I Never Thought It Would End THIS Way

For those of you, like me, still at the beginning or in the middle of your youth soccer journeys with your youngsters, here’s some perspective for parents and coaches from a dad who has arrived at the end.

Just A Dad


For anyone who has ever coached youth sports of any kind, from pee-wee to middle school, and even high school sports in some cases………I have a deep question that has been floating in my mind in recent days. Just give me minute to circle around to it.

My youngest daughter wrapped up her high school soccer career tonight. The days leading up to it flooded me with memories of all her games past, both far and near. Thoughts of different leagues, cities, coaches, teammates, hotel rooms, victory, defeat. Reflections of how she changed over the years as a player, a competitor, and a person. Wondering how and why things have played out exactly as they have. Thinking about influences both good and bad that could have or would have made things better or worse if they’d been different.

And I started thinking about the kids that I have coached as…

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Author: James

Lifelong player and student of the beautiful game in Germany, England, and USA. Volunteer futsal coach and USSF referee.

5 thoughts on “I Never Thought It Would End THIS Way”

  1. Our son will be fine when he finishes playing; maybe next year will be his last, we don’t know. He doesn’t really love the game, partially as a result of a few bad apples. I wonder what will happen with those toxic kids on the same teams on which he has played, whose parents have twisted their minds all in order to win, or “play at the highest level”, or whatever they claim is important to them. I cannot easily forgive those kids for the cruel comments they have directed at my son because of a misplayed pass or decision they didn’t agree with. I don’t remember any of this from my playing days, though I have played with many very competitive people. Is this society or youth soccer that has allowed this behavior to flourish?


  2. The best line in that short post was this: Winning is a by-product of doing all things the right way.

    Many parents, coaches and clubs lose sight of that one simple truth. Instead of playing to learn and improve, and encouraging hard work and a team environment, they play to win. And as a result they ultimatly lose.


  3. Great post by Mr. Dyer.
    I knew there must be some better reasons for having our boys play sports/soccer :).
    Thank you for getting them all down for everyone!

    I think the aspects of doing something fun as part of a group, building friendships, learning life lessons in a situation where it’s ok to make mistakes is a big part of sport. The health aspect of an active lifestyle is a big part of it too, soccer is particularly good for this I think.
    The kids also get moments that provide a great sense of accomplishment. Those smiles and reactions in those moments are priceless. Even when it’s not your own kid.

    While I dread seeing our boys off to wherever life leads them, that’s part of the deal.
    I hope they will continue to enjoy the sport in some capacity after high school…that’s with the big assumption that they continue to play through high school.

    I’m dreading MY last cheer as a soccer participant…as I near 50, the minor injuries start getting tough to recover from, but I’m going to keep at it til my body says ‘no mas’. Again, part of the deal. I consider myself lucky to still be playing at this age.
    Damn I’m nearly 50…still can’t believe that even.

    Thanks for the retrospective Mr. Dyer, you seem to have raised Maddie right. I’m sure she will be successful in all kinds of things.
    I hope that it’s not the last cheer for Maddie…hopefully she can continue enjoying the sport as an adult.


  4. Wow, that’s a heart breaking stomach punch but so true. My oldest son is playing U13 and I think about the journey he is going on as well as the one his mother and I are going on with him. It’s all bound to come to an end regardless of how good you become. What can sport teach us that helps us become better humans. There I was just wanting to enjoy the football 😉


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