For the past ten years, my family has been involved with the local city soccer league. We've met a lot of great people, had some wonderful coaches, and had some extraordinary experiences. We've traveled all over our county and into a couple of others with traveling teams. We've seen five championship games and we have seen our older two sons become soccer champions twice. It's been a great ride.
Last spring however, our soccer league decided that they wanted to raise the level of the teams and the quality of the coaching. They wanted to become a more elite team. Mr. Pete was one of the coaches and I know that he had to attend several training sessions, which he was very happy to do. Gabe, Noah and Izzy played on the league last fall and had a good time.
But all of this came at a cost. There was the actual money in fees to be paid for playing which over the past ten years has risen from $25 per kid per season, to almost $40. This year the uniforms were an additional $60. There was also the additional stress of having different kids, on different teams, on different soccer fields, at different times, with me driving all over the place trying to keep it all straight. With Mr. Pete coaching Noah's team, that left me with keeping Izzy and Gabe's team straight but it was still challenging at times. There was also a cost in family time. At the height of our soccer involvement with four kids playing, our entire weekend was devoted to getting kids to-and-from games. I look back now on how I did that with an infant and I can't believe I did it!
Last fall, Sam was too old to play on the regular soccer league for the fall, so I put him on a newly discovered soccer league just for homeschooled kids and we were pleasantly surprised by some of the differences. First of all, the practices and the games were all on Saturday. Sam arrived at 9:00 and he was there until 12:00. That was always pretty easy to remember. The fee for his T-shirt and playing was only $30. But the intangible was that he was playing with other homeschooled high school kids. They had their unique educational experiences to share with one another and they quickly accepted Sam into their midst. There was never any ill will or hard feelings between the players, and Sam noticed that there simply was none of the cursing and vulgarities he had experienced on his other league.
This spring, as I sat down to figure out our expenses for signing the kids up with the city league and wondering how I was going to find the extra money to pay for gas to get to all of those games, and wondering how Rosie was going to manage getting dragged around everywhere again, it occurred to me that maybe I should put all of my kids on the homeschool league.
In the end, that's what Mr. Pete and I decided to do. With Mr. Pete coaching, the entire cost for our family for four kids was $50.00. That is less than the cost of one uniform for the city team! Our kids like playing soccer for fun, but none of them were burning to become more competitive. And for our family, it will be wonderful to be able to have weekends more free to have time in the spring to plant a garden, take hikes, go for bike rides and just enjoy each other. But I'm hoping that our further involvement in this league will introduce us to more homeschoolers in our area, outside of my local Catholic homeschool group. I am definitely looking forward to meeting new homeschool moms and kids, and making new friends while my kids get to play soccer!
Scenes from last fall's soccer for Sam on the Saturday Homeschool League.