I was picking blackberries by the edge of the woods near the soccer field and I start hearing people screaming my name (not in a good way, haha). "Crap. I remember I was supposed to be playing in the game," I think to myself. Then I sprint back to the field, but I didn't want to lose my blackberries that I was picking and holding in the bottom of my jersey like I basket, so I kinda kept holding the bottom of my jersey up to keep all of the blackberries from spilling out as I ran to the field and jumped back in the game. It was then I realized that I probably wouldn't fulfill my childhood dream of becoming a professional soccer player...
So all of that being said, when I told my parents I was going to coach Titus and Olive's soccer team this year, my mom fell out laughing. hahaha
This was not only my first year coaching, but it was also Titus and Olive's first time ever playing. I mean we've kicked the ball around in the backyard, but that's it. Titus was kinda pumped about it, but he loves basketball much more and viewed this as a placeholder until b-ball season started again. Olive on the other hand was mega excited! It was fun that they could play on the same team, plus their age group was the "non competitive" league which I loved. My goal as a coach was to make sure all of the kids learned about the sport, enjoyed the sport, and got to play the sport. I'll 100% honest that I wouldn't be a great "play to win" coach. I would much rather have the kids when they are young and get them excited about playing. So my plan was to balance the learning aspect with the fun aspect. Also, this league didn't have goalies and the coaches got to run around on the field with the kids. It just all sounded super fun and good exercise for me too. hahaha
Long before the season started, I wanted us to be "The Thunder" simply so we could blare 'Thunderstruck by AC/DC' as our official team anthem. I picked yellow jerseys at the coaches meeting because duh... I also thought it would be fun to make a team flag and have all of the kids sign it. So before the first practice Olive and I built a flag out of felt, some paint, and PVC pipes. It worked out pretty great and all of the kids on the team enjoyed it too! Another fun idea was to get giant banners for the team to run through every game. So each game we had a decorated banner for the kids to bust through. Sometimes, we had kids volunteer to make the banner and bring them to the next game (which I thought was the funnest idea EVER!) In my head, I knew we wouldn't be the 'best team', but I wanted us to be the 'fun team'. Each game the captain of the team got to carry the flag through the banner and around the field after the game. It was super fun!!
A banner made by a player
One of our banner run-throughs!!!
Also, Coach Chris came up with our official team slogan
"FEEL THE BOOM!"
Like I said earlier our team record was 3-2-2, but what I didn't say is that didn't count our last game. Right before our last match of the season, we figured out the other team didn't show up so they gave us the option of just playing ourselves. Since we had 8 players that game, we just did 4 on 4. I took half and Coach Chris took half. That "game against ourselves" was probably my favorite moment of soccer I've ever experienced in my life. I think it was 40 minutes of straight laughter from the entire team, sideline of parents, and the coaches. The very last quarter of that game, we did coaches vs players. It was just pure, wholesome joy on the field. It topped our season off with just the best experience ever for everyone involved.
Players vs 'Crabwalking' Coaches
Here's the award Olive won. hahah
Seriously though, aren't these two just so cute :)
I would love to keep coaching every season in the future; however, time just doesn't permit it. One day when my kids are grown and gone, I'm just going to be a little kid soccer coach each season. It's really such a fulfilling experience that I think everyone should try at least once.