Meet the Sullivans: He's Our Soccer Star

June 5, 2014

He's Our Soccer Star

Last week marked the final day of Owen's first session of soccer class!

While Owen was (and is) really into kicking the ball and having fun, soccer class was not our jam 100% of the time, but we're still so proud of him! I think he learned a lot during our session. His teacher, Coach Jason, was amazingly patient, creative and cool with the kids and parents. I think we just signed him up too early. The age range for this level is 2-3 1/2, so we were on the younger end of the spectrum of kids.

His favorite thing about soccer class was when the games were turned into something that required him to knock cones over with his ball or pretend to be a garbage truck by picking up cones as he kicked his ball past them. He also really loved the last class when Coach Jason had the kids chase him with their balls and try to knock his ball away from him with theirs.

But sometimes even the really fun sounding games were a bit too involved for us to follow. For example: look at your game card (a piece of laminated printer paper with pictures of cartoon animals in different colors), pick an animal, kick your ball to the set of flags that coordinate with the color of your favorite animal while making the noise the animal makes. Sounds fun, right? But also kind of complicated for me Owen. We were able to do it maybe once of twice before losing interest completely and trying to run for the playground.

He would do almost anything to distract himself from the games we were playing... Oooo bottle cap in the grass! Gotta recycle it. Bird flying in the air! Where's it going? Let's follow it. Playground!?! Must play in sand NOW!


But it wasn't all for nothing, I would like to point out a few great things about his first soccer experience:

lessons in following directions - Owen was absolutely not interested in kicking the ball where it was supposed to go in the first class or so. He wanted to just kick it wherever he deemed the most fun place to kick a ball. Don't blame him, that's how we play in the front yard. But by the last class he would actually try to make his ball go where Coach Jason or I would tell him to bring it.

an introduction to "group sports" - This was Owen's first experience playing a sport among other children. They didn't really have to play together at any point, but they all did have to learn to respect each other's space, take turns and be work around each other in a small space.

learning to respect the teacher - Owen responds well to authority (even more easily if it is not mom or dad), so this was an easy one for him, but still an important practice. Many times during the class the kids were asked to stand on the "orange line" with their ball and listen to the directions. I thought this was great practice for getting used to dropping what you're doing to listen to the person in charge -- not an easy task for some children.

exposure and commitment - If anything, he saw on a consistent basis some of the basics of soccer, and got to try them out for himself. He's getting better at keeping the ball in front of him and bringing it to where he wants to go, as opposed to just kicking it off in any one direction. This was also a lesson in not quitting something if it's not panning out exactly the way we planned --- that one was for he and I!

We plan to continue practicing what we learned and honing his skills, and will definitely take the soccer class again next Spring! For the rest of the summer I think we're going to stick to swimming lessons, more on that next week!


E Hayes said...

your points are exactly why I want to start soccer so badly! Of course she's getting some of those things in gymnastics and swimming, but I think the more I can put her in those types of classes the better! Good job O (and mama!)

JMO said...

"He would do almost anything to distract himself from the games we were playing... Oooo bottle cap in the grass! Gotta recycle it. Bird flying in the air! Where's it going? Let's follow it. Playground!?! Must play in sand NOW!" <-- this is my favorite! What an absolute doll! Way to get started early!

Sara McCarty said...

This is so stinking cute! I love that you guys tried this. I don't think there's any chance in the world that Mac could concentrate long enough to participate in a team sport, but I can't wait until he's old enough to try. Cute pictures too!

Jenny @ said...

So fun! Hudson is taking a soccer camp later this summer and I'm excited for him to learn.

Mrs Gable said...

He is so cute!

Jenny said...

So fun that you were able to try a class like this out! I had such a similar experience with a gymnastics class for 2ish to 3 year olds. Callie started at 22 months and was the youngest by a long shot! Struggled with the waiting her turn, following the directions (instead of just jumping around), etc. I'm glad we tried it out because she defiantly picked up skills but she wasn't ready yet. At least you got some super cute pictures! :)

Alyssa said...

I'm actually so happy to see he is in soccer! Bella is obsessed with kicking the ball around and we have been anxious to get her started in something and I am going to have to hunt for a class for her now that she is two!! I love that he was able to get some great skills out of it!

Julia Anderson said...

I saw that classes in our area start at 2 as well and I have been wanting to get my son into one this summer. He seems to really enjoy kicking the ball and whenever we are at the and kids are practicing soccer he is so into it. I figure it might be a little too structured for him still, but I want him to try at least for all the reasons you listed. I'm sure our experience will be similar to yours, but it is encouraging to know that you made it through and had a mostly good experience. I'm glad to see that you felt that you at least got something out of it. I'm hoping the same for us!