Published: February 21, 2012
One thing’s for certain as FC Virginia U17 prepares for the ECNL Showcase in San Antonio this weekend: the team is on a roll.
With a pair of wins over last weekend – 2-0 over Freestate Soccer Alliance and 2-1 over Bethesda SC – the club has won four games in a row and pushed its overall record to 10-1-1.
For head coach Paul Ellis, one specific improvement in the girls’ development stands out in light of their success.
“The big difference in the team right now is tactically they are much more aware of what’s going on with both sides of the ball,” he told TopDrawerSoccer.com. “They’re much more comfortable changing shape and changing systems within the flow of the game and not necessarily me having to make substitutions to change that shape.”
The next weekend will provide the next big challenge, as the club faces a three games in three days schedule beginning February 24 at the San Antonio ECNL Showcase.
Set to go up against San Juan Soccer Club, Dallas Texans and Lonestar SC, with a successful weekend, FC Virginia could boost its overall record with a positive trip. According to Ellis, the team has come a long way from when it first started making trips like it faces this weekend.
“The kids have matured so much now when it comes to these longer trips,” he said. “Getting on an airplane now isn’t such a big deal for them – they know how to eat properly, they know how much sleep they need.
“They know now there are no easy games, doesn’t matter who you play, what ranking you play them at, they’re all competitive games.”
Most of the team already has made their college commitments, reducing that possible distraction. Standout defender Brittany Basinger
, a member of the US U17 WNT player pool, is heading to Penn State in 2013, while other players like Hannah Winner
(Princeton), Clara Logsdon (William & Mary) and Murielle Tiernan
(Virginia Tech) have made their verbal commitments.
Regardless of where their individual futures may lie, the team is focused on a strong finish to the current ECNL season. After the showcase, only three games remain on the regular season schedule, and the goal is to continue the push for a championship by the end of the season.
“We set ourselves a goal to finish in the top eight [nationally],” Ellis said. “That was our goal the year before and we actually finished seventh and got into the playoffs and ended up finishing third last year… that gives us something to play for when we go out to the national championship there in Chicago. That’s what we’re working towards.” Travis Clark is a staff reporter at TopDrawerSoccer.com. Follow him on or send him an email.