At season’s mid-point, futbol club readies for rematches
The Big Sky Futbol Club may be new this fall, but the players themselves are far from inexperienced. In fact, many of the young athletes have been competitively kicking the ball around for years. And thanks in part to the guidance they’ve received from coaches Tony Coppola and Jaci Clack, the team celebrated a winning 4-2 record going into the second half of the fall season.
On Oct.1, the team took advantage of mild fall weather in Big Sky. They spent the early evening practicing in preparation for an impending road match the following day against Foothills Christian Academy—a team they’d just beat 4-3 on Sept. 29. Big Sky was losing 0-3, but came back at halftime for a win.
“It was quite the thriller,” said Coach Coppola, keeping a close eye on his team as they practiced a nine-player grid. “And it’ll be nice to play them again because we know what to expect.”
The Big Sky team members, all in their late middle school and early high school years, are past the age limit for local fall club teams, so with the help of interested families and coaches, the Big Sky Futbol Club was created this summer.
As Coach Clack explained, the new team is “more official in our town, and in the school.”
She added, “The goal, especially within the town, is that these kids are celebrated, which they really haven’t been in the past. It sounds cheesy, but the kids need that.”
Leading up to this fall, many of the girls had already played together along with Coach Clack, and the same for the boys with Coppola.
“So we have a nice mix,” Coach Coppola said. “The can play together well, but we do have varying skill levels.”
Having the fall soccer option has been a welcome opportunity for the players.
“They’re so stoked,” said Coppola. “These kids want to play soccer so bad—they’re not football players, they’re not volleyball players. So they wouldn’t have had a sport to play this fall. And the fact that they have it now has been really exciting. We have almost perfect attendance at practice, and they’re here and trying hard.”
Coppola has been playing soccer since he was three, following in his dad’s coaching footsteps and chasing his older brothers around the soccer field and competing throughout his school years. He’s been coaching young Big Sky soccer players for a number of seasons, and is thrilled to continue doing so.
“It’s a lot of fun to be able to get out here with these kids and show them the game that I love,” he said. “It’s been a long time coming, and I’m just so excited to have a high school program. And a legit one at that.”
Coach Clack was also able to take some time away from practice to discuss the team’s experience thus far. Like Coppola, she’s also pleased with the squad’s progression through the first half of the season.
“These guys have been playing on and off together for years, but I really feel like we have worked out a lot of the nerves,” said Coach Clack, who has been coaching with Coppola in Big Sky for a decade. “It has become more cohesive than in the past, a lot more chemistry and respect amongst each other. That’s what builds a great team.”