Last season a family joined us at Cheviot Hills Park, with their son in our CLASSIC class. This Fall season both of their children are enrolled; their son in the CLASSIC class and their daughter in the PREMIER class. I have been lucky to be able coach both children, and I say lucky because they are two of the most polite, genuine, determined kids, and they love to play soccer!
This Saturday, Aubrey* came to the PREMIER class with her Soccer Shots shirt on, and I noticed something different. The shorts on the little man had been colored pink, and (s)he had a long flowing pink and black ponytail.
I LOVED it, thinking “GIRL POWER!” in my head. I greeted her and immediately asked her about her shirt. She told me she didn’t like it, so she fixed it. “The shirt has a white man on it. Girls and all kinds of colors of people play soccer too,” she said. I smiled, and couldn’t help but gush that I understood her feelings and I agreed!
We got a soccer ball, and started kicking around. Soon enough I got class started, and our conversation was quickly overshadowed by fun. When class was over, Aubrey came back to me with her Dad. He gently encouraged her to give me a white envelope. Curious as to what could possibly be in there, I welcomed Aubrey to talk more. She explained; she had written a letter to me because she felt so strongly about her shirt. She’d even included a new design that she drew!
Of course I asked Aubrey if I could share her letter with everyone at Soccer Shots; she shyly, but happily agreed, and I plan to do so.
As they were leaving, Aubrey’s Dad completely filled my heart with joy, he said,“Coach Alyssa, I truly believe what you do for these kids is more than just soccer. I see it every time I am out here. Thank you.”
I couldn’t agree more, and it’s the reason I do my job every day. We encourage, inspire, and welcome freedom of expression. We make the time and space every day for kids to have fun, be silly, be free, and be themselves. We allow for trial and error in a safe space, we encourage mistakes as an opportunity to learn, and we support even the smallest of efforts.
As I said goodbye to them, I couldn’t help but say, “Aubrey, I love the way you stood up for what you believed in, you know, you could make big changes in the world some day if you wanted to.” She smiled, and said, “I know.” 🙂
At Soccer Shots we celebrate all the young minds that we work with all the time, because you never know which experience they have (at Soccer Shots or not) will be the one that will shape their life.
Anywhere across the country, on any given day of the week, a future President of the United States, a future Nobel Prize Winner, a future inventor, a future scientist, a future teacher, a future business leader, and more, may be playing Soccer Shots.
My hope and goal for all kids in Soccer Shots is not only that they have a ton of FUN playing soccer, but that they also learn, grow, and experience so much more that helps prepare them for life.
– Coach Alyssa
Director of Program + Community Advancement
(* = Name changed for privacy)