Book Review: Soccer Dad by The Soccer Dad

soccer dad book

A Brief Introduction of the Soccer Dad book

A soccer dad, W. D. Wetherell,  documents his high school son’s final season and their team trying to three-peat the state tournament.  Too many times soccer parents are trying to live through their child.  The soccer dad book is a book that celebrates the support a parent can give in experiencing the game for what it provides–an opportunity to watch your child grow (physically and mentally) and be able to cheer them on and observe it in a healthy and non-toxic environment.

An Overview of the Soccer Dad book

As I stated earlier, Wetherell, documents his high school son’s final high school soccer season as his team vies for to be a three-peat New Hampshire state champion.

Wetherell recognizes he is not a soccer genius.  Early in the book, Wetherell fully admits he will not overly promote or discredit youth soccer.  This book will not be about tactics, soccer drills, youth soccer clubs, soccer around the world, etc. either.  There are no overly descriptive or wordy passages about soccer tactics. Wetherell strives to provide an unbiased and observatory “soccer dad” lens of the world of youth soccer in America.  He also makes the book a memoir for him, his son and their soccer family of the final high school soccer season.  

Individuals that are fortunate to obtain the updated and revised version receive an update on the protagonist and his teammates activities after they graduate from high school.

What I like/relate to in the Soccer Dad book:

Wetherell breaks out the book in chronological order from the beginning of his son’s senior high school year and ends it with the culmination of the end of his senior year.  (You receive more information about the next adventures of some of the soccer players if you buy the updated and revised version of the book).  The book is broken out in chapters with each chapter covering a specific time period and at the same time having a specific observation.  Let me explain.

The first chapter is titled “Fields of Winter.”  In this chapter, Wetherell visits a number of soccer fields that his son played on coming up through select soccer.  Each one of these fields had a unique and vivid memory for him–from describing the scenery of the last match on the field to describing the actions that occurred during the match.

Wetherell also describes the sounds of the soccer match.  (Yes, sounds of the soccer match.)  Try this the next time you attend a youth soccer match.  After the kickoff, close your eyes.  Just listen.  You will hear the sounds of parents.  You will hear the sounds of players.  You will hear the sounds of coaches.  You will notice a rhythm, a cadence, a flow and a tempo of the sounds.  When you open your eyes, those sounds will be your primary observation and your other senses will fill-in everything else. Wetherell does a great job observing these sounds and how they mesh with the game.

Lastly, Wetherell vividly describes his experiences in Hanover, New Hampshire.  He describes moments at Dartmouth College and encounters with Bobby and Tommy Clark, Jeff Cook and Hanover High School just to name a few mainstays in the soccer community in Hanover, New Hampshire.  Being an alumni of Dartmouth College and a member of the Dartmouth men’s soccer team, I fully appreciated Wetherell’s acknowledgement and descriptions of the impact of Dartmouth’s soccer community.  I played on Chase Field where Wetherell first heard Bobby Clark’s unique tone.  Jeff Cook was the assistant coach during my freshman year. Wetherell accurately described those individuals and the area around the soccer stadium.  He interwove those beautifully into his and his son’s story.

Final Thoughts on the Soccer Dad book

Wetherell did a solid job of sharing his experience as a soccer dad during the final year of his son’s high school soccer career. Wetherell was not condescending of the sport or of individuals attached to it.  Sometimes the sport, and those involved with it, can be cold and heartless. Wetherell is the opposite.  He is not a crazy soccer parent upset that his son is not a professional player or the coaches are not getting his son a full NCAA division I college scholarship. Wetherell describes the beauty of enjoying these last moments of his son’s high school career that happens to play soccer.  He is really there to support his child, regardless of how good or bad of a player he is.  This is not Dance Moms.  This is The Soccer Dad.  

 

If you liked my book review of the Soccer Dad, by W. D. Wetherell as much as I did, feel free to purchase Soccer Dad on Amazon.

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