This week’s blog is written by PPI- ME’s International Fellow, Courtney Douglass, who assists the coaches and players involved with our two mixed teams in Northern Israel. Courtney was in the United States for most of the summer and returned just three weeks ago, but now she is back in full swing, living in Naharia in the North, and working with the 14-and-under and the 16-and-under Tamra/Nahariya All-Star teams.
Many of the same coaches and players have continued from the previous season, with the exception of a few new players being added or changing teams and a new coach for the 14-and-under team. It was so exciting returning to Israel and showing up to practice to see smiling faces. Also, it is crazy how fast these girls grow up! I swear some of them aged a full year over the summer months. It is evident that the girls have worked extremely hard over the summer and have made strides in their skill development and also in their athleticism. I have always thought that the summer is one of the greatest times to get better individually and I can really tell how much these girls have been working. We are very excited to see how all of this work will pay off during games throughout the season.
Speaking of games, this past week our two All-Star teams had their first games of the season. Our 16-and-under Tamra/Nahariya All-Stars played a tough game at Zichron Yaakov and came out victorious. I saw so much fight from all the girls and they really came together and worked as a team to get the win. The 14-and-under Tamra/Nahariya All Stars also came out triumphant in their first home game of the season against Kaokav Manda. All 15 players on the roster played and contributed in the win, which is always positive to see. I also loved how encouraging everyone on their team is; it is especially evident when players are on the bench and not in the game yet still stay engaged by cheering for their teammates.
After such a successful season last year for both Tamra/Nahariya All Star teams, expectations are high. We are happy with the accomplishments, but definitely are not satisfied. Everyone is eager to see how these teams will take what they learned last year and build on it. As long as the girls continue the positivity and effort that they showed in the first games, the sky is the limit!