Monday, May 3, 2010

Soccer Tournament

Since both my husband and my little brother are nagging asking me when my next blog post will be, I better get writing...

It was an interesting weekend.  Barley's team registered for a tournament downtown, and the teams that play in this tournament regularly are primarily Spanish-speaking.  DH asked me what "Domingo" meant, and I replied that it means "Sunday" in Spanish. Apparently the website for the tournament was entirely in Span-glish

Our coach prepped the team parents for a likely crushing defeat, since we would be playing teams made up of players from families whose cultural background includes soccer coaching in utero.  Entire families play soccer and futsol; from Grandpa, Mom, and Dad, to older brother, cousin, and baby sister.

We arrived early Saturday morning to allow the boys to warm up and practice a bit.  This left the parents time to watch the game before ours, which included a team we would face Sunday morning for Game 3.  Both of these teams were REALLY good.  We were awed and intimidated on behalf of our kids.  The soccer ball flew around the field like a pinball, going from header to header to header, never touching the ground until it was lobbed by a hip-high kick toward the goal net.

Anxiously, we set up our chairs behind the parents of these 2 teams, waiting for the game to end so we could move our chairs closer.  This was a downtown tournament, and our horde of minivans had invaded the library parking lot next door.  Once the first game cleared and we moved up, we realized our side of the field all had Sports Authority folding chairs, some with sun shades.  The other side had just blankets, or parents standing to watch the game.  We felt a little out of place.  Then we noticed the other team's jerseys all had logos on them--they were sponsored!  (Of course, you gotta wonder about Corona and "Bimbo" as trademarks for your 8-year old's jersey) Our whitebread, plain jersey, Suburban kids must have looked like fresh futsol meat to these guys...

The whistle blew, and our team didn't get crushed immediately.  In fact it remained zero-zero for most of the game.  We all learned some Spanish, as the Ref yelled "Amarillo" (yellow) whenever the opposing team got the ball.  The parents beside us kept yelling "Atras" (behind you) at their players.  Our coach called "Sub" to the Ref when he wanted to swap out players.  The other team's coached called out "Cambio."  At one point, the Ref started yelling at the coach of the opposing team, and we all turned to the 2 best Spanish speaking parents on our team, waiting for the translation.  Seems the opposing coach was getting mouthy, and the Ref threatened to stop the game completely if he didn't calm down.

We were relieved and a little proud when our boys had pulled out a tenuous 1-0 win, since our expectations had been so low going into the tourney.  We were a deflated to learn later that the boys had beaten only a Bronze-level team. The action had definitely seemed slower on the field during our game vs. the first game  that we watched.  Turned out the first game teams were Silver level.  Our next game would be against a Gold level team--uh-oh!

Game 2 was definitely more challenging, and faster played.  The other team finished off the first half with 4 goals in our net.  Our coach had briefly staffed the goal net with someone other than our star goalie, "M."  We were all relieved to see M put on the goalie shirt for the second half.  Our boys recovered from the shock of getting creamed in the first half, and scored one in the opposing net quickly.  Then a lot of fast and furious soccer-pinball action followed by 2 more goals in ours.  The ending score was 1-6, but we were pleased that we avoided a shut-out.

Our last game of the weekend was on Sunday, against a Silver level team.  They were very good, and challenged our kids to play their best.  They led early, and stayed ahead of us most of the game.  Our boys rallied to tie them with 5 minutes left...and then the other team scored again.  Final score: 3-4.  This was our last game,  no Finals round.

Barley was not a starting player, and he was not getting a lot of playing time during the tournament.  He is learning to be a decent goalie, but he does not have the dive-for-it instincts of our star goalie.  When he was not playing during the first game, he had his back to the field as he picked at the astroturf granules.  We have been unable to entice him to watch any pro soccer games on TV either, so we have doubts about the athletic scholarship I sometimes daydream about.  Still, he does enjoy the game, and we are trying to get him to see the direct relationship between application of effort, and increased skill.  DH and I accept that when the league forces us into an "A" and "B" strata, Barley is more likely to be on the B-Team, if he is able to stay with Competitive at all.  We're behind him all the way, for as long as he wants to stick with this.  Now, where's that darn checkbook...


  1. My own 8-year-old is such a soccer superstar wannabe. He knows no fear, which provides me with an endless supply of fear. (You know, fear of bloody noses and lost teeth and the like.) He really wanted to sign up for the select team in the coming year, but we told him that, as a third child, we don't love him enough to part with FIFTEEN HUNDRED DOLLARS! Maybe we'll love him more next year!

  2. Holy Moly--$1500??? We're expecting to shell out about $500 for next season, but they keep collecting the checks $150 at a time. I'll have to count and see if I've forked over 10 of those yet...

  3. It's freakin' shocking, isn't it? But I guess that's the price we pay for living where we do. (I'm in Marin County. But in the poorer part of the county. As such, there's a lot of subsidizing by us "rich" people for those who have talent but can't afford to pay. I try to argue that I can't afford it either, but they seem to think our annual income says otherwise.)


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