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Well, sometimes you're the winner, sometimes you're not. Ari's team did well against a tough Kennebunk team but lost 1-Nill to end the season. They played really well, but you don't get to the state meet without being the best in your region, and none of the teams there was going to be easy. They came out strong each half, but after a few minutes of pounding without a score they'd tire out some and Kennebunk had a very deep bench. Subs would be called and they'd find themselves facing nearly a whole new team of fresh players. That happened at the start of both halves. Both teams played extremely well and the game was exciting to watch.
On the good news side, Ari has been invited to join the Maine Metro "premier" soccer league team. That's a year-round commitment and the team stays together as they get older. Its run more like a European club, in that they practice and play in several tournaments and league seasons against the other premier clubs (I understand there are three in Maine) and clubs from other states. As they get older, if they stick with it, they play in international conferences as well. The home page shows a Maine Metro U-17 boys team at the 2005 Holland Cup in Almere, Netherlands. They placed fourth.
Playing with a team like this will be another big stretch for her, but the program looks terrific. The coach is a nice guy who really communicates well with the kids (a nice change for us). After an hour of tryout practice Ari had a big smile on her face, so I'm happy with it. The other good news is their big skills focus for the first 10 weeks is all about footwork -- which happens to be Ari's biggest challenge. That means once a week for ten weeks all the Maine Metro teams gather at one of the indoor arenas and go from station to station getting help with footwork skills from several coaches. They'll have an indoor practice as a team once a week at either the University of Southern Maine or at Southern Maine Community College -- probably a weekend day. Games start in January.
Sounds like great fun, no?
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