I would like to relate a (true) story to your FUNdamental readers.
I was recently asked to help host the preliminaries for Association Cup at
Cherry Island on January 6/7th for under-12G/class 3. Competition was good
the first day with a lot of youth soccer matches being decided by a one goal difference.
On the second day, after the preliminaries were concluded. A draw
completed for the match ups in the quarterfinals. I overheard a
conversation between a 10 or 11 year old girl and a youth soccer coach. Apparently
this girl approached the coach and politely asked if there would be any
chance of her playing in the next game since she had not previously
played any minutes of the first three games? Her youth soccer team was from out of
town and had lodging in the area.
The youth soccer coach looked at her and frankly told her, 'that she (the coach) was
here to win and would not play her unless they were ahead by three goals and
there were only a few minutes left.' The player walked away and I observed
her approach her parents who put their arms around her and tried to console
I decided to watch the quarterfinals and observed this youth soccer player standing
next to the coach encouraging the team at every opportunity. She never once
showing her feelings but you could tell she longed to be put in the soccer game.
Her team won the quarterfinal match and returned the next weekend
to play in the semifinals. Even though I was not assigned to help with
the hosting jobs, I still wanted to see the outcome of this and went to
observe their soccer match.
Again, this youth soccer player was still on the sidelines encouraging the players
and never left the youth soccer coach. Although they lost in the semifinals, she was the
first to run out on the field to hug and console her teammates.
Upon presentation of the medals, she graciously came forward and
accepted her medal. Which she will probably, proudly display, on her wall
along with pictures and trophies! But, I could not help but think of what memories
she will have of this event.
I was about the leave when I saw this girl in the parking lot wearing
her medal. I approached her and her parents and told her, 'She was a true hero of the
team for never being allowed to play yet was the strongest supporter on the
sideline. And, I truly wish that next year she will find a youth soccer team and a coach
that will appreciate her and play her minimum of half the game no matter what the
I never did see the coach afterwards and maybe it is just as well because
I might not have been as polite. I am sure the coach will probably display
her medal on the wall for everyone to see and what she accomplished at the
expense of some girl's broken heart. I would hope that this is not the
standard being set by youth soccer coaches in any tournaments.
I have managed a youth soccer club and coached a youth soccer team for ten years. And one thing I
practice and teach all our other youth soccer coaches - Is to treat every youth soccer player equal and
play each of them more than the minimum no matter what the outcome of the
game might be. After all, it's their game, not ours!
Manager of B.A.C. Youth Soccer Club and Coach of the B.A.C. Speed
FUNdamental Readers - Your comments, suggestions or personal stories (as you
can see) are welcome on our pages...!