MatchDay Memory–The Family that Plays Soccer Together, Stays Together

I grew up in a soccer family. My sister and I started in the fall of 1982, but over the years, all three kids played every fall and spring, with my parents dutifully driving us to practices and games, buying us new gear, and chipping in with orange slices and Capri Suns.

I am the oldest, but probably not the best. I spent my formative years playing goalkeeper, which meant I stood in a worn out spot in front of the goal while everyone else ran around. I was so bored. Needless to say I didn’t get my touches on the ball, which would have improved my technical ability. When I moved to Michigan, the team I was assigned to had a tall, fat kid as goalie, and, since he was the coach’s son, it was time for me to learn a new position in the field, which I did with moderate success.

My sister got the most out of her ability. The middle child, a girl between two boys, she battled and worked her socks off. A decent goalkeeper, she never quite made it at High School level. At college, she played on a men’s college team for a coach who wasn’t necessarily interested in having a woman on the team, much less a female goalkeeper. Didn’t stop her. She grinded every day, played a little bit and won a lot of respect, even earning a District honorable mention one year. A couple of years ago, she played keeper at our alumni game and gave a tremendous performance, keeping the old farts in front of her in the game for a little while.

My brother is the best player. Combining his height, strength and speed with respectable technical ability, he was the one who made Premier, which at the time were Little Caesar’s Premier Teams. Not sure why he didn’t play in high school but these things happen. A commanding presence, he doesn’t get to play enough these days.

My dad was all in for soccer. Didn’t know anything about the sport, but the first season my sister and I played, he coached, later getting referee certification and joining the local soccer association. When we moved from Kentucky to Michigan, same thing. My dad was involved, figuring if his kids were doing this for half the year, he might as well know what’s going on.

My mother kept the whole show going. Making meals every night, keeping everyone on schedule and doing all of the stinky, dirty laundry, all while sitting through the elements to watch her children play.

Family quality time equaled soccer for a while. When we each went our separate ways, playing on different teams, managing the schedule was a little problematic, but my parents figured it out. All of these years later, I am now driving Larryboy all over town for his activities, hoping that I’m doing half the job my parents did. Whatever you did when you were growing up —music, sports, dancing, clubs—take a second to thank your mom and dad for making it happen.

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