Monday, September 12, 2011

First U8 Soccer Game

Soccer has started up again, and Luke has moved up a league to U8. This means some new rules and setups, such 8 players to a team and playing 4 on 4, plus having goalies (which is new to U8 this year). There referees now and no coaches actually on the field, though they do still help the kids with getting set up for each play and to help the kids remember if they are supposed to do a throw in, a corner kick, or a goal kick. The field is about twice the size as U6, the goals are much bigger, and you practice twice as often (twice a week instead of once). They also don't provide trophies at the U8 level, but we've already talked to Coach C, and the parents who can/would like to will all pitch in for trophies. (Guess who's in charge of that? Yep!)

There was an assessment a few weeks ago that allowed the coaches to see what each of the players could do. I'm sure it was supposed to act something like open tryouts, to make sure none of the teams end up with a stacked deck, so to speak. The problem was that we were trying to keep as many players from our old team as we could, not because they're a powerhouse team, but because at least 4 of the boys had been playing together for a year and we just didn't want to be split up. We all genuinely like each other, boys and parents alike! We ended up keeping 5 of our 6 players from the spring season (number 6 moved out of state), which made everyone happy. The three new boys are also fitting in pretty well.

I was genuinely surprised that Luke is still either the tallest or second tallest on his team (he and J are very close!), and at least half of the kids on the other teams are also smaller than him. I just assumed that moving up a league would make him look really small out there, but it doesn't. I had brought my sun sleeves, thinking I would need sun protection for the game, but at 8 AM, the spectator side of the field is completely in shadow. It was also not even 60 degrees yet; so glad I had my sleeves for warmth!!

Coach C really wants to train Luke up as a goalie, and Luke is actually fairly good at it. He seems to like it. With the rotation the way it is at the moment, Luke usually plays one quarter as full back, one as mid-fielder, and he'll likely be the regular 4th quarter goalie going forward. Coach C purchased the goalie jerseys and gloves out of his own pocket for the team. He thought it would help the kids not be as afraid of the ball, and I have to say, it really works. They are all so proud when they get to wear them.

Doesn't he look sharp? I can't get over how tall and grown up he looks!

Today (Monday) was Luke's 5th trip to the soccer fields in 6 days, with only Sunday off. Since last Monday was a holiday, our regular Monday practice got bumped to Friday, plus there was an extra "goalie camp" on Thursday to try and be as ready as possible for the first game and first time playing that position, and the game on Saturday. Those poor kids were so exhausted by the end of this evening!

Currently feeling: like a proud soccer mom

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