As a coach I get to hear some amazing stories from the kids that have joined our football sessions, and this story was exceptional, and I would love to share it with you all.

One of your 7-year-old boys started telling me that he is very clever at school and his report marks are always remarkably high.  He loves to study and learn as much as he can, but he was mocked at school for not playing sport and was called “the book worm”.  He always had this dream of becoming a basketball player but as he is rather short for his age and could not keep up with the taller kids, with the try out, he was no good and could not make the team, and the coach would not even consider using him as a reserve player. He also mentioned that one of the boys called out “smarty pants you should rather stick to your studying”. He decided to not even answer the boy and just glared at him rolling his eyes, but deep down inside he believed the boy was right.

He often went to watch his friend James playing football over weekends, but during spring James broke his hand and was not able to play for the next few games, but he and James still went to watch the games. While they were at a game one of the players came over and asked James if there was anyway James could play as they were one player short, James said no and suggested that he plays.  The boy said he was horrified as he remembers the try out, he had for basketball and did want a repeat of it.

He looked at James who had a big smile on his face and said, “go for it buddy you can do it and I will be watching and cheering for you”.  Well somehow this gave him the confidence to walk up to the pitch, thinking I can do this.

One of the boys asked him “do you want to play football with us?” and then added “but you have to be on the other team as I do not want my team to lose”.  He stayed brave and shook hands and ran onto the field. 

He refused to be the goalie and they let him play offense, the team captain gave him a few tips before the game started and he got into position.  Next the whistle blew and suddenly all the players were running and shoving their feet while they were trying to kick the ball towards the goals.  He carried on thinking this was great until the ball came to him, he made some clumsy moves and came close to tripping a few times – thinking this is not working for him.

By the end of the game, he believed he was no good at basketball and football, but something inside him said “do not give up, keep trying”. On the way home he decided he was going to ask his parents if there was a possibility that they could enroll him for football sessions at a club.

This is how he started playing football at First Touch, over the next few weeks he was still playing with his clumsy moves, but soon became for more graceful and agile.  His friends cheered him which motivate him to keep trying harder.  Before he knew it, he managed to score a goal for his team, both his teammates and the opponents were shocked.

He now cannot wait to come to his weekend sessions and some of the players were asking him to please be on their team.

He looked at me and said, “Coach you see how much you helped me, I stepped out of my comfort zone, and I have become a football player”.

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