Saturday, November 15, 2014

Aaron Soccer!

This year, we decided to enroll Aaron in YMCA soccer. Each Saturday at 9am, we met at an elementary school for a 30 minute practice and a 30 minute game against the red team. It was such a blast! It's essentially "cluster soccer" where the kids follow the ball around.

In the beginning, Aaron wanted to hang back and stay by us. I'm not sure if he feels he is including us or if he is shy or what ... The first two meets were just practice and on the day of his first game I told him that if he listened to coach and chased the ball the whole time he could have ice cream when we got home. It worked. After that, every game (even though I never again offered ice cream) he was all in! He loved encouraging his teammates when they were sad. During practice, each kid was to have a ball but there wasn't ever enough. Aaron always gave up his ball to another kid.

They would play follow the leader as warm up each practice. The coach would always choose a different kid to lead but they'd eventually stop running - but never fear, Aaron loves to be in the front! All the kids, each practice, eventually ended up following Aaron. He cheers them on as he runs so they all keep going.

Aaron loves attention so any time he saw someone else with their camera out, he'd stop and pose for them or as he ran he'd wave and smile at the crowd. 
The first game was tough for Aaron. In practices, everyone has their own ball and no one tries to take the other's ball but suddenly 5 players in red would converge on him to swipe it! He started to get frustrated and eventually would hold out his hands and yell, "HEY! STOP! Don't take my ball!" Confused, the other team would stop and look at him and then he'd dart past them with the ball. Haha! It only worked a few times though. After the first game, we went home and watched a soccer match with Aaron explaining how the game works with teams and such. We encouraged him to always chase the ball but to never try to take it from a teammate.

Aaron was the only kid on his team who would stay engaged the entire game. He has so much endurance - he'd chase the ball every where. Buuuuuuut, at high speeds, he doesn't have much control. He made 6 goals over the course of the season but 2 were in the wrong goal ... oops. It always seemed like I never had my camera out when he made a goal, but I managed to catch this assist!

Aaron loved soccer and we loved what it taught him! He learned to work with teammates, follow instructions, remember rules, and be a good sport.
 There was ALWAYS need for an extra hand so Eric was constantly helping direct children and maintain the flow of the game. He made an awesome Assistant Coach!
 I was definitely that mom who yelled from the sidelines constantly cheering on her kid! Coach learned Aaron's name first since I called it out so much and Aaron was his most engaged player so he knew he could count on Aaron to race for the ball!

On the last day, Eric's parents came to cheer Aaron on! He LOVED having more fans!
The YMCA offered a terrific program (other than the fact that it was so early on a Saturday) and Aaron loved the experiences he had. This is definitely something we'd do again!

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