Sunday, April 19, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Role reversal gives soccer parents a taste of the pitch

1126parentsW

Parents of players on a local U15 soccer team (Barcelona) take the field recently in a fun role reversal event. The kids coached, officiated and cheered from the sidelines, while their parents experienced what it's like to play the game. Anna Lovely/Courtesy photo

By
From page B1 | November 26, 2013 |

Being a young athlete comes with certain dynamics.

As kids climb the competitive ladder, there’s more responsibility.

Regardless of the sport, physical conditioning intensifies, learning the playbook is paramount and paying close attention to on-the-field training is required.

As the players go from fun stuff to serious high school and college competition, focus becomes acute and pressure mounts.

Officials’ “bad” calls that seemed insignificant when Johnny was a 7-year-old now stick in the craws of players, their fans and especially those kids’ parents.

Well, recently Mike Hill — whose sons Alex and Matt play for a Davis Legacy Soccer Club U15 team — had a brilliant idea.

What not reverse roles? Parents take the field. Kids, you do the grunt work getting things ready for a game, coach the old folks, referee the game and encourage (or chide) your parents from the sidelines.

The goal?

“Fun, for one thing,” Hill told me. “Second, to develop a sense of empathy for the kids. There are certain parents that need that sense of empathy. Unfortunately, I’m the worst offender (on the sidelines).”

Hill said the parents experienced first-hand how difficult an afternoon on the pitch can be.

“(Athletes) can be out there with best of intentions, but there are physical limitations. Especially for people don’t play on a regular basis,” Hill continued. He added that humility — at least for the parents — probably was another byproduct of the 3-3 tie.

Another Hill observation: “To realize what good fans the kids are. We didn’t hear anything negative to the refs or players on field.

“The kids were 100 percent positive. They thought whole thing was great and completely funny. I heard things out there like ‘Hey, (mom or dad) you did really good out there. You surprised me.’ ”

The U15 White squad coached by Jammal Anibaba — known as Barcelona around these parts — was the guinea pig in Hill’s brainchild. The game was suggested, planned and scheduled while Anibaba and his family were visiting their native Nigeria.

“It was a surprise to me,” the longtime soccer mentor explains. “Mele (Echiburu) was texting me the whole time. Telling me what was going on.”

Echiburu says Anibaba said the game was a “crazy” idea, but with all of the parents already on board, all the coach had to do was observe, root — and interfere a little.

“One obnoxious part came up when we had to tilt the game a little bit,” Anibaba says with a big laugh. “We could tell one team was a little bit stronger. When we starting tilting, the parents started whining about that … pretty much the way kids whine when they feel the referee takes a side.”

A couple of those officials — Barcelona players Tomas Echiburu and Chris Johnson — were perfect in their roles.

Emerson Junior High ninth-grader Tomas, who had told his mom all week that “I can’t wait to pull a card out at the game,” didn’t have a single write-up.

However, Johnson didn’t have enough room in his pocket for all the yellows he issued.

“It was like a real game goes sometimes,” Anibaba says with another laugh.

So, while the elders labored on the field, the Youth of Barcelona sparkled as surrogate parents.

Ben Tang, a ninth-grader at Holmes Junior High, led everyone in pre-game workouts and took over as a coach after intermission.

Others brought the equipment, set up the field at the DLSC complex and staffed the first-aid station (which mercifully went without use).

Mele Echiburu coordinated the practice schedule, helped the New-Wave Oldsters assign duties normally reserved for their parents and kept Anibaba apprised of the situation.

“When I got back, it was a done deal,” Anibaba remembers.

Anibaba — whose son Jalil plays professional soccer for the Chicago Fire — showed up to the game with a half-dozen Nigeria drums, keeping a constant rhythm going during the four, 10-minute quarters.

“Even then, I was accused of passing messages to (one) team,” the coach said, a knowing smile exposing his hand. Maybe those drums weren’t just for ambiance.

So, what did everyone take away from this role reversal?

Mike’s wife Jeanine knows the parents got a better understanding of what goes into their kids’ athletic commitment.

She also pointed out that some of the moms were so into the game, they hired personal trainers to get in shape.

Tang and Tomas Echiburu loved the opportunity to coach and referee, but say they’re excited to get back on the field and hear what their newly schooled parents have to say from the sidelines.

And the overriding impact?

“As adults, sometimes we get shown the mirror by children in a way that can have a big, positive impact,” Mike Hill believes.

— Bruce Gallaudet is a staff writer for The Davis Enterprise. Reach him at [email protected] or 530-320-4456.

Comments

comments

Bruce Gallaudet

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    City wants a study of sewer rates

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1

     
    Hard-of-hearing student needs community’s help

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    KDVS fund drive includes on-air pledging, plus parties and food

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Aggie Pride on parade at UC Davis Picnic Day

    By Wayne Tilcock | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
     
    Art helped sell California’s agriculture

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3 | Gallery

     
    Sign up now for Celebrate Davis!

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4Comments are off for this post

    Students, families can get after-hours Internet access

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Lawyers seek resolution to Davis molest case

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A4

    Garamendi hosts conference for women

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

     
    ‘Invaluable public servant’ retires after 20 years

    By Tanya Perez | From Page: A5 | Gallery

    Your brain’s aging and a new report urges ways to stay sharp

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

     
    Injury-proof yourself for effective exercise

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

    Understanding risks can help women prevent leading health threats

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

     
    Free gardening advice offered

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

    Grad Night tickets on sale online

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

     
    Schenker speaks about ‘Magical Mexico’

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

     
    Yolo County DA honors crime victims at annual tribute

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

    Holman offers Publishing 101 seminar

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

     
    Radio-controlled airplanes will race April 25-26

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

    Woodland bike rides set every Saturday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

     
    Get some advice at Connections Café

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

    Eyewitness speaks about Israel’s election

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

     
    Join the 10,000-vegetable challenge!

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9Comments are off for this post

    NAMI group offers family support

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

     
    Watershed Wonders activities return to Putah Creek

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

    Yolo County Neighborhood Court seeks new volunteers

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

     
    Birding tour will benefit Putah Creek Council

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10 | Gallery

    UCD looks at building a better brain as we age

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

     
    ‘Vault’ highlights ‘Kathak’

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

    Two drought-preparedness water bills pass out of Senate committees

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11

     
    Picnic Day favorites: dogs, bikes science

    By Wayne Tilcock | From Page: A13 | Gallery

    Strike up the band, and the bubbles!

    By Wayne Tilcock | From Page: A14 | Gallery

     
    .

    Forum

    Ready for the parting glass

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
     
    John Cole cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: B6

    Yolo Crisis Nursery still needs help

    By Our View | From Page: B6

     
    Drink up, kids, but make your choice a healthy one

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B6

    Leash your dogs; it’s the law

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B6

     
    Let’s not turn our backs on the Earth

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B7

    This Earth Day, make a pledge to cool your home

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B7

     
    Speak out

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: B7

    .

    Sports

    Stagnant second-half offense sinks Devil girls

    By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Over the hump? DHS baseball team wins late

    By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Lambdin, Marshall lead Aggies at Mt. SAC

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    Fast Aggie start negated by 14-0 USC lacrosse run

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Republic FC gets another win at Bonney

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B2

     
    UCD roundup: Aggies sweep a water polo double dip

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

    Busy Clancy, Hall spark Devil tracksters at Mt. SAC

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

     
    Former DHS star Drexel returns to create havoc for Aggies

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B4 | Gallery

    Pro baseball roundup: Oakland blanks Kansas City

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B14

     
    Sports briefs: Blue Devils split a pair of tennis matches

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B14 | Gallery

    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    .

    Business

    WISH grant funds available to eligible homebuyers

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A12

     
    Marrone Bio Innovations strengthens its sales team

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A12

    New phase opens at Brookfield Cottages

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A12

     
    Tucos closes; new Japanese, pizza, subs debut

    By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A12 | Gallery

    .

    Obituaries

    Jody Zewe

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Herman Timm

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Ruth Rodenbeck Stumpf

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Robert Leigh Cordrey

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Alice Catherine Micheltorena

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    .

    Comics

    Comics: Sunday, April 19, 2015

    By Creator | From Page: B8