Sunday, October 4, 2009

Soccer, Soccer Everywhere!

If you happen to get up and out early here in Loudoun, you might wonder where everyon's going in such a hurry so early on a Saturday morning.   Let me tell you - Fall Soccer is in full swing, and the traffic is heading to one of the many soccer or other sport fields in the county.

The Loudoun Youth Soccer Association has "teams" starting as young as age 3.  My little Devon is involved.  Each Saturday morning, we head out to the field early.  At this age, they don't play real games, although there is a rumor that at the end of the season they will have a scrimmage of some sort - I can't imagine that, but I'll have my video rolling for sure. 

They have their little uniforms... my son often won't wear his uniform shirt and instead opts for a Spider Man undershirt and a sweat jacket.  Oh well.  We get to the school where they play, and get out onto the field.  It's not just my kid that is a little apprehensive.  They all head onto the field, each one clinging to the legs of an adult - usually one of their parents, but not always. After a few minutes, most of the kids let go and get into the rhythm.... although my Devon refused last week, and we sat on the sidelines and watched the whole time.  I wouldn't let him partake in the team snack at the end of the game, saying it was only for the kids that played.  He cried the whole way home - bet he plays next week!

It's actually a great program.  Everyone is friendly.  I am impressed with the coaching.  At age 3, they are simply getting the kids to learn to move the ball.  They play red light/green light with the ball; they practice little kicks and big kicks, and dribbilng the ball around cones.  They usually all play with their own balls, although last week they did do a few exercises using only one ball for the team.  The kids are never told they're doing anything wrong.  They get positive encouragement the entire time.

At this age, we have one "practice" a week, same time, same place. At older ages the schedule becomes hectic.  One of the girls on our street is in first grade and she has practice on Monday and Wednesdays and a game on Saturday!  The practices are same place/same time, but the game places and times vary.  As it stands, I can't imagine that. 

Being a kid today in Loudoun is nothing like it was when I was growing up.  If we played soccer, it was because two kids bumped into each other and one had a ball.  I don't remember anyone that played on an actual soccer team.  Now, most everyone's into it. 

There are so many opportunities for kids today.  My kids are both in swimming lessons twice a week, and in church activities, and one is in scouts and the other in soccer.  Our schedules simply couldn't take anymore! Dressing and equipping the kids and busing them from place to place every day is a full time job.  Yes, many of these activities take money.  But, there are scholarships available for most.  You'd be surprised how involved your kids can be with very little monetary involvement if you're on a tight budget.

Either way, it is worth it.  My daughter, in first grade, has friends everywhere she goes.  The kids are learning great values in these various activities.  They learn team work, being honest and fair, friendly and helpful, courteous and respectful, how to get along with others, how to support their communities, how to follow directions and even how to lead.  These values will hopefully serve them well throughout their lives.  We all have to learn these values somehow, but in these activities it is much more fun that learning later in life, the hard way.

And, for those of you curious, yeah, I kinda like being a soccer mom!

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