Where does the love of soccer come from?
A better question might be, where does the love of sport-any sport- come from?
Does it begin at training or during a match? Does it come from the glitz and glam of television or attending packed stadiums?
I’d answer a definite NO to all of the above.
The love of soccer starts (wait for it) in the backyard or better known as the field of dreams with YOU, mum and dad. Where anything is possible and where the biggest dreams are dreamt.
The beauty of the backyard is this, with time, everybody joins in. Eventually friends join in, neighbours join and if you have a dog, the dog joins in.
A quick story if I may.
2 boys aged 4 and 6, if you asked them, 4-1/2 and 6-1/2. Interest in soccer on a scale of 1 to 10, 4
Interest in Wii, Star Wars leggo to be exact, 9.
Enter the backyard.
Enter some fun, small sided games and soccer all of a sudden becomes fun and interesting.
When work allows and the boys aren’t in their pajamas already, the backyard comes alive.
David versus Goliath, okay, 2 little boys versus me.
We play on synthetic grass that remains a lush green colour all year around. Gives even Wembely a run for its money. The boys protect a small goal while I try and defend a goal the length of the backyard. Makes for some interesting score lines with the current edge going to the boys.
Fun, laughter and quality time spent together has evolved in the boys attending Soccer clinics and Football (AFL) clinics every Saturday morning, back to back. That’s right, 9.30am Football followed by an hour of Soccer 10.30am. This is coming from two young boys who spent their time playing Wii on the weekends and had very little interest in sports.
For those with little ones, start in the backyard and let the love for the game evolve. Make it fun, make it easy to begin with and let them develop with a smile.
Fast forward a year and now the boys look forward to the Saturday clinics. Not only that, on most nights, they eagerly wait by the door for my return from work pulling at my trousers.
“Let’s play football!”
What really excites me is when they trash talk and work together as a team. All of a sudden, Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader can hear laughter and carry on from the backyard and wonder what happened to those little boys that were glued to the television.
The backyard is where your children will fall in love with soccer. Make it fun; make it progressively harder and the skies the limit.
After several failed attempts to get the boys to attend clinics, they are now snapping at my heels to play and proudly wear their Collingwood jumper followed by the mighty Liverpool jersey.
“May the winds of destiny blow you to the stars.”