xml:space="preserve">
Advertisement

Rec Sports Spotlight: Vipers taking bite out of boys soccer

Mount Airy Youth Athletic Association's Vipers under-11 boys soccer team. Standing, left to right: coaches Stephen Giguere, Brent Talley, Stacy Hurley. Back row, left to right: JJ Bell, Ryder Kolakowski, Michael Valerio, Sean Gillis. Middle row, left to right: Landon Green, Alik Giguere, Luke Trice, Luke Talley, Cooper Hurley. Front row, left to right: Talon Applebee, Luke (Turbo) Leips, Cash Wheat. Not pictured: Jonathan Harbert, Eder Coello. - Original Credit:
Mount Airy Youth Athletic Association's Vipers under-11 boys soccer team. Standing, left to right: coaches Stephen Giguere, Brent Talley, Stacy Hurley. Back row, left to right: JJ Bell, Ryder Kolakowski, Michael Valerio, Sean Gillis. Middle row, left to right: Landon Green, Alik Giguere, Luke Trice, Luke Talley, Cooper Hurley. Front row, left to right: Talon Applebee, Luke (Turbo) Leips, Cash Wheat. Not pictured: Jonathan Harbert, Eder Coello. - Original Credit:(Submitted Photo)

The Mount Airy Youth Athletic Association Vipers boys soccer team has taken a couple of years to learn its way around a soccer field.

But for head coach Brent Talley and assistant coaches Stephen Giguere and Stacy Hurley, the wait has been worth it.

Advertisement

This season, they are 7-0 in the Frederick County Youth Soccer League's under-11 Division 2. They began play in fall of 2014 as an under-9 team in Division 3, the lowest bracket in that age.

That level was fine with the coaches, but they wanted to move up as quickly as they could while remaining competitive. They played in both the league's spring and fall seasons for the first couple of years and finished around .500. But while their records weren't outstanding, the youngsters were gradually beginning to learn the game and to adjust to each other.

The team was becoming more cohesive as time went on.

By last fall, as an under-10 team, the players had improved to the point where they were moved up to Division 2 of that age bracket. Again, they played around .500 for the season.

"But we were steadily improving," Talley said.

He added the big impetus to the kids' development came over this past winter when they played indoors. It wasn't pretty, and the Vipers won only one game. But the coaches felt that wins and losses weren't the things they cared about. The speed of the indoor game and what it could teach them were the reasons they entered it.

"A lot of good soccer clubs put teams in this league, and that's why we didn't do well. The teams we played over the winter were very tough," Talley said. "But the kids learned to make decisions a lot faster."

The additional quickness made the Vipers a lot better when they began playing this spring. When the Vipers took the field for their opening 11-under game, it quickly became clear that they had turned a corner.

Advertisement

Twelve youngsters were back from last fall's team, and that contributed to an improved consistency of play. And because of their indoor soccer experience, they were also a lot quicker in passing the ball and reacting to their opponents' movements.

Talley said that the moment of truth for his team came in its third game of the season.

Undefeated after two games, they faced the Hagerstown Soccer Club Revolution. The undefeated Revolution team had already scored 12 goals in its two wins. Hershey though, took care of that.

"We knew they were a good team, but we beat them 2-0," Talley said. "That's when [the coaches] said, 'OK, we're going to be pretty good this season.'"

The Vipers didn't have to come from behind in too many games. They scored a league-high 27 goals and allowed only 4, second-lowest. There was simply no way you fall behind very often with a spread like that.

"One game we were behind by a goal for a couple of minutes in the second half, but we tied it and scored three more besides," the coach recalled.

Advertisement

He says that, "we're good because we have consistent play. We have focused on player development over the years. Everybody plays the same amount of time. The weaker players of a year or two ago are no longer weaker players," Talley said.

He also credited MAYAA's help in paying for classes that gave him a knowledge of soccer that he passed on to his assistants.

He has used this knowledge to develop a possession type of playing style emphasizing short passes and steady movement up the field.

"We don't just kick the ball upfield and hope someone's there," Talley said.

There was one more regular season game to play this weekend. Then on June 3-4, the league holds its post season tournament.

Talley and his assistants hope their players don't take their tournament opponents lightly simply because they've gone undefeated so far.

"We tell them this is a whole new season. The other teams we play have all gotten better over the course of the season. We drill that into them. They can't let up," Talley said.

He said that things should go well if the team plays the way it has played so far. The coach is confident.

"It's finally starting to click," Talley said.

410-857-7896

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement