I write this while my soccer playing children get a few more minutes of sleep. For some, the season started last weekend with the August Cup at the Soccerplex but Labor Day weekend is traditionally the Big One. The SoccerPlex, OBGC in Olney/Columbia, various other locales in Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland and all over the country will be fun of boys and girls lacing up new boots and putting on new kits to run around and play a game.
I feel like I've been remiss in my blogging this year and haven't written much. Hopefully, newbie managers have been to the WAGS or NCSL trainings or have read my prior blogs because, frankly, if you are still fuzzy on the rostering process on September 1, you are way behind the proverbial eight ball.
I am sure that this summer was no exception to the drama that often surrounds youth soccer. However, as we careen towards the start of the season, I want to remind everyone that the game is for the kids and our job as parents is largely to get out of the way and not ruin it.
Playing a youth team sport is about more than wins and losses. Your children are going to have to work and live in team-like situations all their lives and the ups and downs of a team sport can be a safe environment to succeed and fail.
Let your kids learn about sportsmanship (and be a model for them).
Let your kids advocate for themselves with the coach.
As much as you want to be involved all the time, give your kids some space.
Let your kids learn the game through experience, not lectures.
Let your kids learn that, if they aren't playing as much as they want to, it is up to them to find out why and to make changes/work harder to get on the field.
Pull up your folding chair and camera and sit, watch and enjoy every second of every game because at some point it will be over.
In a few hours, a week, a month or a year, whether your child won or lost today's game won't matter at all but they will remember whether or not they had fun.
So, to all parents, coaches and managers, may you have a great season full of smiles and bereft of injuries. May you have many close games and both wins and losses (because your kids can't grow and mature without the hardships). May that you have good traffic and good weather for the two hour drives to far away fields. May there always be bathrooms at the fields and a coffee shop nearby. May you always find an ice-cream shop after a game. May you never forget a shinguard or cleat and may your pre-wrap never run out. May the grass always be cut and the lines properly drawn. May you always have a ref that is consistent and fair. May the parents on boths sides enjoy the game.
Kids are up. Got to load the car.
Good luck everyone!