Thursday, October 7, 2010

Old Soccer, New Soccer, BEST Soccer

Last spring my wife and I decided to sign our oldest up for the soccer program affiliated with the town of Westborough Recreation Department.  Neither my wife nor I were super athletic growing up and we are not a super sports house but I wanted the boys to have the opportunity to try different sports and see what they enjoy.  We decided to go with soccer for two main reasons.  The first is easy; limited down time.  T-Ball is great but there is a lot of standing and waiting, soccer is almost always activity.  Second; we knew a couple of other kids already in the program and they liked the coaches.

The Lazers soccer program operates independently from the town rec department but works closely with them and utilizes the town fields.  I don't know a lot about the history of the Lazers soccer program.  I had heard stories about some management issues in the past and how the town was working to grow and rebuild the program.  That may have been the old soccer but in the two seasons now that my family has been participants in the Westborough program I cannot find fault in anything that they do.  From the president of the organization down to every parent and volunteer coach, the Westborough Youth Soccer Association (WYSA) is organized, efficient, worth every penny, and extremely fun.  Personally I have talked with Ed Longo (president of WYSA) and had several face to face conversations with Rob Fitzgibbon, director for the under 6 programs, and all I can say is great things about their dedication, commitment and passion for this program and the families involved.

My wife and I love going to the games.  We love the sitting at practice.  The activities are well organized, the kids who are a little shy are encouraged.  Everywhere I look it is all smiles.  I wanted to add some thoughts as a parent to all the other parents considering the WYSA also know as the Lazers:

  • The first season your child may not be into it.  Our son had no concept of how aggressive to be the first season.  He is a mellow kid anyway but he did not charge for the ball ever.  The first season he spent more time cheering for his teammates when they made goals.  He claimed to have fun but wasn't really engaged.  Now after our second season (and camp which I will talk about later) he is so much more engaged and as a spectator it is clear he is loving it.  Two weekends ago he even scored his first goal in a game.  Looking at some of his teammates this season I can see the difference, especially compared to first year players.  To the parents out there I say give it a second go before you decide to try something different just to make sure.  Below are photos from recent games.

    • Best Soccer Camp is fantastic!  It really helps the kids get more involved during the season.  This summer we signed both of our boys up for the Best Soccer Camp for one week.  This program is run in collaboration with the Westborough Recreation Department we well and hosted by Best English Soccer Training of Westborough.  The camp was amazing, and according to wicked local Westborough over 50 local children participated this summer.  Best Soccer Soccer was founded by Paul Mumby, Westborough High School Girls soccer coach.  Mr. Mumby brings over college soccer players from England and Wales who are great with the kids and truly seem to enjoy the game at every level.  This alone would make me proud but then the Best Soccer Camp did a couple of other things this summer that made be extra impressed with Mr. Mumby's management of the program.

      As we all remember, we enjoyed a very rain free summer.  But the week I signed my boys up for camp was the same week the rains came.  Monday camp was canceled due to rain.  It happens and I know we can't control the weather, but I did just shell out money for the boys to do a program that isn't happening.  Instead of just chalking it up to unfortunate weather, the Best Soccer Camp extended their program 30 minutes each day for the rest of the week.  Part of signing up for an outdoor program is we have to deal with weather, but this action showed that Mr. Mumby is concerned about the value to us as parents.  Then the second day had to be canceled as well.  Sure we need the rain but...  Again Mr. Mumby looked to insure value and extended the camp to run through Saturday.  I realize some parents will say that is not good...they had other plans on Saturday, but for me it was great.  I even got to go watch where during the week I was in Cambridge working behind a desk.  Since I did get to watch i also got some great photos.

      After camp, both boys couldn't wait for the next season.  The youngest will need to wait till spring but the oldest was 100 times more into soccer after the one week at camp.  As you can see form the faces below, the kids love this camp.

    • Lazers soccer is a great social event.  I am definitely outgoing and I enjoy meeting and talking with new people, but rarely is it as easy as at the soccer games and practices.  We have met other families of his kindergarten classmates, long time town residents, and neighbors only 4 or 5 houses away.  Sunday afternoons at Hadley field families are cheering and enjoying the games  and I am proud to be part of it.
      I am happy we got involved with these programs.  It actually makes it a little hard to consider another program right now as these are so much fun and all I ever see is smiles on my son's and other kids faces.  In the spring my youngest can finally get off the sidelines and join the Lazers as well.  We can't wait.

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