My family loves sports (well, Lauren is trying to), and we have enjoyed Evan playing soccer for 6 years now. He loves playing it. He started out at the YMCA, went to Upward, and this year has been with AYSO (American Youth Soccer Organization--I think?).
The Y was a good start and he had a great coach that he was with for 3 seasons--very encouraging. Upward was good and he was blessed with two good coaches there (one of them was Roger). They really focused on sportsmanship and passed out awards and even did devotionals. Finally, we decided Evan was ready for something more competitive. That's where AYSO comes in. I have witnessed two coaches arguing, refs and coaches getting into it, players and refs getting into it, and kids on other teams playing rough--almost like bullies, seeming not to care about the game, just trying to hurt other kids. However, in the midst of all this, Evan once again ended up with a great coach.
Evan has always enjoyed the position of goal keeper. His coach has discovered this, and puts Evan in this position every game. There are 4 quarters and a player can only be goalie for 2. Coach even talked to Roger last week to make sure that it was okay that Evan was being goalie so much for each game. Roger told him yes, because it was what Evan wanted. Roger is also happy about this because depending on how far Evan wants to go in soccer, he says there are not a lot of people who want to be goalie, so he could maybe even get a scholarship for school for something like this. Only time will tell.
I love to watch Evan play. He really has good sportsmanship always cheering on his team and high fiving everyone. Yes, he has had his share of frustrating tears like if another team has gotten a few goals past him, but we just keep reminding him that everyone has bad days, and that there will always be some goals that a goalie just can't dive for and reach in time. Roger stands on the sideline near Evan when he is playing goalie and coaches him. Evan told me today that he thinks he did well today because he was listening to what dad was telling him. I also know that on Thursday night practices, Coach is really cracking down on the boys and they are starting to play better because he makes them listen to him and practice what he's preaching to them. He wants them to be a team, even though there are a couple of hot shots, but he's working to change that.
Today we had an exciting moment with Evan as goalie that we've never experienced before. The other team got to kick a penalty kick. What this means is one of the players on the other team got to line up on one of the lines in front of the goalie box and try to make a goal against Evan. I'm not sure that any of these kids had experienced a penalty kick before because the ref was having to direct everyone on what to do. He went to the goalie box for a couple of minutes explaining to Evan what he had to do. Basically, all Evan could do was stand in one spot anywhere on his line until the opposing player's foot touched the ball for the kick and then Evan could move to get the ball. Everyone was quiet, all eyes were on him, and all pressure was on him, but he was up for the challenge. Evan took a little crouching stance ready to dive in whichever way the ball was kicked. The opposing player kicked the ball, and fortunately he kicked it straight at Evan who caught it! Our team and parents clapped and cheered. It was exciting! He had a good day! Oh, I wish I'd had my camera!