For many parents this past weekend is one of the most stressful of the year.
It was tryout day for travel soccer. It is when you parade your kid in front of coaches who evaluate their talent and decide if they want them on their team. If they do not like what they see you are put on hold or make the trek to another tryout to see if you can latch on to another team. You are also looking for a good fit with coaches and players.
It was easy for us. The coaches at the Bloomfield Hills Force like my son B and Celine’s coach Kevin Garner believes in her. He gives her ownership, teaches her how to play the game and puts her in tough spots in MRL where she plays top notch travel teams from Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin.
She has come off the field with her tongue dragging to the ground after playing 80 minutes of soccer with little rest.
Oddly, her high school coach did not believe in her. In two years at West Bloomfield High School she never started a game unless someone was injured. And she was one of the better players and often times was the best player on the field. But that did not matter.
She scored two game-winning goals last season but that did not matter.
She was second on the team in points last season and outscored both starting forwards combined but was told to improve.
She scored the two most important goals this season but was told she was not a top ten field player.
She is the fastest kid on the team but was told she did not run right and that she was unfit.
She lost her confidence when her coach lacked confidence in her. But to Celine’s credit she recovered, played some of her best soccer at the end and made the All District team. But she still came off the bench.
She did not start the opening state tournament game and her team fell behind 2-0 to Walled Lake Central. She came into the game and scored early in the second half to make it 2-1 and our team had momentum. She was immediately benched and did not return until the other team had put the game away. We lost 4-1.
For the past few weeks I’ve exchanged horror stories with parents about their high school programs. Good players sit and so-so players play. A number of players quit high school teams because of inferior training and questionable coaching. It is so bad that a group of us are going to have a soccer summit and try to exchange stories and ideas.
That is one reason we decided to move on from high school soccer. She is being recruited by colleges to play and it is not a good look coming off the bench for players that are not being recruited by colleges. One former college player told me that Celine is a Division II or Division III starter and would be a spark off the bench for a mid major Division I program.
She always starts with the Force and produces. And that is why we didn’t go shopping around for other travel teams. If you find a good fit, stick with it. The grass is not always greener in other places. We as parents love to shop around and look for the best options for our kids. We are flattered when an opposing coach bats his eye at us and fills us with praise about our kids.
But sometimes it is best to stay home.