Tim and Maddie had a conversation about that very subject on Twitter today…she was surprised to learn that our kids play soccer and we don’t have a car. (She knew about the car part, she just didn’t know about soccer).
The answer is Yes, it can be done. You don’t need no stinking mini-van to be a soccer mom.
In fact, you can even be a soccer *coach* and not own a car. (Thank you, Xtracycle).
For the past 3 years, I have coached the boy’s team. I’m proud to report that I can haul all the team equipment on the Xtracycle (I can even do it on the tandem in a pinch. And once, I crammed most of it in the Brompton bag).
In Seattle, bikes and soccer are a breeze the first 3 years when the teams are in House League (more on this later). It gets more complicated as they get older and start playing teams from other parts of the city. But it’s still doable. Kids have an infinite supply of energy, remember?
House League and City League:
Seattle Youth Soccer is divided into Clubs based on geographic boundary. Our kids play for LVR (Laurelhurst, View Ridge, Ravenna).
For the first 3 years, the kids play “House League” and they only play other teams from their club. All of the games are at the same field – ours were at Eckstein Middle School (a short .8 mile ride from our house). You’d think it was farther judging from the stream of cars in and out of that parking lot every week. Since this is a neighborhood league, I’d say the majority of families live at most 2.5 miles from Eckstein…and most people drive there.
Avoiding the Eckstein parking lot and all of the traffic is motivation enough for me to ride instead of drive. Field side bike parking is an added bonus.
When the teams move up to City League, they play teams from other parts of the city. While you could potentially play teams from far away clubs, we’ve been lucky and most our daughter’s games have been against clubs that are close. With the exception of 1 game, all have been within a 3-5 mile bike ride from our house.
Our home field is Magnuson (3.5 miles away) and the farthest game on the schedule is in Magnolia (7.9 miles away). And while I groan when I see the far away games on the schedule, it’s really not that bad. Our daughter rode 25 miles a day on our bike tour this summer, she can certainly ride 7.9 miles to Magnolia to play soccer. If she complains too much, Brompton on Metro is always an option.
What? You make your kids take the bus? What kind of mom are you?
Practices are at local fields. Since I coach our son’s team, I get to choose the field location. I purposefully chose a field that is bikable or walkable for most families. And I’m happy to report, we did have walkers and bikers this year!
Our daughter’s practices are at Magnuson Park (3.5 miles from our house). Except for some rides with friends to practice, most of the transportation has been done on bikes. Since I had a conflicting practice time with my team on one of her practice days, she (and a Brompton) got a ride with a friend to practice. Tim rode down to Magnuson after practice and biked home with her.
We often wonder why more parents don’t bike (or walk) to soccer. But then again, we wonder why more people don’t walk and bike in general.
Any other parents out there who bike to soccer?