When one has done just about everything one can do, soccer-wise, in West Texas, there's really nothing else to do but head to North Texas.
That’s exactly what Elder Son and his teammates – boys from Odessa and Midland who comprise the Dallas Texans 93-West Texas – were doing in Frisco this weekend. And they were doing it very well.
John Cordsen, who was my publisher at the Fort Stockton Pioneer back in the 90s, used to say that there’s a reason they go ahead and play the game anyway, in spite of the all the pre-game hype, and all the certainty over the game’s outcome.
I think our boys proved that point. You see, 3/4 of the team is comprised of 94 (born in 1994) boys. But West Texas is a region of small communities, and small pools of kids from which teams can draw players. The only way the Texans could make roster this year was to add some 93 boys. So now the team must play in the 93 bracket.
So, that’s what they did, knocking off generally-older, generally-larger and more experienced teams from Midland-Odessa, San Angelo and Lubbock to win the league title.
The contrast was even stronger this weekend in Frisco. In addition to tackling the bigger teams, the boys also found themselves playing ‘Classic’ league teams - a more competitive and talented league than ours. But, as John said, you go ahead and play the game anyway. So they did, knocking off one Classic Division 3 team, then two Division 2 teams on the first day to win their bracket. And that is NOT something a team from West Texas is supposed to do.
The next morning, it was the semifinals, and a Classic League Division 1 Team. Our boys lost that one in the closing seconds, when the other team scored a goal to break a 3-3 tie, bringing an end to one of the most exciting youth games I've ever seen, one of the team’s best tournament showings ever, and a totally awesome season.
The boys didn't have much time to dwell upon their loss, because their Sunday afternoon was spent at Pizza Hut Park as guests of Major League Soccer’s F.C. Dallas. They soon found themselves down on the field, one of the best pitches they’d ever set foot on, watching players from F.C. Dallas and the visiting L.A. Galaxy warm-up. Then it was over to the tunnel, where our Texans and other teams from the tournament lined up to ‘high-five’ the pros as they emerged from the locker rooms for the game. Elder Son scored something of a hat trick, managing to shake hands with three of his L.A. Galaxy heroes – Landon Donavan, Carlos Ruiz and David Beckham ….. he’s still talking about it!
Anyay, what a wild and wonderful ride it’s been, for players and parents alike, Congratulations, boys!