FRISCO, Texas (June 25, 2011) – When the Concorde Fire U-15/16s played against the Clearwater Chargers on June 5, 2011, it was the first time the group had played together since the 2010 Winter Showcase in December. Despite the almost five and a half month break, the team came together with the motivation of having been the first team to qualify for the 2010-11 Development Academy Playoffs and posted a convincing 4-0 win.
According to Concorde Fire Director of Coaching Greg Blasingame, the team front-loaded its schedule, playing the vast majority of games in the fall so players could play in high school. With all but the last game of the season already played, the team qualified for the 2010-11 Playoffs in February, becoming the first team in either age group to do so.
Some athletes might become complacent, but not the Fire.
“I think the guys are a little self-motivated when it comes to that,” Blasingame said. “While they enjoy going to their high school team, they’re thrilled to return to their regular team because the kids on their team have common goals and the level of play takes a quantum leap up.
“Once they come back, they’re excited and they’re anxious to get prepared for Playoffs, especially the U-16s. They qualified early, they had a very good season, we were very happy with their performance and I know they just want to pick up now where they left off for Playoffs. The kids are definitely ready to get back to training.”
The motivation to stay sharp and focused is important for a team that is trying to qualify for 2011 Development Academy Finals Week, where they could have a shot at the 2011 Development Academy championship. It becomes especially important when the team has been playing with different teammates, under different coaches and in a different system.
But, Blasingame assured, like with all the Academy clubs, the motivation to succeed is part of the Concorde Fire system.
“I think every one of the kids who is here understands where the bar is and what’s expected of them,” Blasingame said. “The teams that are coming into the Academy, their goal is to get to the Playoffs and their goal is to get to Finals Week. And that’s the only goal that they’re focused on.
“They know what they have to live up to and I think a lot of the kids basically push themselves to get to the level that’s required. Sure the coaches are contributing to that development, but also it’s the players who are pushing each other to become better players.”
And so the cycle continues, with every player at the 2010-11 Academy Playoffs just as motivated as the next. Some teams, like Concorde, secured a Playoffs berth relatively early. Other teams had to wait until the final game was played before learning their fate. But one thing is for certain, every team had to work hard to make it this far and will be working even harder to extend the season into July and compete at 2011 Finals Week.