Soccer is getting huge, and that’s good for kids on a number of levels. Today’s Eel River Soccer Jamboree at Newburg Park Fortuna was the most enjoyable I’ve had yet. Huge participation and lots of happy healthy kids in an atmosphere so much better than the Little League experiences of my youth. Unfortunately, we didn’t have a soccer league where I lived as a kid. Little League was fun, but unfortunately they let some of the parents drink beer while watching, and it wasn’t fun. The soccer leagues now will actually throw parents off the field if they’re yelling at the kids or refs.
Almost everybody on my son’s team of last year moved up to the Under 10 (U-10) league and remain together. Mid-season last year they really caught on to passing, and though we didn’t have a lot of power we won a number of games scoring a goal and winning with ball control – probably like four games won 1-0, kind of like international play! Well, they haven’t forgotten how to pass over the past year, and now they’ve got more power. They’ve added a couple of players, but all on the team are on the young side of the two-year split which means they’ll probably play together again next year. I’m proud to report that my son Asher scored the first goal of the season within a few minutes of starting. He also assisted in a goal later in the game with a great pass to Noah Kulchin, probably our strongest player, who got by a defender and the goalie to score. It was a high scoring game by our standards – 5 to 4. We won. They won. I’m on the sidelines now and I get to be the parent who tells the coach how he should do his job, etc.
Unfortunately I missed my son’s goal because I was coaching/reffing my daughter’s U-6 game. At the end of last year’s season she told me that I had coached Asher’s team for three years and this year should be her turn. So Jana and I are jointly coaching her team, the Blue Dragons. She’s a powerhouse, and she scored three goals today – one for her team and two for the opposing team. We have some bruisers on her team (going to have to work on that) and some of the other team’s 4-year-olds were a little intimidated by the whole thing anyway, and didn’t want to play. They were a couple of players short, so part way into the game we gave them Lilith (my daughter) and Lucca. It evened things up a bit, and they had a great time. It may be the hardest age to coach, but it may also be the most fun.
I heard that the other Sohum U-10 team, who had some hard games last year, but are older and still together now, won their game 7-0. Asher’s team, being coached by Dan Kulchin, looks forward to the challenge.
My kids’ teams are being sponsored by Redway Liquors and Deli (so funny – reminds me of the Bad New Bears being sponsored by a bail bonds company – but both are legit businesses!) and Humboldt House Inn respectively. If you want some great sports entertainment, come out to Redway School on any Saturday morning starting in two weeks and through November.
The shot is of my son (on left) in action last year, taken by Clover Willison whose son is in green.
Addendum: Well, I just heard that there may not be a varsity football team at South Fork this year, because so many of the players want to play soccer (and that Arcata is having a similar problem). Maybe they need to scour the halls for nerdy kids who might not otherwise make a team. Didn’t they make a movie or two about this?