I’m a soccer mom – and I’m done.

I’m not done taking my child to soccer. I’m not done cheering them on. I’m not done providing for them, playing with them or parenting them. I’m not done loving them, by any means. But I am done trying to create the perfect soccer experience for them.

As parents, we want nothing but the best for our children. It’s an innate part of being called mom and dad. We want to ensure they have the best academic possibilities, the best upbringing, and in many cases, the best athletic opportunities. High achievements in any or all of those categories assert us as “good parents.”

But sometimes striving to obtain that “good parent” status causes us to get in our own way.

We tend to overexert ourselves in the process of trying to get our kids to the very top, which, in turn, can overexert them. This is becoming a very common trend in general parenting, but especially sports – soccer being no exception.

I feel our responsibilities are simple: 1. Get them to the field. 2. Be supportive.

Yelling should be swapped for cheering. Car coaching exchanged for song celebration after the game. And long soccer talks at the dinner table can be replaced with compliments to the chef.

Sounds easy, right? But it can be hard sometimes.

Instead, the desire for our child to be a top level player and the seduction of a college scholarship has families running mad from field to field. It turns into a game of “Keeping up with the Joneses,” always wondering what the parents next door are doing and causing us to think that we failed if our kid fails to make the best team or doesn’t have the newest cleats.

I’m done breaking the bank for the most expensive cleats and “showcase” tournament. I’m done watching every second of every practice with a keen and critical eye.

When I grew up, my mom or dad would drop us off at practice and come get us when we were done. But now the trend has shifted to 24-7 soccer – and it’s exhausting.

I don’t want to dictate family life by the soccer schedule. It’s nice for everyone in the household to be able to take a breath and have some downtime. That’s what summer vacation is for: biking, swimming, camping, baseball, Frisbee, and just being kids.

Summer offers a break not only for my soccer player, but our soccer family. And once the leaves start turning colors again in the fall, we can’t wait to hit the field and see the smiles on kids’ faces.

But there’s always that concern if you do limit soccer: What if they don’t make the team? How will that affect them? Well, it’s probably for their own good.

My kids aren’t National team players, and they likely never will be. They are kids. Kids who love to play soccer … and baseball and basketball and go camping and biking. And I’m going to let them do it. I’ll let them play. I’ll let them fail. I’ll let them learn on their own.

I’ll let the kids be kids.

Years down the road, my kids won’t remember the summer tournaments, soccer lectures or brand-new cleats. What they will remember is the camaraderie with teammates, lifelong friendships, family camping trips, accomplishments, hardships and lessons learned. Those are the childhood memories worth making.

And I’m done trying to get in the way.


Anonymous Soccer Mom

Copy from USA Hockey-changed for soccer