Ali Edwards Capture life. Create art.

June 5, 2014

Anna’s Soccer Season Spring 2014


The Soccer Chocolate Kittens first season came to a close a few weeks ago.

And man it was so fun.

This was Anna’s first real soccer experience. She was on a team with other Pre-K girls from her school and they were in league comprised mainly of Kindergarten teams (meaning they were usually a little smaller and a little less coordinated/experienced than their competition). They played half-field, 3 on 3 matches – they had 6, 5 minute matches each game if I remember correctly.

At the team celebration dinner Coach Sid had this to say about Anna:

“This girl was the most creative player. She created a new move, the back kick, introduced all of us to the concept of a dog pile, and she was the best grass-eater on the team.”

That’s my girl!


From the first practice to the last game it was so fun to watch this group of girls learn about teamwork and friendship and some of the basic fundamentals of soccer.

Coach Sid (a parent of twin girls on the team) was awesome. One of the first things he did was teach the girls the concept of “tank full.” He would ask them, and they would ask each other, “Is your tank full?” If the answer was no they would give each other positive praise. It was such a great way to build each other up.

He was also the kind of coach that went up to each girl after the game and said something positive about their experience and told him he was so proud of them.

Needless to say I don’t think I’m alone in hoping he will volunteer again in the fall.

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And she loved it.



Soccer at this level is really all about the basics. They learned so much from their first time on the field where they really had no clue what was happening to a few games in when things finally started to click.

I yelled “go to the ball” a lot.


I loved the chance to better get to know some of the other parents of the girl’s in Anna’s grade (there are two Pre-K classes at her school). I imagine, unless something changes drastically, that most of these girls will continue at this school until 8th grade.

It already feels like family.


Seeing that photo made me think of this one:


That’s me in 1984 (age 8 or 9).

And yes, I know I look like a boy.

I played competitive elite soccer starting around age 6 (I think) until about age 12 or 13 (junior high) when I needed to decide between swimming or soccer because both of them occurred during the same season in high school. I went with swimming.

Soccer and all that went into being on a competitive team was a big part of those growing up years for me and I really liked it. Practices in the cold and rain (it’s the Northwest of course), weekend travel all around the state, tournaments in the summer heat.

So many good lessons learned playing soccer.

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Simon had his own learning experiences over the course of Anna’s soccer season – most especially about how to be a good sideline friend. There was a lot of talk about how we cheer for the girls. We support them even when they miss a goal (vs. getting angry that they missed).

Sometimes we took a little walk with him to the car to take a break when he was feeling extra frustrated by their lack of skills. It was a good time for him to practice his own skills and he did get progressively better by the end of the short season.


We also captured the moment when we could all plainly see that Simon is now taller than Katie.


In April I posted this photo of oranges on Instagram with the caption, “Soccer mom!!!!!! I’m on orange duty for the Soccer Chocolate Kittens game tomorrow morning.


Katie captured my personal excitement about getting the chance to cut up those oranges for the half-time snack. Told you I was excited about those oranges.



There were definitely times when she wasn’t into it but when she finally scored her first goal and got a taste for what that feels like she was all over it.


One of the special things parents and supporters in this league do at the end of each game is a tunnel for the kids to run through after they’ve given the other team a high five and gone through the “good-game” line.

I think the tunnel is quite possibly their favorite part, next to the snack at the end of the game of course.


I’m hoping this is the start of many more athletic adventures to come because Anna, I love watching you play.

Go, Anna go!

PS | And in case you haven’t read that awesome post about the Six Words You Should Say Today by Hands Free Mama I highly recommend it.


  • 1.
    Kim L. said…

    Great post! Thanks for the link to the Six Words post as well – as the mom of a 17 year old and a 13 year old, it really hit home. Made me think about the words I need to be saying to my daughter, especially during the next year, while she is still living here at home – before she heads out into the world on her own.

  • 2.
    Laura said…

    Ali, thank you so much for sharing this lovely experience, the first of many I am sure. Thank you also for the link to Rachel’s site. I am hooked. My children are adults, but it is never too late to say these words, perhaps even more important when the struggles and challenges are even larger and more overwhelming. I believe they knew we felt this way about all of the amazing things they did. My son, an architect is about to have his third house he designed for Habitat for Humanity be built. Our older daughter is an athletic trainer, due largely to her experiences as an athlete, is helping others now. Our youngest is working for a nonprofit agency with troubled children. I LOVE THE WAY THEY HELP OTHERS. You can be sure I will be saying that to them soon. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, photos, creativity and life with us all. I LOVE THE WAY YOU SHARE.

  • 3.
    Michelle t. said…

    I saw a similar post on JoAnna Goddard’s blog several months ago and it was a revelation. Thank you for pointing it out. Glad Anna loves soccer so much. The boys loved it too. Sara, not so much. She’s crazy about volleyball. That’s a lot of fun to watch too. That coach sounds awesome, one of a kind. That’s great. Michelle t

  • 4.
    Terri said…

    Love the tunnel picture and I love the is your tank full:)

  • 5.
    laura g. said…

    we are into softball season here with the grandkids…my 5 year old is playing on a team…she was catcher last night and was bored so started making a sand pile in the was funny, but my son (her dad) got a bit frustrated…I had to remind him that she is only 5!! :) I can’t believe I didn’t get a pic of that…but I’m sure there will be another opportunity!
    it’s so much fun watching kids this age play as they discover their athletic abilities and their good sportsmanship…

  • 6.
    kelly libby said…

    Wonderful photos!!

  • 7.
    jengd said…

    It looks like a it was a fabulous experience for everyone! Congrats on a great season!

  • 8.
    Christine said…

    I love to read what you write. My daughter, like Anna, stated playing soccer at this age and hasn’t missed a year since. She is now 16 and in her second to the last year of club play. Yes, we yelled “run to the ball” many other phrases over the years. Welcome to the world of being a soccer mom. I look forward to Anna’s season next year.

  • 9.
    Kathleen said…

    This brings back so many great memories! I played competitive soccer all my life and into college. I had forgotten about the tunnel though! That was awesome! My dad coached me when I was younger and we talk about coaching my kids one day. My daughter is about to turn three so I’m hoping in a few more years she’ll be interested!

  • 10.
    Cathy L. said…

    Brings back fun memories of when my daughter played soccer in kindergarten! Her favorite part then was also the parent tunnel at the end. She is now in seventh grade. My husband and I tried to bring the tunnel back at one of her games this year – needless to say she pretended she didn’t know us!

  • 11.
    Jo-Anne said…

    Oh Gosh – how cute is this Anna?

    GO ANNA GO!!

  • 12.
    Taylor said…

    Little ones playing soccer at that age is my absolute favorite! I love going to see my five-year-old sister play a game. She’s usually the one picking dandelions from the field. haha!


  • 13.
    Amberca said…

    Totally awesome! I’m right there with you. I’ve been watching my girls play soccer for years (now they are 17 and 15) and I still love to watch them play. But when they are little it just seems like all the little moments are more praised and more special, like halftime snacks and the scoring of their first goal. Even meeting the parents on the sidelines is more unique. I miss those times. Now it’s super competitive and the team members come with a whole lot of ‘attitude.’ Good luck to Anna, and I hope you enjoy every minute of her team sport endeavors.

  • 14.
    Jennie said…

    I used to call beginning soccer “cluster ball” cause the kids would always cluster around the ball. And since we’d been teaching them to share, they’d each wait their turn to kick. Great memories of my now 30-year- old son. Thanks.

    • ….
      Ali said…

      We always called it Bumble Bee soccer :) .

  • 15.
    Addie said…

    Great post, looks like so much fun! And I just love their team name!

  • 16.
    Leslie S. said…

    What a great post! Love the photos of Anna. Coach Sid sounds awesome!! I love that he inspires all of them.

  • 17.
    Debbie Piercey said…

    I just love reading your posts Ali. Sometimes I rush through & skim them, but everyone should take the time to read them as they are so enjoyable! You are such a good mother, and I love how you share the good, the bad, and the lessons learned. Thanks for sharing your stories and your adorable children with us!

    • ….
      Ali said…

      Thank you Debbie!

  • 18.
    Wendy said…

    LOVE this post!!! I love they way you tell a story. Great photos, the one of you is awesome!! I laughed out loud at “And yes, I know I look like a boy.” I have some like that too (and don’t even get me started on the clothes my mother let me leave the house wearing), I think we all do:).

  • 19.
    Jana said…

    Kids soccer is really fun – loved watching my daughter play. It was especially funny watching them when they were young – the girls seemed more concerned about their knee socks than the ball at times! I also loved how even if they lost, they might be disappointed at the end, but within minutes they’d moved on and were looking forward to their end of game treat or hanging out with friends after. Great memories!

  • 20.
    Molly said…

    SO CUTE! I started playing soccer when I was 4 and would pick dandelions with my best friend and bring them to my mom. Fast forward almost 20 years and I was playing in college. So many great lessons to be learned playing soccer, or any sport!

  • 21.
    Lisa W. said…

    ALI this was so much fun to read and to look at the pictures!! That little Anna of yours is so SO so cute!!! Brought back allot of memories for me! My little lady wasn’t as into it as my middle son. OMG he was so competive, yes at like 7!!! His goal was to see how many goal’s he could score in a game:) It’s a heck of a work out that soccer. Thank you for the smile today!!!

  • 22.
    Sophikins said…

    I am at the other side of this story- I just recently traveled over 2000 miles to see my daughter in her last NCAA Div 1 collegiate sports competition (not soccer though). She is graduating from college, and although it is a long journey from Pre-K to a national level championship event, the “mom” feelings that go with the frustrations and the successes never change. Ali, your post and the link really struck me, as this chapter of my daughter’s life (and mine as a cheering mom) comes to a close. Most of all, I have loved watching her.

  • 23.
    libbywilko said…

    I loved seeing Anna’s excitement running through the tunnel, yours handing out the oranges & Simon & Katie’s comparing heights. So much joy and I love how you wrote about her soccer experience for her and your whole family. I’m also grateful for the link to the six little words post. It really spoke to me… Especially how I can be more intentional about how I react to the boys doing their activities . Thank you.

  • 24.
    Cathy R said…

    Your blog is one of the first I go to each morning and you never disappoint. I love how YOU share and are so open. Thank you! I so appreciate your sharing the link to the six little words post. Although my youngest is 32 and we are now in that phase of going to grandchildren’s events, I will certainly be taking this advice to heart. I even sent the link to my DILs and to my daughter, asking them to learn from my mistakes!

  • 25.
    Angela Ezzell said…

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE this “family” post. Thanks for sharing!

  • 26.
    Leilani said…

    Love this post. My child graduated from Catholic grade school yesterday. She spent 10 years between TK and 8th grade with many/most of these kids. It was an amazing adventure and helped to build the foundations of so many values and of course community and family. Enjoy each and every one of these amazing adventures as all of the sudden you will look at these beautiful children and realize high school is right at the door. Looking at Anna brings back so many memories of our lovely girl and my heart bursts with happiness for all we have shared and what is now yet to come for your family.

  • 27.
    glee said…

    My older son used to hate watching the younger one’s games. He’d say, “mom, they act like it’s a game!” uh, yea son, it is a game!! so funny.

  • 28.
    keely said…

    I love the joy I see in Anna’s face!! Enjoy these days. My son played with the same group from K – 8th grade. He is now 20, away at college and I really miss the games and the people. Once a year I organize a soccer mom coffee night, just because.

  • 29.
    Kim said…

    Love that COACH!!! what a treasure for those girls!
    Love the tunnel-absolutely amazing for them as well.
    Love your excitement over orange duty :)
    LOVE those 6 words!!

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