Kieran and Soccer


When Kieran was old enough, we thought he would enjoy playing soccer. He seemed to like to kick things, at any rate.

He played two different times: when he was about 4 years old, and then again when he was around 6. Both times didn’t go well.

I coached (assisted) both times, to ensure that things were fun, engaging, and that all kids were moving throughout as much of the practice as possible. The kids were nice and the parents very helpful.

The first time, the Kieran story goes like this: he refused to play in a game. The head coach got the idea that if we used Kieran’s ball (each kid brought their own ball to practice), he might be encouraged to play. I distinctly remember that Kieran’s ball was a “Go, Diego, Go” ball that he loved to run around with in the yard. So the parent put this ball into a mini-game we were having the kids play on the field. Kieran proceeded to march out onto the field, in the middle of a bunch of kids kicking the ball, pick up his ball, and walk back off the field. His comment to me as he passed by, “They tried to steal my ball!”

When he was a bit older, the season started out  better, but when he made a mistake, he became quickly frustrated. He was behind some of the other kids in his skills, but not too much so. He understood the game and was a good defender when he wasn’t worked up about the other team scoring, or a “recommendation” the head coach or I gave him. At one point in the season, when I was trying to motivate him to be a bit more engaged during practice, he expressed: “So you want me to run up and down this field with the ball, over and over again, to get better?”

Thinking this was a breakthrough, of sorts, I replied, “Yes, that’s what you do in soccer.”

His response: “Boring.”

He never asked to play soccer again.

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