‘This is the first time I actually enjoyed playing soccer’

Heard a great compliment from one of my seniors last fall. He’d recently transferred from our school to another, so this was his first year on our soccer team. The coach of his previous team is well-known for yelling and swearing every fifth word. The kid said to me, “Thanks for a great season, coach. This is the first time I actually enjoyed playing soccer.”

It was very gratifying to hear. Definitely made me feel like I was doing something right. He was a first-team league all-star too, which further illustrates that enjoying a sport and being successful at it are not mutually exclusive, as some coaches seem to think.

On the other hand, it’s kind of sad that an awesome kid like him could play soccer his whole life but have to wait until he’s 17 years old to finally enjoy it. It’s amazing he didn’t quit the sport years ago.

Many other kids quit for exactly that reason.

The ‘stress’ of watching 8 year olds

I read an interesting article in The Oregonian recently about sports parenting. It began:

A Southwest Portland mom last week finished her first Little League postseason tournament and found it a stressful experience, especially when she saw umpires calling strikes and everyone keeping score at her 8-year-old son’s games.

The first thing the lady (and the other parents) should tell herself repeatedly is that the game she is watching involves EIGHT-YEAR OLDS. The only reasons for anyone to get stressed are if the coaches are being abusive or her son’s physical safety is at risk. Otherwise, relax and don’t ruin it for the EIGHT-YEAR OLDS.

The hypocrisy of US Youth Soccer

Have any of you coaches every noticed this? A good chunk of the lectures US Youth Soccer gives to coaches and clubs is about the importance of player development and how winning should be de-emphasized… while most of the emails they send out are pimping the results of their various youth championships?

“Hey coach!”

One of the coolest things about coaching is when you bump into a kid you used to coach and he’s an adult and he still calls you “coach.” It may seem like a small thing but it really shows the respect you’ve earned, the impact you’ve made on them.