Archive for September 2012

The Numbers Don’t Lie   Leave a comment

On Mondays, I compile the previous week’s statistics and pull together the upcoming week’s schedule of matches involving the players in the scouting pool.  Even though I follow matches throughout the week and check out box scores when they become available after the fixtures (tallying up the numbers as I go), I always go over the schools’ official stats pages in case an adjustment was made to the scoring after the fact (e.g. adding/subtracting assists from a play, crediting a different player for a goal), which has happened a few times so far this season.  I have my own expectations for the player pool when it comes to production, and that would be: an average of 10 goals and 25 points per week, a goals-against average of 1.00 or less, a save percentage of 0.750 or higher, and a 33% shutout rate.  I don’t place much emphasis on overall won-loss record as goalkeepers are not 100% responsible for the end result despite at times contributing heavily to it, and the variance in the teams they play for must be taken into account.  As of this past Sunday (three full weeks of play for all), these are the numbers:

40 goals and 18 assists for 98 points (so close to 100, and ahead of pace)

17-4-1 record

1.04 goals-against average (little higher than I’d like, but two of the three goalkeepers that start are under 1.00)

0.729 save percentage (odd stat, as shutouts where the keeper doesn’t face any shots doesn’t help, but giving up goals and facing lots of shots helps)

9.0 SOs. (all four keepers that have played have at least one full shutout to their credit)

More nuggets from the stats:

21 players have scored at least one goal so far, and 24 players have gotten on the score sheet to date

5 players are on a goal-per-week pace or better

2 players are already past the 10 point mark for the season

Only 2 field players have yet to see game time this season

Our local players are proving this season (as they have in past years) that they have the talent and moxie to compete with the best players in the area.  They deserve a chance this summer to show that, together, as one against the best open-level amateur sides in the region and country.  THIS is why it matters that a club exist for them, that a venue be available for them to continue to get better and to show their talent.  Let’s make it happen.

Posted September 18, 2012 by Scott in Uncategorized

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A Personal Plea   Leave a comment

We are about four weeks into our Indiegogo fundraising campaign and the results thus far have been less-promising than I would have hoped.  We have not yet reached 5% of our fundraising goal with more than 20% of the campaign completed.  I know that a lot of people are supportive of what we want to do with women’s soccer in Milwaukee and have shared our story via social media, but I’ve been wondering if there is something more I need to say in order to encourage people to help out in a financial way.  With that, here is why this project means so much to me and why it matters.

As I have mentioned in previous posts, I am a born-and-raised Milwaukeean who began playing soccer the winter before I turned 7 with the city’s recreation department.  The following fall, I joined a local club organization with friends of mine.  After four years with the Milwaukee Kickers, I stopped playing competitively because I wanted to try other sports and didn’t think it would be “cool” heading into middle school with “soccer player” as part of my profile.  I returned to the game once I started high school and eventually moved into the coaching ranks once my playing time had ended at the same school I attended.  In my time coaching at Riverside, I saw many players that had college-level talent pass through our program but who didn’t have the outside coaching or financial resources to play beyond the high school season.  We did have a handful of players from our teams go on to play at the next level, but not as many as could have.  More so, the money advantage that suburban schools eventually gained on the top city schools in the early 1990s made both procuring talent and developing it for further play a difficult proposition.  When the opportunity came to consider building a women’s soccer program in my hometown (give or take four years ago), the first thing that came to mind was “We MUST flip the tables on the status quo of talent selection and playing for us MUST be affordable.”

So why does this matter so much to me, and why should it matter to you?  For me, it is an avenue to try and begin to change the life chances of our community’s young women.  Offering them a chance to stand on the same field as those who have so many more advantages than them (and BEAT THEM!) while also providing a means for them to use the game to go to college and pursue their academic and professional goals are the real reasons why I want to bring this club into reality.  The reasons I am focusing at the start on an adult summer team built from current college players are several.  First, these players already exist but have been overlooked by traditional clubs because they play for schools not in Division I of the NCAA or because they don’t have elite-level talent in the eyes of those individuals.  Secondly, structure is already in place for us to start a team of that nature from scratch in a reasonably short period of time and without cumbersome hurdles.  The two biggest reasons why we are starting at the top of the pyramid and not the bottom are 1) the amount of time necessary to get a group of players from the youngest ranks to this age level spans 10-12 years, with attrition requiring a MUCH larger starting class than what would be needed at the top; and 2) the adult level is where results on the field matter and the success/failure of the concept can be more easily determined.

Before I close, a quick update on this year’s class of Milwaukee County players we are scouting.  Through the first two full weekends of college play (NCAA Division I schools started games on August 17th and NAIA schools the following weekend, but NCAA Divisions II and III opened play on August 31st), Milwaukee’s college field players have amassed 26 goals and 11 assists for 63 points with 16 different goalscorers, while its goalkeepers have combined for a 13-1-1 record with a 1.02 goals-against average and 6.5 shutouts.

Posted September 11, 2012 by Scott in Uncategorized

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Is This The Start of Something?   1 comment

Building off of the college preview posted on Saturday, we will take a look today at the increase in the number of college soccer players that are graduates of Milwaukee Public Schools.  The dearth of MPS graduates playing college soccer has been a point of a number of our entries, with the total number of players residing around five or six for the past several years at least.  In 2012, that number looks to have made a bit of a jump, with more players on rosters and at more schools than in past seasons.

Alverno College, an all-women’s school in Milwaukee, has in recent years had the greatest number of MPS players on its roster (usually the only school with more than one at any given time), with three women playing for its 2011 team.  The 2012 team adds two incoming first-year players and a sophomore transfer from Mount Mary College (Milwaukee’s other all-women’s post-secondary institution) to those three, making for a whopping SIX MPS graduates on the Inferno’s roster.  Moreover, those six players represent four MPS girls’ soccer teams (2 each from Milwaukee School of Languages and Bradley Tech, plus one each from Riverside and Reagan).  The star of the incoming players is Neysel Powell, who played at MSL.  We got a chance to see her with the Hawks at the season-opening City Cup tournament this past spring.  She has good first touch along with high-level field vision and will be a fine addition to Alverno’s midfield attack.

2012 also sees MPS place its first-ever players on the rosters of Lakeland College (Ashley Jennings, MSL) and the University of Wisconsin-Superior (Jade Wong, Hamilton).  Combined with the players at Alverno, Lourdes Gil (Bay View) at Cardinal Stritch, and Crystal Chalery (Pulaski) at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, MPS now has ten of its graduates playing the game beyond high school.  Is this the start of a trend that will see more MPS graduates take their game to the next level, or is it a one-year blip?  More so, will this group of first-year players stick around for their sophomore seasons and beyond?  An oddity with respect to this increase is the lack of players from MPS’ dominant soccer program, Rufus King.  In fact, King, despite being the top MPS team for the last decade, has not had one of its graduates play college soccer since Anna Blankschein wrapped up her career at Beloit College in 2009.

This afternoon, Alverno will open its season at home against Mount Mary.  Kickoff is 4:30pm and we will be there to scout the new talent on the Inferno and Blue Angels and to support two of Milwaukee’s college soccer programs in the opening leg of their yearly home-and-home series (the second match will be on October 24th at Mount Mary).

 

Posted September 4, 2012 by Scott in Uncategorized

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College Soccer Preview   1 comment

This weekend kicks off the official opening of the 2012 women’s college soccer season.  Yes, we are aware that Division I schools are entering their third week of play and NAIA schools got underway last weekend, but for the vast majority of the players on our radar at Milwaukee United, this weekend is when they finally get their chance to take the field and showcase their talent in pursuit of conference and national championships.  Unlike most previews you may read, which focus on the top players and teams in Division I, our preview focuses on players and teams from Milwaukee.  Of the 61 players on our scouting list for 2012, more than 3/4 of them attend school either in Wisconsin or a connected state (Illinois, Iowa, or Minnesota) and less than 10 are on Division I rosters.  With that said, let’s start off by highlighting the only woman on that list playing in a major Division I conference.

Chloe Kiefer (Whitefish Bay/Divine Savior Holy Angels) is the starting goalkeeper for the nationally-ranked University of Louisville women’s soccer team.  She ranks in the top five all-time at Louisville for career goals-against average, career shutouts, and goalkeeper minutes, and this despite playing the equivalent of 1 1/2 seasons of matches for the Cardinals.  She has added two shutouts to her total thus far this season along with a 3-0-0 record and 0.98 GAA.

The women’s soccer team at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN has had a long-running tradition of Milwaukee-area players on its roster, and this season is no exception.  Jaclyn Glaser (Wauwatosa West) and Madeline Sweeney (Bayside/Divine Savior Holy Angels) represent Milwaukee County in the Tommies’ program in 2012, with the former coming off a season where she was named honorable mention all-MIAC (Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference).  A team near the top of the MIAC standings most seasons, the Tommies got their 2012 campaign off on the right foot with a 2-0 win over the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point in their opener.

While Milwaukee County does have players that compete in conferences outside of Wisconsin, the majority of its talent can be found in three conferences with heavy Wisconsin representation.  The Northern Athletics Conference is comprised of 13 small, private schools (4 in the Milwaukee area), with local players on the rosters of five of them (Alverno, Concordia (WI), Lakeland, Milwaukee School of Engineering, and Wisconsin Lutheran), highlighted by Nava Moniriarani (Oak Creek) at Alverno.  The Midwest Conference, like the NAC a private-school conference, has Milwaukee County representation on five of its 11 teams (Carroll, Lake Forest, Lawrence, Ripon, and St. Norbert), with its most notable local player being Anya Moran (Shorewood) at Lake Forest.  The Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference is made up of nine schools that are part of the University of Wisconsin System and Milwaukee-area players can be found at five of them (La Crosse, Oshkosh, Stout, Superior, and Whitewater), with Emily Ferger (Wauwatosa East) at Stout one of them.

In addition to Kiefer, a number of other local players will be finishing their college careers this season, among them Amy Kunowski (Greendale) at Bellarmine, Crystal Chalery (Milwaukee Pulaski) at UW-Parkside, and Chrissy Campbell (Greendale) at Western Illinois.  Coming up next week will be a piece on the increase of Milwaukee Public Schools graduates on 2012 rosters.

Posted September 1, 2012 by Scott in Uncategorized

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