As a part of the general clean up and preparation work that goes along with selling my home, I decided to take a look at the 20 or so trophies that still remained. At one time, there were over 60 of them all sitting on top of the cabinet on display and I might add, gathering dust. The funny thing with trophies is that the actual time of winning is much more important than the trophy.
They all belonged to the period of my life when I was not only playing but was also a very active soccer coach both at the Coed Soccer, Youth Soccer and also with Adult women. I had already donated the Youth trophies with the exception of a couple that I came across in the recent clean out which I will try to find a home for. The remaining 21 of them were won by a couple of very good Women’s teams who competed as Amateur and then later as Over 30 that I coached back in the day. The original team was named the Redstone Allies and was sponsored by one of the players, Mary, who was the owner of Redstone Ranch and although very pregnant, continued to play as long as she could. The team lasted 2-3 years and a new team, the Austin Allies formed as an Over 30 team. The players just progressed from one to the other as they reached the age limit. Both teams started off as Amateur Women’s teams playing in a local Women’s League here in Austin with varying degrees of success. Eventually, the Redstone Allies disbanded and the Austin Allies became the team to beat. The players competed in the local league and usually the Texas State Championship and always gave a good account of themselves in winning the State finals a couple of times. In one final, Lisa, who was a stand in goalkeeper with our regular one out injured, saved two penalty kicks to help us to the win. She was definitely the hero of the day. It was not until the team turned into an Over 30 team did they really come into their own. They made it to the National Tournament finishing second twice to a team from Dallas, our nemesis and finally becoming National Champions for the one and only time.
The team was so good that in order to get competition on a weekly basis, instead of playing in the local Women’s League they competed in the Men’s top over 30 division. The men were on the whole, both bigger and physically stronger but the women were way more skilled and played well as a team. In fairness to most of the men, they respected that the women were generally better skilled with the odd exception when a man would get tired of being beat by a women and would resort to having to foul them. Usually, following one of these fouls, the male would help the woman player to her feet offering many apologies. It was all good training for the many competitions that the team entered with a huge amounts of success travelling to such places at Oklahoma, Florida, New Orleans, Las Vegas, Utah, Colorado and California. For our local tournaments and games within driving distance, there would be as many as 8-10 players all crowded into my big blue travel van with me being the only male. They were so comfortable around me that I got to hear some amazing stories of the the most intimate kind as they chatted amongst themselves. One thing I learned is that a bunch of young ladies are far worse than a group of men when it comes to disclosing their most intimate secrets. It was as though I just was not there.
Sadly, like all good things, it was time to move on as eventually I decided to give up coaching Women and moved into coaching Youth soccer, a totally different challenge. In itself, it was very rewarding as I helped young and talented players to develop their skills and get a better understanding of the game in general. This lasted until I had just turned 72 when knee replacement surgery put an end to both my coaching and playing career.
Now all I have left are memories and a stack of trophies that I am looking to give back to the players, most of whom have retired from actively playing but hopefully still have the same memories of those wonderful soccer teams and camaraderie and teamwork that went along with it. Those ladies honored me on my 80th birthday with a party and it was great to see them again. Those were the good old days and some of my fondest memories, never to be forgotten.
Don’t forget to check out my other blog, Life and Day to Day things by a Pond Enthusiast. It is no longer active and has many stories, pictures and poems that I first started 10 years ago. The link is https://pondblog2011.com