Super Y League / DDYSC celebrates Friday's goal by Katie Mallory (22)
BRADENTON, Fla. – DDYSC’s U13 Girls got off the ground running with a win in the Super Y League North American Finals, with the decisive goal coming from a player who is two years younger than the brunt of the roster.
Katie Mallory tallied the lone score in DDYSC’s 1-0 win against Chantilly Youth on Friday in Group B play at IMG Academy. Mallory has impressed at multiple levels of DDYSC’s youth system, and this time, she scored a second-half goal that held up the rest of the way.
“She’s technically gifted, and her work rate is extraordinary,” DDYSC Head Coach Jeff Newbury said. “She’s everywhere on the field. She works entirely, entirely more than everyone, so she’s just a joy to coach.”
Tournament-goers who were getting their first glimpse of the young talent quickly saw Mallory’s calm demeanor on the ball and smooth footwork.
One challenge that is unique for a youngster playing up at this age is adjusting to the 11-player format, versus the nine. Throughout Friday’s match, depending on her role up front or more in the midfield, Mallory tried to position herself close to the ball.
“She’s struggling now with the 11-v-11 because she’s been in the 9-v-9 format, so her activity around the ball is a lot more [in the nine-player format],” Newbury said. “When she gets in the 11-v-11, she loses all that activity level, and she gets antsy, so we kind of have to corral her back. Eventually the ball will find you, and she knotted the winner today.”
Playing up is an element that DDYSC preaches, and the club has had other standouts who have performed well at an older age group.
“Our club’s notorious for that,” Newbury said. “Last year, with Lagos Kunga who played with the U-19s, he played up with me for 10 years. We have quite a few players playing up, but we’re real selective about it. We try to make sure we find that balance between being challenged and being successful. You can see where Katie had both today. She was still challenged, but she was still successful. With players who play up like Lagos, you have to have a balance.”
Super Y League / DDYSC's Katie Mallory
Friday’s win certainly was a good starting point for DDYSC in the SYL Finals, as the club gained a full three points. At an early stage in the second half, DDYSC nearly found itself behind as Chantilly created a strong scoring opportunity for the opening goal. DDYSC goalkeeper Isabelle Lee, though, was able to come up with a huge near-post save to keep Chantilly off the score sheet, eventually leading to a shutout victory.
“When Isabelle is back there most of the time, not really getting a lot of activity, and you fire that one off at point-blank range, you just hope she does her job, and she did.”
DDYSC incorporates some high-level programming throughout the year to try and keep them in line for the competition in this year’s SYL Finals.
“We try to keep them grounded, but obviously Super Y, this one’s ratcheted up a little bit,” Newbury said. “They’re still learning and still progressing.
“The effort was the one consistency [today]. We have some loose ends to tie up with it being their first match, but they’re ready to go. The effort was very high.”