As a proud soccer mom for nearly 4 years, I have learned a few things about how to really own that role in my life. Before my own kiddos were old enough to play, I’d thought that you only needed to drive a minivan for your soccer-playing child in order to hold the title. Little did I know. In case you’re just joining the club, here are some tips from someone who may have taken this role to a bit of an extreme.
Recreational sports leagues are no different than any other organization in generally having a shortage of volunteers. Sign up. I didn’t know a darned thing about soccer; I didn’t even play sports growing up. But even nonathletic types like me can sign up as a team manager. If you already feel over-committed, consider offering assistance on game days or even to just send out the snack schedule for the season.
To truly show the world my commitment, I proudly wear a soccer mom bracelet all of soccer season. I save the necklace for game days. I have bought the picture pins, but personally can’t buy into wearing something quite that large on my person. All respect to those who can and do. Own it. I have taken my obsession with Wish accessories to a new level for this purpose. All of the moms on my daughters’ team got necklaces or bracelets for Mother’s Day, the girls got necklaces after their last game, and the coaches got soccer ball key chains.
I have to be honest. I did look up different snack ideas on Pinterest, but I don’t make the cut as an “ideal” Soccer Mom here. I have absolutely seen it in action, though. Icing that looks like grass on a cupcake with a soccer ball cake pop on top. Pure beauty and absolutely brought joy to our sweaty girls. There are butterfly snack bags, drinks attached to various candies in the shape of soccer players, and countless others. Go for it. The rest of the moms may hate you, but the kids will absolutely love you.
I mean this in the most relaxed, positive way possible. Socialize with the parents of the other kids on the team. At practice. At games. On social media. Wherever. It will make all the difference in your own experience with youth soccer. Plus, as you develop relationships, your child may even have bonus time with their teammates as you incorporate more time together. Some of my favorite people are soccer parents, including one of my best friends. Take advantage of the possible friendships.
You haven’t made it as a crazed Soccer Mom until you’ve felt at least mildly embarrassed for being the loudest person on the sidelines. Of course you’re not allowed to coach from the sidelines, and truly, you should leave that to the coaches you’ve entrusted to guide your child. Fortunately, there aren’t any rules against cheering with all of the enthusiasm you can muster. Bonus points for being the first mom to learn all of the kids’ names on the team so you can appropriately scream every time your child’s team does anything.
#6 Be Prepared
Moms often receive due praise for having everything they need for nearly every situation, and lots of those things apply here too – first aid kit, wipes, water bottles, snacks, etc. Soccer moms take that to a new level. Only a Soccer Mom could show up at a field with no advance notice and have everything she needs to sit in rain, snow, or 90 degree heat. There’s probably even a soccer ball permanently in her trunk beside those folding chairs, blankets, umbrellas, and sunscreen. Maybe moms in other geographies don’t have to worry about some of these things, but we’re in Ohio. 🙂
#7 Spread the Wealth
I’ve already mentioned some ways to share enthusiasm across the team, but here are a couple more worth mentioning. One snack idea led me to purchasing soccer ribbon. Because some of the girls liked it in their hair, we went with it. Then I found the greatest ribbon of all time for our team at a craft store (see picture above). We’ve managed to keep a few core girls together for 5 seasons now as the Glitter Tigers, and I simply couldn’t pass up glittery black & white tiger stripe ribbon! Paired with plain purple and another with soccer balls, our girls have given flare a new meaning. I love adding to the team spirit with something so simple.
I also enjoy hosting end of season parties to remind the girls to celebrate what they’ve accomplished in their 8-10 weeks together. These 6 to 8 year olds play hard and deserve a party, whether or not they earned a trophy. I’d argue the parents do, too, for hanging in there through weekly practices and that aforementioned weather!
Whether your child is the best or worst player on the team, you can show your pride and love of youth sports using some of the ideas above. I haven’t asked my kids if I embarrass them (& not sure I care I do!), but I DO know that they appreciate that they always hear us yelling their name at games; that we encourage friendships & practice outside of organized practices & games; and that they can count on our unconditional support week after week. For me, watching them develop more confidence and maturity with each passing season makes all of the hassle, registration fees, and rushed meals completely worth it.