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A Parent’s Guide To Soccer

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This afternoon I watched my 7,456th soccer game. While I enjoy watching my children play sports, after a while it gets old. Really old. Really, really old. The sport and the children are probably interchangeable. For this example I will refer to soccer, but baseball, softball, volleyball, football, and basketball could easily be swapped in. I will also be referring to the child as “he” even though I also have a “she.” It’s my blog I can do whatever I want.


You and/or your spouse see a sign about soccer for children ages 4 and up. The two of you decide that this is the right time to enroll your child in team sports. They will learn to work with others, strategize, and have fun. Or, at the very least burn off some energy. You balk a little at the $40 cost (including a uniform t-shirt) but decide it is worth the money. You could have the next David Beckham on your hands and not even know it. You also purchase the cutest little soccer shoes and shin guards at Target for a total cost of $20. You decide to buy a soccer bag for all of his gear shoes, shin guards, water bottle. It’s pricey, but he looks so cute lugging that big bag around that you spring for it despite the ridiculous cost.

During this phase the kids play “beehive soccer.” There is no playbook and no strategy. They just blindly follow the ball around the field and try to kick it in a VERY LARGE soccer net. There is no score kept. It’s coed. Everybody is a winner. After each game one parent is required to bring snacks for the team. You purchase those cute little bottles of Gatorade and cut up piles of oranges. For good measure you also get a few boxes of granola bars. Nothing but healthy snacks for your little athlete.

You invite all of your friends and family out to the field on Saturday mornings. You watch. You cheer. You giggle over your son picking dandelions out of the grass. You take piles and piles of photos. Many of them are “just the cutest” pictures of him squatting down with his hands under his shin guards scratching his legs. You ask around about what ‘off sides’ means, no one knows. It’s hot. It’s cold. You complain about both, but it’s worth it.

The first time a game is rained out you cheer the kids up by going to the humane society and adopting a stupid dog. (I highly recommend avoiding this part of phase one.)

You love the coach. At the end of the season you buy her a present after she gives every child a trophy.


At this point your child has played soccer for a few years. You think he is pretty good, maybe the best on the team. He moves up a level and so does your cost. Now it is anywhere from $75 to $120 for the season. That hurts a little, but at least he gets a uniform. They get real soccer shirts now and matching shorts. You notice the soccer bag has a hole in it. You patch it with duct tape because it was at least $40. The teams are no longer coed.

You’ve missed a few games and feel bad about it. Luckily, you have made some friends on the team that can help transport the kids to and from the game. The carpool family winds up being your best friends. The kids love each other and you all hang out outside of soccer and gossip about the other parents. Whenever someone from your side yells ‘OFF SIDES’ you do too, even though you don’t know what it means. You take a few pictures in the beginning of the season.

After the games you are still required to do the snack thing. You think the kids might be getting a little old for it. Instead of sliced oranges they just get granola bars or twinkies or whatever you can grab on the way to the game because you forgot it was your day. When your child requests the full size bottles of Gatorade you ask him if he thinks money grows on trees.

You complain like nobody’s business about the hot/cold. You buy every different type of bug spray to keep away the gnats and mosquitos. You burn incense, nothing works. You like the coach, mostly. At the end of the season you all pitch in to get him a gift. There is an awards ceremony, everyone gets a trophy.


Soccer is now a line item in your family budget. You’re on the payment plan because he is playing year-round, indoor and outdoor. Your household now spends more each month for the payment than you did for the entire season when they were little. The uniforms are an extra $100. ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS. Within six months the shirt already has holes in it. You invest in more duct tape. His soccer shoes now cost $130 and the shin guards are another $35. He also has to have a ball, “a good one, not the cheap ones from Target Mom.”

He is required to keep his soccer bag in the trunk because it smells like moldy teenage boy. He can buy a new one with his own money.

You’ve missed lots of games, but have convinced yourself that your son does better when you are not watching. This makes you feel like a good and bad parent at the same time. Your soccer BFF’s moved away. You have a new carpool buddy, but it’s not the same. Most of the other parents are irritating and take the game entirely too seriously for your taste.

Camera? Am I supposed to bring a camera to this?

The girls’ stay after their game to watch the boys play. They cheer on the boys. They cheer on your boy. It makes you feel jealous and angry and then weird and old.

There are no more snacks. Instead you have to bring something for the potluck barbecue after the game. This irritates you until you realize that it is acceptable to also bring beer to the barbecue.

You couldn’t care less about the coach’s personality. You fork over the cash for the end-of-season gift, but do not volunteer to actually buy it because you got burned on that deal once already.

You have now spent more time watching soccer than you have doing anything else in your adult life. You would just once like to watch a game that was in perfect weather, not steaming hot, not raining, not windy, and not freezing cold.

You still have no idea what ‘off sides’ is, nor do you care.


About Twinisms

I am the mother of two sets of twins that are ten years apart. Each of them has moments where they say and do hilarious, frustrating, and crazy things.I counter that by also doing borderline crazy things. It's a good time.

14 responses »

  1. This just made me laugh until I cried. Note to self: Put off enrolling 4 year old into team sport for as long as possible.

  2. This is why I encourage my kids to play video games and watch as much TV as possible. We did one season of soccer – during which I was team mom – and I would have dreams about setting the soccer fields on fire. We’ve decided that anything involving equipment and teammates is more than we can handle and we’ll just stay home and stay happy thankyouverymuch.

  3. Noah’s been playing for I think 5 years now. I’ve been team mom once, an assistant coach twice and also worked the snack shack. Why can’t I just flipping watch the game and pay me $20 for the gift. I don’t like the end of season party. The other parents aren’t my friends (unless they are also fellow school parents) and we can’t drink beer.

    I hate off sides because it makes no sense. And with basketball what the hell is a pick-n-roll? Noah’s not interested in basketball but I wouldn’t allow it because they too have off sides.

    I highly recommend track even if I do have to work three meets except for the part where your son trips over a hurdle during practice (his fault for running hurdles. Duh he’s gonna trip!) And breaks his wrist and you aren’t there at practice and he had to have an MRI and he already had a cast and now he’s stuck in a splint for another month.

    I suggest swim team.

    • I forgot all about working the dreaded snack shack! I was team mom once for baseball. So stupid.

      Dude, track is awesome, except the meets take forever…I’ve got things to do…like this stupid blog.

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  5. heather Miller

    I now officially hate soccer after my research into the leagues here. We can play for $100 at the Y, with no real coach, just whatever dad didn’t have the balls to say no. We can play with the city league for $150, with a real coach and practices on the other side of town. OR, we can fork out $700 to the soccer psycho league that all the “good” Wilmington Island parents put their child in so they can “truly develop their skills and sportsmanship in a structured and progressive atmosphere”. This s the one recommended by the teacher at school. Obviously, screw that one. We’re going for city league because if there are even 25% fewer mosquitos in town than out at the islands Y it will be worth the extra 50 bucks. Also, I think they get cute socks.

    • We did the city league there. It was kind of good, except for those stupid gnats. Stupid, stupid, gnats.

      They will look cute in their little outfits. Take pictures now, while you still care.

  6. Ha ha ha. Too true and yes this also applies to baseball! And yes I feel foolish spending the time and money but guilty if I don’t. Were sports like this when we were growing up? (I don’t know I’ve never played.)

    • I think I played baseball once, in the third grade. No, I don’t think it was like this-we are all too high strung and competitive.

      I think I’ll start bringing a flask to the games, that should calm everyone down.

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