Super Y-League Feature
Saturday, March 2, 2013
BRADENTON, Fla. – The lasting memory for FC America coach Scott Brody from his U12 girls side’s championship at the Super Y-League North American Finals is the way his side looked as they walked off the field after the final whistle.
“How excited the girls were after we won,” Brody said. “It was a great culmination to a lot of work they had put in, and just seeing the smiles on their faces was spectacular.”
For the players, though, as satisfying as their 2-0 win against the Kalamazoo Kingdom was, the journey remains the lasting memory.
” It was good soccer, a lot of good girls were out there that we played against,” said Taylor Cust. “I think the battle was more fun than the actual win, knowing that you battled that hard and then you ended up getting the win, that just adds to it.”
Cust is one of five members of the squad, the others being Taylor Smith, Hannah Telleysh, J.J. Bryant and Lexi Labonte, who were invited to return to the world-class facilities of IMG Academy this weekend to participate in the 2013 Super Y-League Olympic Development Program training camp, and the players are impressing as they compete with and against top players from around the country.
Together for the past two years, many members of the team, including those at IMG, previously competed against one another. Now together as members of the same team, they have been able to lift each other’s games to new heights through a commitment to training, and to supporting one another in practice and competition.
“I think playing with each other definitely helps with that, because we’ve all known each other for a long time,” Cust said. “Even before we were a team, we were rivals on the field, we still knew who played where and how they played. I remember playing against Hannah, she was always that big girl in the back, and I just think merging was a great idea. They’re really encouraging and they really help when you’re thinking you’re not playing as well, they build you up and make you feel better.”
“I think as a team, we show our improvement, our strengths, and the things we need to work on,” Smith added. “We each build each other up, and I think playing with each other really shows that. We all bring our own strengths.”
For each player, it’s something different. Telleysh talks about how Cust helped improve her game, while Bryant says Telleysh has helped her improve her shooting accuracy. At times, the closeness of the group comes to the fore as they finish thoughts for one another, and often nod in agreement as a teammate talks.
With the players being as close as they are, while also being committed to improvement and working together, Brody says his job has been made much easier as he tries to help them advance their games as they enter a key period in their soccer education.
“They train so hard,” Brody said. “I’ve never come across a group, older, younger, boys, girls, that is willing to do whatever they have to do to get better, individually and as a team, and when they show up for training, they show up ready to go hard every single time.”
And that work has been rewarded by the quintet’s presence this week.
“I think it’s encouraging personally, because it’s definitely something I wasn’t expecting,” Cust said. “I went out there to do my best, but I definitely think all of us deserve to be here and I think it’s a lot of fun that we’re all out here. I’ve learned a lot, I haven’t been on their team, but I think they’ve also had a lot of fun and learned a lot from their coaches, especially with the talent they have on their team. It’s definitely an honor to be here, I’m glad I’m here.”