How to Coach Soccer to Five-year-olds

Michelle Barker

Show them which goal is theirs
and which goal
they’re supposed to score in

show them the ball
and how to kick it

tie their cleats
when the laces come undone

let them stop
in the middle of the game
to chase a butterfly
or watch the moon rise

laugh when they roll on the grass
like puppies

cheer if they score
cheer if they don’t

ignore chastising parents
who still haven’t washed
the smell of victory
off their old high school uniforms

remember the kids are here to play
but that most of the time
soccer is beside the point.

Michelle Barker has recently moved from Quebec to Penticton, B.C. with her family. Her poetry has appeared in several literary magazines. She has also published short fiction and nonfiction, and received a National Magazine Award for personal journalism. Presently she is working on a young adult fantasy novel.

“It's Canadian, feminist, and one of my favourite things ever.”

—bucketofrhymes, "29 Amazing Literary Magazines You Need To Be Reading", Buzzfeed Books

Room relies on subscriptions from readers like you. Help us continue to promote and support diverse women and genderqueer authors and artists by subscribing today.


Currently on Newsstands

  • Room 41.1, Family Secrets
    Edited by Rachel Thompson

    In this issue:

    Jennifer Amos, Fenn Archdekin-Leung, Jenn Ashton, Jamelie Bachaalani, Colleen Baran, Jenny Bartoy, Alexandra Chang, Kristina Corre, Maggie de Vries, Shirley Harshenin, Jia Hwang, Sharon Jinkerson-Brass, Elizabeth Johnston, Tamara Jong, Manal Kamran, Carrianne Leung, Lily Leung, Mary MacDonald, Alissa McArthur, Cosi Nayovitz, Margaret Nowaczyk, Deanna Partridge-David, Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, Rebekah Rempel