Soccer Coach’s End of Season Letter to Parents

Parents: we are shifting into indoor soccer mode this week for the winter. I wanted to take a few minutes to let you know how pleased I am with the progress your girls made this fall season. I think you should be very proud of how hard your daughters have been working this year.

Here is an important lesson that sports can teach us if we are willing to learn, and I am happy to say it’s a lesson I think your daughters are learning. Its one that I think should be reinforced.

There are games we win, and games we lose.

There are games we play well and games we don’t play well.

There is an important difference…

If we are in the right division, then our competition should be equally matched on a skill level so that the outcomes of the games are uncertain going in; These are the games and opponents who will push us to stretch just a little bit more beyond what we thought were our limits.

When we are playing well, we are trying our best to use our skills as individuals and as a team, and playing with good sportsmanship. wWe have to be playing hard, we have to be trying for the whole game, we have to face uncertainty and hardship and keep going.

That’s when we are playing well: when we can see the right play and try our best to make the right play, regardless of outcome.

As we improve in our technical skills we will be able to make those plays more and more often, which will cause us to win more, which will move us up into stiffer competition, where the cycle will continue.

The last game of the season for me captured the essence of playing well. Every single girl on the field that day was doing her best to play to the top of her ability. You saw them compete for the full game against a very good team. You saw them weather the attacking storm in the first half, and they not only didn’t break, but they counterattacked and scored the first goal. They came out in the second half and pressed the attack, using their teammates to combine with passes and created a good number of scoring opportunities.

They were not playing kickball; they were trying to play with patience and skill, even when under pressure. They never stopped running, even when they were out of breath. They kept trying to push on.

When I see that, when i see them trying to play the beautiful game with skill, as hard as they can, it really fills me with joy, because they doing what they are supposed to do. They are demonstrating a complete commitment to the team and themselves. They aren’t holding back. To be able to do that when the game is on the line, not knowing how it will turn out, but going for nevertheless, is the highest form of courage.

In my view, playing well (ie playing hard, playing with skill, playing with good sportsmanship, trying to make the right play as an individual and as a team) is more important than the specific result, even though I like to win as much as the next person, having been competitive in my life and in my profession since I was a pup.

There are games we win, and games we lose.

There are games we play well and games we don’t play well.

There are games we win, when we don’t play well, and those are dangerous games because we can learn the wrong lessons.

There are games we lose when we don’t play well, and these challenge our character: can we get back up and work on our shortcomings and take responsibility for ourselves and our results?

There are games we win, when we played well: that is the greatest joy and we have done that multiple times this year.

There are games we lose, when we played well: that’s what happened yesterday. There is no quit in our girls and they played some of their best soccer of the whole year right until the final whistle blew. Sometimes these are the hardest lessons to learn: that you can play your best and still not win that day. My task as coach is to help the girls see that difference, and use it fuel their fire to keep going, to keep improving, to respect the effort they made and to keep that effort alive in their practices and into their next games.

That’s what we will be doing in futsal: sharpening our individual skills, working on small sided games to improve our tactical play, and keep the momentum going from a good outdoor season.

Each and every one of your daughters has had a terrific season, and I know you are as proud of them as I am. We are going to have a great indoor season.

Thank you very much for the trust you have placed in me to coach your daughters. I promise to keep trying hard to live up to their example.

– Coach