I have three children. They all play for the same soccer club, which is small, flexible and very focused on player development. So far, so good.
This past year, USA Soccer made a big switch to bring the program in line with international programs. Kids are now placed on teams according to their birth year (January-December) as opposed to the previous system, under which the birth cutoff was July 31st. Take Thing One as an example. He was born in July of 2003. Under the previous system, he was one of the youngest on a team of boys born between August 1st of 2002 and July 31st of 2003. Now, he is smack in the middle of a team of boys who were all born in 2003. In other words, last spring the US went from a system under which every travel soccer team in the country was composed of children born in two calendar years to a system under which every team is composed of children born in only one calendar year. As you might imagine, the result of this was that tryout time last year was absolutely insane, since every team in the country was blown up and reorganized, with the older half of any given team joining the younger half of the team one year up in age and the younger half of that team now being paired with the older half of the team one year down. A real mess.
All of which preamble (if you are still with me...) is intended to help explain why my three children are now practicing with five different soccer teams between them! Petunia, who is a very strong striker/midfielder, was born in 2007. Ever since the player development coach got a good look at her in winter training, she's been practicing with the 2006 team as well to hone her skills. This evening, her 2007 team was practicing, and my boys were messing around at a nearby goal, Thing One shooting and Thing Two defending. The coach of the 2001 boys' team (who also is the assistant on Thing One's team) grabbed him and tossed him into the scrimmage the older boys were playing, since he was there anyway. Thing One's a big boy for an eighth grader, average in size on that field of high school sophomores, and he held his own very well out there. He's maturing into a good solid back. Coach comes up to me after practice and tells me that he'd like to see Thing One start practicing with this team as well whenever he can; that he should consider it a standing invitation.
The good news (other than the implied compliment to both kids) is that all the teams practice at the same complex of fields. I'd be there every night of the week anyway for somebody's practice, so having somebody else pick up a practice at the same time is both good for their training and efficient for me. Win-win, except for me having to keep it all straight.
Here's how it shakes out:
Monday: Petunia 07, Thing Two
Tuesday: Petunia 06, Thing One 03, Thing Two goalie training (because of course)
Wednesday: Petunia 07, Thing One 01
Thursday: Thing Two, Thing One 03
Friday: Petunia 06
And THIS, my friends, is why there is a whiteboard in my kitchen with the kids' weekly schedule on it!