Monday, September 27, 2010

My Youngest Goalie

September 27, 2010

When Danielle first started playing soccer, I never would have imagined her as a goalie. She liked to run, and liked to be in the middle of the action. She also liked the idea of scoring a goal, although neither she nor her teammates, when they were just starting out, made that a regular occurance. As she grew older and taller, though, she gradually made her way backwards on the field. She started off as a forward and mid-fielder, then mid and defender, and in the past three years, has found herself primarily at defender and goalie. Of all of these, goalie is definitely her favorite position.

When she first expressed an interest in being the barrier between the ball and the net, I was skeptical. She's not the most aggressive, most competitive kid on the team. I figured her preference might be to melt into the background, where there were other nearby members to back her up if she didn't get where she needed to be. But the goalie? If she's not where she belongs, that puppy's flyin' through, scoring a goal for the opposing team. Did she really want all that pressure? Did she really want to be the last line of defense? Turns out, she did!

I'll admit, both of my youngest two playing human barrier on the soccer field has given me some mini-heart attacks, especially as the opposing team members often appear both amazonian and relentless in their attacks on the goal. Honestly, though, that girl has really proven herself up to the challenge. She'll dive, she'll roll; she'll throw her body down on that soccer ball with abandon to get it out of reach of the girls charging at her goal. Even this past week, in her second game of this newest season, she and another young girl collided at the net, and Danielle's face came between the ball and the other girl's foot. I thought she'd be down for the count, but although she'd taken a cleat squarely in the face, she got up, shook herself off, and got back down to the business at hand. My little drama queen, it turns out, leaves the drama at the door when she pulls on that uniform. She is confident, she is observant, and she is all business. One of the other moms on the team has nicknamed her The Rock, because she's so steadfast in her purpose, and quite effective at her job. I'm sure I'm still in for a few mini-heart attacks as the season progresses, but I am absolutely loving watching how this little girl is blossoming out on the soccer field.

Danielle and Vanessa
Raquel and Danielle
Taryn and Danielle
Coach Bob with the team.
She's got a powerful throw.
Coach Roger, giving her some pointers on the way out to the net.

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