Fastest Growing Sport on Two Feet
Whoâ€™s the Best NFL Quarterback
FC Barcelona VS CF Real Madrid The Experience of a Soccer JV Coach
Letter from the Editors
ello, we are the staff of Champion. We are three 9th graders who attend LASA high school. We are all interested in sports and love to watch and play them. In this magazine you will find things from Soccer to Lacrosse and pretty much all things about sports. If you want to learn more about our magazine keep reading. We really hope you enjoy our magazine. -Champion Team
2 Champion | Summer 2012
Table of Contents 5
How To: Ronaldo Free Kick
Madrid vs. Barca
A Forgotten Past and a New Beginnning
The New Eyes of Soccer
Fastest Growing Sport on Two Feet
The Experience of a Coach
The Biggest and Best
3 Champion | Summer 2012
Contributors Emma Hunt Emma is 14 years old. She was born and raised in Austin, Texas and has always loved watching and playing sports. Her favorite sports to watch are football, baseball and basketball. Emmaâ€™s favorite teams include the Patriots, the Longhorns, the Packers and the Orioles. Emma is also a lacrosse player and really enjoys playing and watching the sport.
Abel Landin Abel is a 14 year boy who enjoys to watch sports on the weekend. His favorite sport to watch and play is Soccer. His favorite teams include Real Madrid, Club America, the Packers, and the San Antonio Spurs. He currently plays on a U-15 soccer team called Millenium Real Cuahutemoc and is very successful with them.
Erick Villa Erick is a 15 year boy who enjoys to play and watch sports. However the main sport he enjoys to watch and play is soccer. His favorite teams are Barcelona, Manchester United, Morelia, and the UT longhorns. Erick enjoys his time in Austin and hopes to stay a lot longer to keep enjoying what Austin brings. Erick plays high school and Club soccer with the East Austin Dragons and loves the experience that it brings.
4 Champion | Summer 2012
How To Do The Ronaldo Rocket Free Kick By Erick Villa
Place the soccer ball with the ballâ€™s valve facing you. When the ball is correctly place on the ground, take four to six steps away from the ball.
When you have taken a few step back, open your legs wide and make sure that your legs are straight to maximize the power. But remember that while doing this to stay in line with the ballâ€™s valve.
Start jogging to the ball but remember to always be in line with the ball amd when you kick remember to follow through to minimize the spin. When you kick make sure to hit it with the laces of your foot (top of your foot).
When you kick the ball make sure to land on the same foot. When you have already kick the ball make sure that you land in front of the spot where the ball was.
Finally, when you kick the ball, make sure you aim above the target area because if done correctly the ball will dip into the goal.
14 Champion|Summer 2012
San Antonio Spurs
Accomplishments: NBA Champions (4 Times) Western Conference Champions (4 Times) Division Champions (19 Times) MVP (David Robinson 1995, Tim Duncan 2002, 2003) Coach of the Year (Greg Popovich 2003)
Accomplishments: NFL Champions (11 Times) Super Bowl Champions (2 Times) Conference Champions (9 Times) Division Champions (13 Times) AFL-NFL Super Bowl Champions(2 Times) Playoff appearances(27 Times)
Acomplishments: Premier League Champions (19 Times) FA Cup Champions (11 Times) UEFA Champions League (3 Times) Carling Cup Champions (4 Times) UEFA Super Cup Champions(1 Time)
20 Champion | Summer 2012
Five Sport Teams
Accomplishments: Primera Division Champions (10 Times) Copa Mexico Champions (5 Times) Campeon de Campeones (5 Times) InterLiga Champions (1 Time) CONCACAF Champions Cup (5 Times) CONCACAF Giants Cup (1 Time)
Real Madrid Accomplishments: La Liga Champions (31 Times) Copa del Rey Champions (18 Times) Supercopa de Espa単a (8 Times) UEFA Champions League (9 Times) UEFA Cup Champions (2 Times) UEFA Super Cup Champions (1 Time)
By: Abel Landin
8 Champion | Summer 2012
Madrid vs. Barca “Ronaldo is way better than Messi”
f you are a Real Madrid fan, doesn’t it kind of frustrate you that Barcelona always beats us? I mean, I myself am a Real Madrid fan and have been one since I was ten. I’m getting kind of tired of watching Barcelona always beat Madrid in their games. Seriously. Game after game. It’s the same old business every time, and it gets boring to the point where I flip through the channels to find more interesting programs to watch instead of watching Madrid lose. I want to see Madrid win for once. When they met on January 25th, of 2012, Barcelona had the advantage early on. By the twenty-fifth minute Barcelona was already winning 2-0. This was a very important game because it was the quarter finals for the Copa del Rey and Real Madrid needed to win. I was really surprised and happy when Madrid actually caught up and tied the game, 2-2. All Madrid needed was one more goal and they needed to score it in less than five minutes. Though unsuccessful, I was still proud of my team for the valiant effort. Madrid obviously has better players than Barcelona. Every time I watch a Real Madrid play against any team I usually see that the score is in favor of Madrid by more than two goals.For Madrid to be able to do this they must have really good players who run and lead the team to victory. Real Madrid has the best goalie in the world, Iker Casillas, who won the World Cup in 2010 with Spain. Also we have players like Ozil who has 57 appearances and seven goals with Madrid, Xabi Alonso who has 89 appearances and four goals, Gonzalo Higuain who has 148 appearances with eighty-three goals,
and Kaka who has 57 appearances and nineteen goals. These are obviously very impressive statistics that I believe that not many soccer players can reach. Now we get to a very controversial topic, about who is the better soccer player in the world, Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi? I obviously think that Ronaldo is way better than Messi, just because he is my hero and I see a better future for him. Someone who thinks Messi is better probably would say this because he has won the Ballon
“I want to see Madrid win...” d’Or the past three years, 2009, 2010, 2011. Just because the a player wins this trophy three times doesn’t mean he’s better, it just means that he is favored by the fans and the FIFA staff. I honestly think that Ronaldo could go to any soccer club in the world because he is just that good and really talented with all of his soccer skills. The last time Real Madrid beat Barcelona in La Liga ( Spanish League) was in May of 2008, and the score was 4-1. In that time the coach was Bernd Schuster and he had good record with Madrid and led them to a major victory against Barcelona. A lot of people loved him for that and really thought he was the perfect coach for Madrid. I personally did not like Schuster because sometimes he would just get cocky about Madrid winning and that was something that really didn’t amuse me. When Bernard Schuster was fired, a new coach called Juande Ramos was hired but after about six months he was fired, after that Manuel Pellegrini was
hired but after five months he was fired. Ever since Jose Mourinho was named head coach of Madrid after Pellegrini in May of 2010 , he has only beaten Barcelona once and that was in the Finals of La Copa del Rey. Mourinho does very well in every other match but when it comes time to face Barcelona it seems as though he doesn’t know how to coach. I would really love to see the golden age of Manuel Pellegrini, who was the head coach before Mourinho, to come back and once again be with Madrid. I remember always watching the games and screaming “GOOOOOOOOOOAL”, and then I would remember that the coach was Pellegrini. This anger that I get when Madrid always loses to Barcelona is something that really consumes me for a while. I know that I don’t have to get angry all the time about this but it’s just something that runs through my veins and it’s natural for me to get mad about. Maybe I should just accept that sometimes Madrid plays better and other times Barcelona plays better. I still root for my team Real Madrid and they will always be my favorite team.
- Abel Landin
9 Champion | Summer 2012
High School Fan and Athlete,
By: Emma Hunt
Would you say you are a big sports fan? Why?
What sports do you enjoy watching?
I like football, baseball and lacrosse.
Why do you enjoy watching those particular sports?
Yes I am, I watch at least a few sports games a week, depending on the season.
Theyâ€™re just the most exciting in my opinion.
Do you have any favorite teams? Why do you like them?
I like the Patiots, the Rod Sox, the Browns and if I watch hockey, the Boston Bruins. So basically all New England teams.
What would you say is the most interesting or exciting game you have watched?
Do you play many sports yourself? Which ones?
I played baseball for 5 years when I was little. I played tennis for 8 years and then quit this year and now I play lacrosse. I also like playing football and basketball but Iâ€™ve never played on an actual team, just with friends.
Why do you play that sport?
February 3, 2008. I remember it like it was yester. Patriots versus the New York Giants. We had a party that year and there were people rooting for both sides there and there was just so much cheering and it was such a close game, 17-4.
I started playing because I had friends on the team but then I started getting in to it and really enjoying it.
Would you say sports are a big part of you? How/Why?
Sports are a big part of me and I put so much time in to playing lacrosse and running, I donâ€™t know what I would do with that time without sports.
A Forgotten Past and a New Beginning By Erick Villa
The LBJ soccer team has won the district championship for the last three years. The team ended the season undefeated, which was never done before, knowing that winning was very important for the school. The LBJ soccer team today is recognized in the state, unlike many years ago. Head Coach Cipriano Martinez took the group of players to be champions. He has coached the soccer team at LBJ for more than ten years, but he has been teaching his strategies of soccer for more than 25. But his teams were not always recognized like they are today.
games. After knowing the game of soccer better he would take his team to the championships, giving him the confidence of a coach. After a few years in Del Rio he was hired as a JV soccer coach and five years later he was hired as the varsity soccer
coach. When assigned as the head coach of the team, they believed that he could take a team like LBJ and change its soccer background. The first years as a varsity coach, he went through the same situation as his youth team, losing many games. However many of the teams who he played years ago like Reagan and Lanier were the
“I started with defeats of seven to zero, but the following year it was me who would win the game,” Martinez said. When Martinez first started coaching, he was in charge of a young group of soccer players in Del Rio. The first season, the team started by losing most of their games, but Martinez did not take that as failure, but as an experience. “Players make me better and help me realize my mistakes,” Martinez said. He became better at creating new strategies after losing games and realizing what he did wrong. He then knew of the plays that worked the best, how to position the players in the field, and who to put in. As he kept doing this, his strategies won many
12 Champion | Summer 2012
This is a picture of Coach Martinez the head coach of the LBJ Varsity Team. This picture was taken in one of his game while coaching the varsity team.
games he learned the most from. As he gained greater experience and became better, his success as a coach began. He continued implementing his strategies such as kicking the ball over the defenders, passing the ball wide, making overlaps and those seem to work for him. These were new plays; that taught him more about the game of soccer. The following years when he faced teams like Reagan, Eastside, Crockett, Lanier, it was LBJ who would come out of the games on top. “My team plays my game, and it has been like this for many years, so why change it when it has taken us this far?” Martinez said. Martinez has learned a tactic in soccer known by many as long ball. In this type of game one takes the ball to the midfield and sends the ball over the defense of the opponent’s team where the
“Coach Martinez tells them what he expects and once the team knows what is expected of them. Coach Martinez’s job is only to watch the game in the sideline”
team and the level of each player who tried out. “I believe that this year the players on the team hold better soccer skills and form a better group than any past Varsity Team I have had and can go beyond any year in the past,” Martinez said. At the end of the season the team won 9 games and no losses, the LBJ soccer team was well prepared into the playoffs. In the first round of playoffs they played Lake Travis a school who has proven to be a hard rival to anyone who stands before them. The first game was played very well by both teams, defending their side of their field very well ending zeros in the first half. In the second half yet again both teams came out wanting to win, fighting to the end of the 80 minutes with no goals on either side. The game went to overtime where two 10 minute halves would be played. The first half ended with no goals on either side, but in the second half with only two minutes in a forward from LBJ scored on a counter attack, giving the team the victory defeating Lake Travis, and passing on to the second round. The team passed to the second round and were a step closer to the state championship. “I believe that this team can make it to the State Championship because I know of the abilities my players have,” Martinez said. The team did not go as far as they believed; only reaching the second round of playoffs. However they have many years to come and it seems that the team keeps improving every year. When this team is on the field it is a team that is respected and feared because of its abilities on the field. “I want to take this team further than I have done in the past, but I only have a few years left to do it,” Martinez said. Martinez prepared the team very well that all he has to do is watch the team play the game. Every once in a while he would make a substitution to reinforce the team. Throughout the season he made decisions that allowed for his team to win district and enter the playoffs.
forwards should run pass the defense and take the ball to the goal “I have accomplished one of my goals this year, which was and if successful score a goal. becoming district champs and going to play offs,” Martinez said. “I was once told by one of my players that this type of game A coach that accomplished his goal and hopes that in the future seemed to work very well, and I told him, ‘son it is called years he can go further. He wants to keep learning from his soccer,’” Martinez said. players to become better than what he is now and maybe become Martinez prepares throughout the year for the upcoming season. state champions with the LBJ soccer team. “These might be my last years as a coach, and I want to take these last years to the He encourages players throughout the year to practice outside extreme and accomplished some of my last wishes,” Martinez the season more regularly by creating drills that help players said. be more fit and learn how to play the game of soccer better. Martinez always gives a chance to all the players whether they are skillful or not. “Everybody has a spot in one of my teams,” Martinez said. The LBJ soccer team has three teams; Varsity, Junior Varsity, and Junior Varsity B. This was rare many years ago. The soccer program at LBJ keeps growing and so does the number of players that show up to tryouts. This year more than 60 players showed up to tryouts. Martinez noticed the skill of this year’s
13 Champion | Summer 2012
14 Champion | Summer 2012
Originally posted to flickr.
A referee calling a foul.
The New Eyes of Soccer “Its a game played by humans, so the call should be made by a human.” - Erick Villa
ave you ever been mad when the referee called a penalty kick when the player did not even touch the other player, or when the ball was in the goal two feet in but the referee missed the call? That angers you, right? This leads you to start cussing the referee, and suddenly you start arguing with or your uncle and your grandma who go for the other team. Suddenly your house turns into a battlefield. However, to me that is the fun of watching soccer, those thoughts and emotions that you have for your team and for the game. But if suddenly video replays in soccer was to intervene and be used to look at replays to see what really happens the fun and passion that the fans put into the game would all go away.
score. Some would argue that using video replays would make the game more fair especially where there is so much at stake, like money and honor. But it is because so much is at stake in soccer that the intensity of the game is raised, and because of the intensity, you’re chewing your nails but at the same time the passion for the game is growing all because of 22 players and one referee.
soccer and the referee calls a wrong call and suddenly the fans go wild, some booing the referee, while others thanking god he did that. As I was viewing the game England vs. Germany and I saw how the referee fail to recognize a goal scored by the English, but I said to myself, “he is a human after all, no way to escape mistakes.” According to the New York Times, “It was not even a close call. Frank Lampard’s lob over the goalkeeper struck the crossbar and If we started to use video replays this fell 18 inches behind the goal line. ” would also affect the fluidity of the This was one of the most controversial game, stopping frequently for replays, games in the World Cup especially making soccer more like football. since the game was in the quarter finals. These mistakes allow us to have something to talk about during the week. Also, debates go wild in media and in fans making the fans have a greater connection to the sport. If there is one thing that fans love as much as The start of video replays use to detect soccer, it’s talking about it afterwards missed calls by the referees will make and bragging about it while others are the fans and players lose the respect crying with a broken heart. for the referees, since their calls would be in doubt and therefore, replayed to I would hate that a sport like soccer make sure they are correct. I wish I relied upon technology for the so called had seen this historical game but I was “better calls”. The game is already not yet born, however it was in 1986 flowing smooth, and it has been this World Cup finals when the Argentinian I love soccer, and I would hate the tradition for many centuries. Soccer is soccer legend Diego Maradona using game to stop every couple of minutes considered part many people’s culture his hand or what they call the “Hand to see if a player did commit an actual because it’s something they grew up of God” scored one of his two goals foul, or if the corner kick was valid, with, having it by their side the rest that night leading his team to victory. which to me would make the game of their life, and admitting technology According to the New York Times, very boring. Soccer is played and would be like changing part of it. I been when asked about the goal in the post- officiated by human beings and should playing soccer my whole life where match press conference, Maradona stay that way. Many like me enjoy stopping frequently to look at a screen responded that the goal was scored “a the fact that the sport is subject to the to see if a player from my team did little with the head of Maradona and unpredictability of human nature and touch the other player and commit the a little with the hand of God.” This to what they think is right. It is a game foul would ruin the game. When you legendary man used the hand to score, played by humans, so the call should are playing soccer in the field, you just which is considered an illegal move, be made by a human. want to keep playing to have fun, while but if the referee fails to see it then it you know that there’s a crowd up there is only to your advantage to use it and I love those days when I am watching in the stands cheering.
“He’s human, no way to escape mistakes”
15 Champion | Summer 2012
The Fastest Growing Sport on Two Feet By: Emma Hunt
weat slid down her face as she sprinted down the field, stick in hand. Her cleats dug into the grass as she dodged players as they attempted to slow her down. She charged the goal as the defense screamed at each other. As she flung the ball into the goal, the sidelines exploded with cheers from fans. This is Lacrosse. A sport adored by many but more and more people across the country are discovering the joy in this quickly growing game. Lacrosse originated in North America, where it was played by Native Americans. It is currently most popular in the Upper Northeast. Areas such as New York and Maryland are the sport’s current hot-spots. However, this is quickly changing as the sport is spreading
16 Champion | Summer 2012
across America to states like Texas, California and Florida. The number of Lacrosse players has tripled in the just the last decade and it just keeps on growing. Rich Weigand is the head coach of the women’s lacrosse team at LBJ High school in Austin, Texas. He was also the creator of the program at LBJ in 2003 and has been an advocate of the spread of lacrosse through Central Texas for some time. In 2001, Weigand started Friends of Central Texas Lacrosse. “We started ‘Friends’ initially as a way to get everybody talking together and working together. It was intended to bring the lacrosse community together in Central Texas.” Friends of Central Texas Lacrosse is a non-profit organization dedicated to the growth of lacrosse in Central
Texas. Weigand served as a member of the Board of Directors from 2001 to 2005. “We want to see more people playing and enjoying the game because the game is a great game so the more growth, the more people having fun,” Weigand said. Rich Weigand grew up in Baltimore and played lacrosse in High school and then went on to play at Cornell University. He then moved to Austin and continued his lacrosse career at Austin High School as head coach for the boys lacrosse club from 1990 through 2001. He lead the team to State Championships in 1993 and 1994. “It’s rewarding, especially when you win, but even if you don’t win it’s rewarding. You watch the players improve from week to week and it’s a very rewarding thing to see that improvement,” Weigand said.
Chuck Newell, Assistant Coach of the women’s lacrosse team at LBJ High school works with the Junior Varsity players. Newell has coached alongside Weigand for the past four years. Newell never played as a student but has grown to develop a passion for the game. “I like the game. I want to help. It’s cliché to say give back, but I want to help,” Newell said. As well as a love for the game, Newell has also developed a love for the team and
the players. “They teach me more stuff than I could ever teach them,” Newell said. Newell discovered lacrosse when his two sons joined the men’s lacrosse team at Austin High School and were coached by Weigand. Newell had never been exposed to the sport before and quickly became interested. Newell worked as a lacrosse referee for many years until Weigand approached him and offered him a position coaching the JV at LBJ. “I really do enjoy being around the girls and certainly JV, but the Varsity - I’ve been doing this for four years and I’ve known some of them since they were freshmen.” Newell has hope for the spread of Lacrosse and knows that it will just take time for people to discover and appreciate it as much as he does. “I think when more people see it played properly, that’s girls and boys, I think they’ll really like it,” Newell said. Weigand and Newell have both found a passion for lacrosse and have coached many young athletes and taught them the ways of the game. They both feel that lacrosse is an amazing sport and that it’s very important that more people are exposed to it.
17 Champion | Summer 2012
“It’s a great game. It spreads itself. For anybody who picks up a stick, it’s just a natural, fun game. There’s a lot of high-scoring, there’s a lot of running there’s never been a problem selling the game. It’s just a matter of other kids to start it and it sells itself,” Weigand said. The future of lacrosse is hard to predict but there is hope for it as a spectator sport. Newell discovered his passion for it without ever playing himself and hopes that others will be able to find the same love for lacrosse as he did.
“More people have to be exposed to it and understand the skill needed.” Newell feels that the spread of lacrosse has more to do with exposure and getting to see it played well, in order for them to appreciate it. Weigand believes that it will
18 Champion | Summer 2012
just take time and years of friends and family members who play in order to popularize the sport to those who don’t play it. “We’re a generation away from a lot of spectators,” Weigand said. “You really need a generation of kids who’ve played in high school and college and gone off and then come back and gotten jobs, to watch. We’re still in that first generation of players who are graduating and going on. They haven’t come back and raised a second set of children. The set of kids who’re playing is when the fans start coming with it with the brothers and the sisters and the friends.” It could be a while before a lot of high schools have lacrosse as a staple in their sports programs and even longer until it starts drawing a lot of fans. However, at the rate it’s growing right now, many lacrosse players and coaches believe it’s only a matter of time before many sports fans discover an interest in lacrosse.
The Biggest and Best by: Emma Hunt Photo uploaded to Flickr Commons by Y2kcrazyjoker4
ith the 2011 football season behind us, it’s time to review the year and examine the players that shone the brightest. My favorites would have to be Tom Brady, who is regarded by many as NFL’s best quarterback by far. With a grand total of 39 TD passes, 5,235 passing yards and 3 running TDs, he’s definitely top of my list. Granted, the Patriots left the Superbowl this year, defeated by the Giants and another favorite of mine, Eli Manning. Who ran up a total of 29 TD passes, 4,933 passing yards and only one running TD. My next top pick would have to be Drew Brees, quarterback of the New Orleans Saints. Brees is sort of our very own homegrown hero. He grew up in Austin, Texas, attended Lee elementary and played football for Westlake High School. This season Brees ran up a total of 46 TD passes and threw a total of 5,476 passing yards. Those are pretty impressive statistics and the fact he’s from my hometown, puts him that much higher on my list. Peyton Manning, Eli’s brother, quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts, is also generally considered one of the best quarterbacks to date. Manning holds the NFL record for consecutive seasons with 4,000 or more passing yards. He’s been a legend for a long time but sadly missed the 2011 season due to a neck injury. This year was
only the second season since Manning was a rookie that the Colts didn’t win at least 10 games. Aaron Rodgers, starting quarterback for the Green Bay Packers, who I am a fan of, hasn’t thrown quite as many yards, only about 4,643, but he has thrown 45 TD passes and half as many interceptions as the others. The
“Which QBs shone the brightest this season?” Packers had an excellent season until they lost to the Giants in the playoffs.
course of the 2011 season, he has only managed to throw 12 TD passes, 1,729 yards and ran a total of 6 TDs. Need I even compare these to those of the other quarterbacks mentioned? His statistics are pathetic in comparison. His iconic pose makes him easy to idolize but is he reavlly a good player? I don’t think so. The fifth person on that list of top five that ESPN posted, whom I haven’t mentioned so far, is Ben Roethlisberger. He earned the AP NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award in 2004. I can’t deny that he’s an excellent player and the Steelers are an excellent team but his personal life puts him very low on my list. However, he did throw 21 TD passes and 4,077 yards this season and, last year, lead the Steelers to the SuperBowl. Overall, I think the NFL has many excellent players and that 2011 was a great year for football. I can’t wait to see what the 2012 season will bring.
While I’m mentioning all of my favorites, I feel I should mention some of my least favorites, as well. Namely, Tim Tebow. His amazing comebacks had fans on their feet in the last quarter of multiple games, but how good can he be if the Broncos are loosing so badly that there is a need for a large comeback? With the amazing defense the Broncos had this year, all they needed was a decent quarterback to be a football power-house. His statistics showed him to be much worse than I had expected. Over the
19 Champion | Summer 2012
“I have some girls on the team that try real hard everytime they play; I gotta tell you I have some killers. I love that in a kid, putting their heart into a game every time and trying real hard, that’s all a coach could really ask for,” McNeil said. It’s players like these that make McNeil want to stay at LASA and continue coaching. A coach’s career must come to an end sooner or later and coach McNeil shared his opinion about how much longer he will remain as the JV coach. “If I can’t coach the varsity girls, I would probably stay as the JV girls coach until we get moved into a crazy district. The girls would have a challenge in that district because they would be playing very hard teams, but I still think they would be able to win all of their games,” McNeil said.
The Experience of a Coach by: Abel Landin
“Back when they first started they weren’t very good, and the reason why they weren’t very good was because a lot of them didn’t really have the motivation they needed. I knew that if I could motivate them to play they would be a very good team,” Glen McNeil said, a Football and Soccer coach at LASA and LBJ. After twenty-five years of being a coach at LBJ, Coach McNeil does not have any intentions of stopping anytime soon and decided to take on a new role eight years ago. Besides being a football coach in the fall, he is also the JV girls soccer coach during the spring. Students at LASA and LBJ that have him as a coach wouldnt like to see him stop coaching and they look up to him as a role model. Its the players dedication to the game, that makes McNeil want to come back for soccer tryouts in December.
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Originally coach McNeil was the coach for boys varsity soccer about 25 years ago, but after his end with boys soccer, he decided to coach track. Coach McNeil had heard about a job opening for the girls JV soccer team and that really interested him. “ I really wanted to try something new and what better way to do that, than to coach girls, but the main reason I decided to coach girls was because the job was open,” McNeil said. Since he took the job, McNeil has had a lot of astonishing seasons but this season was one of his most shocking seasons. “Two of my players got hurt this season, and that hadn’t happened in a long time. The last time I can remember someone from the team getting hurt was about 10 years ago and that was a long time until this season. One of my players ended up getting a torn ACL in the knee and had to go to the hospital, and the other player got a concussion during a game. This was a pretty shocking season because I never got any players hurt before,” McNeil said. Of course there were more happier moments than his players getting hurt this season, which included the team going undefeated and becoming district champions. Being the coach for JV has a lot of memorable moments and McNeil brought up his favorite memory with JV during the interview. “About 4 years ago I had a student transfer to LBJ, Betty Villa, and she was very good. The last season we had lost to McCallum. That season when Betty transferred to LBJ and we played McCallum we ended up beating them 3-0 and I couldn’t have been
any happier. There were so many complaints from the parents of McCallum players like the condition of the field, how the girls for McCallum didn’t have enough water to drink, and also that it was too windy. I mean I just had a bunch of complaints but I knew that my team had played better,” McNeil said.
“ I gotta to tell you, I got some real killers on the team” Coaching Football in the fall, and coaching Soccer in the spring is something that a lot of people can’t do, but coach McNeil has somehow figured out how to manage this. His priorities for Soccer and Football are different but somehow he finds that Football is more intense.
“The main thing that I have picked up is that I need to be fair to all the kids. Who ever came to all the practices was the person that was going to play in games, no matter what their level of play was. Also who ever didn’t come to practice, they knew that weren’t going to play.Yes, it did piss some girls off but it wasn’t fair to all the girls that came to practice if I let the girls that didn’t come to practice be starters in the games,” McNeil said. After speaking with some girls on the JV team, they wish to repeat this season again next year. To them, McNeil is a good coach and they don’t wish to lose him any time soon. Whenever I interviewed McNeil about the JV team, he seemed proud to talk about his team and their accomplishments. McNeil doesn’t ask much in return for his coaching skills, all he wants is for his athletes to try their best and have fun.
“Football is way more intense, the practices are more intense, the games are more intense, everything about football is more intense. During football games I actually have control over what is happening on the field. In soccer, once the whistle blows the only control I have is switching players in and out of the games. I really don’t feel like I’m in the soccer games. When I’m coaching football I actually feel like I’m in the game,” McNeil said. Just because McNeil doesn’t feel like he’s in the game during soccer, doesn’t mean he hasn’t picked valuable things up along the way. Every coach picks something up from their team, whether it’s a small thing or something big that changes their perspective of life.
21 Champion | Summer 2012