Let’s see if we can all get together to counteract the kind of behavior we see in this post and also milder versions of the same.  We’ll try to make a dent with a new contest that I am announcing.  Only youth soccer players between ages 11 and 14 (inclusive) are eligible to participate.  Children from all parts of the world are welcome to participate.

Once a month during the soccer season, I will announce a topic for a guest blog post.  If you have a son or daughter who plays the sport and meets the age limits above, he or she is eligible to submit an entry of 700 words or fewer on the topic I have set forth.  The entry can take the form of an essay or a poem.  The entry MUST be submitted by the child’s parent or guardian, saying that they approve of the child’s participation in the contest.

I, along with a small group of coaches and referees, will judge the entries, and we will pick a winner from among the girls and another winner from among the boys.  The two winning entries will then be posted on this blog for the world to read.  In addition, I will make a personal contribution of $50 each to a sports-related or education-related non-profit designated by each the two winners.  I may also, from time to time, quote entries from other participants on my blogs, articles, and books and in my speeches.

Here’s how you play:  Send the entry by the designated date to this email:  goalplayleadership [at] gmail [dot] com.  The parent must include the following message, and provide a phone number in case any questions arise:

“This essay or poem is being submitted by my son/daughter [name] in response to your topic.  I certify that my child is [number] years old.  I understand that, if this essay or poem is chosen as a winner, it will be posted on your blog Goal Play!  If my child’s essay is chosen as a winner, s/he would like you to donate $50 to the following non-profit organization:  [Name, address].  I understand that the judges’ decisions are final.  I waive all copyright rights of my child’s submission, whether or not it is chosen as a winning entry.”

The first topic is this:

My favorite coach ever is or was [name].  Let me tell you why.

The deadline for entries is Saturday, March 24 at 9pm Eastern Daylight Time.

Good luck to all of our young players!