FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Sting Austin sends two teams to USYSA Regionals for the First Time in Program History
For the first time ever Sting Austin is sending two teams to USYSA Regionals - State Cup Champions Sting Austin 03G Kim and Sting Austin 99G Premier. The Sting Austin division has elevated the division to new heights this past year, producing top teams in each age group, and defining themselves amongst their competition as a force to be reckoned with.
Jessica Kim, head of Sting Austin operations and full-time staff coach and Oscar Draguicevich, Director of Coaching for Sting Austin, were interviewed about their experiences over the past year. They each lend an interesting perspective on Sting Austin and its continued success:
How have you seen your division develop and grow?
JESSICA: We have added teams to fill in age groups and our coaches have done a great job developing the teams for overall club growth.
OSCAR: I think that the quality is the most important thing we’ve seen improvement on. We strive to have the best teams around Austin and we have been very successful in doing that.
What do you consider to be your best asset as a coach?
JESSICA: Developing relationships with my players where they not only want to play for each other but for the team above all.
OSCAR: I have a wealth of experience from playing at the youth, college, and professional level….so pretty much anything the kids have or are going to experience as a player, I have experienced as well and can help them with that.
Showing the true developmental nature of Sting Austin, Oscar and Jessica have each coached their regional bound teams for about 5 years each. They are dealing with the pressure of the upcoming competition in different ways:
JESSICA: I like to take things one day at a time, so I don’t really feel pressure. I see it as a challenge and the next thing to conquer, so I embrace it.
OSCAR: I welcome it. I have a little saying I live by that I always tell the girls…. “no pressure, no diamonds.”
Both Jessica and Oscar are telling their teams a very similar message going into Regionals:
JESSICA: I tell them it all starts at practice and training. The work they put into it and also the work outside of training, are equally important. It takes more than practicing with a ball at your feet. I am big on eating properly and hydrating….you have to take care of your body too.
OSCAR: To work really hard in preparation and once you get there have fun with it!
When asked about the Sting Soccer Organization and Sting Austin as a division, they both have different perspectives on what sets Sting apart.
Why do you think female soccer players should consider playing for Sting?
JESSICA: I think the biggest thing to consider as a female soccer player is that it is an all-girls club….you definitely get a different feel than other organizations. Sting is focused on girls only which is unique because you’re usually sharing the limelight with boys.
OSCAR: I think the rich history of Sting serves as a guide for what all these female athletes have done in the past. This serves as a great example for what to do and sets an expectation for these girls to achieve that moving forward.
How does the Sting Soccer Organization (Austin in particular) help prepare, develop, and transition players to compete at the college level?
JESSICA: It all starts in our training sessions, but what I’ve found personally is that the kids are held more accountable and responsible to other things we do outside of training sessions. Teaching discipline, character, hard work, and communication are all things that will stick with them as college players and beyond.
OSCAR: We teach things that are not only soccer related, but more importantly character and discipline, both on and off the field. On the technical side of things, it’s a style of play that I believe is very attractive to college coaches.
When young female soccer players in the Austin area are looking to play club soccer, what should they consider and why is the Sting Soccer Organization a good option?
JESSICA: I think the biggest thing they need to consider is that you are with a soccer club where you are a name and not just a number. Somewhere you can develop a relationship with your coaches and teammates. With the rich history of Sting and sophisticated curriculum, where else would you go in Austin?
OSCAR: Along with the backing of a fantastic organization, we also have very high level coaches that are dedicated to helping these kids develop both on and off the field. Also, with the larger organization of Sting behind us we have ECNL opportunity that many clubs do not have.
When asked about their respective teams they both speak highly of their groups. Sting Austin 03G (Jessica’s team), Sting Austin 99G Premier (Oscar’s team):
You are one of two teams to be our first representation of Sting Austin out at the Southern Regionals, how does that feel?
JESSICA: It feels really good. We are going to Regionals as State Cup champs, which is pretty cool because we are also the first Sting Austin team to be State champs. Our parents are pretty stoked …it was a good feeling!
OSCAR: It has been a very successful year for our team, winning Disney in January and now to represent Sting at the Regional Championships is icing on the cake. It is the culmination of hard work that these kids and parents have put in over the last year.
What stands out about this team to you and what makes them a special group?
JESSICA: It is a good kid group and a good parent group. We have great team camaraderie from both the team and parents. I think it starts with the parents being a good example and it trickles down to the kids. They really take care of each other, it’s very unique. OSCAR: This team is never out of a game. They will battle until the last minute and they have tremendous heart.
Jessica’s 03G finished in 6th place in FRPL, then had a great showing finishing off as State Cup Champions. Just a year prior the team played up a year in the 02 age bracket in order to have the opportunity to play 11v11, and lost almost every game by small margins. The experience has prepared them to succeed now on a level playing field, and they certainly have done that. When asked for one word to describe her team Jessica says:
Resilient --- because this team has been through (I’ve had them for 5 years) our fair share of ups and downs, with people leaving and joining the team. This is really apparent in different game situations, like in State Cup tournament finals… we were winning the entire game but the ref gave 2 minutes of overtime, called a free kick that tied the game. We then went to PK’s and won out in PK’s 3-0..they just kept fighting and didn’t get sucked into that one bad call that kind of changed the outcome of the game.
When asked what makes her team unique she says:
It’s a good parent and kid group because the parents show the meaning of teamwork through their actions. They all work together in helping the kids because the kids are following the parents lead. They’re a close knit group…we’re like a family.
Oscar’s 99G finished in second place in the Southern Regional Premier League. Last year they were a top tier Division 1 team, but focusing on the final touches of pulling the team together they have risen to a top Tier 1 team in the region now. When asked to describe his team in a word, Oscar says:
Tenacious – they never seem to back down from any challenge
When asked what makes his team unique he says:
The amount of good kids that have come together to form a great bond and worked together to get themselves where they are now
Both teams are set to start competition on June 23rd, and the Sting Organization is looking forward to seeing the teams continuing to succeed on and off the field.
When asked about the future of Sting Austin and what each of them are looking forward to most they have a similar vision:
JESSICA: We definitely consider ourselves among the most competitive soccer clubs in Austin, but as we continue to grow we will always reach for being among the biggest organizations here. I’m looking forward to more kids playing at higher levels, but most importantly developing and taking care of the kids we have in our program on an individual and team basis. We currently have 3 premier teams and if you look at most of our teams they’re either playing Division 1 or up, but it will always be our goal to strive for more.
OSCAR: Continued success on and off the field. My dream is that the next National Champion from Sting comes out of the Austin division.
With both teams ready to compete this week at Regionals, their visions of a National Championship out of the Austin Division are one step closer with each successful result through the week. Best of luck to Sting Austin 03G and Sting Austin 99G Premier!