It was a trip nine months in the making.
The Glenview AYSO U12 boys soccer team spent nearly three-quarters of a year prepping for a four-day, seven-game tournament in California. The team played hard, learned some soccer and, most of all, appeared to thoroughly enjoy the experience.
“The team did their absolute best,” head coach Frank Noordover said. “The most important part was that they seemed to have fun out there.”
Every two years the American Youth Soccer Organization holds a national tournament for a multitude of age levels, and this year’s festivities were from June 29 to July 7 in Los Angeles. The Glenview team, which went 0-5 (and had its players participate in two mixed-team games, too), was comprised of Brenden Anthony, Tyson Anthony, Nicolas Botvinnik, Nathan Gutierrez, Quinn Monagan, Christian Noordover, Patrick O’Hara, Clay Remen, Eric Sander and Natalie Thurston.
Noordover and coach Lee Remen had prepared the team for the tournament since October. They assembled a roster of some of the best youths that played in the Glenview AYSO league and practiced once a week indoors throughout the winter, even playing some games in the Challenger Indoor Soccer League in Des Plaines.
Noordover prepared his players to play fast. He emphasized quick control, quick passing and field awareness. Though the team trained with the national tournament in mind, the youths learned about the sport in general under Noordover.
“All of them really progressed a lot under his coaching,” Remen said. “I think they improved a lot.”
The team played well and held its own with some of the better national teams.
Remen’s son, Clay Remen, noticed how talented some of the other players were — how well they shot and dribbled and how fast they were. He said the experience was fun, and he also wants to improve his game.
“Mostly because I want to get as good as some of the players who were out there,” Clay Remen said. “We learned a lot about how other people play.”
In addition to the games, the Glenview group attended an LA Galaxy soccer game. That shouldn’t come as a surprise given the players’ interest in the sport.
“One of the things that was very clear about this group of players is that they love playing the game,” Noordover said. “It’s quite a range of ability across the team, which is one of the aspects of AYSO, it’s not a select-type program. Everyone gets to play. So the range of ability is quite a bit, but the passion is at a high level for all of these kids.”Tags: American Youth Soccer Organization