Coaches have such a huge role in our kids' lives. Not just anyone can do it. You could have been a talent like Messi in your day; but it's more than about the game itself. Working with small children especially I can only imagine the task of finding that balance needed to grow the kids in the game and the discipline it takes to improve and play soccer how it should be played while still making it fun. We have been very fortunate to have Coach Ian.
I make it no secret that one of the reasons I have my son playing soccer is to increase the male presence in his life. It is not as easy as it seems as a widow to provide a male child with the positive male influence he needs as he grows up. So this is more than a game. Sports provides a lot of life lessons and as much as I do for my son, some things I just can't teach him. I don't mind admitting the exact words I used had more effect when he heard them from Coach Ian or his JDP coach.
Coach Ian (and the assistants) have been great with the children. He is patient and kind; but still requires a lot of them. During spring break he could have stayed home and played with his sons; but he made his way to the park with them inviting the kids on the team who were in town. I gave my son a choice and he said "Coach called practice I'm going." Elijah has always loved the game; and he has always had a "motor" but I have seen his interior drive really mature under Coach Ian.
He has played when he wasn't feeling great because he knew the team needed him. He has stopped complaining (as much) when someone gets the best of him in a game and just starts talking about what he has to do better. And it isn't me. I have read it isn't good as a parent to initiate a critique after a game. So I don't. Adults don't want that after a hard day so why would an 8 year-old child? A sure sign someone has had an impact is them being quoted when they're not around. You pray that in your children's lives that impact is positive. Thankfully when I hear "Coach Ian said..." I'm not worried about what's coming next.