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Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Soccer season starring the Seaton Stingers, Part I: Learning teamwork

Do you remember your first time on a team? Learning how to play a sport? DC SCORES intern Luiza Kieffer is spending this fall with the Seaton Elementary School Stingers, documenting the team’s progress on a weekly basis as Coach Blake teacher the kids basic skills, the rules of soccer, and how to be on a team. For more, follow @DCSCORESinterns and watch Luiza’s videos on YouTube.


Written by Luiza Kieffer
Digital Media Intern

October 6, 2015

With the first game of the season for the Seaton Stingers just days away, Coach Blake has the kids working hard to prepare. Several DC SCORES participants last year were fifth-graders, so Blake is working with a very young team made up of many third-graders. For most of the younger kids, this is their first time playing on a team and learning how to work together with peers on the field.

Mere seconds after taking the field for Tuesday practice, the kids are off kicking the soccer balls and shooting on net. The first order of business? Blake calls everyone in for a huddle to explain the rules of the drill we are about to begin.

I can see the eagerness and impatience of the kids wanting to get back on the field; it’s fun to just kick the ball, and listening to coach isn’t that -- but it’s needed.

Coach Blake demonstrates the drill of shielding and ball control by calling up a child to assist him. Immediately after asking for a volunteer, all hands shoot up. These kids, even if inexperienced, aren’t shy.

After picking a volunteer, Blake tells him what to do, then proceeds to demonstrate. As soon as the ball hits the ground, though, he loses it and everybody starts laughing. Hey, humor is a part of having fun, right?

“Learning as a team the general behaviors and rules of the game,” Blake says afterward in summarizing this early season practice. “And how to be on a team.

“A lot of the kids on this team are pretty young compared to the players from last year, and they are going to need more help with the basic rules of soccer.”

With only about half of the kids playing on a team before now, Blake’s main focus is teaching the kids what it means to be on a team while learning good sportsmanship and how to help out.

Before the end of practice, the Seaton Stingers begin to scrimmage in preparation for the first DC SCORES Game Day. This is easily the part of practice when the kids have the most fun while exercising. The beautiful thing about this game is how creativity is encouraged and there’s a role for everyone.

Turning around for about a minute, all of a sudden I start hearing screaming and cheering as if it’s the World Cup. Everybody's going wild because one of the teams made a goal!

Practice ends, and I can see that while it will take time, this group of children spanning three grades has already begun the process of building a team. With Blake’s leadership, the rate of progress will only increase.

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