What Every Soccer Parent Needs: Perspective

 

I am now the parent of an “aged out” youth soccer player. While that brings a little sadness, there are benefits:

 

  • No more ungodly smells in the car
  • Eating dinner at a reasonable hour
  • No more freezing mornings
  • No sitting in the broiling sun while your feet burn on the turf
  • A tank of gas lasting more than 3 days

 

Having said that, I would trade all those “benefits” for the chance to continue the soccer parent journey.

 

Alas, the soccer gods had other plans, and that’s ok. Once a soccer Dad, always a soccer Dad. My kid still plays soccer (pickup and adult league) and still loves the game. There will always be “what if’s” lingering far in the back of my mind. When I see all the awesome things other kids are doing pursuing and achieving their soccer dreams past the youth soccer level, a part of me will always wonder what could my kid have done in soccer if he had that burning desire to chase his soccer dreams.

 

But there’s the rub. My son never had that deep, burning desire to play competitive soccer beyond the youth level. He’s always loved the game. He’s also pretty good at it. He has God given athletic ability that most kids can only dream of. He has a high soccer IQ. For those reasons, initially it was hard for me to accept that he didn’t want to play in college.

 

What helped me to accept that was perspective.

 

Soccer is a big part of all of our lives, but there is a bigger world out there. At the end of the day, we want our kids to learn life lessons from playing the game.

 

  • Resilience
  • Mental toughness
  • Sportsmanship
  • Working in a team environment
  • Work ethic

 

And on and on. And let’s face it. Very few of our kids are going to be pros, and that’s ok. We just want to prepare them for the adult world they will face. For 99% of them, that will be something other than competitive soccer.

 

Perspective is what allows you as a parent to handle the moment when your kid plays their last competitive game. It allows you to give them solid advice on pursuing the next chapter in their lives, whether that happens at 16 years old, 18 years old, 22 years old, or even 30 years old. Perspective is what allows you to be internally ok to accept their decisions to chart their own path for the next chapter.

 

Perspective also empowers you while your child is in the thick of the soccer journey. It can keep you calm during a big tournament game. It can prevent you from giving potentially unwanted advice on the ride home after a game. It can keep you from blowing up a coach’s email immediately after a game, or prematurely leaving a club because you are unhappy with your child’s team placement.

 

In short, developing a healthy dose of perspective will make you a better soccer parent.

 

My perspective as the parent of an “aged out” youth soccer player is that I wouldn’t trade those 15 years of youth soccer for anything. And although it ended prematurely from my point of view, and my kid has since experienced failure and tragedy early in his “adulting” journey, he has jumped back on the horse, enrolled in college, and is working, and moving forward. He still loves and participates in The Beautiful Game. In perspective, he’s going to be alright. In the end, that’s all that really matters.

 

For more on how developing a healthy perspective can help you be a better soccer parent, check out:

The Soccer Parent Lifestyle – A Formula for Raising Happy, Healthy, and Successful Soccer Players

 

Buford Mobley

I'm no soccer guru. Just a soccer Dad who's been through the ups and downs, twists and turns of the youth soccer journey. I help soccer parents develop their players by becoming better soccer parents. It is my mission to make the journey easier, more enjoyable, and more meaningful for soccer parents.


Buford Mobley

I'm no soccer guru. Just a soccer Dad who's been through the ups and downs, twists and turns of the youth soccer journey. I help soccer parents develop their players by becoming better soccer parents. It is my mission to make the journey easier, more enjoyable, and more meaningful for soccer parents.