In 2009 I began coaching my daughter Julia in soccer. I started out as her recreation coach and eventually became her travel coach. Along the way I also became Mia’s rec coach when she got old enough to begin playing soccer. When Mia moved to travel I became her assistant coach. Since 2013 I was Julia’s head coach and Mia’s assistant coach.
With such a heavy coaching load when Olivia started playing soccer Cathy jumped in and coached her in rec. Recently US Soccer announced changes to how they structured the age requirements and I suddenly found myself without a team. So, for the first time in seven years I would have no team to coach. Olivia moved up to Travel this season and since I had already been coaching two teams another coach stepped up and took over her team.
Right now my daughter’s play soccer for three different soccer clubs in three different townships. With the conflicting game and practice schedules I wouldn’t have been able to coach even if I wanted to. The season started over a month ago but I wanted to wait before I made this post to give me some time to adjust and see what it was like. I had time to get used to it because in the summer I didn’t have any practices to run, just practices to run my girls to.
When the first week of soccer came I took Julia to her game. Julia, the girl who I had been coaching since she was five. The biggest difference came at the end of the game, which Julia’s team won 1-0. The feeling of victory was different; I don’t know how to describe it but it didn’t feel as complete as they did when I was coach. I didn’t feel I was a part of it like I did when I coached. It didn’t feel like we won, it felt like they won.
But like in all things you adjust, that feeling lasted only that one weekend and I quickly learned how to enjoy my daughter’s victories just as a parent and not a coach. Now more than a month into the season I am enjoying life on the sidelines. It is nice not to have to plan out practices, make sure I have all the paperwork before games and lug around a bag of balls (insert your own joke here). Best of all Julia’s new coach is 1000 times better than me.
I do miss my former soccer family and especially miss the girls I use to coach. I had been coaching the same travel team since 2011 and always felt I had more than three daughters. As tough as it was to not see my former players all the time I know change is inevitable. I always took pride in being identified as “Coach” and of course being able to teach something to my girls. However, they outgrew what I could teach them, I guess that is another inevitability I will have to get used to.