BUSA 18U girls team to face Birmingham-Southern

Published 2:13 pm Thursday, August 15, 2013

By DREW GRANTHUM / Sports Writer

 NORTH SHELBY — One of the keys to success in sports is team chemistry. How well a group of individuals work as a unit often determines how much success a team will have. While preseason practice is a means of getting the experience to build chemistry, nothing beats taking to the field in a game.

Which is why the Birmingham United Soccer Association’s U-18 96 ECNL Girls’ team will be taking on the Birmingham-Southern Panthers women’s soccer team in a scrimmage game at Sports Blast 280 Field 2 Aug. 23.

Both squads will use it as a tune-up for the upcoming season, with the BUSA U-18 team playing in the prestigious Elite Clubs National League, a non-profit organization that seeks to develop young female soccer players in the United States through leagues that allow players to showcase their talents in front of scouts while travelling.

“This is an opportunity to get experience before we start our conference schedule,” said head coach Andrew Brower.

The ECNL season, which runs from August-December, gives players an opportunity to hone their skills during the high school offseason. Brower said playing the BSC squad not only gave the BUSA 96 ECNL team a chance to gel as a unit, but gauge where their play needed work as individuals.

“Each year we schedule one-to-two college teams,” he said. “It gives team (perspective) what the college game is like (and) how it’s played. Also, from a physical standpoint, it helps get them acclimated to the college game.”

The BUSA ECNL 96 team is the only member of the league in the area, as there are no teams in Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee or Louisiana, Brower said. He also said the majority of the team featured players from Alabama, including Shelby County standouts Brittne Holderby (Chelsea), Claudia Day (Briarwood), Kathleen Dunn (Oak Mountain), Madison Bigham (Oak Mountain), among others.

The event, which starts at 7 p.m., will be a full 90-minute match and is free to attend, Brower said. For more information, contact BUSA at 977-9038.