TAISM Hosts and Wins SAISA Soccer Tournament

Thursday, February 7, 2019

TAISM proudly hosted the SAISA boys soccer tournament this year. The event was a great success with many reasons to celebrate. Congratulations to everyone involved in the organization and high fives to our boys soccer team on their overall victory.

TAISM's Boys Varsity Soccer Coach, Marcello Mongardi, summed up the highlights of the SAISA weekend:

We had worked all season to be ready for this tournament.  Once the first match came we felt ready. The team was focused on playing the game that we had practiced, to compete physically to our utmost, and to commit to one another as a team.  If we could do those three things and there were other teams in the tournament who were better equipped to score goals than us, we would have to be ready to accept that we had done everything that we could.  In our pool play we faced a couple of tough teams, and a couple of teams that could not compete with how we took care of the ball and worked hard to manage the game.  TAISM was able to always stay locked into our game plan and to remember that our first priority was to play to our patterns and trust that the results would follow.  And they did.  We scored timely goals that took the pressure out of the games and gave us the chance to be more expansive and really play well.  We beat ASB 3-0 and KAS 4-0 on the first day, and won 1-0 against Lahore and 8-0 against Islamabad on day 2. The commitment of the team to our game plan was so impressive for me to watch as a coach.  Not once all tournament did we start to worry about results, get desperate, or begin to force a game that was not ours.

On Saturday we moved on to our semi-final against ACS Jordan.  They had made some adjustments to their team that forced us to re-think our approach as well.  In the end, it was simply enough for us to work hard, stay focused, and let our front men finish their chances.  We won 3-0, playing well nad absorbing everything that they threw at us. We headed to the final against an impressive Dhaka team.  

In the couple hours before the match the team stayed close, and I was happy to see them loose and intent on having fun.    As the time for our last game approached we began to focus more intently on the task at hand, which was the same as it had been all week-end.  Enjoy the moment, play our game no matter what the opposition do, control the things that we can control, and let the chips fall where they will.  The game kicked off, and we were immediately under pressure for the first five minutes.  Then a jaw-dropping save from Aria seemed to turn things around for us.  We managed to clear our head and breathed some life into our movement.  As the boys went to work, I could tell that they were beginning to enjoy being out there, and by half time we were three goals to none in the lead. Each of our forwards had scored a goal. We continued to manage every effort that Dhaka could put together, and the match ended four to zero.  No-one had scored a goal against us all tournament!

There were so many great things about the SAISA week-end, but as a coach the most rewarding things that I was able to enjoy were the work ethic of the players and their commitment to one another.