We have been in the wonderful World of competitive soccer for the past 9 years. Honestly it seems like way longer. There have been many lessons along the way. There is nothing I love more than to see my girls on the field doing what they love and being successful at it. With the oldest now signed and heading off in August to play for a college, I can honestly say the process is worth it. The journey isn’t about whether or not you play in college it is about character building and putting in the work to be the best you can be. There have been many lessons for the kids and probably just as many for us, as the parents.
The hardest thing as a parent is for your kid to be benched or cut from a team. Not because they did or didn’t deserve it but because what parent’s heart doesn’t break when their kid is crushed because something they wanted so bad didn’t work out? Both of my girls have had this happen. Lesson here? Work harder! Train harder! Ask the coach, what can you do to earn your spot?Nothing more nothing less!! If you want it work for it! I am not one to place blame on someone else (at least not in front of my kids lol) It’s competitive. We signed up for this. We knew what we were getting into. If we wanted equal play time we should be playing rec. Have your moment, cry it out and then pick yourself up and work!! They did! They have worked for their positions. This makes them tough and humble. A little cocky at times but who doesn’t enjoy a cute blonde chick with some sass? 🙂
For the most part we have been pretty lucky with coaches. I haven’t loved every one of them but they aren’t there to be my friend. It’s about what my kid is getting out of it. Sometimes they were the inspiration they needed to be confident after being cut from a previous team. Sometimes it was absolutely nothing as far as bettering them as a soccer player but the lesson of keeping their head on straight, playing the game to the best of their ability regardless of those around them and the coach is to be respected if you are on their team. I have learned that every coach isn’t for every player. We have loved coaches that others have hated and vice versa. In all the time we have been in this world of soccer we have only quit on one coach, not because he was the worst coach but because he was the most disrespectful coach. We teach our kids to be respectful, In fact we demand it, but that does come with limitations. I will not teach my kids to stay in a toxic situation or to be treated in a manner that makes them feel small. In that moment I learned that there are a lot of adults that claim to be “about the kids” that are definitely not! I learned that I have an amazing ability to refrain from committing murder! I learned that very few people who complain about the same things and say they have your back, actually do. I learned that those in charge of a certain club have nothing but evil running through their veins. The biggest thing I learned is that we have a choice of how we react to those unfortunate situations and I ran the gamut of reactions, but at the end of the day… my kids are happy and I’m not in jail!! Go Me!!
I have learned that I do not like most soccer parents. I stay away from the drama and watch my kids play. Soccer parents are some of the most shady people!! I’m a straight shooter. I like things black and white. These people will look you in the face and tell you they aren’t trying out anywhere else or they will never play for a certain club and the next thing you know they are doing exactly what they said they weren’t going to do. Why? I have no idea the reason for lying, aren’t we all just trying to do what is best for our kids? That being said I have met some amazing people along the way that I have had a blast traveling with and doing life with.
The girls have learned that sometimes you don’t like a person but you totally respect them as a player and what they bring to the game. To put aside their differences and kick butt. You don’t have to be friends to respect the player and work together for the purpose of making the team better.
I have been asked on numerous occasions, what if my investment doesn’t pay off? My question back is what do you think my investment is? Of course their answer is, college. I didn’t go into soccer thinking my girls are going to be the next Mia Hamm. Actually I went into this quite reluctantly. At the time I had a friend whose daughter played competitive and I thought they were insane!! The girls have learned so much from playing. They have learned time management. They have learned how to work hard. They have learned to respect and appreciate everyone on that field. They have learned that their success is dependent on their teammates. They have learned that if they want something bad enough they are the only ones that can make it happen. We have been able to spend so much time together as a family traveling all over for soccer. We appreciate our time at home but honestly being in the car driving to practice or games is when most conversations occur. It’s when we are all together or just one of us with one of them. This time has been priceless! It comes with a pretty hefty price-tag, but I wouldn’t trade our life as a soccer family for anything because although the lessons sometimes truly suck they are lessons that have brought us closer together as a family and made the girls stronger and more resilient for what life will throw at them.
All of you who are just starting this journey…it is worth it. If your child loves the game and drives you crazy kicking a ball 24/7, jump in with both feet. Be prepared for a roller coaster but you will be building your kids a foundation that will make them stronger. The time you spend in a car or a hotel room is time well spent when it is chasing the dreams of your child!!