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Another holiday weekend, another soccer tournament - Ari plays with an injury

By Andrew Pollack on 10/07/2007 at 10:51 AM EDT

Soccer, soccer, and more soccer. Caitlin has been playing at the AYSO level. AYSO -- the "American Youth Soccer Organization" is an "everyone plays" recreation level league. I've actually done coaching in this league. They teach parent-coaches the basics and it really isn't hard to do since you're really just teaching the basics of the game and keeping the kids happy, safe, and excited. AYSO's principals are great for getting kids into the game. The league tracks kids and coaches carefully. No favorites, no bench warmers. The little kids games are played in four 10 minute quarters, and each kid must be played for two before any plays a third. Coaches turn cards in to the refs at game time showing position and quarters played for each kid, and parent-coaches work to keep the games even by moving young superstars back into goal or defensive slots if the scores are getting uneven. Kids aren't told to "take it easy" of course, its just done with some subtle courtesy. Coryn and Ari are both playing on the town's "Travel" teams in the fall. Both are also going to play further in the winter and spring in the "Premier" leagues. Each steps is a step up in competitiveness, skills, and expectations. The premier teams are run more like European clubs. Each club draws kids from the general area rather than being town specific. The clubs field a team at each age & gender level. During the winter, the clubs run skills clinics at the indoor facility near by.

This weekend, Caitlin's team won their 8v8 game, then I headed over to Ari's first tournament game in Falmouth while Barb took Coryn and Caitlin to Coryn's game -- also in Falmouth. Ari is playing with a removable cast on her right arm. She'd injured in last week in a fall. I'd followed the advice of other parents and used a minor earlier problem as an excuse to set up a relationship with a very good sports medicine doctor. Good advice. When she hurt it last week we didn't have to wait for a 'new patient' appointment. The injury is either a minor 'sheer break' at the growth plate or else a tendon problem (more likely). Either way its treated the same way. They said she can play in the removable cast with no risk, so with a little bubble wrap to making things safe for other kids -- she's off and running. This isn't that uncommon. In every game you see kids with knee or wrist braces of one kind or another.

Ari's team won both of their games on Saturday, giving them first place in their group; and meaning they don't play again until Monday in the finals for this tournament. Coryn's team tied both of theirs and have one more today. I don't know what that means in terms of their standing. Coryn is 50 pounds lighter than Ari, and barely 5 feet tall -- but due to the limited number of kids there are, is playing up on a U-14 Division 2 team. Ari plays U-14 Division 1 so its the same age group but a level higher of play. That means Coryn is very small for her team but fights hard.

I'm off now to get ready for Coryn's game. See you all later.

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