In My Ohio

​On the Archetypes of Youth Soccer

Darren C. Demaree
​The Blue Jackets season is over. The Cavaliers second season is beginning. The Indians and Reds are just getting their adrenaline right. The Browns have new uniforms. All of that is worthy of some attention, but my eyes are mostly on a youth soccer team that plays in Columbus. My daughter, Isabelle, plays for the Wildcats, and the Wildcats are back on the field.
After having all of their practices rained out they played their first game this past Saturday. What was comforting and incredible to see again was that the archetypes of youth soccer (by youth soccer I mean five-year-olds) are alive and well for one more season at least. Each team plays six players at one time and every active player fits into the mold that was left there for them by the team before and will be filled by the team after.

Player 1: The Athlete

​The athlete is a missile. Every team has one player that can take the ball from one side of the field all the way down to the other without the help of a single teammate. He or she is bigger, faster, and demonstrably more skilled than everyone else on his or her team. Normally, they will play forward for two quarters, score two-three goals, and then be put in goalie to allow the rest the of the team to clump together in the middle of the field for the second half. 

Player 2: The Artist

​There is always one player chasing butterflies. They are dancing, singing, playing with flowers, and watching the game take place one field over because that team has on purple uniforms. They are no use on a soccer team, but it’s nice that they’re outside for their performance. I always save a quality high-five for the artist. They cheer no matter what is happening, and those people are invaluable in life.

Player 3: The Hesitant One

​This player is almost as fast and talented as The Athlete, but they don’t like to take the ball from their teammates. They just want to play with their friends, and have fun playing soccer. At least once a game they do something spectacular, but only once a game. They’re a naturally talented athlete that doesn’t really care about being the best player. This is a refreshing outlook for a five-year-old to have. The Athlete is already determined, where The Hesitant One smiles because it feels natural and good for them to run, but when they start outrunning their teammates it’s not as much of fun for them.

Player 4: The Emotional One

​Whether they fall down or get kicked or just stand there, the emotion of the game is just too much for them to handle. What little adrenaline they produce goes straight to their tear ducts. They don’t care about soccer. They just want to be hugged. Their parents just want them to be social. They smile once the juice and snack is distributed.

Player 5: The Pack-Only Player

​This player is more of a runner than a soccer player. They just run around the ball. If they kick, it’s an accident. They’re just having fun being around everyone, and playing a game. These are the same kids that join whatever is being played on the playground. These kids are always outgoing, and really just want to be with their friends no matter what. 

Player 6: The Goalie (Isabelle)

​Belle played well in goal during the fall. She played well, she got a lot of encouragement for it, and so now she considers herself a goalie. She gets really excited about it, very intense on the field (always in an athletic stance), but she is too small to really block anything that doesn’t roll right up to her. I really expected her to behave like The Artist, because all of the stories about her mother on the soccer field involved butterflies, but she has a little glint in her eye about playing. Every time she gives up a goal there is an exaggerated reaction, like she is saying, “Oh, come on, how did that happen? Did you see that nonsense?” She always leaves the field like she is out of breath, even if she hasn’t run ten yards in the whole quarter. It’s a lot of fun to watch.