This past week, after one more flight across the country, I had the opportunity to take my youngest (better known as POTUS2040) to soccer practice. Yes, I’m a soccer mom. She plays club level, and we live in Chapel Hill, launching pad of Mia Hamm. So women’s soccer is not an afterthought here, it’s the main event.
I watch a lot of soccer (I call it football typically, but for ease of translation, I’ll say soccer). I’m a coach, I took the game up in my 30s, and I admire the worth ethic involved in getting good at it.
Back to the story at hand. At this practice they were scrimmaging, small goals, not a full 11-a-side, and no goalkeepers. POTUS2040 is in the process of choosing between being a full-time goalkeeper and a field player. She’s 10 years old, and while that may seem young, we are at the point where she wants to decide and train accordingly, because on the surface, the skills are very different.
During this practice, I noticed she was playing what I would call a “number 10” role–center midfielder, distributing passes left right and center to her teammates. They won handily against a strong side. After practice, I commented on how she seemed to always be in the right place to pass, but never moved to score. She laughed and told me, “yeah, I basically decided to be a goalie in the middle of the field. I knew where the ball would be and I passed it.”
POTUS2040, age 10, saw what I didn’t. She played her position of choice, played to her strengths. She has to be accurate in her passes in the goal, or she’ll be dealing with an opponent coming right back at her in the goal. She is practicing her craft, no matter what the drill called for at the moment.
She had a great time. She laughed and loved the beautiful game. Her team won.
And I got the memo: play to your strengths, no matter where you are on the field. If you’re technical, but work in the marketing org, don’t shy away from it. If you write well, but you’re in marketing and not comms, find a way to document what you do. If you are comfortable asking questions and naturally curious, podcast.
Goalies don’t often play in the midfield, but when they do, they know where the ball will be, and where to direct it. Play to your strengths.