U. S. Youth Soccer Group Play

Our final week was spent in Kansas City where thankfully the heat wave had also broken and the highs were now in the 80's rather than the 100's.  Brock plays for the Beadling Soccer Club.  Founded in 1898 it is the oldest continuously operating soccer club in the United States.  Brock joined the team last November and has played a key role in its journey to its third consecutive trip to the semi finals of the national championship.  Brendan and Eileen have been a key part of this journey since the club is located outside Pittsburgh and the Pickett family now lives in Bay Village OH, just outside Cleveland.

Brock is a center midfielder on the 16U team.  Beadling qualified for the national championships by winning both the National League and the Eastern Division championships.  A total of eight teams compete in two groups of four randomly selected teams.  Two teams from each group go through to the semifinals based on their group play.

All of these teams are very competitive and come from all over the country.  Beadling's group record was two wins and one loss which was good enough for them to advance as the number two seed in the semifinal round.  That round begins on Saturday morning with the winners advancing to the national championship game on Sunday  You keep up to date on results on the U.S. Youth Soccer Association web site.

Heather, Meg, Tom, Brendan, Marilyn (barely)
Brock, Bill, Brady, Eileen and Sarah
Brock had quite a cheering section for the third group match which would determine their fate.  Their 3-1 win was exciting and well played.  Marilyn flew back to Rochester that night and Meg and Heather left for Appleton Friday morning.  So the fan base will be smaller but no less vocal and encouraging.

For the first two games, I left my camera in its case and just enjoyed watching Brock and boys play.  I am far from even a basic understanding of soccer but I have watched it a lot, thanks to Braden and Brock's involvement.  It is fast moving and free spirited game much like basketball but played on a much, much larger court.  Brock typically will run 6 to 7 miles during a match...and this isn't jogging believe me.

However for the third match, I couldn't help myself and started trying to capture some of the action around Brock.  I am glad I did because it was only in going through the video and images that I could appreciate how good he really is.  Here is five second video clip that shows what I mean.  He seems to be standing and watching when all of a sudden he explodes into a group of players.  From the still photos that I took from the video, I could see more clearly exactly what happened.




Here is another example.  Although it was at the other end of the pitch, it will show a opposing player apparently taking a shot but something went terribly wrong since the ball seemed to move a away from the goal.  That something was Brock.  The still photos show his skillful move to not only black the shot but redirect the ball.




If you want to view more--a lot more photos of that game--just click here to view the Google Photos album including some videos.  I will update everyone after the final games.  Since I will be leaving Sunday early I might not get that done until I return home Tuesday.

On the family front, Marilyn and I visited Louisa who is confined to her apartment while she recovers from her stem cell replacement procedure.  Heather, her daughter, came in from Colorado to be with her and provide support and care.  It was great to see them both.  Louisa is recovering as they anticipated.  Fortunately the stem cells are doing their thing and rebuilding her immune system which had been compromised by her multiple myeloma.  We also got to spend time with Gerry and Kara and the kids.  They arrived from Singapore and are staying with Anola and Peter for a week.  We also got over to visit with Terry and Johnny.  I will be getting together with Terry for our traditional KC lunch at the Grand Avenue Cafe later today.

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