Soccer moms step off the sidelines
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- While talking with a group of women earlier this week, Kathryn White glanced at her son on the soccer field, even though she didn't need to.
"He can play and I don't have to watch," White, 25, of Charleston, said. "I can have social time."
"I'll say, 'Did you see when he did this for the first time?'" Adam Arthur, 27, added, which drew laughter from the women, who admitted to missing it.
"Once, Coach Adam told us, 'Now, you all have to pay attention. The kids are getting awards today,'" White said.
It feels good to know that she can take a break from having to watch her son while he's on the field, and that he'll be safe, White said.
The kids take a soccer class at 9:30 a.m. Wednesdays at the Quantum Soccer Center in Kanawha City, and at 10 a.m., their mothers get a turn with the ball.
After Craig Brutus, 24, finishes teaching the children soccer, he keeps them occupied with several huge inflatables while Arthur teaches the women.
"He teaches us the same way they do the 3-year-olds," BJ Toler, 34, of Charleston said with a laugh.
Most of the women who take part in the soccer class have never played before.
"We start with the basics. It can be a challenge at times," he added with a smile. "We'll be working on, say, a passing drill and someone will ask, 'Can the kids do this?' I'll say, yeah, the 8-year-olds."
But that's OK, Arthur said. He's not there to train the mothers for a college scholarship or to become a professional, like some of the students he coaches.
Arthur grew up playing soccer and after playing in college and for a time professionally, he wasn't exactly sure what he wanted to do next -- until he was offered a coaching job.
"Now, it's just in me to want to help people get better at playing. If you're more skilled you can enjoy it more," he said.
However, he joked, in the women's class, "Sometimes we use our mouths more than our legs."
"It is a workout, though," White added. "The fun kind."
Rhonda Long, 35, of Charleston, said she loves taking the class and what her son, Ethan, 3, is learning.
"It's teaching him respect and discipline," Long said. "I love it not only for the physical side, but the mental development."
The mothers applaud Brutus' patience while teaching their children. He said becoming a children's coach was perfect for him.
"I've played soccer my whole life. In college I majored in psychology and always wanted to be a teacher. To join the two together is perfect," Brutus said. "I always thought the best job in the world would be to play soccer my whole life."
On Wednesday, before Toler headed to the field to join the other women for class, she took a moment to speak to her son, Evan.
"Who's a better soccer player, you or mommy?" she asked him.
Evan paused and took a sip of water before responding.
"You are," the 4-year-old said.
For more information about the soccer classes, call 304-562-1020.
Reach Kate White at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-348-1723.