Photo copyright - Sky Sports.
IT'S NOT EASY.
The turbulent tryout season is a time that many coaches start to reflect on the past season. The joyous wins, the moments of growth recognition, the “back to the drawing board” times and more. No matter how your season went, it all eventually comes to an end each year. I’m not sure if it is maturity, or just experience, but this season has made me realize how difficult tryouts are for the entire soccer community. Players have spent countless hours learning their craft, striving to improve, and fighting for their teammates/team. Coaches who have had sleepless nights because of a single loss or are genuinely concerned how their players are doing outside the soccer field. Parents who love their children and will do anything to help them reach for their dreams. Club directors who love the sport of soccer and absolutely want to help instill a love into the younger generations behind them. It is not easy. How do you tell a player they may not have a spot on your team next year; especially when your team has grown close? How do you tell your child the possibility of being cut from a team might be the best option for them? How do you decide if your coaching staff are the right fit to be trusted with the well-being, dreams, and aspirations of young athletes; many of who are looking for role models to learn from? It is not easy. Reflecting, I have to remind myself that the love of soccer is MUCH BIGGER than any tryout, season, team or coach. It comes down to a player, a soccer ball and the endless possibilities. Fighting for your dreams WILL NOT be easy and you will have others telling you are not good enough or stupid to sacrifice so much for a game. But I would argue you have the opportunity every single day to take control of what your future will be; whether through soccer or life in general. Don’t waste that.
Coaches - Tell your players why coaching them made this season worth it and why you are proud of them.
Parents - Be sure to tell your children you love them; no matter the successes or let-downs on the field. Be sure to tell your coach you recognize the sacrifices they have made to help your child learn important life lessons.
Directors - Be sure to let your coaches know how much you appreciate their hard work each season; especially with the many, many sacrifices they make.
The “simple” game of of soccer has been part of my life since I was age 4. A couple weeks ago, I had the chance to visit the field where my first game was played on. There were two youth teams there just starting their journey on the pitch and it made me reflect on how much this game has given me; teaching lessons of determination, sacrifice, humility, love, disappointment, joy, maturity, confidence, and so much more. All from a “simple” game of soccer.
I'll leave everyone with one of my favorite quotes:
“Every player will be a person much longer than they will be a soccer player.”
That goes for coaches, parents, and players alike. I would like to personally wish the best to every single soccer player, coach, director, and club during these stressful tryout times. Remember your “WHY” no matter what.
Yours in soccer,