i'm proud of these two boys for much more than soccer. they are becoming great leaders. they are good examples to one another. they are unselfish and humble. my son Jake recently told me, "dad, me and Eli are starting to talk a lot more about God together. we've been friends forever but i think our friendship is getting deeper."
they are 12 years old! the only thing i was thinking about when i was 12 years old was MTV, girls, pimples, and how to be like mike. (if you grew up in the 80s you'll understand that reference)
i could on and on about these two boys. but this post actually is about soccer.
my son and my nephew (at least he's known me as "uncle" practically his whole life) have raised their games this year. bigtime. there is no doubt they have become the leaders of their team.
we're playing in 2 different leagues (tournaments) right now. both are intense. one is all of the "select" teams in our area. the other is with a collection of big schools in the city. all of the teams tower over us and "on paper" should dominate us.
but we are a scrappy team, and we're alive in both tournaments. currently 2nd in the select league, and 3rd in the other.
in large part, our standing in both leagues is due to jake and eli, who are both 12 years old (playing in 14 and under league).
jake has 8 goals in his last 3 games (3, 3, 2) and has the assist for basically any other goal that's been made. but more than scoring, his "style" of play has completely changed all of a sudden. he's playing extremely physical - seeming to enjoy the "fight" on every play. watching him play lately, i see a 15 or 16 year old... not a 12 year old.
eli too. he is running the defense with a new passion. its like something has snapped in his mind all of a sudden. he is physical, scrappy, and is sooooo fast. he has saved us so many times. in a recent game against the all-antigua team, i gave him the game ball because even though we lost 4-1, it could have easily been 10-1 if he hadn't played like such a beast.
one more example...
on wednesday, our varsity boys had a game (18 and under league). because of suspensions and injuries, we were short on players. both jake and eli dressed out and played with the varsity. playing against a "select" team of 18 year olds from magdalena, my two 12 year old boys played like champs. confident and solid. no one watching that game would have noticed there were two kids 5-6 years younger than the rest out there.
i can't even imagine the type of players these two will be six years from now, when they actually are 18. not to mention what kind of men they'll be...