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Soccer Tournaments

September 18, 2010

Most of the future information I wish to share will bounce around from technical topics, personal topics and random thoughts – as most blogs go – but, many topics may focus on my love and passion of soccer. Not professional soccer or the usual rantings of the lunatic worldly fan, yet my deep involvement in youth soccer, my club and my kids.

This weekend, I’m at a tournament in Naperville, IL with my son, Jason. He’s playing for a new team this year (plenty more on that later) and this is the first time I’ve been “just a parent.” Having coached him and his older brother for many years, this is a new experience just watching, talking with other parents and just enjoying the game in general.

Jason’s second game was delayed due to rain so I took some time to walk around the 60+ acre facility. I’m usually rushed to take in the tournament offerings, but this time I could simply stroll. Being the first time at this tournament, seeing different club names, different uniform colors and designs, and varied player skills puts the whole ‘soccer tournament’ experience in to perspective. These kids are here to have fun, play their best and, in general, do well enough to maybe win a trophy or medal. In my estimation, if they leave this weekend satisfied with their effort and enjoyed the experience, they walk away winners.

The most interesting observation I take away on the first day was something Jason said to me upon returning for the second game. We got out of the car, stepped out to the horse-manure ridden parking lot (they’re playing at a polo club that has horse stables connected 8-} ) and stated that it was “oddly quiet.” I said it should be since we were at least 100 yards to the first field. “But, it’s just quieter than normal”, he replied.

That made me think about it and take in the overall volume of the tournament. So many of these, where there are 20+ fields — and I’ve seen some with 50+ — all you hear are parents and coaches literally screaming at the kids or referees. The sights and sounds never cease to amaze me!!! But, today….all I really ‘heard’ was kids communicating on the field, the occassional coaching instruction and referee whistles. Now that’s the way it should be!! Kudos to either the tournament for setting their expectations or to the parents and coaches of the primarily Illinois and Wisconsin teams!

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