‘Some of my friends think I’m crazy … but here’s why I am a Soccer Mom’

posted in: News

By Rachel Lilburn

I’m a proud Soccer Mom* but probably not for the reasons you think.

My son lives and breathes football. His dream is to become a professional footballer.

For the past seven years, I’ve driven my son to a football-related activity at least once a week — sometimes every day of the week.

I’ve put up my hand to coach and manage teams.

I drive two hours each way for games.

I pay for training sessions and clothes and boots.

We’ve travelled to, and paid for, multi-day camps.

We’ve driven to Auckland to watch other people play.

A significant part of this working single mother’s budget is tied to football.

Some of my friends and family think I am crazy.

But that’s not why I’m spending so much time and money

If he achieves his dream, I’ll be thrilled, but that’s not my focus. I’m leaning into his passion, because I want him to grow up to be a good human.

I’m paying for the opportunities that football provides and the lessons it teaches.

I’m paying for my son to learn resilience.

To learn to deal with disappointment, when he doesn’t get that goal, or when he misses that penalty, when they don’t make the save. When the team lose the game. When he is subbed off when he wants to keep playing.

To be patient. To learn that it takes hours and hours and hours and hours of hard work and practice to be great, and that success does not happen overnight.

To learn to work with others and to be a proud, supportive, kind and respectful team member.

To find community and meet people from diverse backgrounds and places. To make friends with similar passions.

To have perseverance. To keep going, even when he feels like giving up.

To show up, even when it’s cold and wet, and keep showing up, week after week.

To do things that are hard. To be scared, and worried, and anxious. To feel a sense of accomplishment that comes from doing it anyway, despite the fear.

To learn to be disciplined, and manage his time. To turn up early. To do the work. To listen to and respect the coach. To get his gear ready, look after it, and make sure it’s clean for next time.

To respect others. To get to know amazing coaches that will teach them that football is not just about technical skill, but about life. To respect decisions, even if you don’t agree with them.

To learn about sacrifice and choices. To understand that time is limited, and you can’t do or have everything, and choices need to be made.

To take care of themselves. To learn about fuelling the body by eating well, the importance of sleep on performance, and the importance of resting the body. To learn about the natural consequences of not taking care of himself or his things.

To plan, to set goals, and work towards achieving those goals. To learn how to break down big goals into smaller, achievable goals. To think several steps or passes or days ahead.

To spend more time moving than in front of a screen.

To understand that life has multiple points of view. Just like multiple cameras that show a game on TV, everyone sees life from a different angle. That there is not always a binary truth.

To support others, in the good times and the bad, and lift others up in their dreams.

To be part of something that’s bigger than himself.

All of that is priceless.

*Soccer Mom

* Soccer Mom is a term that broadly refers to a middle-class, suburban woman who spends a significant amount of her time transporting her school-age children to youth sporting events or other activities, whether or not they are soccer-related (Wikipedia). 


This article was inspired by a similar post that’s appeared on social media, but I cannot find an author to credit.

Rachel Lilburn

Taupo-based Rachel Lilburn is a volunteer writer for Friends of Football.

You can read more of her stories here >>>>

More football stories