During the TeamFirst Q&A session at the Berkshire Soccer Academy, Mia Hamm, Kristine Lilly, and Tisha Venturini Hoch provide unique perspectives from their experiences from their days of youth soccer to winning gold medals. In this particular Q&A, the women were asked to discuss how their parents showed them support, each in their own way, and what it meant to them as players in their early years through their professional careers.
Kristine Lilly, having played more over 300 international games representing US Soccer across 4 decades is still learning how to be a soccer mom. Sigh. If one of the greatest of all time is figuring it out as she goes, there perhaps you might want to embrace where you are on the learning curve.
Just Love ‘Em
Kristine Lilly says to focus on the parental support & love for your young athlete. Never forget that they’re kids. The one constant throughout your child’s soccer career should be that you’re always there for them emotionally.
“When they come home, love ’em. Give them support and just know that their emotions will (go up and down).” – Kristine Lilly
Practice Shifting Back to Parent
The only thing harder than being a competitive youth soccer player these days, is raising one. One of the struggles with soccer parenting is that young athletes let go of their experiences more quickly than adults. Develop your awareness of how easily you and your soccer player move on after a game, practice or tryout.
“Kids go from being competitors back to being kids in a snap. For the parents, when you’re sitting on the sideline, that competitive side comes out in you and it’s really hard to transition back into parent…try to get back in your parenting mode before you have discussions with your kids.” – Mia Hamm
Model Being Accountable
When comforting your athlete after a loss or poor performance, the temptation to jump on-board a blameshifting campaign can be strong. This is a time to keep your long-term parenting perspective.
“As a parent its easy to want to make your child feel better by helping them identify an out like ‘if that ref just made the right call’…as they get older they look for those same excuses themselves.'” – Mia Hamm
Have the patience to wait out the intensity associated with conversations immediately regarding what-ifs and should-haves. Once the dust has settled, everyone is in a better place to discuss what did and didn’t happen. Hamm suggests that this approach will protect the relationships your daughter has with you, coaches, referees and teammates.
Future Soccer Stars Need Supportive Parents
While you are providing your daughter the opportunity to learn valuable skills to use on the field, understanding what it means to be supportive parents throughout her life is just as important. The overall message from Mia, Kristine and Tish is that whether your child is going to be a soccer star or not, they need the same encouragement. They need to keep trying, persevering, and overcoming obstacles and know that you love them no matter the result or the length of their career.
Train with Mia, Kristine and Tish
Join TeamFirst Soccer Academy, comprised of U.S. Women’s National Team players Mia Hamm, Kristine Lilly and Tisha Venturini Hoch, as they visit Berkshire Soccer Academy for their 5th year! Young players will be given the opportunity to learn via world-class coaching throughout the overnight camp experience.