The parents behind the athletes

January 30, 2019 — by Shama Gupta and Christine Zhang

As she received the soccer ball on her back foot and quickly connected a pass to a teammate during a recent game, varsity midfielder sophomore Leila Chaudhry heard a roar of cheers from the sideline as her family applauded and shouted their encouragement.

She ran down the field, reinvigorated and filled with confidence by her mother, Rehana Rehman.

Parents are often the main fans at school games, of course, but they also play vital roles behind the scenes in support positions that allow sports to run smoothly on campus.

Chaudhry began playing soccer when she was one and a half years old when her mom signed her up for Kids Love Soccer, a program in which parents guide their children through starting the sport.

Today, along with being a two-year member of the school’s varsity soccer team, she plays for the Mountain View Los Altos (MVLA) soccer club and practices three times a week outside of school — a big time commitment, and one that she could only manage with the help of her parents.

Her mother, who played soccer in high school, also loves the sport, and has taken on many responsibilities in Chaudhry’s teams. Along with coaching Chaudhry at a young age, Chaudhry’s mother is now the team manager for both her high school and club team.

Chaudhry has some of her fondest memories of the sport with her mother. When she played recreational soccer at American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO), she and her mother would stay after practice and play together.

Chaudhry said that her mother still attends almost all of her club and high school games.

“I love having her and my family there because it’s like having my own cheering squad,” Chaudhry said. “I love playing and she knows how dedicated I am to it, so she puts her time into my soccer career.”

Math teacher Kristen Hamilton said that she also tries to attend all of her children’s games. Her daughter, junior Kathryn Hamilton, plays lacrosse, and her son, freshman Tyler Hamilton, plays lacrosse and football.

“I think it’s very important to not only support them, but be there in case of injuries,” Hamilton said. “I know they appreciate it, and I like to be there to cheer them on and be supportive to the team.”

Both her children started off playing soccer, a decision influenced by the fact that she herself played the sport growing up. As they entered high school, they both picked up lacrosse, a choice that Hamilton supported.

Hamilton is also an active volunteer, as she helps raise money for the football and lacrosse teams in various ways. As a teacher on campus, she sells snacks in her classroom, and the money helps the team afford new uniforms and buses for the upcoming season.

Last year, with the help of a few other parents, Hamilton became the team manager for girls’ lacrosse. She is continuing to fulfill the same position this year; she has already sent a welcome email to other parents of the team, as she knew that such a gesture would have greatly helped her when her daughter was a freshman in the sport.

Hamilton said that communication is key in managing teams. After each fundraiser for lacrosse, she asks one of the team members to spread the message about the money raised.

“I think this empowers the girls,” Hamilton said. “It lets them know that if we work together, we can accomplish a lot.”

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