Guest Post: Kerry of Breadwinning Mama, on Club Soccer


Kerry Rivera brings home the bacon.

And the bread. If you’ve read her blog, Breadwinning Mama, you know what I’m talking about. She’s a corporate mom with a teacher husband she bands together with to get things done. Three kids and a puppy thrive in that environment.

Kerry’s posts center on self-care for busy moms, and spotlights working moms in a series called “Her Juggle.”

(I was honored to be a rare “His Juggle” entry recently).

Today, she’s on the CD to talk about her family’s first foray into club soccer. It’s a jungle out there, as the Riveras found out. Amid all the hoopla and politics and travel and fees, you have to ask: Is my kid having fun?

Please give Kerry a warm welcome, and be sure to check out Breadwinning Mama, too. I know a bunch of you who would make great “Her Juggle” features. (Maybe even a “His Juggle” or two out there.)

Kerry Rivera photo
Kerry Rivera photo

Hello Club Soccer!

Last spring we anxiously waited to hear the verdict.

After several try-outs, an all-star tournament and a month of skills assessment, it was time to find out if our son would make the cut and suit up for his first year of club soccer.

He’s seven.

My husband and I grew up playing soccer and served as that first wave of kids introduced to the world of club, but back in the day the transition happened around fifth grade – not first. We played years of basic rec, and seasons ran for a few months, not year-round.

Oh how times have changed.

Today, kids are being tapped younger and younger, asking families to make big financial and time commitments for a sport continuing to gain popularity in America. And soccer is not unique. I’ve seen talent being picked off in baseball, swim and basketball. Each summer, elite camps market their services to hone skills in the off-season. And private trainers suggest all kids could benefit with some 1v1 focus.

photo credit: brent flanders via photopin cc
photo credit: brent flanders via photopin cc

Were we suckers for even considering the club scene for our young son? Or was this a great opportunity?

We built our pros and cons list and ultimately elected to give it a shot when the invite was made. With an older brother and parents who love the sport, our little guy has had a ball at his feet since his toddler days. As a second-born, he’s simply hardwired for competition.

Ten months later, we’re nearly survived the first season.

So what have we learned?

• Seven-year-old boys, regardless of their innate talents, are squirrely. Duh! Yes, our son has worked with a fabulous trainer for months, but not every boy can focus. I would say half of his team consistently paid attention and absorbed the instruction. The other half? Not so much. We get it – they’re seven!

• The politics start young. I witnessed parents jockeying for position and good favor with the trainer from the start. They opined about playing time, roles and instruction. I even witnessed one parent inquire how much others were pitching in for the end-of-the-year gift so she could ensure her family gave the most. Ugh!

• My son has gotten better. He has benefited from playing with and against better competition. The training has elevated his skills and understanding of the game. The additional practices and games have made him a stronger player.

All in all, we’re glad we gave our son the chance to move up early. He loves going to practice. He delights when he masters a new skill. He’s happy! Still, we don’t want to pressure him to commit to just one sport or activity. While soccer certainly takes up more time these days, he’s also active in karate, baseball and running around our neighborhood like a crazy, energetic seven-year-old boy.

Will the investment in club open doors for him down the road? Perhaps. But that’s not why we’ve embraced the club scene at such a young age. Rather, we just want to give our son an experience. As long as he enjoys and hungers for the game, we’re willing to make the commitment as parents.

About Kerry:
Kerry is a full-time working mom, juggling parenthood and career in Southern California with her soccer-loving family. In addition to her corporate gig, she blogs at Breadwinning Mama, writes around the web, and squeezes in exercise during the wee hours of the morning.

breadwinning quote


  1. We too got our 5 years old involved in the club mentality in soccer this past year. She has actually been playing for almost2 years but this year was finally games and a goalie, as well as red added in. Definitely enlightening and couldn’t agree more with your assessment and take on this. I can’t be how it is effecting our kids younger and younger. Don’t get me wrong we weren’t totally naive going in but still the politics and stuff definitely still surprised more then anything, as well.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      That’s the part I like least Janine – I’ve gotten good at ignoring it all when it’s just me and my team on the field.

    2. If only we would get out the way as parents – sometimes. Sadly, politics exist everywhere. I’ve heard about it at dance and baseball and even the PTA.

  2. ksbeth says:

    it’s a tough balance and there are always arguments to be made for both sides. i think it’s a personal decision and you have to know your kid and weigh out the rewards and benefits and just do the best you can with what you think is right for them. it sounds like your son has benefited, so you made the right choice for him. great post )

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Some kids will thrive in that environment – others just want to run and play. Both are beautiful choices.

  3. ProteanMom says:

    I like that you point out that club isn’t for everyone; it’s definitely a decision to be made for each kid. I thought I had more time to decide for our oldest boy… Then again, there aren’t any rec leagues for him for another year or two.

    Ugh. I’ll cross that bridge when we get there.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I believe the highest level a kid still loves to play is the optimal spot.

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.