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Why I Hate Soccer (Hint: It Kills Vacations)

Soccer sucks.

Don’t get me wrong;  I love the games and the cheering and visiting with the other parents.  Plus the kids need the exercise and really seem to get a big kick out of it.   As a sport, I think it’s kind of awesome.

For all the Marbels!

Finial game of U-12

But soccer sucks up the time. It eats away at valuable family vacation time that you could be spending in our cabin rentals in West Virginia.  Which is, of course, where you should be spending time (I’m a little biased).

There.  I said it.  You could be relaxing in a rental cabin in West Virginia.  Instead, you’re driving kids from practice to game to camp and back, eating up every weekend from March to mid June and Labor Day to Thanksgiving.

Let’s just say you have a little family vacation planned for a weekend of rafting and hiking in the New River Gorge National Park, and then your kids’ team wins two games in a row for the first time in years and bang you’re in the championship game on the weekend you booked your family cabin.  It’s great, but at the same time, ARRRRGGGHHH!

I know I am being selfish.  I want you and your families to come and stay with us. The Big Game is very important (I know: I have had the good fortune to have both my kids play in the finials several times). It’s a great experience for them.

Or is it?

Devoted fans in the rain

Most of the rest of the world teaches soccer to their children in a very different way.  There are no teams. You just sign up and show up. Dads and Mom still volunteer to do the coaching there just aren’t any games no winners no LOSERS!  No referees to yell at. Just skill building fun having no pressure drills of all kinds. Individual drills, group drills, ball handing, foot work, set plays, drills to learn the rules all are studied and practiced.

When they do go into a game situation or live scrimmage the coaches pick the teams and ref the action. This allows them to stop and start the game to point out key strategy and opportunities. The next practice may have more or less in the way of live scrimmage but they never have set teams or keep score until well into their teens.

Not to change the subject, but since it’s my blog, I can do whatever I want.  WVU had a football coach named Don Nehlen. I didn’t really like his style, but he got us lot of W’s and a shot at the National Championship.

One day I heard him on the radio. He said something to this effect:  “We should not be keeping score until college.  Everyone should be practicing skills and drilling, and there’s too much emphasis placed on winning and losing.  There’s not enough emphasis on skills sportsmanship and teamwork.

Pizza and ice cream help wash away the taste of Defeat

WOW! A coach of his caliber saying something so unAmerican?!  No losers, no kids crying, no parents embarrassing themselves and their kids, yelling at the referees and coaches. No kids quitting because they never get on a “winning team”. We could eliminate those agonizing car rides home after a loss, and you would not have to miss the weekend getaway in the mountains of West Virginia.  It’s win-win.

If we followed Coach Neilen’s advice, and the rest of the world’s example for youth sports, we’d be better off. Until then, we’ll see you after the championship.

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