Learning Center
Plans & pricing Sign in
Sign Out

A Leap of Faith (PDF)


The Kicker
                                                                                                                        M a rc h 2 0 0 8

                               Newsletter of Oak Park River Forest Strikers Soccer Club
                               P. O. B o x 5 5 4 4 , R i v e r F o r e s t 6 0 3 0 5 • w w w. o p r f s t r i k e r s. c o m

                               A Leap of Faith
                               This summarizes the annual            fair,	open,	competitive	tryouts.		 sidelines	during	games—which	
                               “State of the Strikers” speech        Second...	Removing	parents	and	    robs	players	of	the	opportunity	to	
                               given by club president John          politics	from	tryout	and	coach-    make	their	own	decisions—and	
                               Donley at the January 28th An-        ing	decisions,	trusting	quality	   deferring	most	teaching	until	
                               nual General Meeting.                 professional	coaches	to	do	their	  practice	time,	when	instruction	
                               	 In	the	summer	of	2003,	a	           job	well.	Third...	Empower-        can	be	understood	and	retained.	
                               handful	of	parents	and	a	new	                                            Fifth...	Rotating	coaches	to	
                               Director	of	Coaching	named	                                               different	teams	after	one	to	two	
                               Murray	Findlay	drew	up	a	                                                      years	so	players	can	learn	
                               new	model	blueprint	for	                                                           the	complementary	les-
                               the	Strikers	organiza-                                                               sons	taught	by	
                               tion.	Although	the	                                                                    different	coaches	
                               model	was	based	on	                                                                     and	not	get	“pi-
                               the	best,	current	                                                                       geonholed”	into	
                               empirical	evi-                                                                           one	position	or	
                               dence	about	how	                                                                         style	of	play.		
                               to	develop	youth	                                                                       	       And	the	
                               soccer	players,	it	                                                                     model	was	predicat-
                               was	untested	in	Oak	                                                                  ed	on	getting	lots	of	
The Kicker is a quarterly      Park,	unfamiliar	to	                                                                 new	players	involved	at	
publication for family and     most	parents,	and	would	                                                          younger	ages,	at	the	base	
friends of the Oak Park
                               take	years	to	implement.	                                                     of	the	pyramid,	so	they	could	
                               In	the	meantime,	we	asked	all	                                           progress	from	the	developmental	
River Forest Strikers Soccer
                               Strikers	parents	to	have	faith	                                          lessons	of	u8-u12	ages,	to	more	
Club. We welcome com-
                               that	Murray	and	his	methods	          ing	those	coaches	to	follow	a	     advanced	tactical	teaching	at	
ments, suggestions, and        would	bring	great	results	in	the	     developmental	curriculum	that	 u13	through	u14,	then	graduate	
especially photos. Please      long	run.	Nearly	five	years	later,	   teaches	basic	footskills	and	pos- to	elite,	highly	competitive	
send to Vivien Barkidjija      the	model	is	in	place,	and	I’m	       session	at	young	ages,	introduces	 levels	of	play	at	high	school	age	
at        delighted	to	report	that	the	state	   advanced	tactical	soccer	as	play- and	beyond.
— Serena Hinckley
                               of	Strikers	has	never	been	better!    ers	mature,	and	downplays	win-
  Newsletter Designer          	 The	new	model	had	five	             ning	until	older	ages.	Fourth...            core	elements.	First...	Running	      Eliminating	shouting	from	the	                    Continued page 3
    Letter from the President   D             ear Fellow Strikers,
                               	 We	all	owe	a	debt	of	gratitude	to	two	giants	
                               who	retired	from	the	Strikers	board	earlier	this	
                               year:		Chuck Race	and	Daniel Corcos. This	
                               debt	can	never	be	fully	repaid,	although—in	
                               ways	I’ll	suggest	at	the	end	of	this	column—we	
                               can	and	should	try.
                               	 In	reflecting	on	Chuck’s	contributions	to	
                               youth	soccer	in	River	Forest	and	Oak	
                                                                                   game	of	soccer.	When	
                                                                                   others	lost	their	per-
                                                                                   spective	from	time	to	time,	
                                                                                   Daniel	would	cheerfully	remind	us	
                                                                                   that,	“What	we’re	talking	about	is	a	little	leather	ball.	You	pump	air	into	it.	
                                                                                   Kids	run	around	a	field	and	kick	it	and	have	fun.”
                                                                                   	 I	doubt	there	would	even	be	a	Strikers	club	today	without	Daniel;	
                                                                                   certainly	nothing	like	its	current	form.	When	Daniel	joined	the	board,	

                               Park	over	the	last	14	years,	I’m	                   																the	club	was	falling	apart	as	parent	factions	squabbled	over	
                               reminded	of	what	Anson	Dorrance	                    																					policy	and	tryout	decisions.	Dedicated	players	and	families	
                               famously	said	of	Mia	Hamm,	                         																								were	leaving.	Along	with	his	predecessor	as	Strikers		
                               “The		vision	of	a	champion	is	someone	              																										president,	Edward	Schroeder,	Daniel	transformed	
                               who	is	bent	over,	drenched	in	sweat,	at	            																				Strikers	from	a	parent-run	club	to	one	where	high-quality	
                               the	point	of	exhaustion	when	no	one	else	is	        											professionals	are	empowered	to	make	judgments	according	to	the	
                               watching.”	Chuck’s	way	was	to	do	the	hundreds	      best	evidence	about	how	to	teach	kids	soccer,	even	if	those	judgments	con-
                               of	small,	thankless	tasks	that	go	into	building	    flict	with	popular	parent	opinion.	The	results	have	been	spectacular	as	the	
                               a	youth	soccer	program	quietly,	often	when	no	      number	of	players	and	quality	of	play	have	increased	dramatically,	under	
                               one	was	watching:	striping	a	field	at	7	am	on	a	    the	guidance	of	a	talented	and	deep	coaching	staff	that	has	few	peers.	
                               Sunday,	volunteering	to	referee	a	game	in	cold,	    	 How	can	we	repay	the	debt	we	owe	these	two	leaders	as	they	pass	the	
                               driving	rain	when	the	assigned	ref	didn’t	show,	    baton	to	us?	For	starters,	as	announced	at	the	Annual	General	Meeting	
                               encouraging	new	players	to	join	the	sport,	and	     in	January,	Strikers	financial	aid	recipients	henceforth	will	be	known	as	
                               so	on.                                              Charles	Race	(for	boys)	and	Daniel	Corcos	(for	girls)	Award	Winners.	And,	
                               	 I	first	met	Chuck	in	his	role	as	the	founder	     we	replaced	them	with	two	terrific	new	Board	members—Lisa	Neumann	
                               and	president	of	the	Rapids	club.	Chuck	called	     and	Shelley	Dunck—who	brim	with	the	same	enthusiasm	and	commit-
                               me	to	schedule	a	“friendly”	exhibition	between	     ment	to	youth	soccer.
                               a	Rapids	boys	team	and	a	Strikers	girls	team	       	 But	more	is	needed.	Few	remain	in	our	club	who	remember	the	
                               that	I	coached,	because	he’d	heard	our	girls	       historical	events	that,	under	Daniel	and	Chuck’s	stewardship,	ultimately	
                               had	done	well	against	a	nationally-ranked	girls	    led	to	the	implementation	of	today’s	exemplary	practices,	policies	and	
                               team	the	Rapids	were	about	to	play	in	a	tourna-     club	culture.	What’s	needed	now	is	for	a	new	generation	of	parents	to	steep	
    ment.	Despite	having	high	hopes	heading	into	the	friendly,	our	girls	were	     themselves	in	that	culture	and	become	its	leaders	for	the	future.	If	
    badly	beaten,	4-1.	But	you	wouldn’t	know	it	from	Chuck’s	column	in	the	         			                              that	happens,	our	retiring	Board	members’	legacy	
    Wednesday	Journal,	which	graciously	described	a	razor-close	match	and	                                                      will	be	not	only	admirable,	but	lasting.
    sung	the	praises	of	the	Strikers	team	under	the	headline	“These	
    Girls	Can	Play!”	The	same	generosity	characterized	Chuck’s	                                                                      John Donley
    many	contributions	to	Strikers	since	he	joined	us	four	                                                                            President
                                                                                                                                         Oak	Park	River	Forest	
    years	ago.	
                                                                                                                                            Strikers	Soccer	Club
    	 Coincidentally,	I	first	encountered	Daniel
    Corcos	while	he	was	coaching	a	Rapids	team	
    playing	against	my	daughter’s	Strikers	team.	
    Whether	coaching	a	club	or	rec	team,	serving	as	
    a	Strikers	board	member	from	2001	to	2008,	or	
    leading	full-throated	cheers	at	OPRF	High	School	
    games	(“Go-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o	Huskies!”),	Daniel	
    has	been	a	tireless,	enthusiastic	promoter	of	the	                                                                                           Daniel Corcos and
                                                                                                                                                 his daughter Amanda
v   A Leap of Faith
    (Continued from page 1)

    	 For	the	first	time	this	year,	we	fielded	both	boys	and	girls	u8	
    starter	teams,	and	they’re	off	to	a	great	start.	We	fielded	both	Orange	 tive	in	the	
    and	Navy	teams	for	all	u9	through	u12	aged	teams	except	one.		And	 case	of	a	
    our	u13/u14	teams	are	getting	intense,	quality	preparation	for	high	 coach	
    school	soccer,	as	reflected	in	how	well	players	at	those	ages	do	at	
    their	high	school	tryouts.
    	 Our	u15	through	u18	teams	are	excelling.	The	boys’	flagship	
    team	tied	for	the	championship	of	the	second-highest	division	in	
                                                                              even	decep-

                                                                              wins	by	
    the	NISL	last	spring.	On	the	girls’	side,	we	fielded	a	record	four	high	 playing	
    school	teams,	two	of	which	had	perfect	10-0-0	seasons—a	rare	feat,	 “kickball”	
    accomplished	by	only	three	other	local	teams	in	the	past	ten	years	       to	his	star	
    (two	Strikers,	one	Rapids).	We	continue	to	produce	strong	college	        center	for-
    players	at	the	Division	I	(see	Claire	Goldenberg	profile	in	this	issue),	 ward	at	the	ex-
    Division	III,	community	college	and	club	levels.                          pense	of	teaching	
    	 The	new	weekly	“free	play”	sessions	and	Juggling	Club	introduced	 skill	development	to	
    by	Murray	last	fall	reinforced	skill-building	for	young	players,	while	   his	whole	team.	But	in	the	
    the	new	finishing	clinic	for	u14s-and-up	contributed	directly	to	our	     long	run,	rankings	are	one	measure	
    older	teams’	successes,	especially	Coach	Renee	Vai’s	u16	navy	girls	      of	how	our	developmental	approach	is	working	as	our	teams	mature.		
    who	turned	up	religiously	for	the	finishing	clinic.                       	 And	our	teams	are	thriving.	Between	2004	and	2007,	for	example,	
    	 We	set	new	highs	for	numbers	of	                                                  our	boys	teams	aged	u9	through	u14	increased	their	NISL	
    players	(430,	up	from	300	five	                                                           rankings	by	an	average	36	percentile	points	per	

                                            Hat Tricks
    years	ago),	Navy	teams	                                                                         team,	an	unprecedented	increase	for	any	club	
    (10,	up	from	1	team	                                                                               in	Illinois.	Boys	and	girls	teams	are	win-
    five	years	ago),	and	                                                                                  ning	tournaments	and	league	titles	and	
    players	receiving	                                                                                        earning	promotions	to	elite	competi-
    financial	aid	                                                                                               tive	divisions.
                                       A tip of the hat to the following players who
    (46,	up	from	                                                                                                  	 In	looking	back	at	the	progress	
                                scored hat tricks—at least 3 goals in a single game—
    28	two	years	                                                                                                    of	the	club,	I	want	to	thank	
                                                      this past fall. Way to go!
    and	0	five	                                                                                                        the	veteran	parents	who	kept	
    years	ago).                                                                                                         the	faith	over	these	past	five	
    	 We	also	                             Quinn Berleman-Paul u9 Orange                                                years,	before	they	had	tangible	
    set	new	                                        Justin Bruce u0 Navy                                                results	to	justify	that	faith.	For	
    highs	for	                                    Ruby Gonzalez u2 Navy                                                 newer	parents,	and	for	parents	
    levels	of	                                    Isaac Griffin u0 Orange                                               and	players	on	some	of	our	
    competi-                                                 TJ Hager u8                                                developmental	teams	who	had	
    tive	play	                                   Ryan Huettel u4 Orange                                               the	demoralizing	experience	of	
    across	the	                                   Tim Huettel u2 Orange                                              not	winning	too	many	games	
    board.	Let	me	                             Gabriella Mizgala u2 Navy                                           last	season,	I	thank	you	for	join-
    add	a	strong	                                  Seth Primack u2 Navy                                          ing	us	and	ask	that	you	too	have	
    caution	here	not	                           Takuro Sugimoto u2 Navy                                       faith	that	the	model	will	work,	with	
    to	put	too	much	                             Danny Winters u4 Navy                                     time	and	positive	support	from	all.	The	
    stock	in	team	rank-                                                                                 best	is	yet	to	come!
    ings.	They	can	be	mean-
    ingless	in	the	short	run,	and	
    Where are they now?
    Claire Goldenberg
    Hometown River Forest
    Played Strikers 3rd grade thru High School. Also co-captain, co-MVP, All-State
    player, and all-time leading scorer (67 goals) for OPRF Huskies girls varsity soccer,
    placekicker on boys’ football team, and varsity basketball forward.
    Current team University of Iowa Hawkeyes. Started 7 games as a freshman
    and 62 games overall. Junior year... Most Valuable Defensive Player;
    scored game-winning goal to upset #2 Indiana in double overtime.
    Senior... Third-team defender, Great Lakes Region; Big Ten Sports-
    manship winner.
    Current position Center defender
    Strikers position Forward
    Favorite Strikers memory... “Wow, this is hard be-

    cause I have been on many different Strikers teams and
    my whole Strikers past was an amazing experience. I will
      never forget practices with our trainer John Coumbe-
          Lilley. He had a way of making you work so hard
              without your even knowing it. We also had an
                  amazing trip to Manchester, England back in
                   Dec ’99–Jan ‘00. We spent an incredible week
                     together training, competing, and traveling.
                      We even got to watch Manchester United
                        play when David Beckham was their star. We
                         became really close living in this beautiful school
                         in the English countryside. For New Year’s Eve, we
                         were told we were going to a costume party at a pub so
                         we spent the day at the mall coming up with some crazy cos-
                         tumes. Then the restaurant cancelled the costume party because
                         of bad weather. We didn’t care, and we were ‘those Americans
                        all decked out like it was Halloween’ ringing in the new year at an
                       English pub.”
                      What I learned in Strikers... “From the first team I played in Strik-
                    ers I learned what it meant to arrive on time and be prepared for prac-
                 tice. Strikers has also instilled the importance of hard work and intensity
              in training. These values helped me tremendously in college and continue
          to be important values that I possess today.”
    Advice to young players... “When I played on Strikers I hated to juggle and prac-
    tice my skill moves. I wish I had worked on them more because I wasn’t that good
    at them. Playing college soccer as a girl, if you have some speed and one or two
    moves mastered you are going to be able to beat a lot of people. But in my case,
    lacking the moves on the ball, I played defense instead of forward, which I ended up
    loving. So, I guess it all works out.”
    Academics and plans for the future... Finance major, International Studies
    minor (currently studying abroad in Costa Rica), Academic All-Big Ten (4 years). Work
    plans... Will start as a financial analyst for Cardinal Health in August.
Strikers Tidbits...                                                                                       Welcome
Whirled Cup 2007
                                                                                                              Strikers is delighted
Amazingly,	the	Whirled	Cup	fundrais-                                                                          to welcome Pete
er	continues	to	beat	the	odds!		                                                                              Knight, Adam Niren-
It	was	a	beautiful,	chilly	                                                                                   berg and Elliot Grey to
fall	November	Saturday,	                                                                                      its cadre of talented
and	several	hundred	                                                                                          coaches. Pete Knight
Strikers	and	their	                                                                                           comes to Strikers with
parents	came	out	                                                                                             ten years of coaching
to	enjoy	all	the	                                                                                             experience, an NSCAA
soccer	fun	includ-                                                                                            National Youth Diploma
ing	Parent	v.	Kid	                                                                                            and a UEFA B license.
games,	Hearty	                                                                                                Pete also played semi-
Souls	games,	jug-                                                                                             pro in the Eastleigh,
gling	and	shooting	                                                                                           F.C. Adam Nirenberg,
contests,	and	lots	more.	                                                                                     former head coach at
This	year,	the	event	raised	                                                                                  Concordia University and
over	$5,700.	Through	this	                                                                                    University of the Ozarks,
important	fundraiser,	Strikers	can	                                                                           joined Strikers to coach
support	its	goal	of	providing	financial	sup-                                                                  two of the OPRF One
port	to	players	who	would	not	otherwise	be	able	to	play	travel	soccer.                                        boys high school teams.
                                                                                                              Finally Elliot Grey joined
                                                                                                              Strikers with eight years

Strikers Launches                                                        Thank you!                               of coaching experi-
                                                                                                                     ence and a BSC
Referee Program                                                  A special thank you to the following folks             (honors)
                                                                who donated over $100 to support Strikers                 in Coaching
Strikers	recently	partnered	with	former	board	
member,	Chuck Race, and	State	Licensed	                        Anonymous (2), Vivien & John Barkidjija,
                                                                                                                  from Liver-
referee	and	Oak	Park	resident,	Carlton                 Community Bank of Oak Park, Michele & John Donley,
                                                          Carlton Fisher, Kate Hauserman & Tom Arsovski,           pool John
Fisher,	to	develop	a	referee	and	assistant	
                                                                  Christine Marciniak & Chris Brown,               Moores
referee	program.	Strikers	is	sponsoring	ref-           Gillian Siegel & Steve Gillman, Colette & John Heaphy,      University.
eree	and	assistant	referee	training	classes	this	              Larry Higgs, Sheree & Andrew Johnson,               Elliot also
spring	and	is	looking	for	people	interested	in	                       Kirkland & Ellis Foundation,                played
joining	“The	Few,	The	Proud…	The	OP/RF	                                Diane & Richard Klevgard,
                                                                                                                 semi-pro for
Referee	Pool!”	See	Strikers	web	site	for	details,	                      Amy & Jeff McCormack,
                                                                                                               Woodford                                         Kari & John McIlwain, Oak Park Township,
                                                                 Anya Parfentieva & Chris Barkidjija,         United FC.
                                                                           Young & Rubicam

    Cancer Kickin’ G-o-o-o-o-o
                   State Cup
    For the third year in a row, Striker players have
    used their soccer juggling skills to support the
    fight against cancers common to kids. Strikers        Good luck to the Boys and Girls u12 Orange teams
    once again teamed up with the Leukemia and            coached by Josh Goldkamp and Mark Bicocchi, respec-
    Lymphoma Foundation and FireWorks for Kids            tively and the Boys u17 team
    (philanthropic arm of the Chicago Fire) to raise      coached by Adam
    money for this important cause. Overall, Strikers     Nirenberg	as	they	                    Tryouts
    players raised over $0,000 with FireWorks for        head	to	the	Illi-
    Kids kicking in an additional $2,500.                 nois	State	Cup	
                                                                                         Girls HS Sunday, May 18
    Top Fundraisers—The Girls u11 Orange team             tournament	                     u8–u14 Sunday, June 1
    raised $,678 and the Boys u9 Orange team             this	spring.	
    was close behind, raising $,650. Also noteworthy     The	State	
                                                                                                Longfellow and
    were the Girls u12 Orange team who raised                                         OPRF HS Lake Street Field
                                                          Cup	is	a	
    $,235 with almost 00% team participation.
                                                          tourna-                           Go to Strikers website for
    Cousin Strikers Gabrielle Barkidjija (Girls u2 Or-
                                                          ment	spon-                      information and tryout forms
    ange) and Andrew Barkidjija (Boys u9 Orange)                                    
                                                          sored	by	the	
    raised a total of $,220 together, while Stephen                                                or call the office
    Hunt (Boys u9 Orange) and Aubrey Burke (Girls         IYSA	(Illinois	
    u Orange) each raised $300.                            Youth	Soccer	
                                                                                                All current players must tryout
                                                               Association)	                            anew each year.
                                                                and	is	geared	
                                                                 towards	the	top	30-40	
                                                                  teams	in	an	age	group.	
                                                                   Winners	of	the	State	Cup	go	on	to	compete	
                                                                    in	regional	and,	ultimately,	national	tournaments.

HS Girls
The Girls u19 Orange team	finished	the	
Fall	2007	season	with	a	record	of	10	wins	and	no	
losses.	Comprising	players	from	OPRF,	Fenwick,	
Trinity	and	Francis	Parker	high	schools,	and	
playing	at	one	of	the	highest	levels	of	the	
Illinois	Women’s	Soccer	League,	the	Strik-
ers	‘ran	the	table,’	scoring	33	goals	while	
conceding	only	9.	Coaching	the	team	for	a	
second	consecutive	successful	season	was	
 Murray	Findlay.	“I	was	really	pleased	
 with	the	team’s	improvement	and	commitment	
 throughout	the	season,	especially	considering	the	turnover	in	
 the	roster	from	last	season.	The	girls’	final	game	was	the	best	they	
 played	all	season,”	said	Findlay.
Another	equally	impressive	season	was	garnered	by	the	Girls u16                                               u16 Navy team
Navy team, coached	by	Renee	Vai.	The	team	also	had	a	perfect	10-0	
season,	scoring	42	goals	and	only	allowing	in	6.

                                     This	fall,	Strikers	fielded	a	record	22	teams	with	320	players	in	the	
                                     u8-u14	levels.	Despite	the	soggy	start	with	torrential	rains	during	
                                     camp	week,	teams	headed	into	their	first	tournaments	ready	
                                     to	play.	Congratulations	to	the	Boys u12 Orange team	
                                     who	won	the	white	division	at	the	Schaumburg	tourney.	
                                     The Boys u10 Orange team	took	second	place	in	
                                     the	NISL	Silver	2	division	and	the	Boys u13 team	also	
                                     took	second	place	in	the	Gold	1	division.	Almost	all	of	our	
                                     u8-u14	levels	are	playing	indoor	soccer	at	various	venues	
                                        including	Max	McCook,	Schaumburg	and	Sportszone.	
                                            Further,	the	Coerver	indoor	training	was	over-sub-
                                                scribed	this	winter.	It	seems	that	our	players	just	
                                                  can’t	get	enough	soccer!
                                                 Spring/Summer                   2008
                                                 Free Player Tryout Applications Due
                                                 May 5 (May 5 for Girls HS players)
                                                 Financial Assistance Applications Due
                                                 Thursday, May 5 for current players
                                                 u15–u19 Girls HS Tryout, Fall 2008
                                                 Sunday, May 8
                                                 u15–u19 Girls HS Registration
                                                 Thursday, May 22
                                                 u8–u14 Tryouts for 2008-09 Season
                                                 Sunday, June 
                                                 u8–u9 Player Registration
                                                 Wednesday evening, June 4
                                                 u10–u14 Player Registration
                                                 Thursday evening, June 5
                                                 Last date for league games
                                                 Girls... Sunday, June 5
                                                 Boys... Sunday, June 29
    Questions?                                   Boys League (NISL) Seeding Tournaments
    Visit our website,
                                                 u9   August 9–0  Elgin Sports Complex                         u0 August 9–0   Elgin Sports Complex
    or call the                                  u August 9–0   Rockford Sportscore 2
    Strikers office                              u2 August 6–7 Rockford Sportscore 
    708 77 5269                                 u3 August 9–0   Rockford Sportscore 
    Go Strikers!                                 u4 August 6–7 Rockford Sportscore 2

    Oak Park River Forest Strikers Soccer Club
    P. O. B o x 5 5 4 4
    River Forest, IL 60305


To top