I was aware that FC America U-14 was missing a few players going into the final match day of the Seminole Soccer League, a four team league ostensibly serving no purpose greater than qualifying all four teams for the State Cup regardless of results, and was concerned with the pending result. The team played Orlando City’s U-14 team, who had already beaten them 3-2. From the auditorium at Winter Springs, updates flowed in….2-0 FC America early, 3-0 at half and 4-0 final.
Orlando City was down one of their top players, but we were down four players. The result was surprising, but could be dismissed in some respect by noting Orlando City had traveled to North Carolina over the weekend and may have been tired and/or disinterested in this otherwise meaningless midweek fixture.
Winning is never meaningless. It is habitual. FC America is 12-3-1 since August, and playing with a nice rhythm of late. Orlando City, every bit as talented as our team if not more, has been playing stiff competition in a pre-academy league, and losing.
I emphasize the habitual nature of both winning and losing. The two teams are closely matched, but the psychological impact of FC America getting a quick lead likely triggered in Orlando City the reaction of dropping another pre-academy league game. In some subtle way losing is accepted, or at least gaining acceptance.
I have long believed the difference late in games is the mentality of the teams. A team used to winning believes it will win to the final whistle, every turn of fortune in the closing moments further psychological proof of their victorious destiny, while a team accustomed to losing will read the same turns as a sign of their inevitable defeat.
Winning is a part of the process of developing self-esteem.