2013 Boys U13 and U14 State Championship Coffs Harbour
Recently I was grateful enough to be part of the medical team travelling away with Victoria’s young, talented soccer players. The annual Boys U13 and U14 State Championships took place from September 29 to October 5 2013 in Coffs Harbour. On Sunday September 29, the players, coaches and medical staff gathered together at Melbourne airport to embark on their week long journey. We arrived in Coffs Harbour mid-afternoon where the players were given some brief time to get settled before they headed off to stretch their legs and be briefed on the expectations from the medical staff. As some of the U14 Metropolitan players were carrying ongoing injuries, they required some hands on assessment and treatment before the tournament had commenced.
Day 1 saw the U14 Metro boys take on Capital football in a warmer than normal day and a heavier pitch than they were used to. It took a while for the players to adapt to the heat and pace of the pitch, going down to an early goal. However in the second half, the boys found their feet putting three goals past the opposition to take a 3-1 victory on the first day. Only one player suffered a minor ankle injury but was able to resume play with some half time treatment. Due to the pitch being heavier than they were used to, the players understood the importance and the seriousness of their recovery and re-activation sessions. On return to our resort, the players were treated with ice baths, spa and pool sessions followed by foam rolling session after dinner. Physio treatment followed these sessions with only a handful of players requiring treatment.
Day 2 was a double header so it was an early start for the boys getting up at 6am for a quick swim in the ocean. Physio check and pre-match taping followed in preparation for our first game against Queensland Metropolitan. The boys had a reasonable start hitting the post twice and forcing the keeper to save a few one-on-ones, it was going to be one of those games. In the second half Queensland ran across 4 goals to our 1 with one of our players being showed a red card and another injuring his other ankle from the previous match. It was back to the resort for some much needed recovery and re-activation before the next match against NSW Metro. Although going down 1-0 to NSW Metro, the boys fought hard and played extremely well, however being quite a hot day and heavy pitch, a few of the players began to show signs of fatigue. Back at the resort the boys we treated with a nice cold ice bath for their hard work. This was later followed by Physio in which a few more players were added to the list from the previous days, making the nights longer each day.
The morning of the third day saw most of the boys feeling a bit sore and fatigued still from the day before. Physio sessions were performed in the morning followed by a foam rolling session to help re-activate their muscles. In the afternoon, the players were taped and prepped for the game. The boys did really well beating Northern NSW Metropolitan; however this came at a cost. More players were added to the injury list suffering from fatigue related injuries. Again the boys were treated to ice baths, spa and foam rolling sessions to aid in their recovery. Physio sessions were performed at night with the majority of the team requiring some form of treatment, keeping the physios up til late.
On the 4th day, most of the team required some form of taping to assist them during the match. Nevertheless the medical staff pulled through once again and the boys pulled off a great victory against NSW Country who had previously beaten the top two teams. Again recovery and reactivation was the focus for that afternoon and Physio sessions were once again full after dinner for a couple of hours.
The final day came and it was much the same, with half the team requiring some form of taping to take the pitch. Again, this was successful as the boys won their final match of the tournament against South Australia. As most of the team just wanted to relax and have some fun after the game, the job wasn’t over, they were still required to complete their final recovery and reactivation sessions. Overall it was a fantastic tournament and experience with 3 out of our 4 teams finishing 3rd and our U14 Country team finishing 2nd. Having previously attending these trips as a player, you don’t understand how much hard work actually goes on behind the scenes to prepare these players, especially when they need to be back on the pitch the next day. It was hard work but an enjoyable week.