Lessons From the Parents Who Raised the World’s Top Soccer Sisters

Rachel Bachman:

“You find your­self tempted to widen your bound­aries as a par­ent in dis­ci­plin­ing, be­cause you don’t want them to be­come re­sent­ful to you or to soc­cer, and then they blame that, and then they want to quit,” Melissa said. “I was con­stantly bat­tling with, OK, how far can I stretch this but still be within rea­son? So my ad­vice is: Don’t stretch too far.”

The high price of play­ing on com­pet­i­tive squads is the chief crit­i­cism of youth soc­cer in the U.S., with costs in­clud­ing club and tour­na­ment fees and in­creas­ingly dis­tant travel. The Me­wises spent be­tween $10,000-$12,000 a year on the girls’ soc­cer start­ing in their mid-teens.

To af­ford that in­vest­ment, Bob sup­ple­mented the in­come from his full-time work for a firm that es­ti­mated costs for con­struc­tion projects. He took on week­end jobs build­ing, roof­ing or fram­ing houses, join­ing his ath­letic daugh­ters in sore­ness and fa­tigue.