When it comes to playing in the 2008/U9 age group where the games are 7v7, one might think that it’s simple to count on a complete team. However, So Cal Blues Girls 2008 Coach Rob Rennie didn’t quite have it this way.

As the Blues entered the final knockout stage of the 2017 Cal South State Cup Presidents Girls 2008 Division, coach Rennie was unsure of whether he would be able to count on all girls for the final championship match on Sunday afternoon at the SilverLakes Sports Complex. Two were confirmed to not attend, but anything can happen between the semifinal and final.

Luckily, exactly seven girls showed up to the match against CDA Slammers FC. Coach Rennie had been preparing them all year, focusing on four elements – working hard on defense, battle, play good soccer and drive the game forward to score. But most of all, Coach Rennie taught the girls to overcome adversity.

“It’s tough to become a champion, but champions overcome adversity and they don’t turn their back and say they can’t do it, they problem-solve and they make it happen,” Coach Rennie said after the game. “Fortunately, on the field, [the girls] turned out that way.

“We were down one-nil with 25 minutes to go and they could’ve folded, but they fought back, pushed on and they got the bounce of the ball and they get a bonus ice cream on the way home,” he added.

For the girls, the payout for this year’s hard work and dedication came in a championship. But for Coach Rennie, the payout for his 15 years as coach comes at a long-term scale when he sees his group of girls develop into quality collegiate players.

“I’ve been coaching at the Blues for like 15 years now, so I’ve seen several of these teams come through and it’s exciting to watch them as they grow, they’re like little embryos right now and you see that within them,” the Blues coach said. “It’s a wonderful journey and this team definitely has the mark of going a long way. It’s topping up, next year we go 7v7, then 9v9, then it’s 11v11. It’s a wonderful journey and sharing it with them as they go into quality players and then going to college to play.”
Cal South State Cup Finals - Feb. 12, 2017