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The Un-Soccer Kid

Declan was born two months premature and while he never qualified for services, he always lagged behind a bit – especially physically. Especially in his gross motor skills. Especially in not falling over at every possible occasion. Now, trust me, at 7 years old, he is a totally normal kid – and I am thinking his lack of coordination has more to do with clumsy genes than any lasting effects from his birth.

Except when it comes to soccer.

If you haven’t noticed, Denver is a soccer town. Huge leagues take over nearly every park downtown when the weather is ripe, and children of all ages pour on to the fields to chase that black and white ball around.

We tried it.

It just wasn’t for us.

Now, trust me (again), we had a great team and a great coach. No screaming parents, no demanding mentors expecting little Pelés. A really great group of boys who ran circles around the field while my son sat there bored as dirt. Or scared. Some of those OTHER teams have Pelés and Beckhams and and and… OK, I am not enough of a soccer mom to think of another huge soccer example, but you get my drift.

In fact, after one weekend where I wasn’t proud of *my* behavior – I yelled at him to move his ass (OK, not my exact words), I decided to take a more passive approach and follow his lead. If *he* wanted to do this thing all his friends were doing *he* needed to step up to the plate. Or goal. As it were.

He didn’t.

So, we decided no more soccer, at least for now.



He is being physical, but others are not being physically domineering around him – which I was clearly part of the problem. Even as a toddler Declan was bothered when other kids whizzed around him in daycare, knocking him off balance. And while I still don’t think Declan will every be the next Mitch Gaylord (and who would want to be? Did you SEE American Anthem???) – at least I am not dragging him out of the house to go to gym class.

Big improvement.

Author: Aimee

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  1. While not very athletic, I , too, was more comfortable with solo activities than with team sports. Maybe for the same reason as Declan — the physical domination and whizzing-by bodies.

    Give me yoga any day.

  2. Funny, the only other soccer reference I can think of would be Mia Hamm. But she’s a girl.
    Anyway, I’d have never thought of gymnastics. I hope it works out well for him. And I can see the appeal of being active, working hard, but doing it kind of one at a time. Good thinking Mom.

  3. Declan will find the sport he enjoys most, i’m glad you are open to exploring his options instead of making him do what he doesn’t like. He’s as strong boy as any! I vote for yoga myself;)

  4. Yea, he does actually like yoga! Good point!

  5. I’m so glad he found something he likes! He’ll be a bigger motivator for himself that you ever could be…and that’s awesome…for both of you!

  6. That is really so sweet. Good for you for letting him be himself!

  7. I wasn’t born early and was the most uncoordinated kid you have ever seen! AND, gymnastics is WAY better than soccer!

    Go Declan!

  8. My daughter LOVES soccer. LOVES it. She isn’t a strong player and I keep thinking she is going to ask to stop playing. But she hasn’t. She’s played for three years. This season she finally scored a goal. She gets into the play more. I’ve let her continue, because she has shown me that you don’t have to be a super star at something to enjoy it. She loves doing gymnastics & dance too. I’ve always let her find her way & join the activities she wants to do. I’m glad Declan found his thing. If they enjoy it, that is all that really matters.

  9. Glad you are finding options that fit for Declan.
    My seven year old with similar issues has sensory processing needs and benefits greatly from sensory diet activities throughout his day. It helps his coordination, body awareness, and confidence.
    And I vote for the yoga, too!!

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