By Kenny Richardson
Our family has been involved with Greensboro United Soccer Association(GUSA) for seven great years. Our three children, Emily, Scott, and Allison have participated in the Recreation, Junior Academy, and Challenge as well as the winter and summer programs. Soccer through GUSA has meant so much to our family. Our children play a variety of sports and the GUSA experience has by far been the best. Our entire family has gained vivid memories, developed new and lasting friendships and learned a lot of life lessons both for our children and for us as parents.
As a parent and volunteer coach, I have many good memories with GUSA soccer. It has been great to see the look of joy on a kid’s face when they score their first goal. Equally gratifying is seeing the proud parent on the sideline after their child has scored a goal or made a great play. At the end of most games in GUSA, it has been nice to see the parents make a tunnel for each team and see the kids run through the tunnel with smiles and plenty of fun screams! The sportsmanship and inclusiveness of this gesture has always epitomized what GUSA is all about- do your best, try hard and have fun!
One of my favorite things to do as a coach was a game called Red Light, Green Light. Red Light would mean to stop dribbling the ball and Green Light would mean go and dribble the ball. To keep it fun, lots of times I would call out Purple Light, Ice Cream Light, or Banana Light. The kids loved it and would smile and laugh.
The friendships our kids and we have made through involvement with GUSA soccer have been one of the most beneficial things about playing soccer. Our children have met so many other kids who they would not have met without playing and participating in GUSA soccer. The friendships they have made have grown and developed even when they were no longer on the same team. Our kids have made friends with kids from all walks of life. It has been gratifying to see them work together as a team and develop friendships and bonds that may last for life.
This past spring my oldest daughter, Emily, participated with her team in a tournament in Boone. After the games, the team and parents went to the Daniel Boone Inn restaurant for dinner. It was neat to see all the girls sit together at one table and laugh and have fun throughout dinner. After dinner, all of the girls went to the hotel pool and continued playing and having fun together. The parents hung out and bonded playing some cornhole and reliving a fun day! This was a great experience for all in making friendships.
The coaches at GUSA have been exceptional. All of the coaches we have interacted with have been professional, nice, and willing to help the kids develop their skills while having fun. The coaches have been great role models who have developed soccer skills, instilled discipline and kept practices fun and interesting for the kids. The volunteer coaches and GUSA coaches are constantly teaching the children life lessons through soccer. Taking a knee and clapping when an injured player is taken off the field is one example. Showing good sportsmanship at the end of each game is another example. As a parent and coach, I have watched how GUSA teaches players to win with grace and learn from defeat.
In the end, it is more than soccer. It is learning through soccer to compete in life, learning how to win and lose, working as a team towards a common goal, developing new friendships and to be a better person. Thank you GUSA for helping kids be kids while building memories and friendships for parents and kids and helping us realize its about the journey and growing to be a better person- parent or kid.
For more information on how your child can become involved with GUSA, visit www.greensborounited.org.
Sponsored by Greensboro United Soccer Association.