Coach Mullen’s Journey from Rec Soccer to Travel with LFC

I have always loved soccer, and once my 3 kids were old enough, I was the first to step forward to volunteer to coach them in their Rec program. It was a blast, but as my oldest daughter improved in her skills, it became apparent she needed something more challenging than what we could find at the most competitive level of Rec soccer when she was able to dribble down the entire field through the other team to get a shot on goal. As a parent, it was fun to watch, but as her coach, I knew that her game was missing a very important component: learning to work with a team. As the registration period rolled around for each season, my wife and I encouraged her to try out for a travel soccer team, but she refused, season after season. She refused because she wanted to play on a team with her friends. Who could blame her? Soccer is supposed to be fun.

At the end of one Rec season, another coach I was friends with contacted me and told me that he was starting a new travel team with a club that I had heard of, but didn’t know much about. He explained that in this club, Leesburg FC, he would hold tryouts for this specific team and he would select the players. This sounded like a great option; my daughter and her friends could all try out and end up on the same travel team, coached by someone who I knew and could trust with my daughter’s soccer development. The cherry on top was that the fees would be about $1500 per year, about half of what we would pay on similar travel teams. She tried out, made the team and has loved every minute. 5 years later as a sophomore in high school she still looks forward to starting a new season with the friends and teammates that she started playing with 9 years ago.

            Playing for LFC, she can still play other sports, while not sacrificing soccer training. The team also allows her freedom to play for her high school, so now she has fun playing against her LFC teammates who are on their school’s varsity soccer team.

I also coached my youngest daughter, but when it got to the point where she was ready to play travel soccer, I was the one who stepped forward to coach a travel team at Leesburg FC. It made perfect sense for all the same reasons it worked so well for my older daughter. She gets to stay with her friends while still having the challenge of better competition at the travel level.

            It was intimidating to start a travel team from scratch, but LFC helped immensely in providing the resources and advice I needed to make our team a success. I only had 4 players from my daughter’s Rec team who had the skills and desire to play at the travel level, so I had to find 8 other players somewhere to fill out our roster, which seemed next to impossible. LFC helped me advertise and get the word out, and when I held the first tryout, we had 18 girls show up. I was able to put together a great team of wonderful girls, and got started doing what I enjoy: coaching. The LFC Thunder 2008 Girls are in our second year as a team now, and have been successful enough to move up a divison each season that we played; we are now in division 2 of the NCSL and having more fun than ever.

I am very grateful to have a club like Leesburg FC that allows me to coach my daughter’s travel team. Other clubs in the area do not afford parents that luxury.

            I have plenty of support from the club; our team takes advantage of the LFC Ball mastery program once per week, as well as a professional trainer who trains our team. Most of our team also plays basketball during the winter, and we take summer off as well. I prefer to have soccer be a part of my player’s lives that they look forward to and enjoy rather than something that controls their life that they begin to dread.

            Leesburg FC isn’t the club for everyone, but it is a perfect fit for my kids, for our family, and for me as a coach.

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