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Mint City Collective 7on7 Kicks Off

It's so refreshing to write this and announce that the Mint City Collective is fielding its very first 7on7 team!  

A year removed from the start of the pandemic, people have started getting their vaccinations and feeling a little more comfortable being around others. With SportsLink announcing they are allowing teams to gather to play again, our MCC President, David Gusler helped organize our squad's creation and got us registered to participate. 

For our first season, matches will be every Wednesday night. There are currently eight teams in our league, with the "season" running approximately eight weeks long, plus playoffs and a championship game (which we will surely be in).

Last week was the squad's very first match, a disappointing loss to Washed Up FC. This week, we look to rebound as we take on Pablo Sanchez FC. 

I got the opportunity to sit with Head Coach Lance Berkhart to address last week's loss, what to expect this coming week, and discuss some transfer rumors. 

Matt Swift: Coach, last week's loss was brutal, a 7-2 shelling by Washed Up FC. What are your thoughts on the match?

Lance Berkhart: First off, Washed Up FC? Hell, more like Ringers FC! I've put in a request to League Officials to verify some of their players' eligibility. I believe some of their guys are in the wrong division. Some would call that being a big fat cheater. I can say- despite that nonsense, it was a good effort from the squad. It comes down to tactics, and I didn't set us up for success. The loss is 100% on me. That, and Washed Up FC cheating, of course. If it weren't for our goalkeeper, Erick Ramirez, the score could have easily been 16-2.

Matt Swift: With this new team's creation, many are wondering if all MCC members can participate or do you have to be at a certain skill level?

Lance Berkhart: Oh no! We will literally take anyone with a pulse and a hunger to play soccer. At the end of the day, it's a great way to get outside and have fun with other members. Never played a day in your life? That's perfectly fine. We will teach you. Haven't played in years? That's ok. You will get your sharpness back. Are you currently playing professionally or really really good? Please call me immediately. Seriously, call me right now.

Matt Swift: Um, ok. Let's talk about the match against Pablo Sanchez FC this week; what do you think are the keys to victory?

Lance Berkhart: First and foremost, Capri Suns. We need a boatload more than we had last week. Next, we need to sort out our defense and not give up goals in the 2nd half. Right now, our fitness is not the best and we get a little lazy. So, communication, keeping our shape and being turned on mentally is critical. Also, trick plays. I don't know why on earth they won't listen to me about trick plays. I draw them up, yet they never run them. I just sound like a fool on the sidelines yelling things like, "Run, Bronco Buster!" It's very embarrassing.

Matt Swift: Lets talk about the roster for a second. You currently have 19 players, how do you manage to get everyone playing time?

Lance Berkhart: Oh, that's easy; not everyone shows up for the games. I haven't even met all our players yet. It's 7on7, of course, six field players, one goalkeeper, but we do prefer to have at least four to five subs as these guys are getting back into shape. And boy, are these guys out of shape. It's helpful to have plenty of players available each week to swap in and out. Luckily, the rules say that we have unlimited subs. Some players have other "commitments," like jobs, kids, that may make them miss a game here or there but whatever. If you got to miss a week or two, that's fine, we still need ya.

Matt Swift: Ok then, let's switch gears. There have been rumors that you have more people coming in from the transfer window this week. Can you elaborate?

Lance Berkhart: Yes, we are very excited to announce that Ryan Bailey will be playing this week. He's finally coming off his music tour, and we are eager to see if he can play soccer better than he can sing. I hear he has the voice of an angel, so I have high hopes. 

Matt Swift: Speaking of transfers, care to comment on Jeff Eklund and his latest Twitter post around possibly being lured away by Charlotte FC or D.C. United? 

Lance Berkhart: I knew you were going to ask me this. Look, I can't control what these guys say on Twitter. I mean, I've tried. I've attempted to hide their cell phones and everything. But, let me put it to you like this, Jeff is not going anywhere regardless of who comes calling. Our players are not for sale, and I will fight tooth and nail to keep Jeff with us. He's just too vital to the squad right now. 

Matt Swift: Fair enough. Well, that's all the questions I have this week, Coach. Thank you for your time!

Lance Berkhart: My pleasure! Looking forward to this week and the rest of the season! Also, I don't know who needs to hear this but quit posting #retiremints when talking about this team. It hurts my feelings.

And there you have it, folks. I want to thank coach Lance Berkhart for taking time out of his hectic schedule to chat with us. 

Each week, I will give you all a recap of our games, our progress as well as quotes from coach Berkhart and any hilarious details that arise. You will want to stay tuned.

Did you miss out on joining this season and want to play? No worries, you can join us as soon as the next season starts. Are you worried about the skill level? Don't be. We welcome anyone and everyone! We put the team together to simply go out, kick the ball around, be amongst other members, and have some fun. 

If you want to join, hop in our Member Slack and let us know!

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