let the games begin!

a doubly sweet Sunday for this sports fan today, as the NFL regular season gets underway, and it was opening day on NCYSA U14 Division 4 soccer in the greater Snohomish County area.

unfortunately, the Seahawks blew their season opener against the Jaguars, 26-14. i missed the majority of the last half of the game (out buying a second pair of new soccer cleats for Loren so he could play today), but it was only 20-14 (i think) when when i walked away....they must have blown it in the second half.

the first pair of cleats i bought Loren were a fairly middle-of-the-road pair of Adidas, but they were too tight around the ball of Loren's feet and were riding his Achilles tendon unmercifully. they hurt his feet so bad that Phoenix inherited those new cleats and Loren needed a second new pair. it was a little late to be buying cleats, and the selection in the closest store to my house wasn't great (though a little better than i expected, to be honest), and after trying on a few pairs, it was obvious that the best of the lot were (gasp!) $60. but the boy's got to be able to play in what he gets so i sucked it up and paid the money. he seems happy with 'em. Loren's mom asked me how they were doing for him during his game today, and i said they were alright, and they'd better be alright, or else i was going to feed them to him for dinner, which got a nice laugh out of the assembled Live Wire parents. obviously a friendly bunch.

but on to the more important stuff: GAME RECAP!

it was a warm, sunny day at Monte Cristo Elementary, and Field 1, the Live Wire home field, where they'll play fully half their schedule, was in great shape, due largely to the league policy of keeping the traffic down on certain "game" fields this year- a move i wholeheartedly support. practicing on a crappy field is one thing, playing games in a lake of water and mud because the fields are beat down before the weather even gets bad is another.

this year, in this league, the boys will again be playing uphill; they opened the year against a team of fairly big (some of them quite big) 8th grade boys, so they have their work cut out for 'em. when they meet a team that's a little more evenly matched in age, i think they have a great chance, if the way they played today was any indication. they played hard for (expanded this season, likely due to the jump up in age bracket) 35 minute halves- that's a 1hr 10min game for the mathematically challenged- a jump of 20 minutes over last year if i'm not mistaken (which is somewhat likely....)

the Live Wire played strong all game, especially on offense, where they showed both speed and control throughout the game. the team only flagged slightly toward the end. they scored first blood, and coasted along with a 1-0 lead for a fair part of the first half. the point was eventually answered by their opponents, the Snohomish Panthers, despite playing virtually the entire first half on the Panther end of the field. Loren, my personal favorite Live Wire, played center midfield for the entire first half (he played left defender and rode the bench a while in the second). the Live Wire don't have a lot of extra players, so substitutions are going to be at a minimum. i'm all for that, as long as the players don't run out of gas. but back to the action: soon enough, the Panthers scored another goal, to take a 2-1 lead.

fairly early in the second half, Maika (a new addition to Loren's team at the forward position, whom i mention because he scored the only goal i can remember whom to credit) tied it up, and the game held at 2-2 for a while, up and down the field. eventually though, the ball spent more time on the Live Wire end of the field, and the defense softened up a bit, and despite a solid game by Jackson at keeper (whom i mention specifically because it was his first game in the position) and virtually every other Live Wire, the Panthers scored two more unanswered goals to win in regulation, 4-2.

after the game, Coach Poyner seemed confident in his team's ability, stating unequivocally, "this team will win some games." it certainly wouldn't disappoint any of the players or their parents.

i'm in charge of sending the game results in to the league (simple as filling out a postcard and dropping it in the mail), and i've sort of appointed myself team photog this year. since i'm out there takin' a bazillion shots of Loren anyway, i might as well fill up a little more memory and get some of the rest of the team. i might take the team pictures, when the time comes- we'll see if the rest of the parents would rather have the professional stuff done or not. personally, i think the only thing worth having printed are those baseball card type things, which they print on heavy stock and look all professionally glossy- and as far as i know, there's no "sitting fee" for the team- and anyone who doesn't want to buy pictures doesn't have to- so i think it might be easiest to go for that, and do the team photo and the individual player photos ourselves. we'll see how that works out.

but for now, here's a few shots from this afternoon's game:

Loren on the field, pre-game

Loren challenged for the ball by a Panther defender

Loren making a play on the ball

Loren riding the bench in the second half

Loren walking off the field with his friend Jackson after the end-of-game whistle

that's all for now folks. more soccer next week.

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