Editors Note: This blog is part of a special series on dads which originally ran in 2012. Because it is timeless we are sharing it again.
Being the father of an athlete is a challenging yet rewarding role. At MomsTEAM we think sports dads deserve to be honored, not just on the third Sunday in June, but for an entire month. So we have designated June as National Sports Dads Month and invited some veteran sports dads to share their wisdom by responding to a series of questions (the same ones we asked sports moms in May).
So far this month we have heard from a fascinating array of fathers, from a former Major League Baseball general manager, to a Minnesota hockey coach and safety advocate, from a sociologist with an expertise in gender and sports to a pediatric sports medicine doctor.
Today,we hear from longtime youth soccer coach, sports dad, and inventor of a soccer training shoe, Aurelio Kamosso:
MomsTEAM: Were you an athlete and what sports did you play as a youth (under 19)?
Kamosso: Growing up, sports were a normal part of life. I feel that I am fortunate to have been born with some natural athleticism which has allowed me to experience a variety of sports. I remember going from playing basketball, to soccer, to football or maybe even tennis and whatever else we could get ourselves into. We dictated the sport and set our own rules.
In high school I had the opportunity to play football and run track. Soccer and basketball were done with neighborhood friends as well as a few recreational clubs along the way. My youth sports career was cut short in my senior year after I was diagnosed with a heart condition. May years later and after a number of traumatic events, I was lucky enough to be able to return to a normal, active lifestyle. After that, I've never looked back and am an advocate of physical activity.
MomsTEAM: What is the most rewarding aspect of being a sports mom?
Kamosso: The rewarding aspects of being a sports dad for me are being around at almost every step of the way to see my daughter's level of self-confidence grow, develop leadership skills and learn to adapt to change. I do believe sports, if exposed correctly to someone, can mold a great character.
MomsTEAM: If you could "flip a switch" and change one thing about the culture of youth sports what would it be?
Kamosso: Wow I can't even imagine re-writing history but, if given the chance. I would change the expectation our culture has at each level of sports. We're moving at the speed of technology and putting the same demands on youth games as we do on adult professional sports. I believe this is one of many reasons why we see a variety of young players experience early burn-out, injuries and departure from sports.
MomsTEAM: Brag a little-what have you done to make sports better for kids? Please share.
Kamosso: My contribution to youth sports, specifically youth soccer, has been in creating a teaching tool which levels the play field when it comes to learning the basic technical skills. I've been a youth soccer coach for years and watched youth soccer athletes struggle with ball control - specifically where to strike the ball with their feet. So I designed a product - the 7-Touch Trainer - which I hope will revolutionize youth soccer training. I believe if you give a child the tools they need, they can succeed in any almost anything. I feel that my training shoe allows for a child that may doubt themselves to find success one "touch" at a time.
Aurelio S. Kamosso is the father of a teenage daughter, volunteer youth soccer coach and developer of a revolutionary soccer training shoe called the 7-Touch Trainer from Sterling, Virginia. You can follow Aurelio on Twitter @7TouchTraining and like him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/7-Touch-Training-LLC.