The modern day soccer mom or dad is constantly being pulled in all directions. From driving their sons and daughters to practice and games to volunteering their time for concession stand duty, a soccer mom is constantly on the go. Combine this with the demands of a 9 to 5 job, taking care of a household, and having a successful marriage and you have the recipe for the modern day soccer mom. On the surface it seems that there is not enough time in the day to accomplish all that is required to be a successful soccer mom but hopefully my top 10 soccer mom ideas will help you find some balance in your life. These top 10 ideas are in no particular order of importance but rather should be used as a guide to helping you become a better soccer parent.
1. Schedule – The most obvious and what I consider to being the backbone of success is having a defined schedule. We unfortunately don’t go through life with a crystal ball and unforeseen events will happen, but in order to be successful you need structure in your life and that is the result of a well-tuned and organized schedule. All members of your family including anyone helping the children need to understand and comply with the daily schedule. I recommend using your smart phone’s built-in calendar or Google Calendar to write down the daily, weekly, and monthly schedule. What has worked best for my family is that every Thursday or Friday we cook a nice family dinner and discuss the weekend and following week’s schedule. This work best when everyone who is involved in helping with your children is in attendance so that all input and output can be compiled and disseminated and possible issues mitigated. Additionally, it’s nice to eat dinner with friends and family on a weekly basis.
2. Organizational Laundry – We all want our children to be successful so it’s best that we show them success at an early age. There are many adjectives to describe success but one common thread that resonates with most people is the necessity of having organizational skills. The common villain to being organized is laziness. Thus, what has worked best for my family is that we actually incorporate in our schedule the person responsible for doing laundry which includes the soccer uniforms, cleats, socks and practice clothes. The mountain of laundry for a family of five each week can be a daunting task and that is why my wife and I alternate this endeavor weekly. Doing laundry includes washing, drying, folding and most importantly putting it away. If your family is anything like ours then you must tackle the weekly “Case of the Missing Sock” problem. Any suggestions here will be welcomed because we cannot figure it out.
3. Dedicated Fan – Regardless of the level of enthusiasm your children have for soccer, you should be a dedicated fan. Think about all the time you have already dedicated to raising your children in the sport of soccer. Being a dedicated fan means learning about the history of soccer, learning about the different professional teams and leagues and the prestige of winning the World Cup. By expanding your bubble of soccer knowledge you can impart that knowledge and enthusiasm onto your children who will truly appreciate you taking a genuine interest in what they are doing on the soccer field.
4. Play soccer – When I was younger my dad played a lot of baseball with me but we also kicked the soccer ball from time to time. Those memories will live with me forever allowing me to replay them as often as I wish in my mind. I bet if he were still alive today, he would be out their kicking the ball with the family. My son and I have enjoyed watching soccer games and implementing certain techniques on the soccer field. Both of us have dramatically improved our skills and are learning a lot more about soccer. Although I’m in my 40′s, I’m still able to play at a level that both challenges my 13-year old son and encourages him to play harder and smarter. I understand that some parents based on health or age won’t be able to actually play with their children so perhaps you can hire a private coach but do what you can to stay engaged and your children will appreciate you for it.
5. Volunteer – From volunteering at the concession stand to being a referee or coach, your time is appreciated by the soccer community. My wife and I schedule our time so that we can maximize our volunteer time and still not miss our son’s games. Additionally, volunteering has allowed us to meet and work with other soccer families. The concept of it takes a village to raise a child is at the core of being a productive volunteer. Volunteering allows you to stay in tune with soccer events and essentially makes you an instant role model for children because they view you as part of the leadership of the soccer community.
6. Fundraising – If there are members of your team that are less fortunate and cannot afford the cost of soccer cleats, shin guards, goalie gloves etc., or your team is trying to raise money, then a fundraising role may be your niche. Successful fundraising starts with having a genuine purpose. Asking people to separate themselves from their hard-earned money with no rate of return is anti-capitalism and definitely should not be your purpose. However, if you approach other parents, local business owners, school officials, etc. with a valid and detailed explanation of where and how their money will be spent, it will not only be easy to fundraise but also rewarding. For example, I most likely wouldn’t ask people to give money so that we can buy pizza for the children after each game but I would ask for a donation for an end of the season party. Another idea that worked out really well is this past season we (soccer dads) bought matching soccer bracelets for all the kids and matching soccer necklaces for all the soccer moms to show our appreciation. Parents from a girl’s youth soccer team heard what we had done and purchased soccer earrings for all their teammates.
7. Carpooling – Gas is expensive regardless of what part of the country you live in so I recommend carpooling as often as you can. We carpool with the same family that we have dinner with once a week to write the schedule. During our weekly scheduling session, we assign carpool duty throughout the week and ensure that our children are aware of who to expect and on what days. We have also coordinated with our school to inform them that our friends are authorized to pick up the kids and take them to soccer practice. Our mini-van has served us well and without a doubt has been a great investment allowing us to transport our children to all their events.
8. The right soccer gear – When I was younger my grandfather enforced the concept of having the right tool for the job at hand. In the case of playing youth soccer, your children need to have proper fitting soccer cleats, and soccer clothing that is not too constraining. Children can outgrow a pair of soccer cleats in less than a month so it’s imperative that you routinely inspect your children’s cleats. I learned this the hard way when after a game I saw my son’s big toe protruding from his right soccer cleat. I asked him how long he had been playing with his toe sticking out of his soccer cleat and his response astonished me. He had been going to soccer practice and playing with his toe sticking out for over 2 weeks! That night when we got home from the soccer game we ordered him a new pair of cleats from and now I make it my business to visually inspect his soccer cleats.
9. Individualism and Soccer – As a parent we need to ensure that our children grow up to become secure and responsible individuals. It’s a task that we cannot take lightly considering the children of today are the leaders of tomorrow. Being an individual means knowing your skills and limitations and not being influenced by trend setters whose goal it is to sell merchandise. For example, my son is a natural when it comes to individualism. He doesn’t pretend to be someone he is not and he is absolutely happy being by himself and consumed with his own thoughts and ambitions. Our society is loaded with people who fail to grasp their own reality and are dependent on others for what I call their “social want.” Social want comes in many different flavors but the bottom line is that it’s one person wanting something from another for his irrational state of being. You may be asking yourself, how will being an individual help my children be better soccer players considering soccer is a team sport? The answer is simple: successful teams are made up of successful individuals. It takes each individual player to play at their absolute best for the team to be successful. When my son was younger, I asked him to pinch himself with his fingers. He thought it was an awkward request but nonetheless he pinched himself. I said, “Son I couldn’t feel that because it’s not me you’re pinching it’s you! You are your own person and your decisions you make will guide you into the future. So if you want to be a better soccer player then you have to dedicate yourself to the sport.” This concept is similar to leading a horse to water but it’s the horse who must decide to drink the water. Keep that in mind when you’re investing your time in your child’s soccer future.
10. Other sports – Your child’s soccer skills can be optimized if they play other sports. I highly recommend enrolling your child in gymnastics at an early age because of the demanding strength and precision that is required to perform as a gymnast. My daughters are both gymnast but when they play soccer they look like naturals out on the field. As a gymnast you condition your body daily and you fine-tune muscles that can help improve your soccer skills. Other sports can be beneficial too but in my opinion and from experience, gymnastics is by far the best sport you can get your child to do along with soccer.
Hopefully, these top 10 soccer mom ideas can help you become a better soccer parent and help your child become a better soccer player. I look forward to hearing from you about your own soccer experiences in the blogosphere.