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June 11, 2012 07:49 PM

There are many reasons that clubs, coaches and players want to participate at the State, Presidents and Challenge Cups. Most teams enter one of these events to win the State Championship, but one team’s attendance was motivated by a totally different philosophy.

A U11 Girls team from Jasper, Indiana participated in the 2012 Challenge Cup and in doing so became the only team in the history of the club to ever play in a State Cup event. Not only did the team enter the cup, the team unexpectedly advanced to the final weekend of play.

Coach Josh was excited for this opportunity, but to win the championship was something that he quietly allowed to exist in the back of his mind. His main purpose was to give his players the opportunity to have fun and celebrate soccer.   Josh set the expectations for his players by prioritizing that the most important outcome for the weekend was to participate, show good sportsmanship, and to have fun while playing the sport that they all share and love.

This team that was motived by and given permission by their coach to have fun won their first three games on Saturday and Sunday morning. The girls, later that same day, fell to a very formidable Columbus Express team 1-0. However, the most encouraging part of the story is the fact that even though the final score was unfavorable, this team celebrated as if they had concluded the tournament as the state champions! They celebrated as champions because their coach told them they were champions. The girls on this team will probably not remember the score 10 years from now; however, they will certainly remember the positive and enjoyable experience associated with the team. But more importantly, the lives of these young women have been positively impacted by a coach that is making a selfless, long-term commitment into to who these young women become.

To see the video interview and team celebration, please click on the following links: