As we embark upon another great season of Lake View Soccer, I wanted to take a moment to add a little perspective to the upcoming season. First and foremost, thank you for choosing Lake View Soccer to help feed your children’s love of the game of soccer. Without your support of our organization, we would not be able to offer these opportunities to your children. We hope that we can fulfill your every expectation over the next eight weeks.

The eve of Opening Day for soccer season is an exciting day, which will hopefully lead to an even greater day tomorrow. I’m sure that there are kids throughout the Town of Hamburg that can hardly contain their excitement for what lies ahead tomorrow and in the coming weeks. The uniforms are laid out on their beds, the cleats are by the door and the energy is brewing with the start of another season. They have worked hard for the past few weeks in perfecting their skills as they look forward to scoring their first goal, making the big save, or finding that new friend that will hopefully become a lifelong friend. These days are about creating memories that will hopefully last forever.

Our responsibility as administrators, coaches and parents is to set the right environment for the children that take part in our programs. An environment focused on positive reinforcement and encouragement will allow for the best experience for all children in the program. It’s easy for us, as adults, to get excited as we want our children to succeed, but trust me, we cannot will our children to succeed. If they do not have that competitive desire yet, unfortunately it’s nothing that can be injected into them. After years and years of trying, I have finally learned that desire cannot be coached. Children all develop at different ages and different paces. It’s likely that many of them may never get that competitive desire. We need to remember that that’s ok. Children will measure success not in how games were won or how many goals were scored. They will measure success in their happiness playing the game that they love. We need to keep that in mind as we set the right environment for them.

Please be patient and understanding of your young officials. Please remember that they are just kids, and this is often their first job. They will be eager for the chance to do this, yet equally scared and filled with anxiety. They will make mistakes. That simple, so accept it. Even our most experienced officials will make mistakes, that’s part of the game. Calls usually balance themselves out over the course of the game, so please be calm with them. My own daughter will be a first-time official this season, but I will treat each and every one of my officials as if they were my own kid. Before, during and after the game, always handle yourself as if that was your kid in the yellow jersey blowing the whistle. Throughout the course of the season, we continue to train and guide our officials to help answer things that they are uncertain of. We will do our best to help them gain confidence in their ability to officiate and help them to grow. But any negative comments they hear from parents or coaches, takes away from that. If you truly want them to be better, let them be.

Before we yell to our child to run faster, go after the ball, or better yet “boot it” (the soccer purists will love that one), remember that they will do what they are ready to do because in their minds it’s not about the win. It’s about the fun that they are having, the friends that they are making and most importantly, what the snack is at the end of the game. Take a moment to see the world through their eyes and remember the fun that we had playing sports when we were kids.

We all have the urge to yell at our players to ‘go here, do that, etc…’, but please don’t confuse your players. You may not understand why your player is doing something, but they may be following the coach’s instructions. Let the coach’s coach, and just have enjoy your time watching your player. This time goes by fast for all of us. Savor these memories of our kids burning up the field. Watch them grown their confidence the first time they do something. Be proud of the way they handle themselves when they win, and even more proud of them when they deal with a loss. This is a learning experience for all of us, but please remember to let the competition come from the players. Not the coaches. Not the league. Not the parents. It’s all about our players.

Let’s all enjoy the season and set the right environment that will help foster the development of our children as soccer players. Let’s also remember that our young officials are also learning the game. They are also developing and will make mistakes, plenty of mistakes. Let’s not beat them down, but rather let’s help set the environment that will allow for them to learn from their mistakes.

After tomorrow’s game, the cleats will be dirty, jerseys will be sweaty, and hopefully the ride home is filled with smiles from your player. We want tomorrow’s game, and every game with us, to be better than the last. Know that we will always do our best to make this league and your experience with us the best we can.

Tomorrow night we will celebrate our player’s hard work with a movie outside under the stars at 8:30 PM: Incredibles 2 (Last minute change, sorry!). Please bring your family and friends to this great event and have fun. Cold Stone Creamery will have their truck there selling ice cream, and the league will be providing FREE POPCORN!!!. As always, the Hopp Stop will be serving, drinks and candy. It’s open to everyone, so please come enjoy the festivities.

There have been some minor tweaks to the rules for the divisions, but the rule book is available to be seen on our webpage, Facebook, and every coach and official has a copy.

New this year, we have purchased a cell phone to make the Director on Duty at Burke more accessible. If you have any major issues that you feel need immediate attention, please feel free to call the number. You can still look for one of us in our black Lake View Soccer polo shirts, but this is meant to make things easier for you should you need immediate help.

Director on Duty Phone: 716-253-3979

For those that don’t know, our game protocol is this. We try to have games start at their regularly scheduled time. About 5-10 minutes before game start, we will ask coaches to line their players up on the sidelines in front of their benches for announcements and the playing of the National Anthem. For those in the competitive divisions, officials will do equipment checks (cleats, shin guards, jewelry, etc…) around this time as well. Once the game starts, the official is in charge moving forward. At the conclusion of the game, players will line up on the sidelines to shake hands and show good sportsmanship. Please remind your players to maintain their bearings and be good sports; because if they say something disrespectful, they may get a yellow card for Unsportsmanlike Conduct. Please be mindful.

Important Dates are as follows and will be updated on TeamSnap after the weekend:
Playoffs – September 30th
Championship game – October 6th
All-Star – October 12th
Awards – October 19th

I know this is a lot of information being put out. If you have any additional questions, please let me know.

I hope that you all enjoy the season!!

Thank you,
Shaun Keen

President – Lake View Soccer

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