Things are starting to heat up, H-town! We’ve managed to get three wins in a row (thanks in great part to Tiffany McCarty’s sick moves) and tomorrow we’re looking to extend the streak against a very good FC Kansas City. While we’re riding on a serious high, we can admit that three games in seven days is pretty rough—especially when several of our starters are away for various international call-ups. On the bright side, however, adversity through absent players seems to fit us—probably a little too well.
Despite being used to a few gaps here and there, Randy has reiterated the importance of taking care of ourselves this week and the need for depth and performance off the bench. With several reserves being called up to fill in, I think it’s relevant to touch on the importance of the reserves and the collective success of the team. For those fans out there that might be getting ready to take their play to the next level, pay attention. This is important.
Each member of a team has a role--from the starters to the very last reserve. This is an essential concept to grasp for all players, especially those looking to start college in the fall. You may have been an NSCAA All-State player in high school or the leading scorer on your ECNL or Academy team but I have news for you. Very few of you will go on to start your Freshman year of college—maybe even your Sophomore year.
So get used to the idea of the reserve role. Get used to it and embrace it. Challenge your teammates to better themselves and push yourself to improve along the way. Reserves show up every day and train like there’s no tomorrow (most times for free, by the way) and not just because they’re competing for playing time but because that’s what their teammates deserve.
For those of you lucky enough to fall into a starting position, remember that your nod is one injury away from going to the reserves. It is your role to help prepare the team for victory and the reserves for the responsibility of game day performance by bringing everything you have to training each day. You are no better than anyone else and no starting position ever in the history of soccer was etched into stone. Just ask Landon (too soon?).
A team that divides itself along the lines of playing time will not succeed. Reserves that care more about their own personal minutes than the overall success of their organization have no place in team sports. Equally guilty are the starters who assume reserves are somehow beneath them or less worthy and brush them off as irrelevant to team performance. Everyone, every single player, contributes in part to the successes and failures of a team. That is a burden shared across the board.
When we win games, the notion it happened as a result of the commitment and determination shown by everyone is resounding. And when we lose, all of us share in the agony of defeat. That’s why I love our team. There’s no space in our locker room for egos, pride, or self-centered focus. Everything is about the TEAM. Everything. If there’s one thing fans should take away from watching us, let it be that the whole of our team is far greater than the sum of our parts. And that’s why we’re finding success.
Some say that our team is facing a distinct disadvantage tomorrow with five of our starters away—I disagree. I am 100% confident that every person on our roster will step up to the challenge, dedicate themselves to their roles and to each other, and we’ll come away with a win. I wonder if FC Kansas City can say the same. We shall see.