Last year, my husband — a high school soccer coach at the time — took his team to play a match at Rio Tinto Stadium and our oldest son, Anderson, came along as a ball boy. While there, the team was able to see part of the RSL locker room. As my husband walked Anderson in, the words “The team is the star” were front and center.
The words were just what Anderson needed.
Anderson, a natural left-footer, began kicking around a soccer ball right about the time he started walking, and hasn’t stopped since.
Like many kids, he began playing soccer in the city recreational league at about the age of 4. Right away, we saw his potential. While other kids were picking dandelions and following the ball in an amoeba-like formation, Anderson was taking the ball from end to end, scoring upwards of 10 goals a game.
He was a star. No, he was the star.
I’m not going to deny that I enjoyed hearing parents on both teams talking about how good No. 9 was. I was a proud mom.
However, seeing the need for him to learn more about the game and grow as a player, my husband and I decided that club soccer was the next step.
Now 10 years old and in his third year of competition soccer, Anderson’s speed, endurance, ability to see the field and his natural left foot have made him the perfect left midfielder. In his position, he is not scoring goals. Rather, he is working to move the ball up and down the field to help assist players on his team who are in better position to score.
Instead of scoring eight goals a game, he may end up with one or two a season.
He is no longer the star. And for a while, this was difficult for him. And I’ll admit, it was hard for me, too.
But that day, the words in the RSL locker room put it all into perspective. The team is the star.
Anderson may not be scoring goals, but he is an integral part of his team, and utilizing his particular skill set in a way that is most useful.
As parents and players, letting go of that "star" status can often prove difficult. But when the team is the star, good things happen. If you don’t believe me, just watch an RSL game.
Arianne Brown is a mother of six who loves running the beautiful trails around Utah. For more articles by her, "like" her Facebook page by searching "A mother's Write" or visit her blogs, timetofititin.com or thestoriesofyourlife.wordpress.com.