Choosing Teams

Both of my girls have been playing soccer for a long time. They've played since the age that they could sign up to play. They have loved every minute of it. My hubby coached Kat until she was in 4th grade and then assisted until just last year, and Nan he has coached through this last year, and will begin assisting in the fall. At some point, unless you are a soccer player or know more of the game, you realize that you need to pass the baton and let someone else coach your kids. We have come to that point with both girls. It is not an easy decision to make sometimes. When you're the coach, you can set the schedule, at times you can choose your players and you set the stage for the overall team attitude. When it came time to putting our girls on other teams, we did not take the decision lightly. After so many years of playing soccer I've heard more than my fair share of poor sportsmanship, angry coaches, ridiculous parents and players with terrible attitudes. I'm sorry, I don't care how good a team you are, those things do not appeal to me what-so-ever. When we first moved Kat to a new team, the coach actually approached my hubby and asked if he'd like to help him. We liked this coach, his attitude and the girls and parents on the team, so we went with it and it was a great 4 years. Even throughout those 4 years we had our share of witnessing instances where I thought "you've got to be kidding me!" in regards to attitudes and words released on and off the field. We as parents never had a problem acknowledging when another team played great (even if we lost), or when a goalie (for the other team) made a great save, or an amazing kick. We didn't have a problem admiring the skill of another player on another team, and on more than one occasion told them so, when their own parents were putting them down because they lost. That team broke up last year since the coaches daughter was going into high school so Kat was on the look out for a new team. A few times another coach had approached her about trying out for his team and she liked them but wasn't ready to leave her team yet. So last spring, she approached the coach and asked if she could try out. Now, there had been other coaches that she had observed and said "there is no way I'd play for that coach!" Now, I know that when you get into high school, sometimes you don't get to choose a coach, but as long as I can, I will. She tried out and made the team. We love the coaches, players and parents. They're great, they're positive and we've been happy with them. They also took a leap to try out to play in an Oregon Premier League, and they made it! They often play bigger teams, nicer fields (they were not used to playing on turf fields....they are now) and have had to fight for their place in the standings. They are not a high scoring team, but their defense has held many teams back. We are so proud of them. My point in choosing teams, is that it really breaks my heart to hear the negativity that I hear from other teams (I'm not saying ours is perfect, and there aren't moments of frustration or feelings of un-fairness), but even those can be expressed in a way that doesn't sound like a tantrum. We had a few games this last weekend that brought it home to me even more. Comments many of us heard like "I can't believe we're playing in this cow pasture" (sorry it's our small town high school's JV field and it's not a cow pasture...sorry it's not turf...we don't choose the fields), "this is not acceptable for our apparently top notch players" (from what I understand..the world cup is played on grass, not turf), "this team should not be allowed to play in our league" (why is that?)! I'm all for aggressive play, but not for unnecessary roughness. I'm for competitiveness but not bad talking another team. I'm for parents on both teams really being supportive and appreciative of both teams. If our girls are being rough I tend to think to myself "oh honey, watch it, you're crossing the line". I also know the coaches don't go for it. We played some good teams and it was a tough weekend (we had two serious injuries). The first injury was a sprained ankle. The second injury we had landed a girl in the hospital with 9 stitches in her lip and 3 loose teeth (an accident...two girls went up for a header and collided). Our coaches have had several calls from the other teams coach and even a few parents inquiring on how she's doing. How awesome is that? During one of our games, Kat accidentally stepped on the hand of an opposing team mate. She felt really bad (the girl doesn't have a mean bone in her body), so she said she was sorry and reached out her hand to help the girl up. The girl just looked at her and said with an attitude "back off"! Totally took Kat off guard. She simply wanted to help. Her thinking is "we can be competitors, but we can be nice to one another"! Anyways, I think that when we choose our children's teams, we would be wise to observe those teams (not their winning records only). Observe their parents, coaches, players. Is it a team you want to be associated with. What's their reputation (teams have reputations..especially when you get to the upper levels)? Is it a team that's going to make your child an overall better player (in skill, knowledge of the game, attitude), a player that other coaches will want on their team (not just for skill, but for attitude). Hubby has had a great rep as a coach, and we love that as do the parents who have played for him. He gets the point across without ever having to yell. He develops girls with great attitudes and skill. We are coming down to the end of the season, one more game to go and then the WYSA Challenge Cup. Kat hasn't decided if she will try out again...she will be in high school next year as will most of the team, so if she tries out they will only play spring ball. I have a feeling she will. She loves this team. It has been a good year for her. Kat's coach is actually going to start a team for Nan's age, so she will try out to be on that team. Another busy spring and summer coming up. What am I talking will all be busy...year round! But it's good. Well, I just have had this heavy on my heart and mind the last few days. I'll have a lighter post later. Off to have coffee with my MIL and some friends. With Joy UNquenchable,


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