I love this picture that my hubby took after the BSG’s team lost in the final 8 of National Cup last weekend. Through the tears it was evident that the girls really weren’t sad about losing, but in the fact that it meant they wouldn’t be together anymore. I saw similar tear stained faces throughout National Cup as teams who had obviously played together for years faced the fact that the age level changes meant they wouldn’t be together going forward. (If you don’t know about the age level changes you can read about them here in my post- US Soccer Coaching Initiatives- Age Changes)
I’m sure that the changes were done for good soccer reasons, but I don’t think that anyone really thought about the enormous emotional impact they would have on teams that were bonded over many, many years- especially the older girls’ teams. Aside from all the college scholarship talk, there are many girls who continue to play simply for that feeling of belonging to a team and the love of the game. It’s the ultimate illustration of “squad” for some girls and can be an integral part of their identity.
As always, it’s been a pretty crazy few months with figuring out new teams (and club for LSG!) and we are excited for the year to come, but it’s been bittersweet to move on from teams, girls and families that we’ve grown to love. It’s a whole new ball game out there…anything can happen, and probably will!
Did your kids’ teams break up or choose to stay together (and have some play up) for another year? What experiences have you had?? In the immortal words of Dr. Seuss…