By Erin Gifford
As a mother of four active children, we can frequently be found outside, and in the fall, that means we’re out on the soccer fields. Three of my four are playing soccer this year, and literally every single day of the week, we’re either headed to soccer practice or to a game. I think by now our minivan could probably drive itself to the soccer fields.
When we’re not watching the kids play and practice, we’re kicking the soccer ball around with one another, playing different games just off the soccer fields and getting lots of exercise as we run and play. This is my son’s first year playing soccer (he’s four years old) and he loves to kick the ball with his sisters. My husband coaches my son’s team, as well as my six-year-old daughter’s team, so we’re definitely a soccer family.
Getting outside and exercising is important to me and my family, and soccer is such an easy way to do so. You don’t need to do much more than kick a ball around, so I was excited to see that Merck Consumer Care’s Active Family Project teamed up with U.S. Youth Soccer to encourage families to get out there and play soccer this month during Youth Soccer Month.
As part of this partnership, Merck Consumer Care is helping to further interest among children and families in playing soccer in their communities through their Play for a Change initiative. Through this campaign, they’ll provide soccer tips and locations of soccer fields. They even joined forces with soccer superstar Brandi Chastain to bring added excitement to this worthwhile initiative.
I’m fortunate that in my community it’s easy to get started with soccer. Many, many children in my neighborhood play soccer at all different levels. But, I know it’s not that way in every community, so I love that as part of Play for a Change, Merck Consumer Care is donating soccer equipment to underserved communities to get even more children, moms and dads engaged in the sport of soccer.
When we’re not actively engaged in soccer practices and games, we like to kick the ball around in the backyard before dinner and in our spare time. We also look for national and college level games that the kids would enjoy watching to get them even more excited about the sport. It’s a great way to see new teams in action while spending time together as a family. We even bring along a couple of soccer balls to play with before the game and when the kids start to get antsy in their seats.
Soccer will no doubt be a part of our lives for some time to come. I encourage you to get out there, start kicking the ball around and see where it takes you.
Erin Gifford is a mother of four children and finds herself out on a soccer field just about every day in the fall. She is a member of Merck Consumer Care’s Active Family Project Play Council. She also has a family travel blog, Kidventurous, which was chosen as the Best Family Travel Blog by Parents magazine.