EDMOND — Samuel Hendricks waited as a long pass came his way. But as it neared, he began to slow down.
A player from the Mandeville (La.) Lakers was also pursuing the ball, and to avoid anything that could be considered excessive contact, Hendricks didn't attack the ball aggressively.
In the first half, he had seen his starting goalie get red carded, his head coach get ejected and another teammate get yellow carded for accidentally colliding with a Lakers player as they both chased after a ball in the box.
By that point in the game, he and his Oklahoma Football Club teammates were playing more tentatively, and they would ultimately lose, 1-0, in their first game of Under-15 boys portion of the US Youth Soccer Regional III Championships at the Edmond Soccer Club.
“It was a tough loss for our U15 boys,” director of coaching Jimmy Hampton said. “I was really proud of the boys though. The fought hard and really put themselves in a position to get a point out of the game. It just hit the post a couple times and couldn't find the net.
“You can't control what the official may or may not call. So when we expend that energy focusing on things that maybe we can't control, then obviously we're not 100 percent focused on what we should be, which is trying to get back in the game with an equalizer.”
After defending one of his players, OFC coach Tommy Hubbard was tossed from the game. A forward for the Professional Development League's Oklahoma City FC, Hubbard had already lost his goalkeeper in the first minute of the game to a “last man” foul and watched as a number of other players were spoken to by the referee.
Hubbard had to leave the sideline for the remainder of the game.
In his absence, Hampton, the head coach for OKC FC, filled in the rest of the way. The former coach was with the team for the past seven seasons before Hubbard came in.
The Oklahoma state champions had a number of opportunities to score after the Lakers' Seth Holmes scored on a free kick, but OFC was unable to connect with the back of the net.
The team will play its second game at 3:45 p.m. against NCFS on field 10 at the Edmond Soccer Club Complex.
“I think the boys will be very good tomorrow, they've been doing this for years,” Hampton said. “I think it was an unfortunate result. … I don't think the impact of today's loss will impact them at all. Kids are very resilient. Probably more resilient than adults; they'll let things go and move on, and that's why it's a young person's game.”