“Futbol. I prefer ‘futbol.’”
My 11-year old daughter tells me matter-of-factly. Frankly, she doesn’t understand why
American football is called what it is while the traditional futbol was changed to “soccer.” But she can accept it.
When it came time to write this month’s blog, I thought it would be fun to interview my daughter and get her perspective on her soccer world. I had a set of questions and told her this was her very first interview. Hopefully there will be plenty more to come in the future.
My daughter was four years old when she began playing with a week-long summer soccer clinic. Her older brother played rec soccer and was attending the clinic, and she wanted to take part. Even at that age my daughter had strong ideas on what she wanted. Since she was only four at the time, she was required to take part in the quarter-day “little kicks” program. She wasn’t having it. She wanted to at least be able to take part in the half-day clinics for those five and up.
Let’s just say that as far as the clinic folks were concerned, she was five. She started playing rec soccer when she was in kindergarten. She is now in fifth grade and has played for her elementary rec team every year. This last year, she also played on a select team, an experience she loved.
My daughter and I sat down in our living room the other night at the computer, and then the hard-hitting questions began.
How would you compare playing rec versus playing select?
“With rec there’re more friends since it’s at my school and I’ve known them a long time. With select I still have friends there but not as many that I know as well. But the drills are more challenging and that makes it more fun. They each have their good points. I prefer the select, though, because it gives me more of a challenge.”
Do you feel you have grown as a player by playing select over the past year?
“Yep. I have better endurance. My footwork is a lot better. I’m faster. My kicks are more powerful. And I’ve learned some goalie stuff.”
I could barely type fast enough to keep up with the barrage of short answers. She definitely has improved as a player during her year with the select team. Her enthusiasm definitely showed whenever she talked about her experiences with that team.
Do you have a favorite position?
“My favorite position is right wing. But if I could play any position, it would be goalie. I’m better at the forward position and I really like playing forward, but I want to be amazing at being goalie.”
I suspect my daughter has an affinity for a certain particular professional goalie by the name of Hope Solo – a feeling further affirmed by the fact that she had “Solo” put as the name on the back of her rec jersey.
Do you have a favorite team?
“The Seattle Reign.”
Her love for the Seattle Reign FC is so great that she convinced her rec team to call themselves the “Reign” after the Seattle team!
At one point, I attempted to get more philosophical.
If you could give any advice to girls your age or younger who want to play soccer, what would it be?
“Don’t take advice from me. Take advice from a professional soccer player!”
That didn’t quite work.
So instead, I turned the conversation into looking toward the future.
Do you plan to play in middle and high school?
What about college?
What do you think you need to do to make it onto a college team?
“Practice a lot. And work out.”
What about going pro?
“I want to play for the Seattle Reign! And be on the US Women’s Olympic team.”
Huge aspirations at such a young age!
You seem to be a bigger fan of women’s soccer over men’s.
“That’s because it’s women’s soccer and I’m a girl. Girls are just better. Period.”
I absolutely love my daughter’s attitude and strength. It comes across in everything she does, whether she’s on the pitch or not. I hope every young girl and boy dreams big, and learns to work hard and play hard. To stay focused and driven. And to love what they do.
To close out the interview, I asked if she had any final words. Her response?
“Yes. One word: Nope!”
~ E.S.Brown is an aspiring author whose debut novel is due in 2014. He divides his time between his day job, his family, his writing, and being a soccer parent.