I have a story from the blue division. Our team the blue dragons we were undefeated until the final game today. So our kids got a little used to winning and were sad about losing and there were some tears. But then a couple kids were like , you know what I learned this week? it’s not about winning. It’s about soccer and about having fun.
- Cara, Blue Division
One our players who at the beginning of the week his goals were , I want to win, let’s score two goals and that was his attitude for the whole week. and then today we had a rough couple of games. The kids were really struggling with losing… they were all really down. I wasn’t sure if we were going to come back or not. But then in the middle of [the scrimmage], the kid with the “let’s win” goals was like, “ I don’t care, I just want to play! We built off of that and then the team got really excited and we ended up winning in a shoot out. So It was really great and the kids had a really great time in the end.
-Ana, Green Division
I think the coaches in the orange division did a really stellar job tonight. I’m a new face but you guys all really worked together well. We had a nice meeting at the beginning of the night to decide what we wanted to do. All the head coaches in the orange division really stepped up to the challenge tonight and made this tournament a really great, fun experience for the kids.
-Terry, Orange Division
We had a really great week with the 3 to 5 year olds. We played a lot of duck, duck goose. Last night I made up a new game where a tall person would hold a hula hoop above the kids and they would throw soccer balls into the hoop. It was really popular with the kids. Tonight we had 10 of them lining up to play it, and one kid was even like “ I want to duck it into the hula hoop!” It was a good week!
-Kai, 3 to 5 Year Olds
I had a Great week this week, this has been my first year. I had fun working the kids, I had fun working with Coach Keith, and I hope to do it next year.
Tonight we made signs for the moms to support their teams. So we found out some team names, or some player names, or if we didn’t know we just wrote “BLUE” or “BRAZIL.: and that worked. One mom in particular, her son was playing in blue division because it’s his first year. She made an amazing sign with a tiger for the Blue Tigers. The kid loved it; I happened to be walking by when the mom showed the sign to her son. He was in awe of the sign, jumping on his mom and hugging her. IT was really beautiful and cute. I came by at the end of the evening too and I told the kid his sign was hanging up on the bleachers. He said, “my mom made that!” It was a sweet little picture.
-Dani, Parent Pals
In 2008, soccer nights started. 2009, soccer nights came back. Which was a wonderful year. Every single year, it was a blast because of one person, who started it all. I wonder who it is. Stephanie! We should have a round of applause for Stphanie.
-Aamir, Soccer Nights alumnus, Crew Member
Here are Wednesdays and Thursdays stories!
Sunny and I have been the coaches all week. Tonight we totally turned it over to Saquib. Saquib is on Crew and he did an amazing job. We took a back seat and told the kids this is your head coach, listen to him. He led all the drills and kept the kids completely calm and engaged when they were not in the game. He set them up to practice kickingtheir goals while they were waiting. He was a head coach tonight and did great.
-Rae on behalf Saquib
This is about last night’s Parents vs Coaches. I’m not very skilled at soccer, but I love playing defense at soccer. So, one of the parents came charging at me and I sidestepped and then they made a goal. I felt disappointed because everyone was doing something and I didn’t so I decided I was going to try harder. I guess I persevered, which was our value. So the next time a parent was coming at me and I sacrificed my tummy and blocked the ball and it didn’t go in the goal.
Tonight we had a great Mom’s game and Steph scored a goal, so that is exciting. It was really fun to interact with the moms and they all really got along with each other. We split them up so they weren’t on the team they expected to be on and it was really fun.
-Lindsey, Parents Team
Tonight was really great for the simple fact that the first 3 nights were really disheartening for a lot of the participants, especially when it came to scrimmages; we just kept getting our butts kicked. It was getting to the kids. But tonight something really clicked and we had a turnaround night. Our goal was to score a goal first and foremost, and then to not concede any goals and then to add in some sportsmanship. It seemed like all the kids needed was to know they were being encouraged and then the momentum kind of sprung from there. We actually took the lead during the game and the kids were really excited and so was I. I think I took ran on the field with kids screaming like a lunatic. Then the quietest girl on the team who I didn’t think wanted to be here at all turned out to be an awesome defender. She ran to the sideline to say, “coach are we doing a good job?” I told her we were doing awesome and she ran back to her position where her and the other quietest girl on the team were high-fiving. Then at the end when we did Team Time, another team member said, “This was the best game I was ever part of.”
-Tom, Green Division
During the scrimmages, one of the players on the other team, not my team, scored a goal and they were all so excited they were piling on top of each other. But then I looked around and saw that some of my players were in the pile too. I asked them what they were doing and they said, “This is my cousin’s team!” or “My friend is on this team”. I told them they had great sportsmanship.
-Ian, Blue Division
Last night we were doing the drills demonstration and some kid looked up and said “there’s a rainbow.” And if you have ever looked at 50 6 and 7 year olds all staring up into the sky and saying “It’s a rainbow! It’s a rainbow!” all in unison, well it’s a miraculous and beautiful thing.
-Cate, Blue Division
One of the dads who has been here all along, who has 2-3 kids in the program, came up to me to say, “This week’s been awesome! You know the past 2-3 years it just feels like it’s been getting bigger and bigger and bigger. And this year it’s great, it’s nice and small again.” I told him, “Actually, it’s been record attendance all week.” He was blown away. It is just such a testament to the quality of our volunteers to be able to run a this so smoothly with so many kids, that it seems like less kids!
-Brian, Coaching Director
Last night 11 of our 15 Crew kids went to Flatbread. We did a lot bowling and ate a lot of pizza. And on our way home, one of the kids said, “You know, it was just like in the movies when we go out to celebrate. We were all in jerseys and we were having fun.” And it was true, it was great.
-Tory, Crew Leader
We had a really good night tonight. We served hot tea which could have gone either way on a 90 degree day, but parents loved it. The parents were talking about how tired their kids are after Soccer Nights is over and how fast they fall asleep when they get home. And they were all yelling out, “5 minutes!” “No 10 minutes!” “No I have to carry my child home!”. It was fun to see them all talking all across the bleachers about this.
-Claire, Parents Team
We are the Champion Cheetahs and we just had such a great night tonight. Our team had been really down because they hadn’t scored any goals and hadn’t won any scrimmages and tonight they got their first goal and believed they kind of won of it. And it was a really good goal; one of the girls passed it across the goal and then her teammate was there to finish it. They were all super happy and then the game ended right after that. When we came together for team time, one of the girls said that we should do a cheer for the other team who lost. We all got together and huddled and cheered for the other team. There was just a lot of good attitudes. We really achieved our goals of looking up and spreading out. I feel like we made so much progress.
-Ana, Green Division
We have the team the Blue Rockets and they all just love each other. They are getting along wonderfully and they are encouraging and they are making deals with one another: “Ill be striker this time and you’ll be striker next time and then we’ll switch.” They are really excited to do Team Time. All in all, really good things are happening in the blue division.
-Elissa, Blue Division
Here are the stories from last night, Monday June 23. Thanks to everyone for making it a great night.
One thing that went well in Crew today was..it was FUN. I learned how to do drills. I knew before, but I know better now. It went smooth and it was awesome.
Crew is the younger former of coaches. We’re assistant coaches and we’re developing skills to be a real coach.
So my story is about a girl on my team. Her name is Hannah. During the game I said, “Hey ‘montanta’ can you go up to the ball. She went up half way and then turned around with a serious look on her face and said, “What did you call me?” I froze and said “Uhh I called you Montana”. She replied, “Don’t you ever call me that”. I learned my lesson the hard way.
I’m on the logistics team and for the first time ever for the logistics team, with the registration team’s help, we got everything cleaned up and put away early enough to have a debrief. What we talked about when we debriefed? Just how smoothly everything went.
Tonight for the first time ever while volunteering at Soccer Nights, I heard the words “Yes I had a 100% checkout”. It was music to my ears and it’s the goal for Soccer Nights this week. In fact, it wasn’t everyone, BUT a bunch of teams made sure that their kids got checked out. It was really impressive.
I was a parent pal last year and one of our goals was to get the parents to interact. If you look up at the bleachers you will probably notice that the parents are kind of spread out and sit mostly with their friends. Dani had the idea of doing a game with parents. So we did something called Human Bingo where you have to go around, talk to people, find things out about them, and write their name down, and then you win prizes when your sheet is full. First, we handed them out and no one was getting up. They were just asking their friends nearby them. Then this one woman who was sitting by herself got up, came to another group to start playing the game, and then every started playing! Tons of people got to meet new people and they were really excited.
-Katie, Parents Team
We had a great night tonight. We had a lot of kids and a lot of volunteers. I wanted to talk about how awesome the volunteers were this evening. One volunteer noticed that there was no water in our bin. She told me and then went to find someone to fill it. Two other volunteers started cleaning everything up while all the kids were in large group.
-Kai, 3-5 Year Olds
Some of the girls were playing defense and were getting really bored because the ball was at the other side of the field for most of the game. They were getting hungry and really wanted snack, specifically cereal. We got creative and channeled their energy for cereal into a cheer to keep them focused on the game.
-Cara, Blue Division
As usual I always have a hard kid, who doesn’t want to listen, and a shy girl. Before the scrimmage, I was working with the girl telling her to kick the ball and she said, “I cant kick the ball. Whenever I try to it goes to the left or to the right but not the direction that it should go.” I gave her a few pointers and then when she was doing the drill she started nailing it every time.
Then in the scrimmage, I asked her where she wanted to play. She told me she just wanted to stand and play defense. I told her, “But you are a good striker.” She asked me what a striker was and I explained that that was the person who shoots the goals. So she went and during the scrimmage, she got the ball, she stopped it, and then passed it directly to her team so that they could score, which was exactly what one of our goals was.
At the end of the scrimmage during our debrief I asked the team, “who on the team was doing exactly what we were asking for? If I had to give a gold medal who should we give it to?” They all in unison said, “Pheobe!” She smiled and buried her head and said, “no, not me.” She’s coming out of her shell and becoming a great player.
-Manny, Green Division
One of our responsibilities tonight was to decide on a Team Name. So we started just soliciting ideas. The first idea was Argentina. I said “No, that not a team name, it’s a country name. No country names.” Then a kid suggested Pakistan, another South Africa. Then one kid heard another team say that their name should be the cheetahs. Another kid heard another team say that their team should be the lightning bolts. So we eventually became the Orange Lightening Cheetahs.
-Chris, Orange Division
Sharing is fun.
All your awesome stories from last night will be posted soon.
In the meantime, share the stories you didn't get to share last night during our large group debrief here!
Write your story by posting it in the comment section below.
Eric, Coach, Blue division- "I know we were focusing on passing tonight, but we must have taught our team some defensive skills because we were guarding both goals during our scrimmage. So, I'm glad we imbued them with some defensive skills."
Alex, Assistant Coach, Red division- "There was a kid named Amir. And we were having a drill, so we had to know people's names. And he didn't know the girl's name, so he said "Hey! What's your name?" And she told him her name, then he said "Hey (girl's name), I have to pass you the ball! Get open!" And he passed her the ball."
Gloria, Coach, Orange Division- "We assigned our kids positions regardless of their preferences. So one of our kids was assigned to be goalie, and he did not want to be goalie. He said "I'm not good at being goalie. I'm not going to be goalie." And he was making a big deal about it. And we just told him that he needed to be goalie, and he was still pouting. Then he said it one more time, "I'm so bad at goalie. I'm going to miss." Then one of the kids who had been kind of rambunctious said to him, "You just have to practice. The more you do it, the better you're going to be." And that turned out to be true during the game. The first ball came right by him, and he watched it roll by. Then the second ball came by and it was really difficult, but he stopped the ball."
Marvin, Coach, Green Division- "This is my first year at Soccer Nights, and I enjoyed it. We had this one kid named Andy. And as soon as I saw him running around I thought, Oh, I'm going to have my hands full with him. We got to the drills, and he paid attention and focused. He did a great job. But what impressed me most about Andy was when we did the scrimmage on the other side. We set up the teams. We had 15 kids, so we played 10 on 10 and had 5 kids subbing in and out. I had one kid that said "Hey, I have to leave early. You mind if I jump in?" So I go up to Andy and say, "Hey, can you do me a huge favor? He has to leave early. Can you let him play first?" And he goes, "Sure no problem." He takes off his jersey, sits on the bench and waits. I thought that was wonderful. I was telling my assistant coach Bryson that we love that our team has no super stars, so everyone is on the same level. And everyone was cheering eachother on. It was a great time. But Andy stuck out because he helped his teammate without being upset."
Jeff, Assistant Coach, Green Division- "This story is similar to the last one. It's a story of self sacrifice. So, I was trying to figure out positioning for kids on Terry's team. And everyone wanted to play forward. No one wanted to play defense. And no one wanted to play goalie. I had to figure out positions quickly, and this one kid who I had promised to play forward, I went to him and said, "I really need you to play goalie. Can you play goalie for me?" And he shook his head, so I said "Please, I'll get you forward next time." So he goes back and he plays goalie, and I'm showing him how to play goalie. And all of a sudden he's doing really well. We stopped to take a break, and I told him that the goalie is the most important person on the team. So, he started smiling then he comes off the field. And Terry says, "You know what, you get MVP for making a sacrifice for the team." And then his eyes just completely lit up."
Evadne, Lead volunteer, Registration- "Today is usually a really crazy day for registration because we take walk-ons. Last year there was a mob of people that we had to have the police hold back. So, this year we had a system. We had everyone who wanted to register to line up against that building over there. And they all listened and lined very peacefully. That was a huge improvement. One of the parents came up to us and said, "You guys are really organized." And I was like, "I know!" And all the registration people did an excellent job. I want to give a shout out to Sarah and Nick who came to the Vineyard with me and entered data for all the people who signed up today, so I don't have to spend 3 hours doing it tomorrow morning or tonight. Huge thank you to them!
Samantha, Volunteer, 3-5 year olds- "I was with teh 3-5 year olds, and we played duck duck goose for most of the night. And during one of the rounds, one of the little boys became very upset because he wasn't getting picked. The next round, a little girl was picked so he said, "Why do you only pick the pretty ones?! Excuse me!"
Louise, Volunteer, Parent Pals- "We didn't get to talk to all the parents tonight, but the ones we talked to were the best. There were a lot of discussions about the difficulties of immigrating to the US and the complexity of being of this culture and another culture. There was also a lot of guessing about my ethinicity. Some people thought I was Hindi. I am not Hindi, I am not Spanish, and I am not Italian. That's just FYI for you guys. So we had a lot of great conversations, and that's our recap."
Princess Michaiah, Lead volunteer, Parent Pals- "So last session, Susanna and I met a whole lot of parents, and it was awesome. And they were all waiting to see what the sexes of my babies would be. And so, cliff hanger...we got to talk to a lot of parents and I got advice from them. But one thing we didn't want to do was get a medal from them and put their names on them because we had already memorized their names. So, we had this great idea to have the parents that we knew to go around and meet other parents and fill out the medals, then come back to introduce us to those new parents."
Hi all! Thanks for an awesome week of Soccer Nights. We couldn't leave Session 1 without sharing one last story.
Thanks to Rachael for sharing her thoughts about Soccer Nights. We feel the same. :)
Rachael - Curriculum, Orange Division
“This is my second year volunteering. I don’t think we always quite recognize the significance of the time we spend doing this. Really. Truly. A week from now, or a month from now---I think it’s going to hit you that this is huge for the city of Cambridge. This is huge for parents to be out here playing soccer with their children. They wouldn’t be out here playing soccer with their kids like this without us doing this. I think this is a huge initiative for the city of Boston. That is not to be undervalued. We’re playing a role that might be bigger than we even give ourselves credit for.
I even see huge growth from last year to this year. Last year, the parents were a little less connected. This year, having your team working with the parents—I marvel at that. I absolutely marvel at that! You look up and kids are active, and parents are active and engaged with us.
I can’t say enough good things about this program. I clout it to everyone at work, and I just really want you to reflect on the impact this can have on our city. Many of us are transient, right? In 5 years, you might be living in another city, and if the door opens for you to get this going in another city, or another town, or to partner with a church and the police (like we’ve done here), that’s what transforms communities. That’s what transforms cities. And that’s what transforms countries. I know that’s a little bit philosophical, but I do see that this is what is going on here.
And that’s huge.”
Hey all! Thanks for sharing your stories during debrief time. It really was inspiring to hear how the kids are learning the names of their teammates, and getting excited about playing soccer.
In case you missed it, here are the stories that were shared at the end of the night:
Max – Team Coach, Orange Division
"I had one student who was incredibly shy, and didn’t want to speak up. It was actually incredibly difficult because I couldn’t catch her name right away. And she has an awesome name. During the warm-ups & drills, she was very shy, and didn’t want to get involved. But the second we got to the scrimmage, she was all over the pitch. She was all over the ball, and as a defender, she defended half the shots on goal, and almost made a couple! It was the biggest transformation I saw tonight, and it was really inspiring."
Alex – Assistant Coach, Red Division
"My story is about a girl. When we were doing the scrimmage everyone wanted to be goalie. So I told them to either go to offense or defense. I told them to pick two people on the defense side, and three people on the offense side (because there were more people on the offense side) who wanted to be goalie. Each day, I was going to have one of those kids be goalie. Bella looked really sad, and it looked like she wouldn’t even play if she wasn’t goalie. So I put her in as goalie, and she looked excited. At one point she said to her teammates, ‘I need some defense!’ She was really good at goalie. I asked her how her day was, and she said, ‘At the beginning it was boring, but once I became goalie I had fun!’"
Petre – Team Coach, Green Division
"In our team, we had a kid that actually learned the name of everybody on the team after the first 10 minutes, plus the three values! And just taught everyone else. I thought, ‘Okay, kid! You can take it from here!’"
Matt – Team Coach, Blue Division
"We were just scrimmaging, and I was just playing with this little boy and his father. We were just passing the ball back and forth, and a little girl—yea high (lifting his hand not much past his knee)—came running along ready to kick the ball. It was just encouraging to have the parents there, saying thanks, and ready to have some fun. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it!"
Claudyne – 3-5 year olds
"There was this little girl who didn’t know how to hula-hoop, so I taught her. She’s actually better than me now!"
Grant – Lead Volunteer, Registration & Snacks
"Registration is kind of crazy on the first night – we have walk-ons, we have people who thought they signed up, but really didn’t sign up, we have--unfortunately--some disappointed kids, and some disappointed parents as well if the kids couldn’t play. But we had some awesome volunteers tonight. Evadne and I really wanted to make sure that we gave some shout-outs to some people, specifically Sarah, Taylor, and Nicholas. They went back to the Vineyard and transferred all the paper forms, all 78 of them, onto the database. Now I don’t have to go back and do that late tonight! I'm so thankful for their work!"
Brian – Coaching Director
"There was a kid who arrived late named Henry* on Daniele’s team. I was watching when Henry came on over to his team, and Daniele said to the kids, ‘Alright guys! We have a new player who got here late. I just want to introduce him to the team!’ All the kids smiled and shouted, ‘Hi Henry!’ There was one kid who even before Daniele did that said, ‘Oh Henry! I remember you from last year! Hey!’ Henry just smiled and looked happy that someone remembered him from last year. Those little connections mean a lot. They are connections between youth that might not happen otherwise. They are really powerful. It was super great!"
Susanna – Lead Volunteer, Parents Team
"The night was chock-full of fun moments. Well, there was one particular pair of parents that were really passionate and said that Soccer Nights was great and should happen year-round. Optimally, twice a day. We’ll just leave it as a cliff hanger, and see how that story unfolds…But it was a great connection to make!"
*Names of children in stories have been changed.
If you have an awesome story that wasn't shared during debrief time, be sure to post a comment below with your story by 3pm today! Everyone who shared a story will enter the chance to win a gift certificate to JP Licks (yum!).
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