Soccer Smiles


I am now a soccer coach. The recruitment process is a familiar story to any parent with a child in sports. Very few parents are available to coach. I offer to “assist.” None of the other assistants can make it to practice on Tuesday afternoon. So I am the head coach. One member of the church when she saw me at the coach’s clinic almost fell onto the ground she was laughing so hard. I do not blame her. I only played football as a kid and have never set foot on a soccer field. When the directors were holding the coaching clinic they said one goal was to help the girls learn how to dribble the ball. I was the only coach putting up my hand to ask, “What is a dribble?”

If one is to become a soccer coach it is best to be baptized with the six year old version of the game. Our league is non-competitive. No one keeps score (except all the girls and their parents) and we make sure they all get plenty of touches in a 4v4 format. If you do not know what that means be sure to ask me so that I can show off my recently acquired coaching knowledge.

The goal is to have fun. As another coach taught me, “if the children walk off the field with smiles on their faces we have succeeded.” One of our biggest achievements so far was to pick a team name—we are the Bulldogs. Our first game we learned that there are no bananas on a soccer field. We do not mean real bananas—though that is important too, the slippery peels and all. But do not run around on the soccer field in a bunch, like bananas, but spread apart. The second game we learned that Bulldogs are tough. With a wet field and hard kicks we had more than the usual amount of skinned knees and faces red from soccer balls. But our girls were tough and got right back up and kept at it.

I still have no clue what I am doing, but if we can measure success by smiles on our faces then we are doing pretty well. A good reminder no matter what team we play on.


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