We are one step closer to being done with fall sports. L played her final soccer game of the season on Saturday. They won 3–1 to push their record to 4–1–1, including four-straight wins.

It was kind of a bummer day, though. Early in the second half she was standing near a defender who was trying to clear a ball and took an absolute blast in the back of her head. She went down in a heap and took several moments to gather herself and get up. She sat out the rest of the game because she felt dizzy. In the evening she was still a little dizzy and was showing some light sensitivity. That had all cleared up by Sunday morning but this may go down as her first concussion, even if it was mild.

Her team was strange. I loved her team from last fall, the last time I helped coach her team. Her teammates were sassy and fun to be around, plus they were almost all really talented. We had girls who could play anywhere on the field, didn’t complain, and knew how to play together. I think that team would have roasted this year’s team.

But the U12 league is a lot weaker this year, and despite this year’s team not being as talented, they won more games. I don’t want to make it sound like the team was bad. You don’t luck your way into four wins. They have some talent, but it’s a different and less across-the-board talent than we had last year. The biggest thing is only a couple girls knew how to play together. There was a lot of crowding around the ball rather than staying in the spot they were supposed to be in. There were very few passes to open space. There was very little work to get open when someone else had the ball.

I think that all frustrated L a little. For the first time she wasn’t at the top of the formation all the time. Her coaches put her on the right wing where she could win possession then operate down the line in hopes of crossing to someone. She would put in the work out there and move to make a central pass only to find three teammates chasing her and no one running to the spot she would pass.

Thursday she got asked to play on a U14 team for a night. Although she was a little nervous about playing up – she was worried there would be high school girls on the team – she fit right in. It helped that three of her teammates from last fall were on the team and they all ran over to give her hugs when she showed up. She subbed in about 10 minutes into the game and once she got settled in played really well. She was winning possession, pushing forward, and sending balls across to the forwards. A couple times she made nice runs on her own but since her new teammates weren’t used to her being there no pass was sent to her. At the end of the game she was happy that she had joined them for the night.

For her season, she ended with just four goals, by far the fewest she’s ever had. Three of those goals came on penalty kicks (she was 3–4 on the year from the spot) and the other came when she tapped in a loose ball.

While I think that also frustrated her, I believe this was a good experience for her. If she is going to continue to play, she’s going to have to learn to play in positions other than up top. As she grows, she may move back into that position. But in high school particularly, there are going to be bigger, stronger, faster girls that are the forwards and she will most likely be in midfield.

Her team actually has one more game this Saturday, against the same team they played last week and at the same time her basketball team has a game. We let her choose what to play, and she picked basketball. Which is a little bit of a surprise. But she’s also loving basketball so much that it makes sense.

Her basketball team plays Wednesday after taking the stupid two week break so everyone could avoid playing on fall break. They are 1–2 having crushed a team in their one win and having been crushed in their two losses. I’d like some competitive games, please.

L is having a lot of fun. She’s one of three fifth graders on the team and the only one starting. The sixth graders have kind of adopted her, one in particular. That girl lives a couple blocks away and they have hung out some after school and on weekends. The sixth grader calls L her “fifth grade bestie.” Those new friendships, as much as the hoops, are why she is loving it.

She’s playing ok. She’s the starting point guard, which is a tough spot when you’re playing against older girls. The two teams that beat us were both filled with sixth graders who play year-round. She kind of got abused, struggling to get the ball across half court or make a pass if she did cross the line. But in the win, she was flying up-and-down making plays. She’s scored a bucket each in the losses and had eight points in the win.

With the break over they have four games over the next three weeks before the tournament in mid-November.