June 7th, 2012

Elementary Excellence: "4-Peat"

Sarah Newell

CSN Staff Writer

Elementary Excellence: "4-Peat"
photo from Sally Murr

 St. Albert the Great kicks success into new level

The following feature is a part of a weekly series called "Elementary Excellence" - a set of profiles that will spotlight Louisville area Catholic elementary schools and its athletic programs, teams, traditions and excellence in all aspects of sports. Do you want your school to be featured? Send us your recommendation to editor@catholicsportsnet.com.

While many young student athletes dream of one CSAA Championship team or season, the eighth grade soccer team of St. Albert the Great recently enjoyed a unique finish to the season and school year on the soccer field.

“This group of soccer players just won their fourth CSAA City Championship in a row (5th, 6th, 7th and 8th grades),” said St. Albert the Great Soccer Coordinator and Head Seventh and Eighth Grade Soccer Coach Greg Vincenti. “They have dominated CSAA soccer their entire grade school careers like no other team that I have been able to find. They outscored their opponents 59-7 (22-4 in the playoffs). As good as they are on the soccer field, they are better young men.”

Vincenti, who also credits St. Albert the Great Soccer Coaches Jacques Motiff and Jody Nalley for this group’s success over the years, says the real success is found for these young players due to their dedication and will to win.

“It’s really the kids. It really gets down to the core aspect of the kids, and as coaches, we were fortunate to coach these students,” said Vincenti.

The group of young men on the winning team this year included: Patrick Harmon, Spencer Hayden, Matthew Bohn, Ryan Murr, Drew Goetz, Michael Motiff, David Mueller, Nate Strothman, Kyle Crider, Kody Nalley, Jackson Morgan, Matthew Morgan, John Cox, Jack Wessel and Phillip Sandman.


Many of the team’s players were also a part of a long history of success including the following successes dating back to 2004: “Kindergarten through second grade, several of the St. Albert teams went undefeated for six seasons (they play both fall and spring), third grade, undefeated season, and fourth grade, undefeated and un-scored on,” according to Vincenti.


As for coaching skills playing a part in achieving goals throughout the years, Vincenti says he focuses on a few aspects to help create great young soccer players and young men.

“We spent a lot of time teaching technique and fundamental strategy,” said Vincenti. “First, we want to see how well the kids captured what they were taught by their parents in sportsmanship, life, service, and character. For soccer, I look for speed and I want the kids to go to the play, not let the play come to them. We focus on ‘First touch’ (how well do you control the ball when you get it), accuracy in passing, and seeing the field, not just the ball.”

Vincenti, who looks to mentors such as University of Louisville’s Head Soccer Coach Ken Lolla for how to lead his team, says he wants to be the best coach he can be for the young student athletes.

“At St. Albert, we are fortunate to have a consistent culture in our program,” said Vincenti. “As  coaches, we set a model and standard about how we behave and interact. The kids look to us for the authenticity of our faith. I’ve always said to the boys, ‘I don’t care about the scoreboard. I know if we play at the level we are taught to play, the score will take care of itself.’ “

For a team that “drops down in prayer before every single game,” Vincenti said that he expects this group of athletes to go onto to become great men of the future.

Said Vincenti: “The majority of the kids are going to Trinity High School. Two of the students are going to St. Xavier High School. I expect to see great things from them in high school, and not just all on the soccer field. They also excel at other sports as well as the classroom. These are wonderful kids. I was fortunate to connect with them, and I was blessed to have their trust and confidence.”


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