You might have heard about the “Silent September” that some soccer leagues in South Carolina are instituting.
This policy of limiting cheering and interacting with the referee and players while the ball is in play doesn’t apply at the Y. And while we understand why the SC Youth Soccer Association is implementing the rule -- they are trying to combat increasingly negative behavior toward game officials -- we are not implementing the rule. And while we love to see kids staying active and participating in a healthy activity like organized soccer, at the Y, soccer it's even more than that. The Silent September rule is a great springboard to talk about what YMCA youth soccer (and YMCA sports in general) are all about.
What it’s about for players
Character Sports at the Y are about character development. It’s about a three-year-old learning to see more than just himself or herself as a part of the world and learning how to treat other people. Playing youth sports at the Y develops character.
Grit Sports at the Y are about a six-year-old falling, scraping a knee, and getting up and playing again without needing attention from Doctor Mom. Playing youth sports at the Y develops character and grit.
Teamwork Sports at the Y are about learning how to work with others. That goal is achieved through passing drills and sharing the joy of another player’s goal. Playing youth sports at the Y develops character, grit, and teamwork.
Accomplishment Sports at the Y teaches children and teens that things in life take work. They learn that the ball doesn’t always come to them. Most of the time, they are going to have to go after the ball. And when they kick it through their own hard work, they feel the excitement of accomplishment. Playing youth sports at the Y develops character, grit, teamwork, and a sense of accomplishment.
What it’s about for parents
Character Your children might be out on the field chasing the ball (or picking dandelions. Let’s be real. That happens, too.), but he or she is also watching you. How you cheer from the sidelines is imprinting on their character. The way you interact with teammate parents, parents from the opposing team, and referees is a demonstration of what your child will see as acceptable behavior. Being a youth sports parent at the Y demonstrates your character, and that character is reflected by your child.
Letting go (just a little bit) Sports are physical. Even though the Y is a developmental league and we have rules in place to limit hard contact, accidents happen. Heads get bumped. Feet get tangled, and children fall. And that is OK. These bumps and falls are in a safe atmosphere. They’re teaching your child that even though something is uncomfortable or scary, when they push through and keep playing, they have an inner strength to succeed. By letting those bumps, scrapes, and bruises happen, your child’s heart is growing.
Family bonding And while, you’re letting go just a little bit, you’re also holding on a little tighter. Playing youth sports gives families an activity to do together. It gives parents something to talk about and enjoy with their children. It leads to back yard games of catch and conversations about dreams. Remember that the game they are playing is so much more than something to keep them busy after school. It’s helping to develop their character. And it’s helping to strengthen your family.
The 2017 Fall Soccer registration is open through July 31. Find out more or register.