My daughter plays youth soccer on a T3 Under 12 team. I am glad she is part of a team and I enjoy watching her play. I am the quiet parent sitting on the sidelines. I usually sit alone near the center of the field. I watch the game and listen to the commotion on the sidelines. There are parents who cheer, complain, criticize, yell, grumble, applaud and moan.
I found an open spot on the sidelines to set my chair. Within minutes, parents of the opposing team filled in the space next to me. Sitting next to me was an exuberant, chatty father. Through the course of the game, I learned a lot about him. He told me where he was from, why he moved, how he loved living in a rural area and about his chickens. He told me about the opposing teams practice schedule, their drills and the coach. The coach was a local celebrity and soccer professional. The coach retired from competitive soccer and is teaching a girls team for fun.
The chatty father pointed out his daughter and wanted to know which one was mine. He gestured to the end of the field and said, "The Amazon playing defense is my daughter". Yep, he actually said Amazon. The chatty father apologized to me in advance because his daughter was probably going to knock some of our team down. Their coach was teaching some of the more talented players to knock opposing team members over without being called for it. The chatty dad got it half-right. His daughter stomped over my daughter and knocked her down. The referee called a penalty.
Once again, I found and open spot on the sidelines to set my chair. This week I was surrounded by parents and grandparents of our team. The moment the whistle blew the commentary began. The grandfather did not stop talking the entire one-hour game. “They need to run to the ball. Look at the other team, they are running to the ball. They need to kick the ball forward not backward. Look at the other teams goalie, she should have brought a lawn chair. They need to run. The coaches need to be harder on the girls. Kick the ball forward.” Repeat over and over again.
Our team was losing at least 8-0 with only a few minutes left in the game. The other team was excited and seemed to become increasingly aggressive. At one point, an 11-year-old girl on the opposing team shouted, “Show No Mercy!”. A moment later, our goalie was hit in the face with the ball and an opposing player knocked her down. The goalie had to leave the game with an ice pack.
What do you think of the “Show No Mercy!” comment? Do you have any youth soccer stories to share?