I have coached competitive soccer for 12 years. My first eight years were primarily spent with boys ranging from 9 to 19 years old as my two sons, now 19 and 17, progressed from the hornet-swarm stage where the entire team followed the ball, until they exceeded my ability to teach them anything new. For the last half-dozen years, I’ve mostly led my daughter’s teams of girls aged 11-16. The only things that have united these two experiences are the uniforms, turf, balls, and nets. Every other aspect has been so completely different that I’m convinced I’ve actually coached two different species.

Coaching boys was pretty cut and dried. It was essentially a matter of channeling their testosterone so that the 11 individuals on the field ...

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