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CSC heads to NoVa for high-level soccer

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“I thought my shoes might melt,” said Nicole DiIoia, a player on the Christiansburg Sharks, after finishing a game in sweltering conditions in Herndon, Va.

Four travel soccer teams from Christiansburg got to experience high-level soccer in Northern Virginia as both competitors and guests of DC United.

Playing against a strong Herndon soccer team on an astroturf field on a hot Saturday afternoon required a special degree of commitment by not just the players but the parents. The heat radiated upwards from the field on a sweltering 95-degree day in Northern Virginia. Even so, the teams were playing hard, and competing on equal terms.

Just three short years ago, Christiansburg Soccer Club did not exist. The club was developed not just to expand the opportunity for recreational soccer, but also to develop players who could make the high school teams more competitive. From that start in spring of 2009, there will now be six teams from Christiansburg playing competitive soccer in the fall.

The Northern Virginia trip was scheduled to give the players a glimpse at soccer at its highest level. The four Christiansburg teams participating in the weekend games on Aug. 4-5 were playing Herndon Soccer Club teams that compete in a league that has almost as many teams (500) as the Christiansburg Soccer Club has players (700). One of the Herndon teams ranked as high as 4th in the nation last year. The skill level of the teams and the commitment required to compete at that level were an eye-opening experience for both players and parents.

Caitlyn Caudell, a rising fifth-grader at Belview Elementary and a member of the Christiansburg Mustangs, was impressed by the trip and the competition.

“I enjoyed getting to know my teammates better by hanging out with them on the trip. I also learned a lot by playing two very good teams from Herndon,” she said.

After the Saturday afternoon game, the teams had very little time before they hopped on the Metro to make their way to RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. to watch DC United play the Columbus Crew in a Major League Soccer game. As the players soon found out, nothing moves quickly in Northern Virginia. The 30 miles from hotel to stadium took more than two hours due to construction and traffic. As a group, the parents were all glad they did not live in the gridlock that is NoVa.

From the kids’ eyes, however, this was an exciting part of the experience.
“Getting to high five the DC United players was really cool, but riding the Metro was the best,” said Jeston Hendricks, also a member of the Mustangs.

The high fives almost didn’t happen. The teams were all invited by DC United to be part of the pre-game activities on the field, and to be part of a high-five tunnel to welcome the players onto the field, but the traffic delays put them at risk of missing that special part of the weekend. The teams arrived in the nick of time, and the players were escorted onto the field.
The players were too young to know the history of RFK Stadium, but the history was not lost on the coaches. Mike Adams, coach of the Christiansburg Griffins, marveled at how the teams were making the same walk onto the fields that had been done in earlier times by Redskin greats such as Joe Theisman and John Riggins.

The DC United game itself was a source of wonder for players and parents alike. The ease with which the players controlled and passed the ball showed everyone the beauty of the sport when well-played. The visiting team was clearly overmatched, and a number of penalties were called against the Columbus Crew as they tried to use physical play to overcome their deficiency in skill. In the end, the players got to see the home team win, and made their late-night trek back to the hotel for as much rest as possible before their morning games.

The Sunday morning games did not feel any cooler, and were played in the shadow of high-rise buildings and traffic. David Dunkenberger, whose daughter Logan was on the field playing for the Christiansburg Griffins, put his finger on what was so special about the Northern Virginia experience. He looked around and remarked about the activity that was all around us. At this one elementary school, there were seven soccer fields, and five of them were filled with young players, teen-aged players, and even an adult-league game. This experience was being repeated over and over again at so many of the fields in Northern Virginia.

The Northern Virginia families were doing something right in their concrete jungle: They were showing a level of activity that was an idea worth taking back to the New River Valley. The weather, which still felt hot enough to melt our shoes, we gladly left behind.

Article published in The Burgs, August 14, 2012. View article here

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Four & Four

We’re four games into the season and we’ve got four points from Dennis to get us through the rest of the season.

1. New River Engraving has been a CSC sponsor from the start, and is once again offering special trophy deals for the soccer teams. They do excellent work and we would appreciate that coaches or team parents contact them for their end-of-season trophies.

2. Locations for K and Pre-K games for Oct. 27th should be released next week. There may be a few Friday night practice locations that need to be cancelled to accommodate the K games, as CPS and CES will be closed that night.

3. Games need to start on time and end on time. While warming up on the field may be customary, it is not necessary. If it is game time, the game needs to start. If there are refs and they won’t start the game, report it to me. Games also need to end on time, especially U8 games which are coach-reffed and have 40 minutes of play in an hour-long spot. Warmups can be abbreviated, quarter breaks need only be 1 minute long, etc. Which brings us to Issue # 4 . . .

4. There was a completely avoidable confrontation on a soccer field this weekend. As a result, an assistant coach and two parents will be instructed not to come to any soccer field this weekend. The assistant coach entered the field of a live game after it went past the scheduled time. Two parents laid hands on coaches when a post-game conversation/argument occurred. Without going into detail about the incident, the touching of a coach or ref is a sure-fire way to get a suspension. The unwelcome touching of a person is known in Virginia as Assault & Battery, and it has no place anywhere on a soccer field or near the children. Let’s get in the newspaper for pictures of kids with smiles on their faces playing soccer, not for a couple of parents engaged in schoolyard antics.

First week of play – Message from the Club

We hope you had a good first week of play. If there was a problem, let Dennis know now so he can try to fix it. We did have an interleague schedule problem with one U13G game involving the purple team. If your team is ever scheduled to play an NRU team, please compare your schedule with the one posted on www.nrusa.org. If you see differences, contact Dennis. We are now aware that NRU shifted all U13G game times at CMS in error, and that will have to be fixed this week, so we are aware of that glitch.

If any teams still need uniforms or socks, please contact Dennis ASAP. The final shirt order is scheduled Monday if we don’t have the shirt in stock. We are aware that the Lime Kindergarten team needs one more shirt but we’ve not heard of any other shirt shortage.

If you were on the waiting list, we will be processing refunds for waiting list paid registrations this upcoming week.

Cancellation policy

We play in the rain UNLESS (1) there is thunder/lightning, (2) damaging to the fields, or (3) combined with cold weather that makes it too uncomfortable to play. If your game is in Blacksburg, check http://www.newriverunited.org for cancellations.

We post updates on cancellations at 7:00 a.m. on Saturday or by 4:00 p.m. on weekdays.

CSC Day at Dick’s Sporting Goods

Saturday, August 25th, 10 am – 4 pm

At Dick’s Sporting Goods in Christiansburg Receive Great Savings on all your Soccer needs

Join us for this exclusive Soccer event! You will receive soccer-specific offers on the equipment you need most for the new season, AND you will get an additional 15% off your entire purchase (offers combined will be over 20% off).

As a special thank you from Dick’s, the 15% off will also be good on almost anything else in the store that day (exclusions include guns/ammo and certain golf items).

Please print out the Soccer coupons here. These Coupons are good any time starting now and throughout the rest of the season.