Brian Boussy no longer sets specific goals for the girls on his Freedom United travel soccer team.
Oh, back in the day he may have — when they were an under-8 team. Maybe then, they needed to be reminded from time to time about winning. But that was 10 years ago.
And judging by the way they've performed in recent years, there is no need to remind them any more. They have succeeded as winners.
In fact, they haven't lost a game this year. They are 4-0 in their EDP 18-under league. They won four more games in taking the Baltimore Mania Elite Tournament, March 30-31.
Freedom is now 8-0 this season.
Boussy explained in recent years he has stressed the need not so much to win but to win well.
He told them “it's not 'to win' but 'how to win.'"
The coach expected his players to improve in their play as they went along, not merely to outscore their opponents. He made it clear that improving in their play would, besides winning the game at hand, help them make it on their high school teams. And it has.
Freedom has several of the county's top high school players. These include the reigning Times Girls Soccer Player of the Year, Winters Mill’s Erin Snyder.
Winning well also impresses college scouts.
They've succeeded there, too. Most of them are seniors now. Five or six of them have signed college letters of intent, and there will be more.
Now they want to enjoy their final time together.
"They started as an under-8 team, and this is their final season,” Boussy said. “This is their swan song and the culmination of 10 years of play.”
And they are going out in style. Boussy said the squad is ranked among the top teams in the state by GotSoccer magazine. In Baltimore a few weeks ago, they showed why they are ranked high.
Freedom United shut out all four teams it played, showing its typical combination of explosive offense and impenetrable defense. United won the opener 7-0. Seven different players scored in that one.
"Sometimes we score goals in bunches and have multiple girls that score,” Boussy said. “We don't depend on just one.”
However, the thing that most typifies this team is its defense.The final three tournament games were 1-0 shutouts. In fact, Freedom United has allowed only one goal in its past 11 games.
"That is typical of our team; we always defend well. They can score, but they are also very comfortable in a 1-0 game. We play good teams at a high level, but our defense has gotten it done," Boussy said.
It starts in goal. The team's number one goalie has signed on for college and the back-up is All-County.
It continues with the cohesion that comes from playing together a long time. Ten of the girls have been together since the team was formed 10 years ago. Seven have also played together at Century High for several years.
Team speed is another factor.
"We have a ton of speed, and we can run at you all day. We always know where the ball will be," Boussy explained.
But perhaps the thing he likes best about his team is that it's mostly home grown — a "throwback," as he calls it.
"A lot of these club teams recruit from 12 different high schools. We don't do that,” Boussy said. “We have a local team that's stayed together. We're strong together, and we have gotten very good.”
And now as they come to the end of their time together, they've accomplished pretty much everything they set out to do. They've won championships, succeeded in high school, and many have been accepted in colleges and universities where they will continue their soccer careers.
Now the pressure is off. The girls simply want to relax and enjoy playing soccer for the remaining weeks of their EDP schedule. Freedom will no longer travel too far away to play in tournaments.
"A lot of them have proms and graduation activities coming up, so we want to stay local," Boussy said.
He plans to come back with another Freedom team this fall — a team of high school aged girls in all probability. He will bring those girls along as he did with Freedom United.
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"I'm the coaching director,” Boussy said, “so I'll always be around it.”