Last Tuesday, was the 2010 OSU Community Soccer Festival . This Festival was geared for kids from Community Housing. It gave young kids an opportunity to play soccer against each other within the different communities.
Myself and about 35 other OSU soccer players volunteered to help run the tournament. It was cool to see all the school buses arrive packed with excited players.
I wasn’t really sure what I was going to be doing that day but I ended up refereeing for my first time. Fortunately the kids in my division were all about 7-8 years old so I wasn’t too worried. It was interesting being at the other end of the whistle 🙂 It was a lot of fun seeing how competitive these guys were even at such a young age. Some of the kids really had a lot of talent. At the end of the day every kid got a medal for participating. By the looks on some of their faces I’m sure it was their first medal ever.
It made me think about my own soccer playing. I only started soccer when I was 11 years old. I wonder how much better I would be if I had started at their age. I was always so focused on Taekwon-D0 that it never entered my mind to even consider other sports.
When I went to my first soccer try out three years ago I didn’t have cleats or shin pads. I really didn’t think they were that important since I had never played soccer before. I quickly learned that shin pads were important 🙂 It wasn’t until my buddy who plays for OSU gave me his old beat-up cleats that he was throwing out that I realized what a difference a cleat made. A little duct tape and I was good to go. I couldn’t believe how much easier it was to handle the ball. I didn’t care about their condition, I just wanted to play.
At the Festival there was this one boy in particular that really caught my attention. This kid was so talented but his cleats didn’t have any spikes on the bottom and the front of them were completely opened at the toe. It really bugged me and I wanted to find a way to make sure kids like this get cleats so they have a better chance to play competitive.
I wrote an email to my soccer coach to see if we could start a program where people from our club could donate their gently used cleats to as many people as possible. He told me that there already is a program for it in place for donating cleats to countries around the world as well as in our own community which is amazing. But I still want to do more. There are too many kids out there who still don’t have cleats. I’m just not sure how or what yet. If anyone out there has any ideas please let me know.
I just know that if it wasn’t for my buddy giving me his cleats I might not be playing soccer today. It’s hard for families to buy cleats for their kids just to try out for a team but if you don’t have them, then it can harder to play well.
I had a really fun day, and I would love to do it again.