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Prom > Soccer

Three years ago you would never have heard these words come out of my mouth. I had my U14 on a crash course toward total burnout. I was convinced that every training session, every game, every showcase was more important than anything else. Missing anything was a giant mistake. I've mellow since then and I hope my kid has benefited from my change of heart.

I've used this blog as a place to share my soccer regrets, of which I have a lot. One that I will never make right on is from a couple of years back. A player on a team I was an admin for wanted to attend his Freshman Homecoming. A right of passage for all underclassman. An opportunity to be christened into the high school social scene, to support his community and start to do "high school things". I managed to talk him and his dad into skipping this milestone event and attend a tournament in Baltimore, Maryland. We had already convinced him that playing high school soccer was a waste of time (which is a post for another day) and we were on our way to completely writing off his high school experience in favor of a soccer only adolescence. The poor kid spent the entire weekend miserable, checking his phone for updates on the biggest social event so far in his life, which he was missing because I decided it was better to play 3 soccer games 7 hours away. Three games that meant nothing. They were not old enough for college recruitment and weren't even in the top flight of this event. No one remembers those 3 games, but he does remember that he missed out on his first Homecoming.

Last week my 12 year old was talking about a birthday party he was going to skip because he had training. My oldest, overhearing the conversation chimed in and said "Don't do that, don't let him do that - don't skip a birthday party for soccer. You should never skip birthdays or weddings or dances for soccer, its not worth it." This is coming from the kid that did skip EVERYTHING for soccer; birthday parties, end of year swim parties, graduation parties, family vacations etc... he sacrificed his childhood for soccer.

Last year, we skipped a showcase for Prom and this year we skipped league games. And do you know what? Not a single coach missed that he wasn't there and his coach understood that there is life outside of soccer. Being a socially and emotionally healthy 17 year old makes for a good soccer player.

So, I'm going to encourage every kid to go to Prom and go to Homecoming and go to WinFo because you will never have these opportunities again. You will never get the chance to dress up fancy with ALL of your friends, dance all night and sing from the top of your lungs (unless you want to meet us for Karaoke, in which case I don't care what you wear). So, unless your kid has been invited to U19 Training Camp for the USNT - prom is a better choice than soccer IMHO.

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