> SOUTHERN INDIANA —
Net-Surfers U16 girls are literally riding the waves at the moment as they remain unbeaten in league play.
Coach Gary Tanner’s charges are atop the Kentucky Select Soccer League Premier Division and are quietly confident of bringing home some hardware before season’s end.
In their five games in the league, they have won three and tied two.
On Saturday, they beat Spencer County 4-0, adapting to a smaller pitch than what they are accustomed to.
Coach Tanner told “Kick It” that the girls have been playing well ahead of some imminent cup competitions — the Mockingbird-hosted Louisville Cup this weekend and the adidas United Cup of Champions in Nashville, Tenn., from April 27-29.
“I’m happy to see that we continue to improve,” said Tanner. “In the end, these girls love to train. Their love of the game is evident.”
And why wouldn’t they love to train when they have the likes of Women’s Professional Soccer player Beverly Goebel popping up at practice to give them some valuable tips.
Goebel, now of Sky Blue FC, was part of Western New York Flash when it won the WPS championship in 2011.
“She was a great asset to the girls, allowing them to see that if they work for it, they can achieve success in the game,” said Tanner.
In May, Net-Surfers will face what Tanner believes will be their “ultimate test” in the Indiana President’s Cup.
The event, now in its second year, is a middle-tier competition between the state and Challenge Cup levels.
The tournament features boys’ and girls’ teams from U11 to U17, with champions from U14-U17 getting the chance to represent Indiana at regional and possibly national level.
“Rather than allowing the team to have an easy go of it, I chose the more challenging tournament, a step up from last year,” Tanner said. “I feel good where the team is as a whole. We’ve added some players that help us in key spots.”
However, Tanner said he doesn’t quite want the girls hitting their best form just yet.
“It’s difficult to maintain that level of mental and physical toughness required at this point continuing through the end of May,” he said. “I want us to peak in mid-May — I’m certain we are up for it.”
ANOTHER HEART ATTACK CAUSES PLAYER’S DEATH
This is a year that will be remembered in the professional soccer world for all the wrong reasons.
There have been two high-profile cases of racial abuse (involving Liverpool’s Luis Suarez and Chelsea’s John Terry), which dominated the headlines earlier in the season.
And in recent weeks, dodgy officiating has come under severe scrutiny, especially in the English Premier League.
However, the 2011-2012 season will probably be most remembered — sadly — for the puzzling heart attacks of highly fit sportsmen on the field of play.
Just weeks after English Premier League midfielder Fabrice Muamba survived a very public cardiac arrest in front of a watching TV world in his club Bolton’s FA Cup quarterfinal tie against Tottenham Hotspur came the death on Saturday of 25-year-old Italian Piermario Morosini.
The Livorno midfielder, on loan from Udinese, suffered a heart attack and collapsed on the pitch during his club’s Serie B match at Pescara.
Morosini tried to get up, but collapsed again before receiving cardiac massage. He was conscious when he was taken off the pitch on a stretcher. But an ambulance was unable to reach him quick enough because a car belonging to the traffic police blocked the stadium entrance.
Morosini subsequently died en route to the hospital, and all Italian Serie A and Serie B league games were canceled as a mark of respect. Sports minister Piero Gnudi has requested for athletes to undergo more frequent medical tests.
Days after Muamba’s heart attack last month, India’s D. Venkatesh died after collapsing on the field during a local league game for A division club Bangalore Mars.
Though teams have been screening for cardiac issues since the passing of Cameroon international Marc-Vivien Foe in the Confederations Cup in 2003, there’s still a debate over how thoroughly players are being tested and examined on a regular basis.
In the United States, there are about 50 to 100 sudden deaths among athletes in middle, high school and college every year, according to Dr. Marlon Rosenbaum, associate clinical professor of medicine and pediatrics at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.
The most common cause of sudden death among young athletes is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, when the heart is thickened and enlarged. This problem can be detected by an initial ECG screening, followed by an ultrasound of the heart for diagnosis.
Contact Aidan Kelly at email@example.com.