Soc­cer queens

Lady Ea­gles en­joy soc­cer clinic from Olympic star

The Covington News - - SPORTS - By Ja­son Mur­dock

In 2003, Of­fi­cer Ken Mal­colm of Cov­ing­ton had a unique op­por­tu­nity upon hear­ing that the World Cup in Los An­ge­les, Calif. needed some ex­tra se­cu­rity.

Mal­colm leaped at the chance, and was as­signed to as­sist with the Chi­nese team. Al­though 16 clubs were com- pet­ing, at the time there were only three other teams play­ing in L.A., in­clud­ing Ghana, Rus­sia and Aus­tralia.

Un­for­tu­nately, no one spoke flu­ent English from the Chi­nese squad, leav­ing Mal­colm to be­lieve that it was go­ing to be quite an in­ter­est­ing ex­pe­ri­ence to say the least.

So you can imag­ine the re­lief he felt af­ter meet­ing Bry­ony Duus of the Aus­tralian team who just hap­pened to also be from Ge­or­gia.

“Bry­ony came up to me and said you’re ac­cent is south­ern, and asked if I was from the south,” re­called Mal­colm. “Then she asked if I’d ever heard of Ha­zle­hurst, and I thought she was kid­ding at first be­cause my wife is from there. She said she would prob­a­bly be back through Ge­or­gia again, so we stayed in touch.”

Duus, 30, com­peted in the 2000 Olympics and 2003 World Cup, hav­ing al­ready es­tab­lished quite an im­pres­sive re­sume. In ad­di­tion, she was in the buildup for the 1995 World Cup and 2004 Olympics, bat­tling in­juries along the way.

Pre­vi­ously, Duus was a mid­fielder at Brew­ton-Parker

Col­lege be­fore her ca­reer was cut short af­ter sus­tain­ing an in­jury on the play­ing field. She tore her pos­te­rior cru­ci­ate lig­a­ment — an un­com­mon knee in­jury — and as it wors­ened she had to make the dif­fi­cult de­ci­sion to dis­con­tinue play­ing.

For the past 18 months Duus has been trav­el­ing, work­ing in Canada, Scot­land, France and Italy. Since play­ing com­pet­i­tively, she has taken up golf, and now works at St. An­drews Golf Course in Scot­land.

Mean­while, ear­lier this year Of­fi­cer Chip Shi­rah of Cov­ing­ton and an­other fa­ther put to­gether a 19 and un­der girls travel soc­cer team through the YMCA in an Athena League. Their goal was to pre­pare the girls for the up­com­ing East­side sea­son.

In fact, all 16 mem­bers will be play­ing soc­cer for the Lady Ea­gles this sea­son.

“The dif­fer­ence in the first game and the last game they played was huge,” said Shi­rah re­gard­ing the team’s marked im­prove­ment. “The girls are now start­ing to un­der­stand what it takes.”

But af­ter los­ing all nine games, the team still needed some in­spi­ra­tion and a bet­ter per­cep­tive of the game.

So when Mal­colm found out that Shi­rah’s team could use some help he called Duus and asked if she would put on a small soc­cer clinic for the girls on her way home for the Thanks­giv­ing break.

“She was very ex­cited about com­ing,” said Mal­colm, “and we’re ex­cited about hav­ing her.”

In to­tal, more than half the team showed up to learn from one of the best on the field.

“We learned a lot of help­ful tips and what we need to work on,” said Kayla Bruno. “We also learned a lot about her; it was an eye-opener to what (soc­cer) is re­ally like.”

Katie Her­ren agreed, adding that it was a good learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

“We learned new drills for foot­work,” said Her­ren.

Be­fore speak­ing to the team, Duus wasn’t sure what to ex­pect since it was a last minute get-to­gether. But she was ex­cited to reach out to the team dubbed the Bad News Ea­gles.

“It’s up to them what they take out of this,” said Duus, “but if I can help in any way then that’s a good thing.”

Her best ad­vice to the girls was to al­ways be jug­gling the soc­cer ball no mat­ter what, whether you’re on the field or at home prac­tic­ing in the back­yard.

“Al­ways just try to get a feel for the ball and keep try­ing to do new things,” said Duus. “Ba­si­cally, don’t limit your­self; that’s what we’re al­ways en­cour­aged to do.”

Ac­cord­ing to Shi­rah, he wasn’t ex­actly sure how many play­ers would at­tend the clinic dur­ing the hol­i­day break; how­ever, he was quite pleased with the over­all turnout.

“We’re just out here try­ing to teach them,” said Shi­rah, “and they’re get­ting that from Duus.”

As a re­sult, the Lady Ea­gles should be a much bet­ter team than one year ago.

“I think we’ll def­i­nitely be a lot bet­ter since we had some­thing to do in our off­sea­son,” said Mag­gie Shi­rah.

And what bet­ter way to im­prove than to be in the com­pany of an Olympian.

Ja­son Mur­dock/The Cov­ing­ton News

Pass­ing the torch: Bry­ony Duus speaks to the East­side girls var­sity soc­cer team Tues­day at the prac­tice field. Duus, 30, com­peted in the 2000 Olympics and 2003 World Cup as a mem­ber of the Aus­tralian team be­fore sus­tain­ing a ca­reer-end­ing PCL in­jury.

DUUS

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