Archive | March, 2012

Soccer Girl Problems

These girls just crack me up!  I found them on Twitter where they have a HUGE following for their tweets from “just a couple of soccer girls with endless complaints.”  You can follow them at @soccergirlprobs.  They recently made a hilarious video- S*it Soccer Girls Say.  I’m not sure if my soccer girls will make as players to college, but if they do, now I know what they’ll be doing!

If you want to read more about them, go to Our Game Magazine and read, “The Mysterious SoccerGrlProbs and how it got Started.” 

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Team Chemistry

When my Soccer Girl #1 began playing club at U9, she didn’t come in with a friend and it was difficult for her to connect with the team because the only time the girls saw each other was on the soccer field.  We met for practices and games and then everyone went their separate ways.  I spent much more time socializing with other parents on the sidelines than she ever did with her team mates!  That team underperformed and never really “clicked” until the end of the year and I think the lack of team chemistry from bonding was a big reason why.

Team chemistry is such an elusive, yet essential part of team success.   Successful teams rely on one another and are rarely just a collection of superstars…remember the implosion of the Lakers a few years ago?  I think that girls especially need some extra encouragement in this area for them to feel like a team rather than a bunch of individual players.  When things like gossip, cliques, jealousy, cockiness and selfish play enter the picture, a team can quickly veer off in the wrong direction.  This is a big problem for a club soccer team which stays together for a calendar year!

So, as we start this new season with new teams we hope to “find the formula” for team chemistry!  The last two years we’ve done a very early Spring away tournament- that’s been a great start for the girls to get to know each other.  (And for the parents to get in some good drinking bonding time as well)  Tonight we had a bowling night, but only 5 of the girls were able to attend.  It’s so hard to fit things into everyone’s jam packed schedules.  Oh well, I guess those who make the effort to come will reap the benefits out on the field.   I’m thinking that a parent’s bowling night is in order as well…we need to continue what we started at the Tournament!  (Maybe we’ll even go on Karaoke night- although is that bonding or blackmail?)

What kinds of things does your team do to encourage bonding?

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Wordless Wednesday

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So Cal Sunset Soccer

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Soccer Mom Dinners

194332_6517I don’t know about you, but one of my biggest struggles as both a working mom and a soccer mom is feeding my family!  I freely admit that I am not an enthusiastic cook…all those dishes…but it’s important to me to give my family nutritious food.  The hardest days are when we have practice until 8pm and I have two starving girls in the car and a hungry husband waiting at home.  Telling them just to eat a bowl of cereal isn’t going to cut it. (Darn it!)  Here’s a few of my strategies…

Crock Pot

For non cooks like me, this is a great option.  You just dump a bunch of stuff in the crock pot before you leave in the morning and then you come home to a delicious smelling house and a hot meal. 

Pros

  • Easy (for not so gourmet chefs like myself)
  • Ready and hot right when you get home
  • Can make a complete meal in one pot
  • Can use cheaper cuts of meat

Cons

  • Not always a hit with the kids
  • Often sometimes I forget to put the stuff in the crockpot before leaving for work
  • Chopping onions isn’t appealing at 7am

hearty beef stewIMG_2426

 

Sandwiches

OK, I know it’s not the most creative option, but it works for us!  Of course we’re big Subway fans, but there’s lots of different options.  (You didn’t think I was talking about making sandwiches did you?)

Pros

  • Relatively healthy and inexpensive
  • Kids like it
  • I don’t have to cook!

Cons

  • Can be expensive
  • Hubby isn’t always thrilled

subway_sandwich

Soups

Another ground breaking suggestion is soup.  On especially cold days I bring soup in a thermos for the girls to eat while waiting for practice.  I enjoy making soups from scratch (the easy way of course…with a roasted chicken from the store) but sometimes a good old can of chicken and stars is all we’ve got.  Click on the picture for the recipe.

Pros

  • Can be very healthy
  • Inexpensive
  • Easy to make
  • Hubby can warm it up at home if he gets there first

Cons

  • Spills!
  • Need to chop up a lot of ingredients
  • Have to watch out for sodium content
  • Doesn’t always fill them up

SP5214

Recipes

A GREAT place to get recipes is from Pinterest.  It’s my new favorite thing!  Go try it out if you haven’t already.

 

What are some of your go-to strategies?

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Is Your Coach a Player??

My girls have had about 5 coaches between them in our club soccer journey, but I’ve had a chance to observe and interact with many more youth coaches.  Here’s a few that I’ve seen…

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1-      The Player- This coach is usually a 20 something guy who’s glory days were in high school and college where he was the star of the team and got all the ladies.  He’s used to getting by on his charm and good looks and loves to flirt with all the soccer moms while he should be coaching the kids.  Unfortunately, he has trouble with organization, commitment and attention to detail.

2-      The Task Master- This coach may or may not have a lot of soccer experience, but feels that the only way to succeed is through hard work and discipline.  Although these are good things, he/she forgets that the players are kids, not robots!  Bellowing commands like a drill sergeant and screaming, “that’s not good enough,” from the sidelines are all indications that you have a task master coach.  He/she may get results, but can suck all the joy out of playing.

3-      The Mentor- This coach has the heart of gold and loves the kids.  Her/His goal is to help the kids understand the game and work together.  The mentor loves the thought of turning an underperforming team into winners.  The mentor can let his/her emotional attachments influence playing time and team members which can eventually harm the team.

4-      The Strategist- This coach is the ultimate chess player.  He/she is thinking 5 moves ahead at all times and always has a master plan.  He/she doesn’t hesitate to teach young kids sophisticated techniques and strategies and believes that they can master them.  He/she wants the team to play like Barcelona.  In the younger years, this can be not as effective against teams playing the long ball, but it’s all part of the master plan…

Of course, most coaches are a combination of at least two of these.  Our current coach, who is wonderful, is a combination of almost all the positive traits of all of the above.   He is a great coach for my girls, but might not be for everyone.  We all need to choose what’s right for our kids.

What number is your kid’s coach?

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Team Snap… A Manager’s Best Friend?

I help manage both my daughter’s teams.  It can be a lot of work, but it’s something that I really enjoy…usually!  I’ve been using Shutterfly for the last two years to create free team sites for the teams, but this year I was looking for something with more features.  

After doing some research, I found the site Team Snap at www.teamsnap.com.  (No, they didn’t pay me to write this and they have no idea who I am) It’s not quite as pretty as a Shutterfly site, but it offers many more features and best of all…an iPhone ap!  (and if you’ve read some of my other posts you know how much I love my iPhone)

There are three versions- free, basic and premium.  Of course I wanted all the features in the Premium plan, especially the group texting and stats sections.  I also really like the record keeping abilities and payment tracking page.  

My favorite thing is the iPhone ap though. It has a nice user interface and it’s easy to see roster information, scheduling and photos.  Being able to click on a girls’ name and instantly see her mom & dad’s names helps avoid some potentially akward moments.  Having all the information in one place makes things so easy!  You can’t edit or add from the mobile ap and I hope they will add more functionality in future updates.

I ended up paying for the premium option ($79/year) for both teams and we’ll see if that’s money well spent.  I’m just glad for another useful tool to help handle all of the details involved with running a team…and my crazy life. 

I wrote an update to this article on October 18.2012 with the improved functionality of the iPhone ap!

Teamsnap

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