YOUTH SOCCER MONTH: FRIENDSHIP
Week 3 of Youth Soccer Month is all about the friendships we make and build through soccer and how these relationships extend beyond the field.
Playing a game you love with friends can shape your relationships throughout your life. Growing up, growing together, going through struggles and victories with our teammates, build memories that last a lifetime.
Soccer is a game that brings the world together through shared experience. With just a ball, a friendly wave and a willingness to play, everyone can join together to enjoy the sport we all love. Friendships are made as we share our experiences, learn new skills, challenge ourselves and others, and experience competitive trials and triumphs with others.
This week make sure you think about all the friendships soccer has helped you foster and make sure you reach out to someone new, make a new friend, and share your love of the game!
Make Your Own Ball Day kicks off on September 17!
MYOBD uses a ball to inspire kids to be thankful, to discover new perspectives and to give back.
The mission of Make Your Own Ball Day is to change the world by positively impacting others with our personal passions and talents.
- Help kids discover their own passions and talents.
- Inspire others to act and use their passions and talents to positively impact others.
- Invite others into the world changing adventure.
- Create new solutions to needs that we find through working with underserved communities around the world.
The steps are simple!
1. Make a ball
2. Donate a ball
3. Find friends
4. Play soccer
Q&A WITH U.S. UNDER-18 WNT PLAYER RACHEL JONES
About Rachel Jones...
North Carolina commit Rachel Jones has built many relationships while playing for her club, US Youth Soccer ODP and U.S. Youth National Teams. Jones and Tophat 18 Gold (GA) won two US Youth Soccer National League division titles and claimed a US Youth Soccer South Region Championship in 2015. The forward is currently in the U.S. Under-18 Women’s National Team pool and has been part of several U.S. Youth National Teams and US Youth Soccer ODP squads. She took some time to explain how soccer can help produce several lasting friendships.
What makes youth soccer such a good place to meet new friends?
Meeting friends through soccer is a completely different experience than meeting them at school. Soccer friends understand you on a different level than your school friends do because you spend so much time together and share a passion for the game.
How has soccer helped you make and keep strong friendships?
I've played soccer with every single person that I consider a close friend at some point in my life. Being on the field and fighting for a common goal brought me and my friends together in an amazing way.
Having played on your local club team, on US Youth Soccer ODP teams and with several U.S. Youth National Teams, do you keep in touch with other players you've met from other parts of the country?
Yes. I met Brianna Pinto from North Carolina through the U14 national team and later the U17 national team. We immediately bonded, and when she committed to the University of North Carolina, I knew that it would be the perfect place for me as well. Other players that I keep in touch with include Civana Kuhlmann, Ashley Sanchez, Karina Rodriguez, Jaelin Howell, and many others from the last U17 cycle as well as others from my U18 national team. Their locations range from Colorado to California to Kansas City…all over the United States basically.
How have road trips for games given you a chance to bond with teammates on and off the field?
On road trips, my team spends a lot of time together. From eating meals to watching movies or TV together, we just genuinely enjoy each other's company, and being together after games also gives us time to reflect on our performance and to grow together as a team.
What are some of your favorite memories with your friends through soccer?
My favorite club soccer memory is winning state cup in U13. We won in the last second, and afterwards, we all went to Raegan Kelley's house for a pool party and kept the celebration going.
My favorite high school soccer memories involve the bus rides to and from games, specifically the ones we won, where everybody sang as loud as possible.
My favorite national team memory is qualifying for the U17 World Cup. On the ride back home to the hotel, we all hung out of the windows of the bus chanting "USA! USA! USA!" and singing songs like "Party in the USA."
What type of advice would you give to kids in regards to using soccer to make friends?
The friendships that you make through soccer will last a lifetime, and you should never take them for granted. However, if you aren't developing at the club you are currently at, don't be afraid to leave because of your friends. If they are your real friends, they will support you in your journey.