Wednesday, January 28, 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 bgallaudet@davisenterprise.net 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

     
    Police ID suspect in South Davis hit-and-run crash

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1

     
    Shrem Art Museum is a work of art itself

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Thieves swipe Gold Rush-era nuggets

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Blizzard-stricken East digs out amid second-guessing

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

     
    CASA seeks volunteers to advocate for kids

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    UC Davis doctors strike

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Community invited to Fenocchio memorial

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

     
    SHE to lead Center for Spiritual Living in sound healing

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

    Teens Take Charge program accepting applications

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    The Soup’s On for NAMI-Yolo

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Sip wines at St. James’ annual tasting

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Kiwanis Crab, Pasta Feed benefits local charities

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Registration open for PSA Day at Davis Media Access

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Brick sales will benefit Hattie Weber Museum

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

     
    Take a hike with Tuleyome on Feb. 7

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

    Capay Valley Almond Festival will tempt your taste buds

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

     
    Suds for a bug: Contest is over

    By Kathy Keatley Garvey | From Page: A7

    Rebekahs’ crab feed benefits local families

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

     
    Learn pattern darning tips at guild meeting

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

    State fails to track billions in mental health funds

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

     
    CSU chancellor calls for increasing graduation rates

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

    Covered California enrollment events planned

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

     
    .

    Forum

    Family feels cut off here

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    Think again on euthanasia

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    Let’s speak with accuracy

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

    A stunning contradiction here

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    It’s the final freedom

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    Move past the stereotypes

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    .

    Sports

    Devil snowboarders place second in short and slushy GS

    By Margo Roeckl | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Lady Blue Devils take care of business

    By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Davis club ruggers open with nationally celebrated Jesuit on Friday

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Williams-less Gauchos will test Aggie men

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

     
    DHS ski team takes second on a déjà vu day

    By Tanya Perez | From Page: B8 | Gallery

    .

    Features

    Name droppers: Arboretum director wins leadership award

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Lemon tree, very pretty: Our most local fruit?

    By Dan Kennedy | From Page: A10 | Gallery

    .

    Arts

    Young musicians to perform Winter Concerto Concert

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9 | Gallery

     
    Red Meat, Deke Dickerson bring rockabilly honky-tonk twang to The Palms

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9 | Gallery

    Granger Smith to play at The Davis Graduate

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9 | Gallery

     
    Art science speaker series event set for Feb. 5

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

    .

    Business

    .

    Obituaries

    Mary Beth Warzecka

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Death notice: Betty J. Cogburn

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Wednesday, January 28, 2015

    By Creator | From Page: B6