I’ll get it out of the way, first.
As a soccer coach, I’d love it if the tradition of root beer and a Cubano sandwich became post-game routine. I know that won’t happen, unless I make it work for myself. (Coaches who maintain a set approval rating could upgrade to cold beer and a Monte Cristo.)
Here’s 42 reasonable (and some unreasonable) items on this coach’s wish list.
1. Fields numbers you can see.
2. Different color paint to line the fields. I get tired of white. No offense.
3. A chemical compound to eliminate the smell of shin guards and cleats.
4. A chemical compound to eliminate the smell of shin guards and cleats that have been left in dad’s trunk or backseat for a weekend.
5. A new bag to carry my stuff in that has a shoulder strap.
6. An automated shoe dryer I can put my feet into when I’ve soaked up all the dew on the sideline on my Nikes for an 8 a.m. kickoff.
7. A fresh set of socks for days like that, when I have more than one game to coach or watch.
8. Coaching gear that takes off 12 pounds.
9. An official ball hat for my school.
10. A sound-proof barrier between my sideline and the one behind me (I always draw the grounds right behind the loudest dude at the club.)
11. A similar sound-proof barrier between parents and the kids on the field.
12. A filter for that barrier that lets in encouragement and cheering, but blocks out parental barking of phrases such as “be aggressive!” and telling them what to do strategically.
13. A money jar that collects a dollar from parents each time they try to coach. (I’ll buy the whole team Monte Cristos.)
14. Referees that I can be friends with. These are rare.
15. Referees who truly understand the laws of the game. If I could get this, I could live without No. 13.
16. Opposing coaches I can be friends with. These also are rare.
17. Opposing coaches who truly understand the laws of the game.
18. Opposing coaches who don’t forget we’re there for the kids, not the other way around.
19. Instant replay screens. Even for the U6s. Especially for the U6s.
20. More night games, under the lights.
21. Announcers for these games.
22. A force field that won’t allow players to leave the field until they’ve picked up all their fruit snack wrappers and Gatorade bottles.
23. An unlimited supply of snacks and G2 in my favorite flavors.
24. A mascot.
25. Matching cleats for the whole team.
26. Self-cleaning pennies that always smell like Mexican vanilla or fresh tortillas.
27. Fresh tortillas for Coach.
28. Warmups for the kids. True, they’ll probably leave them at the field and I’ll end up picking them up, but how cool?
29. A statistician.
30. One Silent Saturday per season. Ever had one of those? No words from the parents sideline. Also, from the coaches’.
31. More than one silent Saturday. Not every Saturday but almost. In this case, only coaches can talk.
32. Road trips for the little players. Take a ton of U7s or such and bus them to another state for a weekend.
33. I’d even drive the bus.
34. Let’s go overseas. Let’s give more opportunities for more experiences. We’ll stay with host families.
35. A three-goal rule for goalkeepers. If it’s not your day, and a kid gives up three goals, you get a sub.
36. An actual sub sandwich for a keeper who gives up three goals in a game.
37. A sub for his coach, too – with bacon.
38. Regular snacks and meals for coaches so when they create a wish-list of 42 items, 40 of them aren’t food-related.
39. Players taught to compete fiercely, who also respect the game and their opponents just as fiercely.
40. A lounge for parents during training sessions. It’ll have sleep pods, fiber Wi-Fi, and bar food and light cocktails. (75% discount for my favorite parents.)
41. Medics at every field for every match. Every. Match.
42. An enormous party at a park on a 70-degree day in Carolina in which all my players drop by wearing the jersey of the team I coached them in. This will be pot luck, of course.