xml:space="preserve">
Westminster United boys soccer. Front row (L-R): Braxton McDonald, Nicholas Jarecha, Michael Scott, Liam Inglis, Stella Schoberg, Dylan Hogue, Abbott Houle. Second row: Henry Cezar, Jordan Ramiro, Alexis Fuentes, Will Donovan, John DaVia, Luke Schoberg, Ashton Gifford, Aidan Cignatta. Not pictured: Robert Carpenter, Isaac Peloquin, Jonathan Vela, Matthew Mawhinney, Jarom Hawes.
Westminster United boys soccer. Front row (L-R): Braxton McDonald, Nicholas Jarecha, Michael Scott, Liam Inglis, Stella Schoberg, Dylan Hogue, Abbott Houle. Second row: Henry Cezar, Jordan Ramiro, Alexis Fuentes, Will Donovan, John DaVia, Luke Schoberg, Ashton Gifford, Aidan Cignatta. Not pictured: Robert Carpenter, Isaac Peloquin, Jonathan Vela, Matthew Mawhinney, Jarom Hawes. (Courtesy photo)

Westminster Soccer Association’s Westminster United under-13 boys soccer team coach Scott Schoberg wants his players to do two things above all else: think fast, and act fast.

Do that, and the rest falls into place.

Advertisement

Judging by his team’s performance at the Gettysburg Battlefield Blast tournament in late August, it appears his kids are starting to do that. They swept three games to win the under-13 B bracket championship.

This year’s goal was to prepare his youngsters for a heavy fall schedule which will feature the Central Maryland Soccer Association plus five tournaments.

Since his players developed at different speeds, his plans for them as individuals moved at different speeds.

In their early years, Schoberg moved them around to most positions and let them play. But this year, he found that some were best in a certain position or two positions, so that’s where they went.

"We started moving a few of the players in a direction where they could shine,” he said.

He still preferred that even those folks still be able to play a second position if need be. Others hadn’t found their niche so they continued to move around until they did.

In each case, Schoberg says he wants to create “well-rounded players with a high soccer IQ."

Judging by the Gettysburg tournament, he’s well on the way to doing that.

The first three games at Gettysburg were short 25-minute affairs intended to give the teams their seeding. Fortunately for Westminster, that was all they were for. They won the opener 2-0 over the Mason-Dixon Tomahawks.

However, the quick thinking and crisp passing the coach likes to see were absent. In Game 2, Gettysburg-based GYSC Heat scored 10 seconds into the game.

“Then a few minutes later, one of their players dribbled through four of our guys. They set the [tone] in the game,” Schoberg said.

Schoberg said his team only had possession in GYSC Heat territory for about eight minutes in the 25-minute game, a 4-0 loss. The third game was a 0-0 tie with FC Brandywine Elite.

The teams played evenly, but again, the Westminster kids didn’t dominate the game. In fact, United was flat.

However, the next three games would be for real, and Schoberg decided to have a talk with his troops.

Advertisement

“I’m not a yeller or a screamer. I just pulled them aside and told them they had to play with heart just as they had in practice. I told them that now was the time to show the other teams what we’re made of,” the coach said.

“I told them to go out and get it done.”

Schoberg offered his boys one additional incentive to start winning. Among the teams in the tournament was Towsontowne Black, a squad that had beaten Westminster United in every game the two had played. If they won their next two games, his team would face Towsontowne in the championship game.

“But I told them, we would have to get to the championship game to play Towsontowne. That got them fired up," Schoberg said.

Something did, because they excelled against the very same teams they’d floundered against in the opening round.

They opened by pounding Brandywine Elite, the same team against whom they had meandered through a 0-0 tie. The second time was the charm.

“We did everything we wanted to do. They were thinking quickly and passing the ball,” Schoberg said.

Their goalie even scored two goals later in the game.

Westminster United edged Gettysburg-based GYSC, against whom they had earlier played so poorly in their second game, 2-1.

The quick decision-making process that their coach had been preaching returned.

“They tried to press us, but our guys made quick decisions and passes, and we shot them down. We controlled the ball most of the time, and we could have had a couple of more goals,” he said.

And sure enough, they got to play Towsontowne in the third and final game.

Westminster United started quickly and scored in the first 10 minutes. Then, the quick thinking and sharp passing that had typified the previous game, came to the fore in this one. Westminster maintained possession and momentum.

“They boys continued to work hard and kept battling. Possession was key,” he said

And in the game’s final stages, the Carroll County kids weren’t hiding in a defensive shell. They were the ones on the attack.

“In the last 10 minutes of the game, they had some renewed energy. They had four shots on goal and pressed (Towsontowne) hard. They kept the throttle down all the way until the end,” Schoberg said.

Westminster won the game 1-0.

CMSA starts this weekend, and Westminster United will be there.

“We want to continue working on thinking faster and moving faster," Schoberg said. "I want to see a high work rate. No standing around. We need continual pressure the whole game; it starts with the passing.”

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement