Peelstar Decals: A Cool Alternative to Season-Ending Trophies

photo credit: JD Hancock via photopin cc
photo credit: JD Hancock via photopin cc

My girls are awesome in their element. When I played sports, I had an element, too. It was called the bench.

My girls don’t spend too much time in my element. Ask my parents. Hey, there’s my boy. Him, the one with the bat in his hand. No, not at the plate. No, not on deck. He’s the one balancing a Gatorade cup on the end of his bat.

I could hope for junk time, though. There’s always hope for junk time.

My girls are the type who spend junk time in my element. On the bench.

They do have time in which they teach me. And I’m forever grateful.


Grace – U11 drug test

You can’t serve as an acolyte at church when you’re a kid with a fever. When you still have that fever the next morning, you can’t go to school. When you have a soccer match on a Monday night, you shouldn’t play.

Unless you’re a scoring threat who can feel better after a little Ibuprofen.

Grace’s team, the Dynamite, had a big-time match against the Red Dragons – top of our league, unbeaten, hardly ever scored upon. They’re like the red army of Russia in Harrisburg soccer.

Are you kidding? Playing in prime time under the lights?

A chance to slay the Red Dragons? You can’t miss that. Even if you’re a kid with a fever. Grace knew Ibuprofen made her almost forget about the fever on Sunday, and that she could probably play, if only she could have one little pill.

“Is it illegal, dad?”

“Is what illegal, honey?”

“If I take medicine and play. Won’t I get in trouble? Because, isn’t that what happened with Lance Armstrong?”

After I described the difference between taking a fever reducer for youth soccer and what blood doping was, I felt kind of proud. Yeah, she wanted to take down the Red Dragons. But she wanted to be legit.


Marie – the kid you didn’t draft

Yes, they draft in youth soccer.

With skills assessments and everything. Like, a little combine, for soccer. They don’t, however, measure and weigh the kids. Yet. My girls did fine in their 25-point assessment – well enough to rank highly on the draft board.

Coaches’ kids automatically go to their teams, so there’s no draft for them.

I’m head coach for Grace’s team, an assistant for Elise’s, so those kids got automatically placed on those rosters. Marie, however, had to go through the draft. Gaudy numbers, though, did her no good.

Coaches who didn’t know her didn’t believe the hype.

She dropped. One round, then two. Every coach at that age passed her over. Until one didn’t. “She stayed on the board so long,” said Krystal, whose team I joined after the draft as an assistant coach.

“But I figured, hey, she’s Latina. She has to be good.”

Good move for la gente. Marie’s team, the Muleicorns, are unbeaten, and that Latina? She’s a scoring and assist machine, terrorizing the midfield with tough defense, deft passing and unforgettable dribbling skills.

Who is that kid? They’ll ask. Who made that pass?

That’s the kid you passed up on draft day, esse.


Elise – don’t mess with my sister

With friends in different organizations, it’s easy to schedule an out-of-league friendly for my teams.

A friendly is a match that doesn’t count in your standings. Sometimes, a friendly isn’t so friendly. Marie’s Muleicorns have had two friendlies against a Mint Hill Athletics Association team this season.

The first was a 7-0 blowout loss. The second, a 2-2 tie. Good progress.

The second match got physical. Less friendly. Elise and her friend Kayla, both with sisters on the Muleicorns, were in uniform to help out if we needed them. As bodies flew, both big sisters clamored for playing time. “Put us in, coach!” they said. “I want a shot at them!”

Elise lasted about a minute in the game before the elbows flew, and the brother of one defender hollered for players to “hit her!” as she came by.

Friendly, remember. Things didn’t get out of hand. The Muleicorns wore down their bigger, slower opponents, and found navigation much easier. A conversation with the other coach, a friend of mine, brought things back under control quickly.

Still, Kayla and Elise stewed.

They watched every challenge on their sisters, fist-pumped and hollered and encouraged and warned their opponents not to mess with their little sisters. Hours later, the game finished and dinner eaten, Elise still seethed a little.

Mess with a Muleicorn, you get the horn.

Mess with the sister, you get much worse.

About Peelstar decals

The jerseys on this post are cool, huh?

They’re from Peelstar, a company that makes custom decals and magnets out of jerseys you design. Elise and Marie chose to recreate their school jerseys; Grace went with a mash-up of two different seasons (and a little imagination) to come up with hers.

The girls got to make small decals (5×5 inches) for this post.

Marie stuck hers to her locker, and her coach thought it was pretty cool. The other two girls haven’t stuck theirs on anything yet. That’s just like them, though: They’ve never cared much for what number they are.

I got an extra set, and stuck them to the windows on my fresh Pontiac Grand-Am. Proudly.

There’s a jersey on each window, where the girls usually sit. I really like this idea for an end-of-season alternative to trophies or medals. Peelstar’s website is cool – it’s interactive and easy to use, to pick designs and colors to match your team.

They’d be awesome for a middle or high school team to put on their lockers for the season.

Or, as it was for Grace, not match your teams.

Coach Daddy readers can get 25 percent off their orders by using “Coach Daddy” as an order code online. Follow Peelstar on Facebook for a chance to win prizes, too. Right now, Peelstar has a contest open for free decals for your entire cheerleading squad.

And check out this video – you can send Peelstar your kid’s highlight reel for a chance to win a large decal:

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I was not compensated for this post, although I did receive a code to create jersey decals for each of my girls to review.

Being A Wordsmith
jersey quote


  1. laurie27wsmith says:

    Grace has certainly picked up her ideals from dear old Dad. Great post Eli.

    1. Maybe I’ve picked up my ideals from her! Thanks, mate.

      1. laurie27wsmith says:

        We’ll meet halfway on that one then. They have a tendency to pick up what the parents are doing and how they behave.

  2. Love the idea of a magnet or decal as an alternative to cheap, junky trophies. My daughters aren’t old enough for team sports yet, but we’ve already got boxes collecting dust and shelves groaning under the weight of mom & dad’s ugly running trophies. Seriously, no thirty-something mom needs a hideous hunk of plastic, even if I did torch my age group. But I do have a Runner Girl magnet on my car, much to my four year old’s delight.

    1. Love the heart and tenacity your girls show on and off the pitch. Do they come by that naturally?

      1. I do think it’s natural – I hope that the near hopeless way I approached sports got an upgrade genetically through these girls. I think they’re naturals.

    2. the girls love their trophies, but it would be cool to have something different. Or at least something that looks cool. I’m running out of ideas for trophy design.

      They should probably just give you a golden Big Gulp cup for torching your age group!

      Who is the runner girl – you or her?

      1. A golden Big Gulp to fill with Fountain Coke?! Now that is my idea of an age group prize. I’d take that over a trophy or medal any day!

        The Goodman house is overflowing with Runner Girlz. Pretty soon Mom will be the slowest of the bunch!

      2. Fight like hell to the end!

  3. Kim says:

    Great alternative – love the decals and those are super awesome looking!!!
    Plus, this was just a fun way to describe each of the girls experiences – loved Marie’s story – way to show them!!!

    1. People have asked about the ones on my car! And you’re right – I always look for a way to share my girls’ stories. I learn so much from them.

  4. gina4star says:

    O.m.g. BLESS Grace!!! That’s the cutest, smartest,sweetest thing ever! Go Marie, what a way to prove herself! And love how Elise is a protective sister. This was really sweet to read, 🙂

    1. She got my heart on that one! I imagined a doping tent set up next to the grounds, and her getting called in. Marie gets fueled by doubt, I think … it makes her want to prove everyone wrong.

      Elise was really torn up hours afterward … she has always had such a tender heart, even under the tough exterior she displays on the pitch.

      Thanks Gina!

  5. Those decals are so cool! My 7 year old is the karate chopper in our house, I could make that work! How awesome that Grace was even aware of such and checked with the proper authorities first (dear ole dad)! You have such great girls!

    1. The cool thing is, they’ll add sports and colors and designs if you request them. Really cool company.

      I love that they want to win the right way. If you have to win the wrong way – is it really winning?

  6. Oooh, I like it. My hockey-obsessed son (I mean OBSESSED) and my soccer-playing daughter would like these. And this line cracked me up: “After I described the difference between taking a fever reducer for youth soccer and what blood doping was, I felt kind of proud.”

    1. They have cool hockey jerseys, too – or should I say hockey sweaters? We have the Carolina Hurricanes here, so that kind of makes me an authority.

      Glad it cracked you up – Grace was relieved she wouldn’t be shamed and spoofed and have to go on Oprah to defend herself.

  7. tamaralikecamera says:

    Oooh, I like the decals. Can I have one for balancing a Gatorade cup on my baseball bat too?
    Also. Ibuprofen is magic and it does make me feel like I can do things I have no business doing. I would have thought it was performance enhancing too! (but I’m glad it’s not, and I’m glad your kid is legit)

    1. Aren’t they cool? If they had one for bench antics, you and I could definitely get one. Grace didn’t need an Ibuprofen last night – she made a penalty kick with less than 10 seconds left to tie a tournament game and send us to overtime!

      So clutch.

      It was legit, but we lost in a shootout.

  8. An intense post. The attachment between you and the girls shows up so beautifully.


    1. Thanks Shakti! They inspire me.

  9. Rorybore says:

    very cool idea.

    so….I remember this one time…at a soccer game….a hockey match broke out.
    And I didn’t mind at all 😉

    1. I wish I’d thought of it. I thought it was a hockey match, that broke out into a soccer game.

      You’re going to love this – Grace asked about the Maple Leafs, and how that name’s supposed to intimidate anyone.

  10. I love reading about your soccer teams! They don’t draft here for soccer, just A and B from a skills assessment. The draft idea sounds interesting. They do that for baseball here. Silly coaches for passing Marie up. Don’t they know who her father is?! Sounds like she showed them!
    PS. I think the decals are cool. I’m not a big fan of participation trophies…those are perfect!

    1. Thanks Michelle! Skills assessment are another matter, and there’s a lot of “strategery” and shenanigans involved. The draft, though, feels all big-time – until coaches start whining about this or that.

      What happens in the draft room stays in the draft room.

      She’s showing them every week. I love it.

      And the decals are awesome. More to come on that …

  11. Suzanne Pham says:

    You can also have each player sign a team ball for all of the other players and then give them a BallQube baseball holder or “The Stand” for basketball/football. It makes a great non-trophy keepsake.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Agreed Suzanne – and as a coach, I love getting a signed ball, the younger the team the better. Thanks for stopping by!

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