This I Believe

Kelly - Lake Forest, Illinois
Entered on September 28, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
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This I Believe

I believe that life’s important lessons can be learned by enrolling the youth of America in AYSO soccer.

Though a spectator watching a group of young boys and girls struggle through a soccer game at age 5 would assume that the children have little idea what they are doing and what their purpose on the field is, they are actually absorbing values that will hold significance throughout their lives.

Soccer teams at the more advanced level usually consist of a European coach standing on the sidelines, barking orders at the more skilled group of children. However, it is parents, usually fathers, that volunteer to coach AYSO teams. Children learn to respect this fatherly figure, and gain appreciation for what he has to say. Unlike the European disciplinarian that will come later in their lives, this coach actually has children, one of them actually being on the team, and a mutual respect can be exercised. Though focus on their own needs and desires is inevitably what will be on each young player’s mind, they will soon realize that actually listening to their director will produce a more positive outcome, not unlike experiences they will come upon in later years.

The AYSO experience is, more often than not, these 5-year-olds’ first team experience. It is here that they first learn the idea of teamwork; that everything cannot always be about “me, me, me” as that had been the focus in their toddler years. They gain knowledge that interacting with peers is often difficult when working toward a common goal, but with hard work, practice, and a little bit of effort to work with teammates, success will be achieved, and rewards will follow. (Goal!)

So the next time you find yourself on the sidelines of a similar sporting event, watching a group of little tykes run around aimlessly on a field and you notice yourself thinking, “Is there even a point to this,” know that those children are more like little sponges running around, soaking in lessons that will guide them through life while, every so often, scoring a goal to make their coach realize that there is some hope for the future.