On June 1st a balanced mix of the GU13 Rush Select National blue and white team players departed their various Rush clubs from all over the country and landed in San Jose, Costa Rica. The trip will include four friendly games against professional academies, community service projects at centers for low-income children and of course sightseeing around the beautiful country.
“After meeting with Lilliana, our Costa Rica Soccer Tours host, regarding the itinerary, I could tell that this was going to be a unique experience. There will be a healthy balance of trainings, games and cultural experiences, including working with underprivileged Costa Rican kids, that the girls will never forget. Whenever we can exemplify our 11 Rush Core Values through soccer, it is a win for the team off the field, regardless of the result on the field.” - GU13 Rush Select National team Head coach, Russell Finch
RUSH GU13 SELECT NATIONAL TEAM
GOALKEEPER (1): Andrea Granada (VA Rush)
DEFENDERS (6): Anuhea Kane (HI Rush), Mary Baca (CO Rush), Sophie Wilson (VA Rush), Jacee Hall (IA Rush), Kelsey Weiser (CO Rush), Lillian Sanchez (CO Rush)
MIDFIELDERS (5): Aislynn Crowder (HI Rush), Katheryn Cheng (WA Rush), Chloe Stevens (CO Rush), Hannah Antonick (VA Rush), Kylie Wells (CO Rush)
FORWARDS (4): Laila Saravia (TX Rush), Trina Davis (WA Rush), Alexis Sisino (VA Rush), Aidan Borders (ID Rush),
Day 1 was mostly spent traveling and completing various team-building exercises. It also included a very informative presentation by Costa Rica Soccer Tours representatives Randall and Lilliana Araya.
“The organization and structure that Costa Rica Soccer tours provides makes it easy for the girls to not worry about anything other than soccer.” – GU13 Rush parent
Day 2 the team trained at a local stadium within the city, which was overlooked by local housing and beautiful, slightly hazy mountain views. The team worked on team shape while defending in each third of the field and pattern play to establish a defined style in attack.
After lunch the team traveled to the home of Liga Deportiva Alajuelense, a professional team in Costa Rica that had just lost in the final of the Costa Rican league championship a few days prior. Slightly in awe of the size of the stadium and the facilities, the team headed to the locker room to prepare for the game ahead.
Unfortunately Rush found themselves down 0-3 within 20 minutes, with two goals off swift counter attacks from attacking corners and one from a penalty. Heading into halftime 0-3 down, the message was clear from coach Russell Finch (CO Rush), “Win the second half and be the most active team in both defense and attack.”
In the second half Rush Select National created chance after chance and it was only a matter of time until the door would fully open. With purposeful possession and players that wanted to break the line and get to goal, it was Alexis Sisino (VA Rush) who found herself inside the box after combining well with Trina Davis (WA Rush) and then chipping the ball to the back post where Kelsey Weiser (CO Rush), who had made a run from left back, met it with pace and power, heading the ball into the back of the UCEM Alajuela net. With 90 minutes on the clock the referee blew the final whistle and although the game was a loss they did win their second half.
“Playing in a big stadium was an amazing experience, we felt like young pros. Competing against players from another country, where there is a language barrier, made it more challenging. Our ability to anticipate where they may play the ball was lessened by words we didn’t understand and was part of the reason we conceded 3 quick goals,” – Alexis Sisino (VA Rush)
We will conclude the teams travels with another article upon arrival back into the U.S., stay tuned.