Soccer Ben #17!!
Standing on one leg, balancing the other on a soccer ball while keeping your hands on your hips and smiling is no easy feat for a three-year old. It took a few tries, but he finally got it! I love how even with the extra-small jersey it still hangs on him. And look at those little shin guards and cleats…love this adorable soccer player!!
Team Galaxy!! (That’s Ben…first row on the far left sitting on the ball!)
At the beginning of Spring we thought it would be fun to let Ben try out soccer! A few of his buddies from our neighborhood also registered for the season and they were all put together on the same team. Team Galaxy!! As an added bonus one of our good friends David S. (a.k.a. Olivia’s daddy) was one of the coaches. Ben was beyond excited to play, but before he could begin we’d first need to pick up a few soccer necessities!
First up, soccer shoes. Finding soccer shoes in a 9.5 wide toddler size proved to be a little more challenging than expected. After a couple of trips to two different shoe stores we finally had to settle for a size 10 shoe and decided he’d just have to wear double socks. Next up, a soccer ball…he picked out a navy blue one. (For his age group they had to have a size 3 soccer ball…this was a great learning experience for me…I never even knew soccer balls even came in various sizes!!) Finally, shin guards. A more experienced soccer mom recommended I purchase the soccer socks with built-in shin guards versus a separate sock and shin guard and I’m so glad she did! When your three-year old can barely sit still because he is so excited to join his buddies out on the field, a two-in-one sock/shin guard combo is so much easier to slip on those squirmy little legs than trying to assemble the others. And once again, finding the shin guards proved to be a challenge. I stalked the sporting goods aisle for weeks at Target looking for shin guards before I found a peewee sized pair in black! Thankfully, the official team jersey was supplied by the soccer league!
Practices began at the beginning of March. At the time Ben was also taking ISR refresher lessons in our neighborhood. So every Thursday we’d leave ISR after his ten minute lesson, meet Jake back at the house and then head over to the soccer field for an hour of practice. Thankfully practice was held at a nice park just a few miles away! I should point out that Ben was the youngest on his team. He managed to meet the age deadline by only a few days! Watching practices was pretty interesting and quite comical at times. The coaches did their best to come up with fun and interesting ways to teach the kids the basics of soccer. Even so, Ben was often seen picking up the cones that marked the sidelines and wearing them on his head. During conditioning exercises (running sprints while kicking the soccer ball) Ben liked to take his time. He usually waited for the ball to stop before he’d kick it again and he only wanted to kick with his right foot! And, yes, there were even a few tears. During a scrimmage at practice one evening Ben came over to the sidelines crying. When I asked him what was wrong he told me the other team wouldn’t give him the ball to score. I told him this was his chance to actually take the ball away from his buddies (using feet only of course) and score! I’ll never forget the look on his face. He looked thrilled beyond belief that I’d just given him the okay to take a “toy” away from someone!
Finally, the first official game day had arrived! Ben seemed very excited. He was even sleeping with the soccer ball in his bed! When we arrived at the field on the morning of March 12th, Soccer Ben made time to pose for a picture with two of his biggest fans…Daddy and Jude!
Then he was happy to take his ball, run out on the field and warm up with his team. However when the whistle blew to start the game, he was content to watch from the sidelines while guzzling water from his water bottle. Seriously, the entire first half we couldn’t get him to step a foot on the field.
Bet you can’t guess what we did at half time? Yep, we made a trip to the potty. The kid had to pee! So I seized the opportunity for a pep talk. In a nutshell, I told him to think of it like a game of chase…all he needed to do was run after his teammates and if the ball came close to kick it toward the goal. Maybe the pep talk, but certainly his good buddy Bowen did the trick.
The two decided to hold hands and chase their friends together. I also love how Ben is #17 and Bowen is #18! So sweet!
The soccer stroller crew (a.k.a. the younger brothers and sisters) loved cheering for their team and eating snacks together!
The final count of the number of times Ben kicked the soccer ball during a game the entire season was three. They played eight games. So while he may not have been interested in kicking the ball, he was very much interested in having a lot of fun!! Mission accomplished! In this picture Ben and a few of his gal pals are enjoying a tea party smack dab in the middle of the playing field during a game!
And here he is playing goalkeeper. He loved wearing the special blue jersey that only goalkeepers get to wear. While no balls ever came his way, I’m confident that if they did he would have defended his team’s goal amazingly well!
They ended their season on May 21st with seven wins and only one loss (they lost the last game of the season). After the game we made our way over to some picnic tables for the end of season soccer party! The highlight of the soccer party was the presentation of a trophy and goodie bag for each player! Ben keeps his trophy on his dresser in his room. Every now and then he’ll ask to hold it and when he does he’ll tell us, “They gave me this trophy because I am the best soccer player!” And that’s the way he should feel! Well done, Soccer Ben, well done!