Fans' View

Fans’ View: The joys of being a soccer mom

Photo: Staci Klemmer

Long johns, thick socks, fleece, ski pants, gloves, hat and scarf – all ready to go skiing.

No, strike that. All ready to go watch my son play in an outdoor soccer tournament, on March 1 at 8 am. Did I mention the temperature was 15 degrees?

Ah, the joys of being a soccer mom.

Don’t get me wrong, I love it.

I came to the sport late in life via a long and twisty road that involved hearing the screams in the village in Gabon where I worked as a Peace Corps volunteer in 1990. Cameroon had just beaten Argentina in the World Cup. I met my husband when we were both volunteers in DC during 1994 World Cup, and we spent our first night as a married couple watching our MetroStars play DC United. Yes, we were MetroStars fans back in 1996 — proud season ticket holders for the inaugural season. Even back then, the players were amazingly patient with fans: Alexi Lalas in the airport taking time to talk, or the entire DC United team at a bar after that MetroStars game.

I have never really played the game, except for a brief and not truly successful experiment last spring in a women’s rec league. Let’s just say I understand my children’s frustration at losing a lot better now and realize that I am not a team player. One positive that came out of the experience was my increased respect for anyone who can run full speed while controlling a little round thing at their feet.

Which brings me back to why I’m up at 6 am on a Saturday dressed for the frigid temperatures: I love watching any soccer, whether it’s my beloved Philadelphia Union, my high school students, or the five-year-olds my son helps to coach.

Well, almost any soccer. I find it very difficult to watch my kids play, but that’s a whole other article waiting to be written.

What it boils down to for me is that it’s a beautiful game. I know very little about tactics and positions. My husband and sons often roll their eyes at me over my silly questions, but I want to learn everything.

The more I learn, the more I appreciate the split second decisions the players have to make, how the team has to function as one entity, knowing what each player is thinking, so that players can anticipate where the space is going to be to better move the ball. I teach high school, and often my football (or should I say throwball) boys harass me about soccer being an easy sport, calling soccer players “Grass Fairies.”

For me, that doesn’t have a negative connotation but instead creates visions of players moving effortlessly across the field in a dance of possession, twisting and turning while always looking for the next pass and opportunity to fire on net.

Soccer is the only sport in our house. It controls our life as many as seven days a week during the MLS season thanks to the kids’ games and practices, time spent volunteering with our local club, Montgomery United, and of course, the highlight of the week, the Union games.

I’m okay with that.

My friends and family aren’t quite sure to make of this crazed soccer fanatic who is a mild-mannered teacher and mom on the side, but they’ve learned to just smile and nod.

And listen to me Doop.

10 Comments

  1. Congrats on your first article! Very nicely done. And I’m glad you were able to leave that NY/NJ MetroStars thing behind and follow the U.

  2. Welcome to PSP Staci! Great first article. From the sound of it, you already have a pretty good handle on what makes soccer the beautiful game. Just remember there are plenty of fantastic managers out there who never played the game, so trust your instincts! Sad to hear the football players are still the same way they were when I was in high school in the 90s. Hopefully that changes as they see more soccer on SportsCenter. Unfortunately, its often a view that is promoted by their coaches.

  3. I liked it until the Montgomery United info (I am from the LMSC gang!). Anyway, too bad you did not play in Africa. I played several years in Nigeria as the only Oyinbo (Nigerian term for a white person) on the team. Having done that is like visiting one of the earth’s 7 wonders. That is the great thing about soccer: you can not only enjoy amazing games but you play soccer anywhere on the earth with the most amazing people (I also played many games on Borneo!). Btw: also have 2 boys and love to meet you sometime!

  4. Nicely done. Very enjoyable article. Keep Dooping and just ignore the nay sayers. PSP readers have your back.

  5. Well done Staci! Your article shows your passion for the game and the travails of being a soccer mom. Keep dooping!

  6. Great article that shows your passion not only for ‘the beautiful game’, but also life. Thanks for sharing!

  7. nice post, thanks!

  8. Southside Johnny says:

    God bless soccer moms (and dads)! Very nice article. Thanks for contributing. Don’t sweat the soccer snobs. They are everywhere. You will pick up all the jargon from them over time and you will learn that they often aren’t as smart about the game as they sound. Cherish these years with your kids. They pass too quickly.

  9. Looks as though the “soccer parent” torch has been picked up and will be carried well this season. Nice article, Staci! I’ve had more than my fair share of those frigid mornings, though mine are in late November and into December. This year will be our first in Spring soccer.
    .
    Depending on how old your sons are and whether they play in Fall tournaments, I may have coached against them.
    .
    And much like you, I played for the first time last year and was blown away at just how hard it is. You should challenge the football players to play a match. 🙂
    .
    Great stuff! Looking forward to your views all year!

  10. Nancy Waltrip says:

    Great writing Staci!

    (From one of the cousins who just nods when you start talking soccer……..I think she knows more about it than she’s letting on!)

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