I thought soccer was supposed to be fun and perhaps more competitive when the kids got older.
Then I was introduced to the strange world of Select Soccer.
I was happily going to renew Abby for the fall season of our simple SAY soccer league. She has been playing her best season ever and has made friends with the girls on her team. As one of the oldest girls (some are still turning six!), she has stepped up as a leader and has enjoyed it.
Then, one of the other soccer moms asked me if Abby was going to try out for select. My ignorance led me to ask, "What's that?" Apparently, for strong players, they get the chance to try out and play with other strong players in a more competitive league. It is more money and more time and more traveling.
Um, yeah, I am already worn out from two practices a week at a field that is ten minutes from my house.
What is amazing is the pressure that I started to feel. I heard that this soccer mom's daughter would be trying out (she and Abby have been the strongest players on their team so far) and two of Abby's former teammates (from her fall team that went to the state tournament) would be trying out. It made me wonder if I was missing something.
What happens if we miss our chance to try out? What if it becomes more difficult to get in when she is older? Does this affect her soccer skills? Do select coaches really know how to teach them better than the current parent volunteers? Will she be bored staying where she is?
Then, like a slap in the face, Abby mentioned today, "I don't really want to try out for select. I haven't really wanted to do that ever since it was first talked about."
Thank you, sweet girl. Thank you for being honest and for bringing this soccer mom back to reality.
Abby is seven years old. Seven. She is not playing for a college scholarship. She is not playing for income. She is playing to have fun. And every time she saves a goal as goalie, kicks strongly as a defender or scores a goal on offense, she does a little skip and cheers with her teammates.
That sounds like a perfect way to spend our fall season.