My Kids are Leaving Soccer Behind

soccer400Every kid plays soccer, it seems. Saturday Facebook feeds during the fall are filled with muddy uniforms and cleats fresh from the soccer field. For the first time in many years, we won’t be among them. This is the first season since my oldest was a toddler that we are not playing soccer. While I welcome back all the free Saturdays, I miss it.

My daughter quit soccer at age 10 when the intensity picked up and it became clear she was only a rec league player and didn’t want to go beyond that. My son kept on, full of energy as he raced around the field, but even better as goalie where he seemed to know what to do from the moment his age division allowed goalies. This year, though, he said no more. He’s playing lacrosse instead, which means the physical activity is replaced, but he’s finished with soccer. It was boring, he said. Practices were boring. Drills where little boys line up and wait were boring, he said. The danger of lacrosse is not boring, even though fall ball is their off season, so not as intense as normal spring lacrosse. April soccer sign ups came and went, but he never changed his mind.

No more annual photo with the kids posing with their soccer ball. No more fresh grass and cleats (his lacrosse fields are all turf), no more sweaty headers, no more throw ins. I will miss them all.

What I don’t miss are the early games, the middle of the day games that prevent any other activity, the suburban parking wars, the snacks that resemble more of a full meal than quarters oranges, the night time practices that always impact dinner, and the awkward end of season parties. It’s gone. I have my Saturdays back and I am thrilled. Even if I am mourning some of it just a little.

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