Last Friday night, Kaelyn started soccer. She has never played before and we weren't exactly sure what to expect since we knew this was special needs soccer. For one thing, I expected it to be small, as in a small number of players/people involved. I was VERY wrong about that. As it turns out, it is a county wide progam with special needs kids and the older "buddies" being from several different towns and schools. Luckily for us, it is at a field in Hobe Sound about four minutes away from our house but I know several others that are driving a good thirty minutes. Two of Kaelyn's former classmates from pre-school up in Jensen were there and her teacher's daughter is one of the "buddies" and I know her teacher lives all the way up in Jensen as well.
Kaelyn was so very excited. She had literally been counting down the days till April 20. We knew a couple other kids from her class at school were going to be playing, but we didn't realize how many. Out of nine kids in her class, six of them including her are playing. She was thrilled to show up and see so many of her friends from school. As I already mentioned, her teacher's older daughter is one of the buddies so her teacher was there as well. The program seems to be super cool and some of the parents of K's classmates who played last year said that it is a fantastic program, especially for [autistic] kids who would get overwhelmed in a regular soccer program. All the players get their uniform and a ball as part of the program and there is no cost as it is all funded by sponsorships from local businesses. When we got there Friday night, each kid had their uniform in a bag with their name on it and they had each been assigned a "buddy". The buddies are a bit older (middle school to high school age I'm guessing) and know how to play soccer. Unfortunately, it had been stormy and rainy all day so once there was lightning within a few miles of the park, they had to quit early. It was still a good start though and Kaelyn is very anxious for this Friday night.
I wasn't sure how to do the shin guards at first so K's buddy, Kayla, helped her with them.
Most of the action shots are blurry but not so badly that you can't figure out what's happening. :-)
I think Kaelyn kind of looks like a natural here - these words coming from a proud Mama of course. I didn't say she necessarily plays like she's a natural but the pictures make her look like she knows what she's doing. :-)
I believe the first objective was to practice kicking the ball while staying inside of the path of cones.
...And down to the goal.
By the way, for my family reading this (and Amy Early too actually), does Kaelyn's buddy remind you all of Rachel Rhoades when she was about this age? I didn't really think about it seeing her up close but once I saw these pictures Kevin had taken, from a distance that's who she reminds me of.
One of the main coaches letting all the buddies know that they were going to quit for the night.
Running back in with Kayla. I wish that this picture was clearer because I think it's cute but mostly because it really captures Kaelyn's excitement and enthusiasm.
Everyone kind of got there and got signed in at different times so Kaelyn and her friends really hadn't all seen each other until they all came in off the field.
(For those of you who know about Ross, the two adults in the picture are his parents and the two blonde headed girls not in uniform are his sisters. They are triplets.)
Ross and Kaelyn.
Jack, Kay, Ross, and Sergio. They all wanted their picture taken together when they saw Kevin taking a picture of Kaelyn and Ross. The other two kids from her class that are playing soccer weren't nearby at the moment.
The kids were so funny. Even though they all see each other every day, it was like a class reunion they were all so happy to see one another out of school like that.
My new background picture on my phone. :-) Such a perfect picture, wind-blown hair and all!
You would be hard pressed to find a little girl any prouder of her uniform than this little girl is. She asked me after practice that night if she could wear it to school on Monday. :-)