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Mom, Writer and Soccer Coach

Kris V., Hastings

I am a mom, writer, and have recently added YMCA Soccer Coach to my list of titles. If you have ever enrolled kids in the YMCA youth sports programs, more than likely you’ve been asked to coach or help coach, but like me, have relied on others to fill the position. In only his second season of soccer, my son’s team lacked a coach, and the only rule I knew about soccer was that goalies may use their hands. After much agony, I volunteered to coach the soccer team in order to avoid disappointing the team and the league, and I prayed that other parents would help with drills, rules, rotations, strategy, and altogether do the actual coaching.

Teamwork happened on more than one level… one parent helped with practice, another set of parents helped with the games, one parent helped with rotations, and yet another helped with the snack list.  Our “team” of coaches became another set of positive role models that our soccer players will see throughout our community. As a coach, I realized when the kids come to the field they bring with them the things that make them who they are. They bring the complaints of homework, disappointments about friendships, frustrations with parents, etc. They come and run, complete the drills, rely on each other and stand firm as they dribble, pass…score. I had the opportunity to encourage the members of the team to try their hardest, to help them work together, and even improve their skills. When those kids left the field, I felt like they took with them more than grass stained shin guards. I had a hand in helping these kids become better people by the simple fact that improvement and growth expected on the field, goes beyond the field and stays with them throughout their lives.

For years I have written grants for the YMCA stressing how our youth sports and programming make a difference for those who participate. I have measured the statistical impact and possess the knowledge of documented numbers. I have always highlighted the core values we strive to instill. But, having the opportunity to be on the field with the kids personalized the value of the Y’s mission and brought it to life. Please do not feel you have to be a stellar athlete and master strategist to be a YMCA coach. There are scores of opportunities to make a difference in our community in a variety of different ways. Find something that is personal for you, decide to make a difference and become engaged. Volunteer.

Kris Vrooman, Hastings YMCA Grant Writer and Volunteer Soccer Coach

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