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Fredericksburg FC

Fredericksburg FC

FEATURE

MULTIPLE PLAYER FAMILIES MAKE IT WORK . . .
FOR THEIR KIDS


BY TOM LEISS
FFC Social Media / News / Communication Director
Email: [email protected]

Photos provided by each family
Video provided by David Kawesi-Mukooza

Anybody that has a child playing club soccer knows it can require a lot of dedication on and off the field.

Now imagine your family having 3 or 4 kids playing…. How about 6?

That situation is a reality for several families involved in Fredericksburg FC’s various programs.

I recently connected with eight FFC families living those situations now to find out how they make it work.

The Canadys, Codds, Gibsons, Hablases, Hawkinses, Hollandsworths, Kawesi-Mukooza’s and Simses all gave wonderful perspective on various aspects of the dynamics of their “Futbol Families.”

Though each family’s situation differs in one way or another, they all had a few common thoughts when asked about how they make it all work . . . The most important of which seemed to revolve around developing a plan of attack and sticking with it.

Knowing when and where each child has a practice, game or other activity is imperative. Sticking to that plan so it becomes the routine or even second nature is just as important.

Developing routines for everything from laundry, to homework, to meals and game-day travel arrangements are just some of the things included in that thought process. If everybody knows what’s going on and when it is suppose to happen, it can help prevent—mind you, I said help, as things will always come up—mistakes from happening.

Along those lines, as obvious as it may seem, communication is also extremely important for those times when things do get mixed up, or even those times when things are going smoothly. Having a family that communicates well together and with their network of friends and extended family that can help out can often relieve some of the inevitable stress that ensues.

With those basics spelled out, I thought it’d be best to kind of let the families themselves tell you in their own words how they deal with it all from here.

THE KAWESI-MUKOOZA FAMILY

David and his wife and three kids are avid supporters for FFC and soccer in general and are all in when it comes to the FutbolLife. David and his wife put together this video to talk about how they make it all work and what a FutbolLife is to them.




THE CANADY FAMILY


Sita and Robert could form their own indoor team from Thomas who plays for FFC 99 Boys Black, James who plays for FFC 01 Boys Black, Michael who plays for FFC 04 Boys Black, Luke who plays for FFC 07 Boys Black, Andrew who plays in the U9 Academy and Stephen who plays in the U5-6 Pre-Academy.

Most of the boys first started playing when they were 4 years old, while youngsters Andrew and Stephen got an earlier introduction from their older brothers when they were 1½ and were slide tackling their brothers by age 2. “They knew how to flop and got ‘red cards’ from their parents and brothers by age 3,” said mom and dad.

But in the long run, the Canady’s know there is so much good that can come from their kids being involved in soccer, or sports in general.

“We hope that the focus and discipline learned from soccer training will continue throughout their lives! When they face adversity on the soccer field they are inspired and strive to improve!” they said. “They love to play with each other and the toughest kid ends up being the 4-year old! They thrive on healthy competition. The boys are growing in virtue, sportsmanship and are physically and mentally strong. All for the glory of God!

'We have made this quote our mission—all boys all know this quote by heart:"

"Sport, properly directed, develops character, makes a man courageous, a generous loser, and a gracious victor; it refines the senses, gives intellectual penetration, and steels the will to endurance. It is not merely a physical development then. Sport, rightly understood, is an occupation of the whole man, and while perfecting the body as an instrument of the mind, it also makes the mind itself a more refined instrument for the search and communication of truth and helps man to achieve that end to which all others must be subservient, the service and praise of his Creator." —Pope Pius XII, "Sport at the Service of the Spirit"

What are some of the obstacles that you have to overcome with having multiple kids playing?
We have soccer practice or games seven days a week!! Absolutely crazy. But we all love it and eat, sleep, dream soccer. Even mom and dad played regularly until about 4 years ago.

What helps you be able to overcome those obstacles?
The boys sometimes have back-to-back practices so we can stay longer and while one boy trains officially, the other boy continues to play unofficially on the sidelines or practice shooting on goal.
Sometimes we carpool. . . . Sometimes a sitter helps drive some boys.

What are some positives that have come from them all playing the same sport?
All boys know and love the game . . . even our 4-year old knows pro soccer player names and stats! We all bond as a family while watching Canady boy games or if we are watching a game on TV!
Also sometimes the older boys give the younger boys encouragement or tips on improving, constructive criticism.

What kind of advice would you give other families that have multiple kids playing sports?
Athletics helps children grow in virtue, especially perseverance! The children are physically fit and healthy in body and mind. Self esteem is fostered and structure, discipline habits help with schoolwork as well as athletics.

Tell us about one of the most hectic moments that you’ve had from having multiple kids playing.
Four games in one day, staggered at different times, so we divide and conquer! Sometimes we can only see a half. . . . We send boys with teammates and get score updates from other parents.

THE CODD FAMILY

John and Sheri’s family have been involved in soccer since they lived in Seattle. After moving to the Fredericksburg area in 2013 and playing in Stafford for a year, “We heard about FFC and were excited to make the move.” Kyrie now plays with FFC 03 Girls Black, Amara with FFC 05 Girls Black and Tatum with the U4 Minis. And we can’t forget Levi who turns 2 in the Spring and will be joining the Minis program.

The Codd’s said being prepared ahead of time and having others they know they can rely on when needed most are hugely important, but so is time away from the soccer field.

“Plan ahead. Find a network of families that you have help, share responsibilities with,” they said. “Carve out time away from soccer to engage in other family activities as well.”

What are some of the obstacles that you have to overcome with having multiple kids playing?
We have four children, two older and two younger. The biggest obstacle is finding quality family time where everyone’s needs are met.

What helps you be able to overcome those obstacles?
Schedule is KEY!

What are some positives that have come from them all playing the same sport?
Most often their games are at the same locations so we are able to catch both. Last year, when the club made the emphasis to have the same level of teams playing in the same tournaments, it was very helpful.

Tell us about one of the most hectic moments that you’ve had from having multiple kids playing.
WAGS 2016 tournament championship games for both girls were happening at the same time in two different places. It is hard to choose one child over another . . . It is difficult to juggle it all.

What would you like to see come out of your kids playing?
Confidence, responsibility, leadership, ability to work towards a common goal, ability to compete, integrity, teamwork.

THE GIBSON FAMILY

Grover and Katy are both important to keeping things running smoothly for their family. Grover is the club’s president and executive director, as well as being one of the NPSL team’s coaches, and both are regularly busy shipping their kids around to their soccer activities. So, they have first-hand knowledge from keeping up with Lena and her FFC U14 Girls Black team, Coler and his FFC U11 Black team and Royce and his U5-6 Pre-Academy activities, of what it takes to make it work for a family with multiple kids playing.

And they want some of the same things for their kids as you want for yours.

“What we want most for them is to develop a love for the sport, commitment, leadership and good character,” they said.



What are some of the obstacles that you have to overcome with having multiple kids playing?
Juggling training schedules and missing games.

What helps you be able to overcome those obstacles?
Teammates and support from grandparents.

What are some positives that have come from them all playing the same sport?
They are at same location, pass gear down,  community and soccer family is large and helpful.

What kind of advice would you give other families that have multiple kids playing sports?
Find a club and make it your families home.

Tell us about one of the most hectic moments that you’ve had from having multiple kids playing.
Not too many . . . We just split it up if kids are in different locations.

THE HABLAS FAMILY

Jen and Chris have been involved with soccer in the club for the last four years as their kids started playing in the club’s youngest programs. Joey now plays for the FFC U9 Boys Black team, Thomas in the U7-8 Academy and Matthew in the U5-6 Pre-Academy and the family keeps involved in the game on and off the field on a regular basis.

They’ve found a good routine that seems to help them avoid too many bumps in the road, but even when they do pop up, they know they will be able to deal with it because they are invested in doing something that will help their kids be successful in life.

“Until this year, all the boys were in the academy program and the practices and games were at the same times and locations. This year, we have to split up a lot—one of us takes the kids to practice and the other stays home and helps with homework, etc.,” Jen said. “All the home games for Joey are at FFC park, so that helps keep everyone together on weekends.”

Things usually work out for the best, because as Chris put it simply, “Jen and I are a good team.”



What are some of the obstacles that you have to overcome with having multiple kids playing?
Jen: The biggest obstacle is our schedule being busy. This year with Joey playing U9, his practices are different days than the academy practices, so we are at FFC park five days a week!
Chris: Scheduling and coverage for the kids that are not playing. Juggling that with work and other family activities.

What are some positives that have come from them all playing the same sport?
Jen: Soccer is great because in addition to getting exercise and learning sportsmanship and teamwork, it is something that our family bonds over. We watch other soccer games both locally and on TV and they play against each other in the yard.
Chris: Building the love of soccer with our family.

What kind of advice would you give other families that have multiple kids playing sports?
Jen: Find a schedule/routine that works for your family. Keep everyone’s uniforms organized! Be positive. . . . Each child has their own strengths and develops at their own pace. Their different skills at each level are fun to watch!
Chris: Plan ahead, discuss the schedule with your partner weekly.

Tell us about one of the most hectic moments that you’ve had from having multiple kids playing.
Jen: One Saturday this season, my niece was staying with us and Chris had to take her to a choir audition. All the boys had a game on Saturday morning. Luckily, they were all at FFC Park. I walked back and forth between the fields so I could watch them all play.
Chris: It’s always hectic getting three boys under the age of 8 out the door for soccer and making sure everyone has everything they need.

What would you like to see come out of your kids playing?
Jen: That they have fun. As they grow up I hope it is something that bonds them, whether they are on the same team, playing together, or on the sidelines cheering each other on!
Chris: Learning good sportsmanship, how to work in a team environment, having the love of soccer.

THE HAWKINS FAMILY

Shawn and Christy have been involved with the club for about 10 years now, with each of their four children starting in the club at the age of 4. Kira now plays for the FFC U14 Girls Red team and Emma in the FFC U12 Recreational program, while Ryan and Eric participate in the U9 Recreational program.

Having kids on the same team helps, but it still has its own share obstacles to overcome.

“Dealing with sibling rivalry when they have played on the same teams can be tough,” Shawn said, adding, “Different practice days from each other or different practice locations on the same days can also be tough.”

What helps you be able to overcome the obstacles?
Having a couple of them placed on the same team.

What are some positives that have come from them all playing the same sport?
The older kids can teach the younger kids some of the things they have learned.

What kind of advice would you give families that have multiple kids playing sports?
Try to get lucky and have all their practice sessions on the same days, but that’s often out of your control.

Tell us about one of the most hectic moments that you’ve had from having multiple kids playing.
Just the grind of the season with kids playing four days a week of practice and weekend games.

What would you like to see come out of your kids playing?
I would like to see them become technically skilled at a sport that they can play throughout their lives if they choose, to help them stay healthy and active throughout their lives.

THE HOLLANDSWORTH FAMILY

Matt and Danielle got their first family experience with soccer with their oldest kids starting in parks and recreation before moving over to travel soccer. Julia started playing at age 8 and now plays for the FFC U17 Girls Black team, Brianna made the switch to travel at age 11 and plays for the FFC U12 Girls Black squad, and Mason started in the club’s academy program and now plays for the U10 Boys Black team. The Hollandsworth’s other daughter, Kaylee, also played until recently when she decided to she wanted to pursue other activities.

All keep the family busy and on their toes, but “knowing we are doing something the kids love and enjoy makes it much easier.”

Mom and dad said that over time, the family has developed a bit of a love-hate relationship with the game. With love usually winning out.

“As a negative, soccer is our lives outside of work and school. As a positive, soccer is our lives outside of work and school,” they said. “We really enjoy watching the kids loving what they do.”



What are some of the obstacles that you have to overcome with having multiple kids playing?
Schedules; Getting them to and from training sessions. With different schedules for each kid, we are at the park every night of the week. And there are the financial concerns. Paying for three in travel soccer is not cheap, but we make it work. Then add on uniforms, additional winter training, goalkeeper uniforms and equipment—all three are goalkeepers—and we put out a lot for their soccer.

Locations of matches is also a challenge, especially when they are at different locations on the same day.

What helps you be able to overcome those obstacles?
The club’s scholarship program helps. It gives us just enough relief to fit it in our budget.
Getting to know families in the club, and hanging out socially with those families helps to establish carpools, and rides when necessary. Also, keeping a tight schedule. We put all of our family activities on a family calendar, which everyone has constant access to on their iPhones. That is the only way we know where we need to be.

What are some positives that have come from them all playing the same sport?
In some ways, it makes it a little easier because training is at the same place, so we can have multiple kids training at the same time. They also learn from each other, and push each other. The kids are always playing soccer throughout the house. I think the younger ones have had more of an advantage because they are learning things earlier from their older siblings.

What kind of advice would you give other families that have multiple kids playing sports?
First, we would say to stay organized. Find an electronic family calendar system so that everyone is on the same page, and gets updates as they are published. We use the family calendar available from iCloud, but there are many apps out there.
Along the same lines, we plan our dinners out for the following week over the weekend, and sometimes will cook those meals on the weekend so that they can just be heated up during the week. This saves us money on takeout food, as well as helps us eat healthier.

Tell us about one of the most hectic moments that you’ve had from having multiple kids playing.
All three of the kids were playing in the same tournament in Virginia Beach. However, because of the different age groups, each of the teams were at different fields playing at different times. Also, each of the field locations were a minimum of 20 minutes apart. We had to drive both vehicles to that tournament, and then rely on other parents to get our kids to their matches. We had to make sure we each spent time watching at least one of each of their matches.

What would you like to see come out of your kids playing?
We are big believers in team sports due to the life lessons that can be applied throughout their lives. Learning to work as a team, how to make a mistake and not dwell on it, being a supportive person, and the leadership skills they develop can be applied to anything they chose to do with their lives. We also want them to have a love for the sport.

THE SIMS FAMILY

Adam and Susan and their three youngsters got involved with soccer when the kids were between the ages of 5 and 7, with Parker, the oldest now playing with the FFC 03 Girls, Brooke with the FFC 05 Girls and Connor in the U7-8 Academy Program.

Everybody is able to make it work, however, with the help of technology, carpooling and “Zen-like patience.”

Something even that can’t stop a mess up every now and then. It happens to everybody every so often.

“We’ve ordered the wrong size gear from soccer.com and realized it too late. We’ve made every possible mistake on Blue Sombrero. . . . overpaid, underpaid, and registered each child for the wrong teams,” mom and dad said. “Typically, [the club] is kind enough to undo the damage I have done.”

What are some of the obstacles that you have to overcome with having multiple kids playing?
Relinquishing all free time. Traveling to different locations on the same weekend for different tournaments. Normal friends and colleagues think that we are insane. . . . Realizing that we actually are insane.

What are some positives that have come from them all playing the same sport?
They’ve developed a love for the game. They stay fit. They’ve made all kinds of new friends.

What kind of advice would you give other families that have multiple kids playing sports?
Carpool whenever possible. Synch your calendars.

What would you like to see come out of your kids playing?
Ideally, they will all go pro and we will live a life of luxury in Europe. If it helps them get into good colleges then that’s cool too. In all seriousness, we are already getting out of it what we would like: happy, fit, smart kids with strong work ethics and a desire to succeed.

NOW FOR SOME FUNNY, INTERESTING MOMENTS AND STORIES... SOME MAY SOUND PRETTY FAMILIAR

THE CANADYS



It's a challenge to meg a sibling, or mom even, while walking around the kitchen or living room, especially if they don't suspect it coming! The funniest though is when they decided to try to meg the dog . . . very difficult with how Bosco walks with all fours! Try it!

Lukie writes his name on schoolwork, "Luke #7 Messi Canady".

Andrew slept in his new cleats!

On days that he needs a pick-me-up, James still relives his glory days when he was 4 years old and scored 16 goals in the tot league! He reminds his brothers they haven't been able to beat that record.

Stephen, Luke and Andrew are the halftime show at big brothers games. There are blatant fouls, hanging on a brothers leg to try to bring him down, multiple slide tackles, all in an attempt to score on a brother. The parents watching on the sideline cringe and sometimes cheer as the boys fall to the ground one by one, with usually the 4-year old emerging victorious! . . . or crying.

And as if keeping your own laundry straight and organized isn’t enough, try doing it for six growing boys.

Keeping the uniforms washed/organized is an absolute nightmare. We have laundry bags to keep pieces for each boy together and separated from another sibling’s uniform. But they inevitably all get mixed up and one brother steals socks from another brother, who then steals under armor from another brother! . . . etc., etc. The laundry craziness is beyond comprehension. An attempt at trying to organize is my method of dots: oldest boy gets one blue dot marked on the tag of his clothes. When items get passed down to next brother, a second dot is marked on the tag. Finally, over the years there are clothes that now have four or five dots on the tag!!?? . . . But wars still breakout with brothers claiming and fighting over whose uniform is whose! And sometimes the younger boys secretly add dots to the tag to try to keep the stolen uniform piece!!
FFC’s lost and found always has Canady gear in it! And people can't make sense of the ‘dots’ on the tags!!



THE CODDS



When we were at the Futsal Nationals, Amara scored a goal for her team from a corner kick. For most, that would seem normal, but she is a goalkeeper!



THE HABLASES



Jen:
I remember when Joey and Thomas played Academy together, they were on the same team in 2v2. It was Thomas’ first season playing and he was a little more timid about kicking the ball. Joey scored several goals at the beginning of the game. After that, when Joey would get the ball he would dribble it right in front of the goal and stop and call for Thomas to come and kick it in the net. Thomas scored four or five goals that way!

Chris: Matthew’s first goal last year came when he was playing against Thomas in 1v1. Thomas scored the first three or four times, and on the next time Matthew got the ball, and dribbled it past him for his first goal!



THE HAWKINSES



One time the sprinklers turned on right when we were close to starting a game.



THE HOLLANDSWORTHS



Mason is/was always doted on by the girls on his sister’s teams. He was always very shy around them. He also would practice his slide tackling on them in the house. We asked Coach Mario and Coach Juan to help us by telling him to stop, but they said, ‘Good Job.’



THE SIMSES



We were watching our oldest child play in a State Cup game and we sent our 8-year old off to find his own field for his nearly simultaneous game. He scored a hat trick while we were not watching. We arrived at the end of his game and tried to act like we had seen more of it. He was not impressed. It was awkward.

AND WHAT DO THE KIDS THINK ABOUT ALL OF THIS? WELL, I ASKED THEM AND HERE'S WHAT THEY HAD TO SAY.

THE CANADY KIDS HAD THIS TO SAY...

What do you like about having your brothers playing for FFC too?
 
Stephen, age 4: I like scoring on my brothers and I like to play goalkeeper.
Andrew, age 7: I like to play with my brothers on FFC. I like to meet people and play with friends and older players.
Michael, age 13: I like to have my own original cheering squad because all my brothers and parents are on the sidelines cheering for our FFC team.

Do you have any fun or funny moments you remember from everybody playing?
Andrew: I like megging Lukie.
Michael: I like to hang out on my older brothers team bench.

What advice would you give other kids who have brothers and sister that are playing?
Stephen: My older brothers can beat up anybody who slide tackles me.
Andrew: If my older brother James refs my game, I hope that I could get a break, but instead he gave me a yellow.



THE CODD KIDS HAD THEIR OWN ANSWERS...

What do you like about having your sisters playing for FFC too?
Amara: We can practice together outside of our regular team practice.
Kyrie: I get to see them more because I spend a lot of time at the fields.

Do you have any fun or funny moments you remember from everybody playing?
Amara: My favorite is doing team bonding activities at tournaments.
Kyrie: My favorite thing is playing Rondo at the beginning of practice. It’s fun because Coach David plays too!

What advice would you give other kids who have brothers and sister that are playing?
Amara: You don’t need to be in competition with each other, but just be there to support each other.
Kyrie: Be supportive of each other and be there for your family!



AND THE HABLAS'...

What do you like about having your brothers playing for FFC too?
Joey: That they learn how to play soccer and we can play soccer together.
Thomas: I like playing with them.
Matthew: Kicking the ball around with them.

Do you have any fun or funny moments you remember from everybody playing?
Joey: Playing with Thomas on my team and winning!
Thomas: Playing with my brothers.
Matthew: Cheering for my brothers.

What advice would you give other kids who have brothers and sister that are playing?
Joey: Be positive and cheer for them!
Thomas: Have some fun.
Matthew:  Help teach them soccer.



THE HAWKINS QUARTET WENT THIS DIRECTION...

What do you like most about having your brothers and sisters playing for FFC too?
Kira: I like how it's all at the same place, so when I'm practicing or playing they're at the same park too . . . except when I'm on the road. I get to go see them play or they see me play.
Emma: I get to play on my dad's phone or iPad sometimes.
Ryan:
I'm not happy having my younger brother on the team with me.
Eric: I like playing with my brother.


Do you have any fun or funny moments you remember from everybody playing?
Kira: After my practice I would go to my sister's rec team and play with them too.
Emma:
Sometimes someone tells a joke and makes us all laugh.

What advice would you give other kids who have brothers and sisters that are playing?
Kira: If you're doing rec, it's fun to play with your brother or sister, just not every year. I got frustrated with my sister on the same team as me at times.
Emma: Cheer on your brothers and sisters that are playing.
Ryan:
Make sure that they're older.




THE HOLLANDSWORTH KIDS HAD THEIR OWN THOUGHTS...

What do you like about having your brother and sister(s) playing for FFC too?
Julia: I have more connections with more of the coaches in the club. It is fun to be in the same organization, and it is always fun to go out and support them.
Brianna: That we are not stuck on the same team.
Mason: My games are earlier than theirs, so they have to get their butts out of bed early.

Do you have any fun or funny moments you remember from everybody playing?
Julia: Mason has been very shy around my teammates, but they think he is adorable.

What advice would you give other kids who have brothers and sisters that are playing?
Julia: Be their biggest support system.

Contact

Fredericksburg FC - Soccer Club
503 Westwood Office Park 
Fredericksburg, Virginia 22401

Phone: 540-368-5425
Email: [email protected]

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