My 11 year old daughter plays on a boys soccer team. It wasn't an easy decision to make, but she begged and assured me it would turn out great. It's been filled with positive and negative moments.
We followed a coach. He only had boy's teams, and she wanted to play for him so badly, that it didn't matter that the boys weren't overly thrilled to have her there. Actually, all was going well until we had to go to a tournament in St. Louis. Staying in a hotel with 12 other boys made for interesting discussions. They all stayed in rooms together -
She's had to struggle through stories about video games and gross body functions. She had to watch barbaric eating habits and act like it didn't matter. She had to be on the outside of inside jokes and suffer through being called Gretel (that's not her name). There has never been complete acceptance, but there has been a number of benefits to her hangin' with the boys.
She's become a much stronger soccer player. She's learned that it hurts a lot less to hit than be hit. There's also been the valuable lesson of learning to stand up to the boys and not back down from anyone, no matter their size. The best part is that the "boy mystique" has vanished. She isn't boy crazy like many of her middle school friends appear to be. 11 year old boys can be disgusting and the romantic appeal has worn off.
I'm sure the boys will become attractive at some point, but I'm glad that the side benefit of playing on a boys team, has allowed her the freedom to still be a kid and not chase anything but a ball.
We'll be looking for a girls team come tryouts in June. Not because of our experience, but there comes a time when they really should be separated. Physically, girls and boys are different. Those differences get bigger the older they get. We'll have to let you know how the adjustment to girls will be, but for now we're just appreciating her coach for giving her memories that will last a lifetime. And for taking a chance by letting a girl into the boys locker room...