|Looking down on the Mercedes-Benz Arena, where I later walked down and watched a German soccer practice.|
My 11-year-old daughter's soccer team made it all the way to the state tournaments this weekend. The Stingrays were a wonderful team in the true sense of the word. There were no particular stand-out players; they all played well and played together. It was a fun season to watch.
Unfortunately, I missed her game, but happened to be standing outside the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Stuttgart, Germany, watching young men play soccer on the field there as her game was happening back in the States. It made me reflect on the past ten seasons that she's played, and how many more there might be in her future.
When she first started, the game barely resembled what we know as soccer. The coaches stood out on the field with the kids, physically moving them to their positions and then running alongside the kids, giving instruction as the game continued. It was more like a soccer swarm; the kids started out in positions and then all moved as a group, following the ball around the field. They didn't know what they were doing or which direction they were heading. All they knew was that they were supposed to kick the ball.
Then they started to learn how to dribble, and pass, and play their positions. As the seasons and levels progressed, they learned fancy foot moves and stops. They learned the more intricate rules of the game and got more aggressive. As I watched the young men on the field I thought their game was not much different than my daughter's team now. They may have been a little more spread out, kicked the ball harder, and perhaps ran a bit faster, but it was otherwise similar and was fun to watch.
My daughter's team lost 2-0. I believe the girls are mature enough to realize that this was an incredible feat. Not only did they make it to the state tournaments, but they played the best of the best and held the other team to 2 points. It was a victory in my book and I was sorry to miss it but luckily, we still have many soccer seasons ahead. I look forward to going to state tournaments in the future.