Evan plays soccer. It’s the only sport he’ll touch with a ten foot pole. And he’s not that into it. When we returned to Austin after traveling earlier this year, his old club called and asked if he was ready to rejoin. We were invited back by a parent of Evan’s old teammate who was putting a team together. Evan ended up with half a dozen of his old friends. The team would be a Select team in the club and play in the Super League of Austin along with other teams whose parents were too lazy to travel for weekend soccer games to neighboring towns which is a requisite to join the Elite league. We thought it would be a good and somewhat safe way for Evan to get some exercise and socialization during the pandemic. The club is pretty serious about its pandemic protocols, and in any case everything happens outdoors.
Evan’s coach quit after two weeks and was replaced by this famous soccer personality in Austin – the fields that Evan started playing soccer at are named after this guy. He’s a gruff old Argentine with little time for social graces. He put Evan in the central defender position and never substituted him out during games even though the rest of the players rotated in and out. This was our first indication that may be Evan was better than we had given him credit for. Evan of course thinks he’s the best. Here’s a clip of him saying why he should be admitted to St. Stephen’s school for middle school. No, we didn’t use this particular clip.
So yesterday the team finished its season without a single loss in the pre-season, regular season, and the tournament, ending up as champions. I think all the parents were surprised in the beginning when the wins started coming in, and then rather enjoyed the proxy glow of victories. Needless to say we are proud of our boys and how well they played. There were a couple of excellent players in the team (and they aren’t named Evan), but the whole team got together and did it while having loads of fun. In fact they had fun, and ended up winning.
The crusty coach mostly barked short stucco phrases at the kids during games and practice. Unforgiving comments, I thought, but always aimed at improving the player. And the kids didn’t mind being held accountable. Yesterday while handing out medals he spoke more words than we heard all season. The coach thanked Henry who had broken a foot during practice four weeks ago but continued to come to every game anyway. He hobbled to the sidelines on his crutches and supported his team. Then the coach thanked Vinny, who he said was always helpful and had a great heart. He thanked the whole team without singling out the better players. I thought this was a class act. I hope the kids learned something from it.
Evan started the season with six friends and ended up with the whole team of friends. Along the way, some players had the opportunity to jump ship to teams in the Elite league. But they said no and stayed with this team. They will be back in a month together again for the spring soccer season, and I hope their crusty coach stay too. Besides, he gave me a medal yesterday for my duties as a team manager. Class act all the way : -)