Issue 6 May – June 2016

Women’s Fitness “Ladies, we can too!”

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Ladies, you already know the but it can sometimes be hard to act on it, especially when you’re tired of your usual workout or haven’t experienced a dynamic routine that works for you. Have you ever thought of training the way a soccer player does?

Plaza Sports Center now offers fun, dynamic early bird workouts for women so you can get your daily exercise in before you start your day. We will be offering these instructor-led fitness classes, which are intended to build your speed, agility, and cardiovascular capacities, every week day 5 a.m to 10 Classes are flexible so you can always make it, even if you are running a little late!

The boot-camp style classes are set to music, which energizes the activity, and we never do the same routines. We use obstacle courses and many types of equipment, so you’ll get new exercises every day to work out the entire body. With so much activity, it goes by fast and you wont even realize how much exercise you’re doing!
5,6,7,8,9,10 AM Classes – Every Week Day – Instructor – Led fitness classes

  • Covered, artifical turf fields
  • Dynamic, fun workouts
  • Boot camp style classes
  • Different schedules available

Meditations on soccer with Victor Farias

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Plaza Sports Center is a hub for soccer enthusiasts of all ages. Victor Farias is a player on our Veteran’s league who has done a lot push soccer in the RGV, and Victor’s philosophy on the sport is a lot like ours. He has a successful career in real estate bu he speaks about soccer in a way that reveals it as his true passion.

“I’ve always played soccer,” says Farias. “I met my wife at a soccer stadium; her brother played it professionally. Soccer has been in our lives for a long time”. This love for the sport and dedication to good technique has led Victor and his family, who is also ver interested in the sport, to experience the competitive soccer circuit through his daughter’s participation in youth leagues. He started coaching his daughters at age seven, and they participated in many soccer academies and teams over the years. His older daughter, Paloma, is 16 and has already made the Youth 17 National Team, and was also later called by the Mexico National Team. Through that experience, both Paloma and Farias learned a lot and made several important connections in Houston, Austin, San Antonio, and Dallas with talent scouts, coaches, and soccer academies.

What is remarkable about Farias is that he doesn’t hesistate to share his knowledge with anyone who feels they have the drive to go down that path. “Scouts are starting to look down here to find talent,” says Farias. Dr. Caso and Alma Caso of Plaza Sports Center have formed a relationship with Farias that tries to provide more opportunities for kids to make it to these teams and tournaments. “I’ve recommended kids to teams further along the line,” says Farias. “We have a path now that we can provide for these kids, but the fundamental person must be the child themselves.”

Farias believes a player’s success doesn’t depend on the soccer academy or the coaches, but on the child’s own drive. Competitive soccer players have to be doing well in school, be very commmitted to the sport, and be willing to make sacrifices with their time. “Understand that this is a long process,” Farias tells young, impatient players. But giving up weekends for games and afternoons for practices is nothing for a child that is determined to be the best player they can be.

“It’s not about teaching them how to hit the ball; they already know this,” he explains. “But what you do have the train them in is how to think to win.”

Through conversations with Dr. Caso and Alma, they have come to the conclusion that it has to be child who says, “Parents, take me to my practice. I can’t be late,” or “Coach, can I stay after and practice some more?” Farias says those are the ones that make it to the selection.

When his daughter was playing for the National Team a coach told Farias that he knows which of his players will go further that the rest. How does he identitfy them? “The ones who train when they aren’t invited and the ones who work and train when nobody can see them,” Farias says he was told. “The ones for whom training at an academy isn’t enough. They train one day at the academy and go run and tremendous opportunity.” Farias thinks a coach’s task is to show the path to developing skills and encourangin and convincing players to be disciplined. He has seen that the ones that make it far in competitive soccer aren’t the most talented; they are the ones who never stopped pushing themselves towards their goals.

They make themselves disciplined in soccer and they become disciplined in everything else. It becomes a part of their life, which Farias believes is vital for children. “It’s isn’t luck. All good opportunities come through a combination of discipline, work, and honestly. God is fair in that he gives all of us opportunities; we just have to be ready to take them,” says Farias. By developing these traits, the players become winner in every aspect.

“We’re trying to change the philosophy of the youth here. Not many coaches can instill this philosophy in the minds of the kids, but Plaza does,” says Farias. “I don’t think there is another place like Plaza anywhere around here that is as organized, well-directed, and clean. We have similar ideas about soccer, and when that happens, things can grow.” Plaza Sports Center is thankful that a true mentor like Victor Farias chooses to share his passion with their players.

Team Building with Soccer

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Get Your company moving for better employee health!

Believe it or not, bubble soccer at Plaza has been sought out by local companies for their employees to use – during work hours. Luckiest employees ever, or smart management? Adults in the corporate world know that team-building is more than a trend.

The benefits of encouranging a strong workplace culture through on-the-job team building have been proven. Employees who feel comfortable with their colleagues will be more likely to ask for help on difficult assignments, collaborate, for better results, and contribute positively to the atmosphere at work. This all reflects in their interactions with customers and work performance.

But we’ve talked to enough bosses and managers to know that team-building can be boring (and thus ineffective) if they are too focused on developing skills. What often holds back workplaces is a lack of comunication between individuals who do not feel comfortable with their coworkers. Thus, some of the most important team building focuses on the social. Getting people to do things together as a team other than work allows them to connect on a different level. When your “work team” sees itself also as a “real team”, team members shift from individualistic concerns to a more group-centered dynamic. Plaza Sports Center can hel with this by providing several options fo workplaces of all sizes to play together better, while the physical nature of team-building with recreational soccer means all the employees are engaging in a healthy activity. “Whatever you want to do, we can make it happen”, says Alma Caso, Director of Plaza Sports Center.

At Plaza You Can:

  • Play together to work better
  • Engage in healthy phyical activity
  • Boost employee morale and motivation
  • Cultivate teamwork outside of the office

If only about halft of your coworkers are excited to play, don’t worry; not everyone in the company has to get involved. If you can get together the 12-14 people necessary for a team, we can find other teams to play against. Plaza Sports is hoping to organize an inter-company tournament, which will pit local company against local company to see which is the soccer champion. Call today to express interest so we can start planning for you! “We will schedule your company team to come to their games once a weeek for a couple of weeks”, organinze the games, provide the referees and trophy for the winner so all you have to worry about is showing up and having fun”, says Caso.

Bubble soccer is also a great option companies of all sizes. Read more about bubble soccer on pages 35 & 39. After enjoying bubble soccer, the restaurant conveniently located on-site at Plaza is a cool environment for an after-game celebration or speech. Yet another option for team-buildingis the entire facility rental. We can reserve the entire place for you for as long as you need to for special events or activities, like speakers or presentations.

Get Moving!

  • Approach your boss manager if you want to represent your company and something healthy for the next company-wide initiative.
  • We have printed material available to help you win over your coworkers.
  • Call us when you’re ready to sign up!

Working with your teammates can make the 8-5 go by in a breeze, the days zooming by until your next team-building match. Approach your boss or manager that you want to represent your company and do something healthy for the next company and do something healthy for the next compay-wide initiative. If your aren’t much of a player but love the sport, your company can also sponsor a team or individual player on our Little Toros league. This a great way to give back to the community.

Recreational Soccer for All!

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If you didn’t start playing soccer as a child, or stopped at some point and now find yourself never getting on a soccer field, we at Plaza want you to know that it’s never too late for a person to start enjoying this very universal sport! The goal of soccer does not necessarily have to be winning games and being very competitive; our philosophy is that soccer is simply a fun game to play with others while doing something healthy for your body.

There is simply no downside to getting active with soccer. Even training for soccer is a very healthy activity, as all cardio involved has many proven health benefits. Due to constantly running the length of the field, even recreational soccer players will find themselves meeting the recommended amount of physical activity without having to force themselves through a tedious workout. Instead, a fun day of games with friends burns fat, improves muscle tone, and improves lung function so you can run longer before feeling winded. Soccer is unique in that it calls for shifts between walking, running, and sprinting, which is more demanding on the body and increases muscle and bone strength more than doing any of those activities uninterrupted.

The social benefits of playing on a team are also tremendous; know that other depend on you to show up and participate will encourage you to keep to your training regimen and be a good teammate. This will build those relationships which have been shown to be a vital part of the human experience. We like feeling needed, and every member on a team is important. It is a formative experience for children to be on a team, which does not cease to be any less important as an adult.

A game for everyone – not just experts.
While some players on our leagues are very dedicated and are playing with an intensity that may intimidate some more casual players, we want everybody with even the smallest interest in playing soccer to feel welcome to play at Plaza Sports Center. We offer leagues for players at all levels of expertise. Plaza Men’s & Women’s Leagues are both available throughout the week, as are the Little Toros for children and Veteranos League for older players. You can start a team of your friends or family that we can help organize into a tournament or versus games against other casual teams, with whom you can develop very friendly rivalries. We have seen beautiful friendships grow out of these games. If you can’t get together enough people to start a team of you own, we can help you find a team to play on! Novices will be able to play on teams with other casual players just for fun.

Recreation Bubble Soccer-
Another option for casual play in a unique offering in the world of soccer: play in a bubble. Bring a group of friends to face off as red vs. blue and play a simplified version of the classic sport while you bounce and collide off each other in plastic, body-protecting bubbles. Being in the bubbles and bumping around with your friends is so fun on its own, we see visitors spending some time just doing that before getting into play with the soccer ball! You can rent our suits for the half hour, one hour, or a custom time frame. All fees already include suit and field rental. Bubble Soccer is a unique experience and even those who are afraid of hurting themselves with athletics will feel reassured by the tough plastic bubble, which has adjustable harness inside as well as handles to help you carry the weight. Like any good soccer experience, it’s a bit of a workout! If you feel winded during your time playing at Plaza, you can take a breather in our beautifully modern dining facility, which is family friendly. We love to see families enjoying a raspa after a game or groups of friends sharing a plate of nachos.

Getting the Right Gear: Soccer Shoes are more than a pair of cleats

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Outdoor Grass Fields
The type of shoe that is “best” depends on the playing field, which is classified as hard, firm, or soft when talking about outdoor fields. On outdoor soccer shoes, the cleats can be either molded or detached, which means the studs are either fixed, or designed to be changed out to accommodate for field conditions. Most from ground cleats today have either bladed studs or a combination of bladed and conical studs, the two basic shapes for cleats that serve different purposes. Conical studs offer a quicker release from the ground it spiked into, and greater stabilizing power means more bodily control and less risk of injury. The material makes a difference too; metal has more puncturing power and thus metal cleats are not allowed in some leagues and not on Plaza’s fields, either. Make sure to check with the facility you intend to play in before you buy shoes. Bladed studs create less stud pressure over the course of a match and because they don’t dig into the ground as deeply, allow the player greater traction and speed.

Turf Fields
At Plaza Sports Center, we play on a covered artificial turf field, so the only shoes we allow are what simply called turf shoes. These are not large cleats seen on outdoor shoes but they are still visible, though the sole looks a lot like a normal athletic sneaker in that they are raised rubber patterns in an extremely durable, rubber out sole. Turf shoes can also be used on harder outdoor surfaces and for training.

Indoor Fields
Turf fields that are indoors allow for a different game as players can use that walls to bounce the ball in interesting ways. To play in these facilities you need to wear “indoor soccer shoes.” The sole is harder and flatter than traditional athletic shoes and usually have a gum rubber sole. They usually look like low-key athletic shoes that can be worn in day-to-day life. Futsal shoes are a category of indoor shoes designed for five-a-side, and are usually extremely lightweight. At Plaza Sports Center, you will find a wide selection of soccer shoes in our Pro store. We are happy to help you find the right shoe for you needs, and if we are out of you size or favorite color we can order it and have it delivered. Our goal is to help you feel well-equipped to give it your all on the field!

Teach It Young

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When you enroll a child to a soccer academy, you expect them to be taught techniques and discipline that will make them better soccer players, whether they hope to one day be professionals, or simply enjoy the game for fun or as an extracurricular activity. At Plaza Sports Center, you can be sure they are learning exactly the techniques they need to at the appropriate age to build their skills as they grow as players. However, they will learn more from the game than you will be able to see watching them score goals and move the ball down the field. Soccer and playing on a team builds character, and the younger children are welcomed to the game, the more the following lessons will become second-nature to them. You may even notice their behavior changing.

Alma Caso, CEO at Plaza Sports, shares that their philosophy towards soccer is not highly competitive; it is inclusive. The coaches at Plaza do not believe in focusing on scores, winning, and making the children obsess over the game. Instead, they think that having pride in good technique will bring the child satisfaction over a longer period of time and encourage them to better themselves at their own rate and to their own goals. Losses are presented as an opportunity to do better next time, and the notion that learning and improving is possible is reinforced instead of focusing on “natural talent.” This also takes pressure off each individual child as they do not feel like they have “let the team down” if they miss a shot as long as they tried their best.

As they are guided to practice certain techniques and exercises, the child will see that practice and hard work over time will result in a reward: more skill on the field. As the child learns that this is the way it works in soccer, Caso believes they will learn to apply the same self-pride to other aspects of their life, from applying themselves at school to subjects they struggle with, to interacting with peers in collaborative, rather than competitive ways. Little Toros also offer young children an outlet for the physical energy they are bursting with. As schools reduce the amount of physical activity children do per day, cutting recess and allotted for shorter P.E. classes, some children may find themselves struggling to focus at school. They may require an outlet like the Little Toros league to help them release that energy and help them balance their mental and physical forces.

Sign Up Today! 

For kids 2 to 4 yrs of age!

  • Practices last 50 minutes twice a week
  • Parents can participate in each practice
  • All practices are in covered fields
  • Cost:
    • $85/Month – 2 Sessions per week
    • $60/Month – 1 Session per week

Dia Del Nino Tournament

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Qué mejor forma de celebrar el Día Del Niño que recordar ésta etapa viendo a tus hijos divertirse. Lo más bonito es que puedes seguir celebrando éste día sin importar la edad que tengas. Asé fue como el pasado 30 de Abril y 1ro de Mayo se celebró éste gran día con un magno evento como lo fue nuestra Copa Internacional Día Del Niño. Un evento espectacular tan lleno de vida y con mucho colorido. Lleno de sorpresas y diversión pero sobre todo de alegría. Qué emoción ver a estos chiquitines con sus caras llenas de felicidad, pero fue aún mejor ver la cara de satisfacción de los padres de familia que presenciaron el evento. A nuestras instalaciones llegaron equipos de todos lados y todas las edades. Se hicieron presentes Academias como Joga Poniente de Monterrey, Pumas AC de Río Bravo, Liberty y Joyce de Laredo y Rayados Brownsville por mencionar algunas.

Y claro, no podían faltar nuestras fieles y leales Academias como lo son Rayados McAllen, Excel, Pharr Elite, FC Dallas, Real Madrid, Atlas Millan, entre otras muchas. La mañana del sábado llegó con un clima que pintaba agradable para jugar futbol. El cielo se nubló y la lluvia amenazaba con caer, pero poco a poco se fue sintiendo el calor no solo en las canchas, sino también entre los aficionados. El termómetro marco los 99F pero ni la humedad ni las altas temperaturas impidieron que éstos pequeños guerreros se entregaran en la cancha.

Los partidos empezaron con mucha emoción e intensidad, trayendo así el primer encuentro entre los anfitriones, la Academia Toros en contra de Pharr Elite en la categoría 2005. Fue un encuentro de ida y vuelta donde las dos escuadras se entregaron en la cancha. El equipo de Toros tomó la iniciativa y se fue arriba en el marcador con un amplio 3 a 1, pero el esfuerzo de Pharr Elite dio fruto al venir de atrás y ganar el encuentro con un emocionante 4 a 3. El día transcurría, y con el, los partidos. Se vivieron momentos espectaculares y llenos de emoción. Uno de ellos fue cuando se vié entrar a la cancha al equipo Brazil del Profresor Rafael Rodríguez Mendiola.

Marcando así, su regreso deportivo a su casa Plaza Sports Center. Fue también el equipo de Brazil quien se encargo de poner dramatismo en los encuentros al ponerse al tu por tu con academias como la de Atlas Millan y Rayados Verde en la categoria 2004 B, quedando fuera de la competencia por un solo gol de diferencia, pero con una digna y admirable participación de su equipo. Otro equipo que vino por todas las canicas fue el de Joga Poniente. Llegó invicto a la final de la categoría 2007 en contra de FC Dallas, llevándose el campeonato hasta Monterrey derrochando buen futbol. Al igual que ellos, Laredo Liberty también vino a demostrar su capacidad, peleó de tú a tú, se rindió ante su afición y con mucha garra salio victorioso en la final de la categoria 2003 ante un gran oponente como lo fue Atlas Millan.

Este ultimo no se fue con las manos vacías, después de empatar con Brazil y ganarle a Rayados Verde, tocaba el turno de medirse ante el conjunto de Dep. Amigos. Un juego ríspido y lleno de atajadas por parte de ambos porteros quienes fueron los causantes de que el encuentro terminara en empate. Mas adelante, estos dos mismos equipos se enfrentarían en la final de la categoría 2004 B, coronándose campeón el equipo de Atlas Millan con un apretado marcador de 3 a 2.

En la categoría 2001, el equipo de Bandidos se llevó el trofeo de campeón. Empezó con el pie izquierdo perdiendo su primer partido ante la escuadra de Chelsea. Después vino de abajo para vencer al conjunto de Potros y también a la Academia Toros. El destino pronto les dio la revancha ya que en la semifinal se topó con el equipo de Chelsea una vez mas, pero ahora la moneda daba la vuelta y con mucha entrega y dejando todo en el terreno de juego se alzó con la victoria. Ya en la final, se midió ante el equipo de FC Dallas pero Bandidos sabía que era su momento y no podía dejarlo ir. Se planto bien en el terreno de juego y fue superior al rival.

Llegaba la hora de uno de los mejores encuentros que se dio en el torneo. Los protagonistas de esta batalla épica por la supremacía fueron las academias de RGV Team en contra de Rayados Mcallen. El juego empezó con las porras apoyando en todo su esplendor y desde el silbatazo inicial los dos equipos no se guardaron nada. Salieron a buscar el partido, ida y vuelta con goles y emociones. Se enfrascaron en un duelo a matar o morir donde el mas mínimo error podría ser la diferencia. Y así fue, el equipo de RGV Team tomó la delantera y se fue al frente en el marcador, pero los pupilos del Coach Jorge Muñoz pronto dieron la vuelta a la tortilla y se pusieron arriba con un 3 a 1. El equipo de RGV Team luchó y luchó hasta que logró lo que parecía imposible.

A escasos tres minutos para finalizar el encuentro lograron empatar el partido a tres goles por bando, desatando la euforia entre las dos aficiones que nunca dejaron de alentar a los equipos. Ya en la tanda de penales, el portero Angel Flores se vistió
de gloria al atajar un penal. Así fue como Rayados Mcallen se adjudico el título de campeón en la categoría 2004. Sin duda
alguna, fue un evento para la historia en lo cual se logró la felicidad de muchos pequeñines. Ubo emoción al verlos jugar y competir, lágrimas al ver que quedaban fuera del torneo, y algarabía en cada gol y jugada. Se sentía la adrenalina por todas partes, pero sobretodo se sintió ese escalofrío que recorre tu cuerpo al ver tantos niños felices. Esa sensación que te hace un nudo en la garganta y te llena de lágrimas los ojos al ver a tus hijos defender la playera de su equipo.

Es por eso que te damos las gracias por haber sido parte de este suceso que logró reunir a familias enteras. Así es como llegamos al final de nuestra Copa Internacional Día Del Niño y así lo celebramos, viendo a tantos PEQUENOS GIGANTES luchar por un mismo objetivo, la victoria. Esa victoria que no te la dan los partidos ni las jugadas ni los goles, sino el simple hecho de ver a los papás apoyando incondicionalmente. Eso es lo hermoso del futbol, que no importa la calidad ni mucho menos el desempeño. Lo que importa es que los niños sigan siendo niños y que la felicidad se sienta a pesar del resultado.

Feliz Dia Del Nino!

Asia Gonzalez – Youth Player of Issue

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Asia Gonzalez’s love for soccer began when she first learned to kick a soccer ball at five years old.Growing up, she was always attracted by the sport and yearned to play in a team. A few months ago, Asia decided that she wanted to be part of her middle school’s team but worried that she lacked the experience and skill to be selected. Her family and friends suggested  she enroll in Plaza Sorts center to take her play to the next level.

As soon as Asia became part of Plaza Sorts Center, her commitment and potential were visible to her coaches and teammates. The thirteen-year old showed up day after day  ready to learn and improve.”It was a really good experience. I had wanted to go there because I wanted to get better so I could tryout”, explained Gonzalez. “They really helped me with the drills. Some of the drills that we practiced at Plaza Sports Center were the same as the ones we had at the tryouts, so I felt prepared.”

The hard work paid off and Asia not only made the team, but also became a key player in helping her school’s team become undefeated district champions. She attributes much of her success to the individualized attention and motivation that she received from Coach Chava and the other coaches at Plaza Sports Center. “The coach focuses directly on certain skills that you are having trouble with”, said Gozalez. “It is more hands-on and personalized experience”.

Even though the 7th grader divides her time between schoolwork, piano lessons, and karate, soccer continues to be one of the activities she enjoys the most. “I like that it’s different than other sports because you can’t use your hands. You have to use your upper body strength and lower body strength”, explained Gonzalez. “It’s also a cool way of making friends and hanging out with my team an you get to go places.”

She definitely sees Plaza Sports Center as continuing to be a big part of her life in the future. She’s currently enrolled to attend the summer camp program and hopes to continue playing for the women’s leagues, as she gets older. Her parents have also enjoyed the welcoming environment at the center and enjoy watching Asia play her matches. Asia’s success is a great example of how motivation and dedication can make you a great soccer player.