With the DC SCORES elementary school season kicking off, all 18 teams featured several players who are new to the program – and to soccer – and had never played in an organized game before.
Quite the experience for an 8- or 9-year-old.
At Brookland Education Campus, the Brookland teams hosting Marie Reed Learning Center were comprised almost entirely of new players. Coming off just a handful of practices, the games were as much a learning experience as anything.
“I know that if somebody’s kicking it over there (toward my goal),” said fourth-grader Allisen B. “I know to get in front of the person who is going to kick it.”
Fourth-grader David M. had an in-depth breakdown of what he learned after the Brookland boys finished their game against Reed:
“(I learned) that you have to stop the ball and then you kick it with the side of your feet – and don’t touch the ball with your hands,” he said.
“And keep the ball close to you.”
For new players from both teams, it took a little while to shake off the butterflies and become aggressive on the field. They weren’t used to running at opposing players who were about to, it seemed, kick the ball directly at them. But they learned quickly.
“I felt excited and shy at the same time, because that was my first time and I thought that I wasn’t going to be a good player,” said Reed fifth-grader Glenda L. “But the coach told me that I was good on defense.”
Third-grader Lauren S., another player new to the Reed team, has a track background, but she enjoyed her first soccer game day.
“It felt kind of good because I was getting the exercise,” she said.
As for the Reed boys, it was clear that the new players have already become part of a tight-knit group that plays with a great chemistry – new players and old.
“I enjoyed the rush of it,” said fifth-grader Wilfredo A., describing his first game.
“I learned that we are good (when we use) teamwork," added Jovani H., another fifth-grader new to DC SCORES. "We need more teamwork, and we have to stay together as a team and appreciate everybody!”
By Thursday evening, it was evident that everybody who had taken the field at Brookland under sunny skies had appreciated the chance to play.
Sure, Brookland didn’t score any goals, but David summed up his afternoon by saying, “I just feel like heaven, playing with my friends and just playing soccer.”
Next week’s plan?