Just two months after the first school football match, my son’s first season of secondary school football is over.
After that first loss, there was another loss and a draw before the first win – of 5-2. There were two more losses and two more wins, with my son scoring in pretty much every game. The penultimate game of the season was against a comprehensive with a large catchment and a number of players already training with the local professional club. The odds were against my son’s team.
They won 3-2.
And then to the final game of the season. A lot of the kids were away and the team sheet had some very unfamiliar names on it. They were going to be throwing away the final game of the season, which seemed a real shame.
But the game got off to a good start with an early goal. My son scored the second a few minutes later. The third goal was an own goal, then there was a fourth.
My son’s best friend is the goalie and he has an incredible throw. As he took a throw, I saw a look pass between him and my son. The sort of look that only best friends understand. He threw the ball about three-quarters of the length of the pitch, to land at my son’s feet and my son scored an incredible goal.
The opposition got one back, and my son’s team were 6-1 up at half time. They were playing brilliantly and some of the B team kids were very good.
As I watched them have their half-time team talk, I saw something I didn’t want to see – my son putting on the goalie jumper. My son is a striker, he has been for years. He’s NEVER played in goal. Apparently it had been a joke all season that my son and his best friend were going to swap positions. And at 6-1 up on the last game of the season there was no better time.
But I was worried they were going to throw it all away. I just hoped they could swap back if things started going wrong.
Just before half-time, I’d realised that the opposition only had 10 men. No wonder they were struggling. And now one of them was injured. Eleven against 10 isn’t particularly fair. Eleven against nine isn’t fair at all. So my son’s coach offered the opposition their one sub, which at that time happened to be one of my son’s friends, who is a very good player.
So they played the entire second half with my son in goal, the goalie as striker and their best midfielder playing for the opposition.
It wasn’t long before my son’s best friend had scored. There was another goal, and then he scored again.
My son wasn’t bad at all in goal and made a few saves. There was only one he couldn’t save. Scored by his friend, of course.
The game ended at 10-2. I’d been horrified to see my son in goal, but it had all worked out fine. The boys had had good fun and they’d won their final game of the season.
The season ended with four wins, four losses and a draw. The fact that they won three consecutive games at the end showed how much they’d improved over the course of a few weeks and bodes well for next season.