Soccer is awesome. No other sport is as popular throughout the world. Anyone can play no matter your age or gender and youngsters nowadays start kicking a soccer ball almost as soon as they learn to walk. Many boys and girls get involved in recreational soccer as early as three years of age.
Some of these soccer kids grow up to have a deep passion and love for the sport, some are lost to other sports, and some realize sports might not be their path in life. However, as a small percentage of these soccer children get involved and keep progressing through the years, they may be lucky enough to one day graduate to the inevitable intense grand world of – select soccer.
Select soccer – if you are one of the special players who can make it through the grueling tryout process to make these best-of-the-best teams you will soon learn that it’s a substantial time, financial, and often ten-page annual binding contract commitment for a family.
Parents know that for every select player chosen there was one rejected. You feel privileged if your soccer player is good enough to play at this level that is a big step-up from the recreational soccer days and many proudly take it on with future college or professional soccer dreams in mind.
One of the best soccer players of our time, Lionel Messi, once said, “Whatever happens, there are always things you could have done better. You score two goals and you usually feel you could have done better. You score two goals and you usually feel you could have scored a third. That’s perfectionism. That’s what makes you progress in life.” This is the attitude many of these players emulate at this level.
Select soccer is not for the faint of heart or the light of pocketbook. Its ultra competitive and the coaches are stern and demanding. Some families get out the first year running as fast as they can and well, others live and breathe this lifestyle and wouldn’t trade it for the world. An expensive and committed proposition to say the least, but it can be justified with an eye on the prize of a college tangkas scholarship and the experience few can say they’ve ever had.
A soccer mom’s calendar can compete with Obama’s any day of the week. These dedicated no holds barred soccer parents are willing to sacrifice a large chunk of their time and money for their budding future soccer star. Soon they will be faced with rigorous four days a week or more of practices and games. They will see weekend tournaments out of state or even out of the country and many countless hours on the road. And despite the ups and downs in the economy, many moms and dads are still willing to write checks for club fees, uniforms, travel expenses, $300 cleats, etc., totaling an astonishing ten grand or more for the year for some.
We are lucky here in the states to have all we do when you think about some children in the world who cannot afford shoes to play soccer in so they must play in their bare feet or who cannot afford a soccer ball to play with so they use rolled up towels or banana leaves. Some don’t even have a field or patch of grass to play soccer on, so they play in a crowded street or hard dirt field. Still these same soccer players dream the same dream of one day playing for their country, playing in a World Cup, for a university, or becoming a professional player.
So whether your child runs around with a recreational soccer team with friends enjoying the sport or whether they are destined to play select soccer one day, they should be encouraged to follow their soccer dreams until they corner them and make them come true. You never know, one day your child might be a starting soccer player on scholarship at their college of choice or perhaps your up-and-coming player may just be the next Messi!
We as parents put a lot of time, money and effort into affording our children with the select soccer experience. We are by their side cheering them along every step of the way and make many sacrifices for our little soccer dreamers. We make memories that will last a lifetime on the pitch or even in the car as we get time to spend together on all those soccer drives to practices, games, and tournaments. Sure it costs money in many cases to play at this stage, but for the few that continue on their path towards their soccer dreams the experience on many levels can be said to be simply priceless.
Turan Sahinkaya is the Lead Product Marketing Manager of AT&T Global Mobile Management. Turan Sahinkaya comes from a long family of professional soccer players. Turan played soccer around the world and continues to be a part of the soccer community. Turan Sahinkaya is a graduate of University of California at Berkeley with a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics where he played on the university’s soccer team. Turan Sahinkaya went on to earn a Master’s of Business Administration from Southern Methodist University in Dallas.
Turan Sahinkaya speaks several languages and enjoys travel, reading, and has a deep passion for life that extends outside of the world of business to his family, soccer, rugby, coaching, entrepreneurship opportunities, and volunteer work.