celebrate as a team (and I'm sure my enthusiasm has nothing whatsoever to do with it
). Before then the celebration was pretty subdued and with only a couple players. And when the other team scored their goal in the last 2 seconds of the game on a HUGE kick from one of their littlest players, many of them actually came off the field smiling because they were surprised and happy for her (rather than hanging their heads that the other team scored). It was pretty cute to see.
Lastly, for now - I'm starting to hear talking going on on the field. Only by a few players, but it's there, calling for the ball or encouraging a teammate to attack while they move towards the goal. It's fun to watch. As we don't have practices during this session I get what coaching I can done in-game, but the chatter is on their own as their awareness unfolds. It's pretty awesome to see the development happening before my eyes.
Yes, I'm one proud coach