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). We will post a new blog for every day of June, which we hope you will find interesting, empowering, and informative, and that you will share them with your family and friends.
Today we hear from longtime soccer coach and new MomsTeam blogger and soccer expert, Tim Twellman:
MomsTEAM: Were you an athlete and what sports did you play as a youth (under 19)?
Twellman: As a young athlete I played soccer, baseball and football. An all-round athlete will eventually choose a sport that they love and will be better off by playing more than one sport. Playing more than one sport is so much better socially for the child. Playing with different athletes/friends and playing for different coaches will definitely get them out of their comfort zone and make for a better person. I ended up becoming a professional soccer player.
MomsTEAM: What is the most rewarding aspect of being a sports dad?
Twellman: Just that. Being a dad of a child who loves sports is always rewarding. My love for sports definitely influenced my three kids and in a very positive way.
MomsTEAM: What lesson has your sports active child taught you?
Twellman: The most important lesson that I learned was, and is to this day, to be able to read your child's needs and understand that all kids, especially within the same family, develop at different rates. Parents need to take notice of this and understand the needs of each child. What works for one does not work for all?
MomsTEAM: What is the most important lesson your child is learning from his/her sports?
Twellman: Looking at all three of my grown kids I can honestly say that playing sports at a high level has made them hard working adults who strive to better themselves and are not afraid to work for it.
MomsTEAM: If you could "flip a switch" and change one thing about the culture of youth sports what would it be?
Twellman: In order for kids to have a successful and enjoyable experience, coaches and parents need to be educated on the needs of their kids and the youth they are coaching. Most organizations require some coaching training but very few offer any parental guidance. I would require not only coaches to be educated but also parents. Giving the kids the best experience in sports often starts at home and always ends at home with parents offering their athletic expertise to their kids. Wouldn't it be nice for parents to better understand the sport they are involved in? Did you know, more importantly, does the average parent know, that the greatest of baseball players fail 7 out of10 times and that soccer players run over 5 miles in a game, sometimes with no goal to show for all that running?
MomsTEAM: Brag a little: what have you done to make sports better for kids? Please share.
Twellman: I'll start by providing a quick rundown of our family sports background. My father-in law (James Delsing) played 18 years of professional baseball. My brother-in law (Jay Delsing) has played over 25 years on the PGA tour. My brothers Steve, Tom and Mike played professional soccer or baseball for a few years. I went on after playing college baseball and soccer and played professional soccer for 10 years. My son Taylor (10 years professional) and my son James (2 years professional) followed our family sports tradition. My daughter did as well. Alexandra played college soccer for her four years.
For the past 25 plus years, I have offered programs to not only help players and coaches but also parents. Working with talented student athletes and their families over the years, helping them find their way through the recruiting process, has been extremely rewarding. Parents do not realize the importance of being pro-active. Twellman Soccer guides them through the recruiting process from start to finish.
Tim Twellman is a retired American soccer player who spent seven years in the North American Soccer League and four in the Major Indoor Soccer League. After retiring from playing professionally, he has coached high school and youth soccer for over twenty years.
He is the father of former New England Revolution striker Taylor Twellman. His son James played for Stanford for four years and signed with the San Jose Earthquakes, and daughter, Alexandra played for University of Richmond and Saint Louis University. Tim grew up in St. Louis, Missouri, attending St. Louis University High School. After graduating from high school, he had scholarship offers to play Division I soccer, football and baseball. He attended SIUE, where he played on the men's soccer and baseball team from 1973 to 1977. He is ranked ninth on the school's career scoring list with twenty-seven goals and twenty-two assists. In 1977, Twellman signed with the Minnesota Kicks of the North American Soccer League (NASL). The NASL collapsed after the 1983 season and several of the league's teams jumped to the Major Indoor Soccer League. In 1983, Twellman moved to the Kansas City Comets where he spent three seasons. He retired from playing professionally after the 1985-1986 season.
Since retiring from playing, Twellman has devoted himself to coaching. Since 1985, he has run Twellman Soccer, which includes camps, trainings and clinics. Twellman Soccer's philosophy provides players, coaches and parents the tools to succeed on and off the field. He trains players, of all levels, to reach their potential. Coaches are educated on training and game day tactics. He supports parents/players and guides them in their decision-making.
In 2007, he became the head coach of the Villa Duchesne High School in St. Louis.