This past year, both of my girls found a spot at the local competitive travel soccer club. To be honest, were weren’t going to even try out. Then after talking with several parents, we understood that if they do end up playing seriously long term, the earlier they had started, they better off they would be. Also, all of their friends on the park district team were either moving to other sports or trying out so we jumped on the bandwagon.
During tryouts we thought Aria, our middle child, would have a good chance of getting on the team. She has always been a natural athlete. She ran faster than her sister and showed lots of promise in gymnastics. For some simple reasons (time commitment, side effects on the body) we choose to pursue soccer over gymnastics.
Avani, our oldest, was quite the opposite. Although her long legs make her look like she can run faster than Usain Bolt, she has always struggled athletically and trailing the back of the pack. We just crossed our fingers and hoped that there was room for her.
We weren’t at all surprised when we found Aria made the cut and was on the black team. Avani’s age bracket had no cuts and was on the white team (black – yellow – white).
At some point over the summer, Avani’s mind finally caught up with her body and she has been rocking it on the white team. She is scoring goals, her confidence is sky high, and most importantly she is having fun.
Aria on the other hand has been struggling. She is on a team where most girls have played together for years or their parents have coached themselves, meanwhile I still don’t totally understand off sides! She went from a really bad park district team where they all just ran around in packs after the ball to a group of very talented girls who know what they are doing.
Everyday she is still learning where she is supposed to be and what she is supposed to be doing. She is being told by her coach, her teammates, and even me to be doing something else. It was so sad to see her go from a little girl who just ran around the field with a smile on her face to an annoyed little girl trying to get it right.
After the last game, since we always disagreed on whether she is appropriately hustling, I videotaped it. While she was watching it, I looked at her face and saw how disappointed she looked and realized that we totally took the fun out of it. When I mentioned something about next year, she was quick to tell me that she doesn’t want to do it next year.
Clearly I am going about this all wrong. My daughter is only 7! She should be having fun and making new friends. Not dreading going to a game. The good news is by changing my attitude towards her performance, I bet I can change her attitude towards the sport. I talked to the parent coach about letting her try out a different position. The season has just started and we have a tournament this weekend so I am going to do whatever I can so that she can enjoy herself again.