This season my eleven year old daughter Skylee asked me to coach her Dixie Youth Soccer Association (DYSA) team. For the past two years I coached my younger daughter Sabrina’s teams with Skylee assisting, and they both enjoyed my low key, fun first approach to the sport despite the fact that our two teams won only one game. Winning DYSA games has not been the biggest priority for either one of my girls. They just like going out to play on the field. It’s a social event for them, like a big play date with soccer balls.
Wonders never cease though, and at the midway point in the season our Girls U12 team, the Rainbow Nerds are riding a three game winning streak after a season opening loss. Our 3-1 record puts us in tied for third (technically fifth place after tie breakers) in the nineteen team league which blows me away. With two games this coming weekend we have the possibility of solidifying a top position, or dropping to 3-3 and into the middle of the pack. Standings can be viewed online at http://dixieyouthsoccer.d4sportsclub.com/standings.aspx?leagueid=135577&div=289268227
On Saturday we play a Ross Valley team at Red Hill in San Anselmo that recently lost to the best team in the league 2-1. That makes them likely our toughest competition before the playoffs. On Sunday we come back home to the Vallecito Elementary School playing field where we will take on a San Anselmo squad that potentially could knock us down a peg. After that we’ve only got two more games until the playoffs.
One of the most difficult things about these games is that we only have 14 players to begin with, and this weekend we will only have 12, leaving us with one substitute. That’s an improvement over the previous weekend when we had no substitutes and played over 90 degree heat, pulling out our lone goal with only five minutes left in the game. It was a brutal match, but surprisingly none of the girls complained or wanted to come out of the game. If they had it their way all of them would play every minute of every game. These girls are tough.
I’m coaching with Skylee’s best friend’s father. The BFF might not have played this year if she and Skylee weren’t on the same team. It’s a good thing too, because the BFF is a heck of a sweeper. We’ve also got Skylee’s very good friend Sophie from the Terra Linda Orcas on the team. That was one thing Skylee literally demanded before the season began, that if I coached Sophie had to be on the team. She didn’t want Sophie on the team because she is a great player, and it turns out she really is, but more importantly she’s a great friend.
I’ve got some nicknames for some of these girls. Mighty Mayla plays with a heart that is bigger than her body and is quite tiny but stops the charges of some of the best offensive players in the league. I have no idea how either, she just gets it done. Elizabeth is La Máquina, translated to English that’s ‘The Machine’, a name I gave her because she is a goal scoring machine. She’s has scored the most goals on the team and is clearly one of the league’s best players. We are extremely fortunate to have her on the team. If Elizabeth were on a different DYSA team, our record would likely be 1-3. Guess who I want on my team next year?
For now though we are going to enjoy the ride along the coattails of La Máquina. If we win our games this weekend it’s going to be great. If we don’t win, we won't have an issue taking it in stride. The important thing is that the girls are having fun, and they are building character and an athletic foundation. They are getting exercise and as the coach of my daughter’s team I’m playing a dual role in her fleeting childhood, father and coach. Winning clearly is just bonus.