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Parents Are Indeed Getting a Kick Out of the Soccer Life

October 11, 1998

What a great article ("Hello Soccer, Goodbye Life," by John M. Glionna, Sept. 6). My husband insisted that I drop everything to read it. "Sounds like us a few years ago, doesn't it?" he asked.

Fifteen years ago, I began as a soccer mom; later I coached and refereed. We--my two boys and daughter--tried other sports but always came back to soccer and the American Youth Soccer Organization, which offered us the only sports competition with no bench-warmers and in which every participant gets to play at least half of each game.

Does soccer mean the end of an adult life? Not at all. It offers interaction outside the workplace with adults from all walks of life, and in my case it resulted in a lifelong commitment. I met the most important man in my life (sorry, Daddy) at a referee clinic, and we worked many a game as a team of two. We're now happily married.

Jacque Wease



While reading (and rereading) Glionna's article on a soccer family, I compared my experiences as a soccer dad with those of Michael DaSilva. Strangely, the vast majority of the coaches I've dealt with are not ego-driven, the parents and kids are not grumpy and the referees have great attitudes.

As a referee, I've enjoyed joking with the players before, during and after games, and as a parent, I have chatted amicably with opposing coaches and parents about shared experiences in "the life." Rather than having "replaced" a normal life, soccer has enriched ours. My 10-year-old daughter is learning about how to attain shared goals and how to accept defeat and victory with equal graciousness, and she's made many new friends in the bargain.

Nikki, Erin and Jeremy DaSilva deserve good luck this season. And their parents deserve plaudits for supporting their children so selflessly.

Michael P. Dewart



Whew! How did I miss out on being a soccer mom? I grew up playing baseball with the kids on my block in Brooklyn, N.Y. Our parents didn't watch us play, and we wouldn't have wanted them around. Later, we chose not to register our own children for the local soccer madness because, as full-time working professionals, we didn't have the time or energy to attend every game.

As a mother, I opted for the Sunday morning scramble so my children could get religious schooling, which I still think is the most sane route. Children need to learn how to cope with life, not how to win at it.

Meg Harari


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