Are We Too Busy for Our Children?

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I was “blessed” with the opportunity to sit at a park waiting for family members, friends and children to attend a Memorial Day picnic.  I was tasked with claiming an area of a shelter, setting up grills and waiting for three hours prior to the official party start time.  (You know black people will not arrive on time so I was more than likely 4 hours early).

Nonetheless, the park was empty.  When I say empty, I mean, 3 cars in the parking lot and my car is one of them.  The park is easily over 10 acres with a two mile walking/running track on the perimeter, 4 soccer fields, 4 tennis courts, 2 basketball courts, 2 baseball fields, 2 playgrounds, a lake (and a partridge in a pear tree).  In other words, the park is a pretty decent size.

Waiting for the extended family to arrive, I observed a father with his twin toddler boys.  They were running, jumping, tumbling, exploring, you know, normal things twin toddler boys at a park with open fields and playgrounds do.  On two separate occasions during the 30 minute visit, the boys yelled out to their dad, “Look at me, Daddy!  Look at me, Daddy!  Look at me, Daddy!”  Unfortunately, the boys yelled because their father was walking around, or sitting on one of the benches facing the playground, on his phone.  The tasks do not seem pressing, but they are distracting enough to take his mind, attention and focus away from his boys.

Are these actions that pressing?  Fidgeting with your phone instead of playing with your kids ain’t good.

Can we as fathers, as soccer dads, not put down our gadgets for 30 minutes to be engaged with our children?  I get it.  We have a lot of things pulling at us.  From work, to personal obligations to “Honey-do” lists, the tasks we need to complete are endless.  Plus, we need to check-in, tweet, share, comment and address any of the other daily multitude of social media tasks our smartphones notify us we must address “immediately.”

But again, 30 minutes for our children?  Is that too hard to ask?  Turn off the phone or only permit certain people to contact you.  Certain times with our children should be sacred and untouched.

Let’s do better, Dads!

 

UPDATE: The father never stopped being a tentative to his phone.  He wondered off multiple times on his phone and his boys continued to play by themselves.  

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Why The Soccer Dad Website?

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The Passion and Pain of the World’s Game

Why is a soccer dad website necessary?  Easy answer, the interest and passion for the world’s game is growing and needs a fun and serious venue to help parents, players and coaches address those changes.

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Obviously, technology has helped fuel that growth.  From more games on television and the internet to the increased global market, there is definitely a growth in the world’s game across the United States and the world.

The Passion

I created the Soccer Dad website to share my passion of the world’s game with others.

I began playing at the age of 5 in a United States neighborhood soccer league.  At age 8 and throughout my teenage years, I played for top level youth select teams in the mid-western part of the United States.  My later youth years included time with youth academy teams in the Netherlands and college soccer in the United States.

My coaching and training roles have ranged from professional players to the state level of the Olympic Development Program to the neighborhood level of three year-old children.  Personally, I have three children (two of which are currently old enough to play soccer.  I look forward to coaching the youngest one as well soon).

I watch as much soccer as possible whether it is on television or online and will play FIFA17 with my son as much as he wants (to lose).

To say I have a passion for the game would be a slight understatement.

The Pain

Through my experiences, I observed the fact that parents do not know things about soccer that are vital to their child’s growth and development.  There are questions parents need answers to

Some of those things are:

  • Why play youth soccer instead of another sport?
  • How do I pay for the increasing fees of youth soccer?
  • What are beneficial off-season training tips?
  • What are the best nutritional snacks between matches?
  • How do I discuss a loss with my child?

The primary reason for the lack of knowledge is due to the relatively newness of the sport in the United States, access barriers in other countries and the continued growing popularity of the sport across the world.

One of the biggest drivers of the sport’s growth is the increased amount of financial supporters in the game.  Successful businessmen are entering the sport, especially at the already successful clubs, and are demanding an increase in financial returns.  These financial returns demand trickle down results both positive and negative.  Just take a look at the recent FIFA corruption lawsuit and its global impact.

The modern day game of youth soccer has a lot of misunderstandings, lack of cohesion and organization.  The majority of parents did not grow up playing this game thus they are unable to guide their children in the right manner of preparation to grow the child’s talent in the game.  Keep in mind, I am not just talking physically, but emotionally and psychologically. These elements create frustration for the parents because they cannot confidently direct their children to the best steps in growing their soccer experience.

Lastly, the lack of high level organization impedes the sport from growing a solid traction—specifically, in the United States.  Top level organizations like US Soccer, USYSA, the national team programs and other interest groups, keep the sport’s growth fractured at best.  Hopefully this is an immaturity problem that will resolve itself as the sport continues to mature in the United States and in other emerging countries. Once there is a true hierarchical structure and development program, the sport can gain consistent measured traction.

What will be discussed

I created this website to provide an open discussion for soccer dads (and soccer parents) to discuss their tribulations and trials with the world’s game, especially the fun side of being a parent. This website will serve as a springboard to discuss all of those topics and others in various mediums.

I look forward to sharing with you my observations and learning yours as well.

Yours in Soccer,

The Soccer Dad