It’s Soccer Time Again

Soccer never ends.

We had a pretty good season with The Dervish on his Rep Soccer Team but we were not all together pleased with the team as a whole and the coaching.

I know, I sound like a typical soccer mom or over interested parent. Whining that “my son didn’t get enough field time” but I truly tried to stay objective. I didn’t want to be that whining parent that thinks their child is the be all and end all of the sport so I focused on the game and watched the treatment of other players as well and what I saw was that this coach didn’t actually have a clue.

Perhaps he would be a great coach for teenagers or adults but these were 7 and 8 year old boys and while I do believe that it can’t all be pats on the back and high fives, I think a certain amount of encouragement is required for this age group. They are still learning and honestly, the skill level amazes me when I think of how young they are but they need to be recognized by their coach for their efforts and improvements regularly.

The coach was harsh 95% of the time and encouraging and praising 5% of the time. I just don’t think that’s enough to keep kids motivated and enthusiastic for the game.

The soccer practices baffled me. We started out with 2 practices a week but by mid season we were lucky to have one. The coach would practice Dervish in forward position and then in the next game, put him in defense. (This didn’t just happen to Dervish but to the other players as well) He played them way too long on the field, leaving out there to the point that they were exhausted while the opposing team would switch 3 times for every one of ours.

Anyway, the season is over. The team started off well but towards the end, lost almost every game. It was disheartening to say the least, especially given that they had the potential to do much better.

Before the season was over, The Dad and I made a couple of decisions. First of all we would keep the Dervish in his age group for the next season. (He played a year up because there was no team for his age group). Secondly, we would find a more ‘together’ soccer league in the area. (I know I didn’t mention it but this league was definitely suffering from a total lack of organization).

The season was only over for a couple of weeks and we found out that the league in a nearby town was holding their tryouts already. Dervish’s team had played against these guys over the summer and we’d been impressed by the coaching and organization so I inquired about the team and the tryouts, specifically if there was an issue with us not living in that town. There was not.

So a couple of weeks ago we headed out for the first of 2 tryout sessions for the 2007 soccer season.

I can’t say how impressed I was by the organization of this soccer league. About 50 kids turned out for the tryouts, they were given pinnies and assigned numbers. No less than 10 coaches were on hand for the assessment and they rotated through four fields of players taking notes and evaluating individuals.

The head coach took time to gather the parents and explain the process. The children would be evaluated by each of the coaches individually and then they would all meet to compare notes. At the next tryout the kids would be divided by level as determined by the coaches and they would be re-evaluated in the same manner.

At the end of the 2nd tryout, the coaches would meet again and determine which of 3 categories the players belonged.

The first category would be the players that needed no further evaluation and who would be invited to join the team for the 2007 season.

The second category would be the players that showed potential but who required further evaluation which would happen over the winter at weekly skills building and training sessions.

The third category would be players who needed further development playing in house league soccer but who would be welcome to attend the winter sessions. They said that they knew at this age, development could improve drastically in a short time and it was possible that these kids would improve to the required level over the winter.

They told us that letters would be sent out by October 10th.

I was pretty sure that Dervish was going to be fine. I could have predicted that he would make the team even if the head coach hadn’t approached me after the first tryout and asked me where he had played rep over the summer.

My instincts were verified before the 10th of October though. At Dervish’s first winter house league game last week a man walked up to me and said “This is Dervish right?” I was a little shocked because I had no idea who this man was but he introduced himself as one of the coaches from the tryouts. He said that he remembered Dervish from the tryouts and complimented his playing skills, and then he added that all the coaches had been impressed and that he would be getting an invitation to play. Yesterday we got the confirmation.

“Your player has been identified as a Category 1 player. The skills, game sense, and attitude exhibited by your child during the evaluation sessions impressed the coaching staff and accordingly we would like him be a part of our U8 program for the 2007 season. In the next few weeks, you will be receiving the Club’s standard “offer to play” form for you to complete and return to us at the first indoor session”

Hey, can you tell I’m a proud momma?

Please pardon this unadulterated brag. Raising Dervish is a challenge. His intensity and spirited nature can be overwhelming and there are so many times I’m pulling my hair out – It’s just nice to enjoy moments like these.

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