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The Voice of the Black Community
At halfway point, Stumptown AC coach looks for improvement
Playing together is the goal going forward
Published Monday, May 17, 2021 8:00 pm
by Ashley Mahoney

Stumptown A.C. is in the middle of a season that feels like it just started.

The National Independent Soccer Association club kicked off its inaugural campaign on April 16 with a spring season consisting of eight games. They host Cal United Strikers FC on May 22 at 7 p.m. at the Sportsplex at Matthews.

“It is a situation where it's unusual to be this quick at the halfway point of the season, but you know for our situation, we have always said whatever it is it is and we just face every challenge that is there.” Stumptown head coach Rod Underwood said. “We really have tunnel vision and focus on one game at a time. It is the midway point of the season coming up on the weekend, but that is not really our focus. Our focus is just this one game and being prepared for this one game.”

Stumptown (2-1) lost their home opener 1-0 to Los Angeles Force on May 12. They played three games in less than a week, two on the road and ultimately claimed six points, scored three goals, conceded two and kept a clean sheet. It was a solid performance from a club assembled shortly before the Legends Cup opener.

“In the end, when the summer is over, people can say more than anything else that these are a bunch of good guys that came in, put their heads down and they enriched the community,” Underwood said.

Underwood approached his role with the club with the intention building a possession-oriented style. He wanted to find the right players rather than the best players.

“We just want to remain focused and driving forward to, to the next game,” he said. “When the season's over, we will have time to reflect, but at the moment we have a challenge ahead of us on this weekend, Cal United, who is a good team. It is just being better every day, being the best version of ourselves every day in training in our personal relationships, in our communications amongst one another in our communications with people outside the club just being the best version of ourselves.”

Underwood wants to craft an environment where players have the freedom to express themselves with their own ability.

“It is never about taking away from what they offer,” he said. “It is about adding to what they offer. I don't speak of, ‘OK, you have got to change this, you have got to change that.’ That is of no interest to me. I want them to be who they are. I want them to figure out what their strong points and weak points are as a player, their freedom to express themselves within the structure that we want so it is not about retraction. It’s about addition.”

Underwood uses a mountaintop metaphor to explain his approach to possession. The ball serves as a unifier when it connects to multiple players. The more connections made, the more joy spreads throughout the experience.

“The ball is a unifier, because everyone enjoys the ball and when joy is given the other person the ball and getting it back because they’ve got to have the chance to get it back,” he said. “So, using that to connect us on the field allows us to do the things that a lot of players don’t want to do—learn a little bit more, jump a little bit higher, attack a little bit harder.

“The ball, in a sense, is like the mountaintop experience, but we can’t live on the mountaintop experience. We have to get down in the everyday grind of life and that’s what we ultimately have but when I see the ball for this moment, I get the release. I see it is possible to have this great experience, but when it’s gone I know I have to get back to the trenches and do the work that is necessary.”


Hello, I am looking to tryout for the team, I am a stricker playing for Houston FC, in the USL league 2
Posted on May 27, 2021

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