My favorite childhood fitness activity was playing soccer at an early age. I started playing soccer when I was in kindergarten (5), and I was always super excited to get up on Saturday mornings and play. My parents business sponsored my YMCA team, and now they continue to sponsor other kindergarten YMCA teams to keep the tradition going. I remember it being so hot and we would have water bottles as big as we were, and wet towels around our necks. The coolest hairstyle was high pig tails with a middle part, and we had the bands around our sleeves to keep them up. The YMCA teams actually always played at the SIUe fields, so that’s where I remember growing up playing. Then later on in life playing club soccer for MetroFC/Metro United/Scott Gallagher we played at the metro fields which are also located at SIUe. I think experiencing a team sport at such a young age was so great and I was really privileged to have an opportunity doing that. I made so many friends through soccer and I really appreciate my parents getting me involved in this sport so early. Soccer camps were the best growing up too, I would go to camps that lasted all day and would come home so worn out and sunburnt. Carpooling to and from practice/games/tournaments/camps in an SUV full of girls are the best memories growing up and I truly cherish them. All of theses memories beginning with YMCA soccer makes for this being my favorite childhood fitness memory growing up. Soccer really has shaped me into the person I am today being athletic, and loving team involvement. I started so young without ever getting burnt out on an activity that I will forever love, and I hope that my future children will get the same experiences starting out with a YMCA sport like I did.
5 years old- soccer practice once a week, one game on Saturday morning; everyone on the field chasing the ball and no one knowing positions.
8 years old- playing on a traveling team, going to Kansas City one weekend, Nashville another, Chicago the next. Practice 3 times a week, your full weekend taken up by soccer; no sleepovers with your friends from school, can’t go to birthday parties.
14 years old- trying out for high school soccer, playing club during the fall and high school during the spring. playing on an indoor team in the winter to keep you in shape. having 2 a days during the summer. having tournaments on homecoming and prom weekend, showing up 2 hours late to prom pictures if you even make it on time (I never once have showered before homecoming or prom).
16- going to college showcases for your club team
17- signing to play for a school
college- having 2 a days, your teammates become your family because you have no choice but to spend every day with them including living with them, traveling all over, skipping class to travel for soccer, being in the classes with all the athletes, getting your school paid for, putting on soccer camps for little kids.