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You know you're watching beginners soccer when ...
by Donna Olmstead, March 26th, 2010 11AM

TAGS:  youth boys, youth girls


By Donna Olmstead

You know you're watching beginners soccer when ...

* You can’t tell if the players actually have knees.

* Two players stop to chat in the middle of the game.

* One player keeps wandering toward his mom on the sidelines.

* A lot of the siblings are still in strollers.

* Parents yell “get a guy!” when they mean “mark a player.”

* “Pass” isn’t a relevant word.

* Parents tie the players’ shoes.

* Just before the game starts, the coach asks, “Did everyone go to the bathroom?”

* Players are more interested in who brought snacks than in who won the game.

* The keeper’s legs are so short she can throw the ball farther than she can kick it.

* The coach just picks up players to put them into position.

* There are usually too many or too few players on the field.

* Jerseys are big enough to fit through at least two more seasons.

* The coach and parents frequently yell, “Go the other way!”

* “Swarm” pretty much describes the game plan.

* The keeper falls down and cries when a ball gets past him into the goal.

* Players don’t have to duck when they walk through the parents’ tunnel at the end of the game.

* Everyone gets a trophy when the season is over. (And for beginning players, that’s the best part of the game.)

(Florida resident Donna Olmstead has been involved in soccer through both her children and her grandchildren, as well as housing professional players and owning and running an indoor soccer facility. She is a freelance writer and spends weekends trying to remember at which tournament she's supposed to be cheering.)

  1. Brent Crossland
    commented on: March 26, 2010 at 11:38 a.m.
    I love it! As a referee I always like to do the "U-Littles" so I can be with players who truly enjoy what they are doing!
  1. Richard Weishaupt
    commented on: March 26, 2010 at 11:47 a.m.
    You left off one of my favorites: The players insist on wearing their shin guards over their socks. (and why does it matter?)
  1. Brian Herbert
    commented on: March 26, 2010 at 1:19 p.m.
    Thanks, got a good chuckle reading this! Here's one more, "when a player is knocked down or is tripped, a mom rushes on the field as first responder."
  1. jorge rodriguez
    commented on: March 26, 2010 at 3:56 p.m.
    One more, "when half the team sprints to the ball after it is 20 yards out of bounds"
  1. Larry Milnes
    commented on: March 26, 2010 at 5:59 p.m.
    When they use the 9-1-1 formation. 1 keeper, 9 in a swarm, and 1 standing outside of the swarm waiting for the ball to get loose.
  1. victor espinoza
    commented on: March 27, 2010 at 9:37 a.m.
    1 more,water breaks every 12 min also known as quarters. Theres no quarters in soccer.
  1. Beth Raizes
    commented on: March 27, 2010 at 3:02 p.m.
    Your 5 year old son is in a 3v3 format. Sees his brother eating pizza on the sidelines, goes and takes a bite, gets back on the field to "recapture the ball" which, in his world, "it's our ball and no one is going to steal it from us", runs down to the little goal, with no goalie and plays with the ball until his "girlfriend" on his team makes her way downfield. He passes her the ball (about a foot a way) and she scores!! "What an outstanding, impressive play", he must say to himself.
  1. Ginette Buffone
    commented on: March 29, 2010 at 6:12 p.m.
    This list brought me back to my childhood of playing rec soccer and then later, reffing rec's hilarious and oh so accurate. You should consider adding it to this site called uknowpia (, so we can add to the list and keep it alive. How get one child each game that blatantly reaches down to stop the ball with his/her hands as it rolls by. ...or, throw-ins are kick-ins (wasn't this way when I was growing up, but when I reffed, that was how it was done).
  1. gilson gomes
    commented on: April 16, 2010 at 12:42 p.m.
    i wnt to be a professional soccer player i tried so many time online to be finally i found this site they look good to help mi to be a professiona soccer
  1. lisa holland
    commented on: May 9, 2010 at 4:43 a.m.
    I just want to say - my daughter and son love to play the game. I just encourage them both to do the best they can - my daughter may be the next Hamm. Do I tell her this ? No - I want her to exceed on her own, mind you - she knows mommy is there cheering., as I do for my 8 yr old - but his calling is football i think, hes quick and can score the goals just like his sis
  1. lisa holland
    commented on: May 9, 2010 at 5:08 a.m.
    Thought already wrote to post - Adris' lil bro was 3yrs / he is now 5 yrs old. He jumped out of stroller and scored goals at both ends of the field - both coaches were overcome with laughter, to see this lil guy bring the ball to both ends - But like Adri says - just like me mommy - he wants the ball. I would never scream at my child - they are doing the best they can

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