Tourtellotte girls learn to control their soccer game

By Denise Coffey - Staff Writer
Thompson - posted Tue., Sep. 4, 2012
Senior Colyn Petrie is one player who remembers the state semi-finals two years ago.
Senior Colyn Petrie is one player who remembers the state semi-finals two years ago.

Tourtellotte Memorial High School girls' soccer coach Deb Spinelli had her players work on ball-handling skills at the start of their Aug. 29 practice. If there is one thing she wants her players to avoid, it's the kick and run. “If you possess the ball, the other team cannot score,” she said. “It's how to manage holding the ball without playing into pressure. I want them to learn how to shield the ball rather than kicking it.” It's not an easy thing to teach, especially since most of her players spend little of the year playing soccer.

Pre-season drills had her players learning how to move the ball around, changing speed and direction, and making two touch passes. “Use your imagination,” she yelled to her players. “Use all the parts of your body to move it around.”

Spinelli wants her players to learn different moves, including how to make fakes. And she wants them to learn how to use their feet to move the ball using the inside and outside of their shoes. “Some of these kids think all you do is kick with your toe. There are a lot of ways to move the ball that are more effective.”

The Tigers have six seniors and eight juniors this season. Spinelli said they have something to prove. Two years ago the team made it to the state semi-finals. Last year they won two games. “They want to prove that they are better than last year's record of two wins,” Spinelli said. While competitive last season, she said inexperience was a primary reason for a less than stellar year.

“We just didn't have anyone strong enough to finish and put the ball in the net,” she said. “That's in here,” she said, pointing to her heart. “It's how hard you want to play and finish the ball and get there. It's how bad you want it.” That may be the toughest thing for her to teach her team.

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