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Players' Spotlight


Our Players' Spotlight this month turns our attentions to the group of players that make up the 2009G Azul and the 2009G Cinza teams. This group led by Coach Heidi and Coach Jay have been the pinnacle of what a "soccer family" is all about. Both Heidi and Jay have worked hard to Create a Safe and Enjoyable Environment for Everyone to Grow as Players and People. That is our mission statement at Rush and you can see it thriving in these players anytime you are around them. 

Things started off for Coach Heidi and Coach Jay coming out of our Youth Development Academy last year. Since then, they have taken these group of players and showed them what it means to be a team and to be a family while always competing and representing the Rush name in a positive and respectful way.

What brought you to Rush?

Heidi: The Rush YDA program originally brought me to Rush when we were looking for a quality organization where all 3 of our kids could play club soccer.

            Jay: Before joining Rush, I interviewed many different clubs.  Being in St. Louis, there were a ton of options. However, what set Rush apart was the coaching philosophy.  I didn’t want my girls to end up just being a number in a soccer machine. I wanted to be with a club that promoted personal development over winning and to have that collaborative environment where all the coaches in the age group could work together for the growth of the kids.

How has your experience with Rush been?

Heidi:My experience with Rush has been very positive for my kids as players and myself as a coach.  I love the Rush culture and the core values. It is important for me as a coach to teach the game of soccer, but also important life lessons while doing so.  The atmosphere at Rush allows me to do so and supports me along the way. Co-coaching with Jay has been an awesome experience. Our strengths and weaknesses really balance each other.

            Jay: Rush has been a fantastic organization to work with.  When I brought my team to Rush last year, we were a recreational team with girls who were progressing faster than the normal rec player.  Everyone I have encountered from Rush has been very helpful and understanding when I asked too many questions. Personally if it was not for Nick, Damion, Tim, and most of all Heidi, I would have been in over my head.  But this great team and my partner coach has helped me grow and make the experience one that would be hard to replicate.


How many families are in your group?  
Heidi and Jay: We have 20 players/families in all for 2009 Girls Azul/Cinza

Can it be a struggle managing time for both teams and making sure everyone is on the same page?

Jay: I will say some days it feels like there is never enough time in the week for all the games/practices, or even enough time in a night to make sure 20 players have all received the proper attention to make sure their development stays on the right track.  However, the key to making this all work is the partnership Heidi and I have developed. Like I said before, I did not know anyone at Rush really when I decided to bring my team here. The biggest factor in my coaching growth would be the moment when Heidi and I decided to work together and build one large team, with 2 rosters.  She has been a great coaching partner and friend. Every person has their strengths and weaknesses, and luckily for us, where I may fall short, Heidi is there to pick up and vice versa. While our coaching styles are similar, and they have to be to make this really work, we each have a particular strength to get the most out of our girls.

How has coaching these players changed you personally? 

Heidi:Coaching 9 year old girls has made me a better person and a better parent.  It's taught me patience, humility, and how to stop and just be silly sometimes.  Coaching this group has taught me a lot about motivating players. I learned that in order for each player to compete at their highest potential, I had to take a vested interest in each of them personally.  Knowing and asking about my players interests off the soccer field strengthens our bond and let's them know I care about them.

Jay: As a male coach, understanding what it takes to motivate a 9 year old girl can be tough, even if one of those girls is my own daughter.  However, in the past year and a half, working with these terrific players has taught me to be even more patient, as what works for one girl most likely does not work for the other.  We have been very open minded and really tried to know each girl personally, which in the end has helped us in assisting them in their growth as a soccer player. Each player has a different personality and working with them has allowed me the benefit to understand how a 9 year old girl thinks from many different sides.

How do you feel your players have progressed over the last few years?  
Our players have grown by leaps and bounds in 2 years.  We literally had girls who didn't know how to properly kick a soccer ball.  We focused on fundamentals and celebrated victories other than the scoreboard. Did they kick the ball with their left foot?  Did they perform a move during a game? Did they attempt to play the way they face and play the ball backwards? Our focus has been, and remains, player development over winning.

How has working together as a group affected the players, families, and coaches?
Our group makes a concerted effort to do things off the field.  Jay and I agree that much of our success on the field stems from activities off the field that have helped the girls gel and parents and siblings feel part of the team too.  I think I can speak for most of the girls/parents and say that we truly love our soccer "family."   One of the things we really wanted to instill was that while becoming the best player you can be may be very important, creating friendships that last is even more important.  In this day, we all know that it is hard for a team to start at the U9 level and stay together thru U17. But while our team is together, we want to create an environment that promotes growth, and developing the relationship on AND off the field is a great way to do that.  While there is nothing wrong with just going to practice or a game and then going home, the personal growth comes in that time off the field where girls can stop being players and just be kids, together.

Jay and I look for ways to weeve the Rush core values into our team.  Whether we are having a team sleepover, watching the USWNT together, honoring those we know who courageously fight cancer, or picking up trash under the bench after a game(whether it is ours, or left from the many games before us), the girls are learning important life lessons like sportsmanship, teammwork, resiliance and courage.  They are learning that hard work is rewarded and we always do the right thing simply because it is the right thing to do.  

What do you want to achieve for these players over the next few seasons?
If our players continue to develop over the next few years at the same rate of speed, the results will be tremendous.  I think the thing I am most excited for is to see how they emerge as smart soccer players who make their own decisions. Every girl will develop the soccer skills that we teach, but the thing we are starting to see more and more is them executing said skills at game speed without guidance.  I'm excited for them to experience success that stems from their hard work and dedication.  Most of all, I hope they continue to have a blast.

What is the best moment in your coaching career at Rush so far? 

Heidi:It's no secret that I can be long-winded as a coach pre and post game, even though I constantly remind myself that they are 9 years old.  The best moment of my coaching career so far at Rush was at this years Halloween Havoc tournament. Jay and I give the girls some time on their own before games, where they are arm in arm, discussing how they will be successful.  After one particular game where they played just outstanding, they were all cheering and excited. I asked them why and they said, "Before the game we talked about how we wanted to play so well that Coach Heidi would be speechless!"  And speechless, I was.

Jay: My best experience with Rush so far would probably not be from a game, practice or tournament.  While our players have experience so many moments of growth that have made us so proud, I think it had to be at our end of year party the summer of 2018.  We had a bar-b-que at a park and a pickup soccer game broke out, parents vs players. It was so fun watching all of these tremendous girls take on their mothers and fathers and not back down.  There was so much laughter, and quite a bit of trash talk from the girls, that I will always remember that day fondly.

 Thank you to Coach Heidi and Coach Jay and a big thank you to the families as well. We hope your group continues to see success on and off the field! GO RUSH!!!!!


Missouri Rush is pleased to announce our April Player of The Month. Madison Lipp is on our 2005G Azul team. 

Maddie is a hard worker on and off the field. She is a 6th grader at Crossroads Elementary and has straight A’s giving her a 4.0 GPA. In school, Maddie is the kind of kid that shows new students around; the kid that teachers have nothing but good things to say about.

She is dedicated to making herself better in everything she does. At the beginning of the fall season, coach Lange challenged all players on the team to achieve a minimum of 25 juggles (using all parts of the body, feet, thighs, and head). Once a player achieved 25 juggles and tested out, after practice, they would get a small patch as a reward for their hard work. Working hard each day, Maddie was the first player on the team to get achieve 25+ juggles. Maddie then set her sights on 100 where each player would get another "special" price for achieving this result. Toward the end of the fall season, after many, nights practicing, Maddie tested out with 102 juggles making her part of the Rush National Juggling Club and getting her "special" 100 juggle club water bottle. After she made it to 102, she said “next stop, 250!”. To get in extra practice, she often goes to school early to juggle with a friend in the gym. She is proof practice and perseverance pays off!


Maddie began her club soccer career, at the age of 10, later than many; however, being behind didn’t deter her, it just made her work and train that much harder. A coach once told her parents that she showed more growth than possibly any other player he had ever coached!


Maddie plays, trains and/or practices soccer year-round. It is a rare occasion that she misses, even if a little under the weather. It isn’t uncommon for her to play/train/practice 5 or 6 days a week. She has a dedication to the game that few others possess. When she’s not officially training, she helps her younger sister get a jump on soccer skills Maddie herself didn’t learn for several more years. She is a good example to her sisters—showing them to be dedicated and committed to whatever they do. When you start something, finish it, to the best of your ability; end of story.


Maddie is a leader on and off the field. She is on her second year as Team Captain of her soccer teams. A good example of her leadership is our first tournament of the fall season was the Missouri Rush Show-Me Showdown. Maddie suffered a hip injury midway through the semi final game. Having to be carried off the field, I could tell she was really upset that her time in that game was over. Our team went on to win that game and made it to theChampionship game. While on the bench, Maddie was the biggest team supporter. Helping the coaching staff offer guidance to her teammates and cheering on good plays. As the game was coming to a close, it was clear this game would have to be settled by PK's. With about 2 minutes left, Maddie asks if she could go into the game. Her heart wants her to be out on the field to help her teammates, but we let her know the best thing she could do was continue to offer support from the bench. I even joked "what are you going to take a PK left footed"? She looked me straight in the eye and said "yep"! Obviously her reaction gave us a chuckle and took some of the pressure of the game out of the mix. We told Maddie her teammates got this and we appreciate her competitiveness and drive to be on the field, but unfortunately the best she can do was to continue to offer support from the bench. We are proud to say, with Maddies help on the bench that game, our team won our first tournament of the year.

She has a true love for the game.

Madison answered a few questions about herself. 

Q. What is your favorite class in school and why?
A. My favorite subject in school is E.L.A. I enjoy reading.

Q. What activities do you take part in outside of soccer? 
A. I play the flute; I also enjoy cooking and can make some mean waffles! In school, I am working on Green Schools Quest coming up with environmentally friendly ideas to make our school green.

Q. What do you want to be when you grow up?
A. I had a hip injury in the fall which inspired me to want to become a Chiropractor in Sports Medicine to help kids like myself get back on top of their game.

Q. As a team captain, what do you see as your biggest responsibility for your team and your teammates? 
A. I think my biggest 
responsibility as a team captain is to get everyone pumped up and ready to play before the game. On the field, I hope direct my teammates and encourage them. 

Q. What do you like most about Rush?
A. I like the different trainings and opportunities that come along with playing for a big club. 

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