Ten-year-old Quincy is a phenomenal soccer player, playing up a year on a top Southern California Academy Team. Despite playing organized soccer for the past 6 years, Quincy’s future is all about football, the American kind. But most likely he will not play a single down in an actual game until he gets to high school. Here’s Q’s story as told by his mom.
1.What sports did you and your husband play?
I was a gymnast, club, elite, and Jr. Olympics. My husband played 13 years professionally in the NFL and was an All Pro defensive end and is currently coaching with the Miami Dolphins.
2. What sports does Q play and how much time does he spend playing them?
Currently, soccer takes up most of Q’s time. He practices approximately 6 hours per week, private soccer training approximately 1 hour weekly, kinetics training (agility, speed, correctional movements in explosiveness and coordination) varying 1-2 hours per week, occasional football and basketball privates when able. Soccer games on weekends, sometimes both days.
3. What are the goals for Q’s sports?
Q is currently on the Development Academy Soccer Team. However, his goals are not to remain in soccer, but to play American football at the highest level. His goals are lofty, yet he is certain in what he strives for. As soon as we allow he will transition out of soccer, and play American football, approximately by high school age. His goals are to play through high school, college, and be drafted into the NFL. Our goals for him are to be competitive, and grow in whatever he chooses. The NFL is certainly a far distance away, and right now it’s about a season of activity at a time.
4. Why have you decided not to allow Q to play football until high school?
Our decision to keep him out of football until high school is my husband’s philosophy on keeping his growing body from taking unnecessary hits, allowing for Q to stay active and allow his joints and muscles to develop in activities that have lower impact than all out tackle football. All sports have injury concerns; however, football is a collision sport. Although we won’t crush his dreams if football is what he chooses in the end, as a child there is no reason to place him in a situation that almost guarantees that he will be hit constantly due to the nature of the sport. My husband did not play tackle football until he was in high school as well. We feel as though if it is meant to be, it will, however it is a personal choice for all families. This happens to be ours.
5. How do you maintain balance in Q’s life?
The culture of our family is literally Pro Football, and has been all of Q’s life. He knows nothing different, and he loves it with a passion! However, when it comes to creating balance, beyond training and sports-related activity, it is imperative to take time to have fun, relax, enjoy and laugh. Travel, and experience completely unstructured time. And lead through example by serving; our philanthropic endeavors and church commitments are first and foremost.
6. What is your sports parenting philosophy?
It’s our lifestyle. Q enjoys going to work with dad, and he has been for years. He is able to witness first hand athletes competing at the highest levels. He learns through osmosis. Q sits in players meetings and plays around in the practice area with players and coaches. It’s fun for him, but he is also around those that have made what they love into a career. He receives nuggets of wisdom from them, plays in drills, and also is given support by professionals. On the mom side of it, I cook every day. We do not eat fast food, and I am mindful of a nutrient-filled meal plan for Q. Structured and clean. We make sure Q has time to stretch and he basically copies my husband’s regimen in keeping his little growing body flexible. Mini pro preparation.
7. What are some areas in youth sports that you find difficult?
I don’t find it difficult beyond Q’s own personality quirks. Q is passionate and sensitive. Often he gets angry when things don’t immediately work out for him, when he doesn’t make a goal, or the team he is on loses. He takes it all very personal. Perhaps it is his age. Right now the difficulty is to keep him calm and not let it get in the way. I don’t worry or concern myself with others as far as competition. Whatever level of success is desired by Q is what we support.
8. What drives you the most crazy about youth sports and what do you do to help make it better?
Youth sports is perhaps just too much of a circus at times! Politics, parents with unrealistic expectations. The reality is that it is going to be what it is. There are way too many variables and life situations. Just let them play. Be practical about the support system, and be age appropriate. I ignore what I don’t like, at the end of the day what I care about is my child. He will dictate what direction is appropriate for us. If he loses the passion to be involved with a certain sport or club, it could be a clear indication it’s time to move on. Our dedication and cooperation speak for us, and from just being an active yet compromising parent in a club setting. I’ve met some truly amazing people through my son’s sports and formed lasting relationships. For that I’m truly glad. It is what it is. Period.