Wednesday, November 12, 2014

It’s not easy being a soccer mom!

We jumped at the opportunity to enroll Lauris in a soccer program here in Greenville. Soccer is the sport he has shown most interest in playing, and as he’ll turn five next year we thought an organized sport would be a great opportunity for him to practice his English, interact with other kids and learn player/coach dynamics. Having dismissed Saturday leagues as they would eat up our family time, and some other options as simply being too far for us to drive once a week, the City of Greenville Parks & Rec youth soccer program seemed perfect.

With the coed U4 (for 3 year olds), U6 (ages 4-5), U8 (ages 6-7) and U10 (ages 8-9) divisions, the program covered a wide range of experience and age. U6 met Tuesday evenings in nearby Holmes Park for eight weeks: the first four covering the basics, the last four being non-competitive games. We ended up out on the field yesterday (despite it being week 10) as two evenings were rained out and rescheduled. Vilis was still very young the first weeks, so Lauris was accompanied by Mikus and dad or vecmamma Inga, who declared that never in her life had she been a soccer mom – “the things we do for our grandchildren!” Vilis and I made it to all four games, and so it came about that I learned how it really is to be that “soccer mom.”

The program is really focused on having fun and learning the fundamentals of soccer. There was no score kept during the games (although believe you me, the boys knew exactly how many goals had been scored and by which teams), and more attention was paid to skill development and encouraging the love of soccer in these young kids than to strategy and winning. I love how excited Lauris got about soccer, and the nights it rained he was heartbroken that practice was cancelled but already babbling about how great the next week would be.

But he is also 4 years old, and this is the reason why it’s hard being a soccer mom. It was clear from the beginning that no negativity would be tolerated from the parents, and a notice was sent out that the general philosophy was to build on qualities, techniques and skills of enrichment such as sportsmanship, teamwork, character, development, encouragement and fun. I think this is important for kids as young as Lauris, because it is easy to discourage kids from wanting to participate, but HOLY COW was it hard not to say anything!!!  As a completely normal four year old, we had lying down on the field, inattentiveness to the ball and the game being played, a certain amount of chopping, wiggling and other goofing off, and the sort of stuff that drives a competitive spirit nuts!

So although there is the voice in the back of my head saying “we need to work on that” and “come on already, chase the ball not your shadow,” I’m proud of my little cleated Lion in green. Not only did he kick in the very first goal in the very first game, but he earned his first trophy and team shirt. We learned about kicking, dribbling and passing, and tried (mostly successfully) to give Coach our attention. Lauris played on a team for the first time, and he told anyone who would listen about the team, practice, the last game, the next game and the fun he is having for three months straight. Not only has he decided (already) that he wants to be a soccer player when he grows up, we’ve already registered him for basketball per his request. And now that we know we have such a wonderful program almost in our backyard, we’ll be registering Mikus next year for the U4 program – maybe by then I’ll have learned the proper soccer mom game-time cheers!

For information on the City of Greenville Parks and Rec department and the programs they sponsor please visit their website and facebook page


  1. It is so nice that they're so focused on building a love for and enjoyment of soccer. We are having the opposite problem here, in that Aiden loved soccer, but absolutely refuses to play now because it is so darn competitive. These Europeans are serious about their football! But it breaks my heart because he will only play with us now, and no matter what I do he will not play with other kids.

  2. Sounds like you're well on the way to becoming a soccer Mum Liene....all sounds like a fun way to play!

  3. I loved my short stint as "soccer grandma"! From the very first practice, I saw nothing but patient nurturing direction teaching kids the fun of the game, no one getting hurt or crying, just a lot of jumping around for joy! I'll be glad to repeat the soccer grandma thing again, unless it involves Sunday morning (or any other morning) 6:00 am practices... And watching little short people playing basketball should be great fun (remember, Liene: you broke EVERY one of your fingers playing for LPHS...)!!!

  4. I know how it is. Lauris also is doing already 3rd year football, and luckily this year I don't need to stand by patch all the time, just collect after. But 3 years ago, when he started, it was not so easy with newborn baby in a pram. Good luck! And looks like your Lauris absolutely enjoys his soccer practising!

  5. You are one amazing soccer mom! I have lots of respect for soccer moms out there and how they equate their children's passions with their love and support. I'm sure you'll be able to sort things out in time. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, as well as the lovely pictures! All the best!

    Jennine Stalder @ Uniforms Express


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