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Sunday, September 18, 2005

AYSO 

Yesterday YW (I should We, since I'm coaching) had his first soccer game of the season. He's playing Under-8, which means that there are a grand total of 8 kids on his team. At game time there are 5 players on the field (including a goalie). Another aspect of the young kid version soccer is that there is no score kept since it's all about having fun and learning the game (which is good since our team got shelled something like 5-nil). Of my 8 players I had 5 show up so there was no worries about who had to sit out when. And since one kid didn't want to play goalie at all I didn't have to disappoint anyone on getting to wear the goalie shirt. Most of the team hasn't played that much soccer and so I haven't been emphasizing things like strategies and set-piece plays so much as what a legal throw-in looks like and trying to pass the ball. But at this level it still comes down to the kids that have either played a lot or a really quick on the uptake to dribble the ball down the field and score.

Poor YW was so hot to play in the goal that I let him play there first quarter. The other team had, I suspect, a core of kids who'd played together before because they seemed a bit more together than the typical group of 7 year olds. My boys hadn't quite realized they were in a game when it all started so YW was left all alone on a few break aways and let four shots into the goal. I think the last couple were hard for him to defend against because it's hard to see the ball through tears (that's the trouble with playing goalie, when all is said and done you're the one who let the ball get by you into the goal). Second quarter they scored once and they only had a couple of shots on goal in the second half. I think YW will have a better time in goal next weekend when he gets a bit more support from the rest of the team.

When I was a little soccer player I gravitated to playing defense. There was something about it that just felt right for me. I think there's a kid on the team for whom that's true as well. He was supposed to play offense for the entire second half but he kept being johhny-on-the-spot taking the ball away from the other team deep in our end of the field. He kept asking if he could attack and I'd say, "You are attacking. You're on offense, go score." 30 seconds later he'd be back anchoring the defense. He couldn't help it. It was adorable.

And not that I'm trying to whinge or anything, but the other coach kept the same kid in the goal for the whole game. And the kid was good. I think 7 years old is a bit young to start specializing on your position. I thought it was strange that during the pregame warmup the other coach spent the whole time working with one kid on goal keeping while one of the dads worked with all the other boys. It all became clear when keeper duties never rotated during the course of the game.


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