Coach Tom Turner with Eastside FC G05 White, Pres Cup GU12 Division 1 Finalists
(Jun 3, 2017) With a successful 2017 State Cup season in the rearview mirror, our teams and their coaches are now focused on their run at Regionals this month and on strong starts for their 2017-2018 soccer year. But, one story from the state cup series comes to light, inspiring us, and serving as a reminder that winning, while exciting and a frequent outcome of great coaching and great team effort, is not a focus for our younger players. We strive to develop great players and great human beings through competitive youth soccer. Both were apparent in May, when our Eastside FC G05 White team, coached by Tom Turner, stepped onto the pitch for the Washington Youth Soccer Presidents Cup GU12 championship match.
We heard recently from Keli Bitow, Coaching Education Administrator for Washington Youth Soccer, who told us, "I am writing to thank you for the sportsmanship and respect that Eastside FC G05 White showed towards WA Rush during the Presidents Cup awards ceremony. It was a highlight of the weekend to witness the character of the girls off the field that match their intensity on it."
"In a time where the girls could have let adversity get them down," she continued, "the two captains showed great resiliency and leadership by thanking WA Rush for an amazing game, and, once the team had received their medals, the team went over and shook hands with every WA Rush player, and did it with enthusiasm. Whether it was the dapper and professional appearance of Coach Turner that has helped create the girls' positive outlook or his understanding and respect for the game, we wanted to acknowledge the team and coach for being leaders in WA Youth Soccer’s Respect Campaign."
Bitow sent Coach Turner and the players Respect Campaign pins in recognition for their act of sportsmanship and respect.
We asked Coach Turner about his U12 team's performance at the finals, and he gave us a modest "Aw-shucks...just-doing-my-job" kind of look before filling us in on the team. "This team battled all year long...every game was a grind, and could have gone either way," he said. "Unfortunately a lot of the games went the other way. The girls kept their spirits up, and we seemed to peak at the right time! In the semifinal, we beat Harbor for the first time...it was our fifth meeting of the year. We lost 1-0 in the hard fought final; it was a heartbreaking late goal by the talented Rush team that did us in... Nonetheless, I was very proud of the players. At the ceremony, the first thing our captains Robin Lull and McKenna Crowder said loud and proud was “Congratulations to Rush on an amazing game,” and then after we received our medals, our entire team went over to the Rush gallery and shook the hands of all of the Rush players. We then gave a nice ovation to each Rush player as they received their medals."
"I want my team to appreciate and respect our opponents, and we want them to respect us, and a great way to achieve that after a hard fought battle, win or lose, is to look them in the eye, shake their hands, and tell them congratulations for a great game...which is what it was!" he said. "I was very proud of the dignity and maturity shown by our girls. We know it was an honor, and fun, to be in that game, and represent Eastside."
Being a good teammate means also being a good person on and off the field, regardless of the outcome. It takes maturity and incredible self awareness for youth players to truly be in the moment, and accept the outcome, win or lose, recognizing the tremendous honor and appreciating the opportunity to play in a high-level match and proudly represent their club and community. Kudos to Coach Turner and to all our Eastside FC coaches who model and encourage sportsmanship and respect.