10 things I’ve learned about life by watching my kids play soccer

My kids have been playing soccer for as long as I can remember. Every fall they lace up their cleats and have a great time on the neighbourhood fields running, kicking, and playing with their friends. We’re a pretty casual soccer family, to say the least, but the kids have fun and we all love to watch their games. With the World Cup this summer, and one child who tried spring soccer for the first time, I’ve been thinking about the game more and realizing that soccer is abundant with valuable lessons that apply to life off the pitch.

  1. Celebrate the success of others. Just because you aren’t the one scoring a goal doesn’t mean you can’t jump for joy when someone else does.
  2. Do things that scare you. Even though goaltending can be daunting, someone always steps up to do it. In fact, sometimes everyone steps up to do it.
  3. Pass. You can’t do everything on your own. Sometimes understanding when to “pass the ball” is the most important thing you can know.
  4. Plan ahead. Don’t always concentrate on where you are. Think about where you want to be.
  5. Try, try again. If you miss a perfect opportunity, don’t despair. Another one is always coming if you’re ready.
  6. Cooperate. A cohesive team is greater than the sum of its parts.
  7. Believe in the power of people. Even when not everyone seems to be contributing, it’s important to remember that everyone can.
  8. Have fun. An occasional cartwheel on the field between a whistle-blow and a corner kick can boost everyone’s spirits.
  9. Shake it off. Just because the other team scores, or someone says something mean doesn’t mean you can’t get right back out there and show them what you’re made of.
  10. Cheer. A good word, a kind smile, and an after-game handshake will go a long way toward making someone feel good.

I really do love to watch them play.

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