THIS WEEK we take a look at our thriving U8 Reds – a young side that are forging a reputation for strong football built on passion for the game, mateship and developing new skills.
We headed up the back of Glennon Park yesterday to check out our U8s in action and what an impressive display of gutsy football. Their opponents were the formidable Magic United, who came with their own outward intentions and plans for the Eagles, only to be met with a fresh, fast and supremely focussed side in our U8 Reds. By the final whistle it was clear that these Eagles mean business!
Headed up by coach Mark Mulcahy, the team is built on the framework of three seasons at the Eagles, and are now putting on show each week as they dazzle with their growing confidence and skill.
We had a quick chat to Mark, who’s about as passionate as they come for junior coaches, not only proudly coaching his own son but providing a supremely positive and nurturing football environment for all of his young players.
NSC: Hi Mark, great game today! You’ve got a fairly tight-knit little team there, and we see a few of them have been playing together now for 3 years. What’s the importance of good friendship, camaraderie and unity in this team in terms of how they play on the field?
MM: The Red team has a majority of players returned from last year and each player has a role to play based on how they are most comfortable. They have become mostly good friends and show good encouragement towards each other, especially on game days. The boys are slowly learning each other’s style of play which is allowing the game to flow a lot more now.
Today you had a fairly convincing win over Magic United, I think it was something like 5 nil yeah? How did the boys go today and what are your thoughts on the performance?
It was a convincing win today … but last week we played a friendly game against one of the best Under 8 teams on the coast and also lost convincingly. We have a lot to learn about playing the ball around and working together but the team’s performance today was solid in defence and attack, I’m pleased with how they all played.
Where do you see the team going into the future and what areas do you think they can improve in?
I’m sure keen to give this team the right guidance and improve how they play together, and to develop the skills they need to really enjoy the experience and understand the game more.
Are there any funny stories or unique characters or match moments this year you can fill us in on?
Lots of funny things keep our parents happy on the sidelines week after week but watching the games is something makes us all smile – not laughing at the boys, but rather it’s their antics sometimes on the field that keep us well entertained.
We saw Kyal step up from the U7s to play on debut with your U8s today, he nearly scored off that corner kick haha – he’s pretty passionate and enthusiastic for football … how did he go?
Kyal had a really strong game today giving him the opportunity to mix it with the Under 8s. He understands positions and moved the ball around well today. Kyal took a few throw ins and a corner with it skimming off the post, almost going in.
How has it been for you coaching this team? Can you let us in on some of your favourite moments, highs, proud moments or even lows in the coaching process with such young players.
Coaching this team has been a great experience. As a parent watching my son play a sport that I started playing at his age makes me proud – and the love for the game he shares. There are so many moments to remember as a coach. Every week I’m proud of every player and the effort they put in. Coaching kids that are at this age you have to remember they are developing social skills – that they don’t always make the right decisions. Understanding that unless we train with the right mindset – concentrating on soccer – our game won’t improve … and not to focus on other distractions.
Anything else you want to add, about the club or parents or anything else?
The club and all sponsors – by all counts – are doing a fantastic job, so keep up the hard work! The new uniforms and shirts have definitely brought a new spark to my team and they all look fantastic. Since moving our training sessions to Monday/Wednesday I’m getting nearly 100% turnout thanks to the efforts of my parents and the sacrifices we’ve all made in changing schedules to accommodate the change.
Finally, what’s the most defining characteristic of your U8 team and how does it stand out and work for them?
As a team they are really putting on a strong display of football for all who watch our games. It takes many to make a team and they are really starting to link that to their style of play //
More images from yesterday’s game below