Troy 9-U soccer team travels to Ozark

Published 11:00 pm Wednesday, October 30, 2013

This Saturday, 16 players and three coaches will represent the city of Troy in the ARPA 9-U district soccer tournament in Ozark.

The winner and runner-up of the tournament will advance to the ARPA state tournament in Dothan.

Troy’s 9-U tournament team is coached by Bobby Templin, Hope Garner and Torrie Burgess.

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The players on the tournament team were selected from all the players in the league by the coaches of each recreation team.

In years past, Troy has fielded both boys’ and girls’ team at the 9-U age group. This year, the boys and girls will be playing together on a co-ed team. The co-ed team will compete against boys’ teams during tournament play.

Templin said the team’s main focus is in representing Troy well. “We want to win the tournament,” Templin said, “but we also focus on representing Troy the best we can.”

The team has been practicing all week for the tournament. Temlpin said the extra practice has helped prepare the team. “We’ve been able to practice every day,” Templin said. “We’ve probably practiced more for the tournament than we practiced during the regular season. It gives the kids the opportunity to sharpen their soccer skills and learn more about the game of soccer. More than anything, it really provides us coaches with more teaching opportunities, and that’s what you need if you want to get better.”

Templin said the coaches are keeping things simple on offense and defense. “When the kids are only nine, we try to keep everything simple,” Templin said. “On offense, we try to maintain space and not swarm the ball as kids are prone to do at this age. We’re also working on passing the ball to a teammate and not kicking the ball just to kick it or move it forward. One of the main things we try to teach is to just score goals.”

The coaches are taking a similar approach to teaching defense. “Defense is similar,” Templin said. “We’re trying to teach them to maintain position and work together. We are trying to run more of a man-to man scheme than what we would normally run during the recreation season. The goal of our defense is to work together to try to stop the other team from scoring any goals.”

No matter what happens at the tournament, Templin said all the kids are happy just to have the opportunity to play more. “Every one of the kids is excited to keep practicing and to keep playing,” Templin said. “They all realize it is an honor to be selected. We want to do well and to represent Troy well.”

The 9-U team plays Saturday at 10:30 a.m. in Ozark.