My daughter, Emmy, has played soccer for 3 seasons now. At first she was a bit uncoordinated and we giggled slightly on the sidelines when we watched her play. She was cute and she tried as hard as she could but her feet and brain just didn't communicate all the time. Then something happened in the second season; it was like a big light switch turned on in the soccer department of her brain and it all clicked and synchronized. Besides getting very winded and not liking to play when its cold (and TN had some very cold soccer seasons!!) she started playing very, very well.
Last season we had all three children in soccer so on a Saturday we would spend 3-5 hours at the soccer park, depending on if the games were timed together or spread out. One particular day Emmy had her game to play (1 hour, no substitutes) and then Jacob had his shortly thereafter. Jacob's team didn't have enough players and the coaches were desperate for more players so they wouldn't have to forfeit the game. Emily was standing there with us so Jeramie offered her up to play for the all-boys team (after asking her if she would). The coach agreed and then the boys all looked at her with those "she's not playing with us, is she?" looks. Now, Emily is tall and was the same height as the boys 2 years older than her so they didn't actually know that she wasn't their age or the looks probably would have been much, much worse. We told Emily to not be intimidated to play with an entire field of boys, just to "get in there" and go after the ball. While we were pumping her up, we overheard the boys asking Jacob "so, is your sister any good?"
The game starts and Emily played with 2 teams of boys and was not intimidated at all. She played better than most of the boys out there who were 2 years older than she was. By the end the boys were cheering for her, as were all of their parents. My heart was so big and proud I just wanted to cry by the end of the game. The next week when we came to Jacob's game the first thing his teammates said to him was "Is your sister going to play with us again this week?" I couldn't stop smiling.