Soccer allows La Grange dads to share skills for life
Coach David Rout watches the action on the field as his daughter Sophie waits to go in. Rout coaches two soccer teams and founded the Celtics Traveling Soccer Club. | Jon Langham~for Sun-Times Media
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Updated: August 13, 2012 1:46AM
La Grange dads John Hall and David Rout split their time between nurturing family life and volunteering for community groups after work.
Soccer is the common thread that ties the two men and their families together, both as adult players for the St. Charles Celtics Soccer Club and as coaches for the La Grange Celtics Soccer Club, an organization Rout co-founded in 2008. The club has grown from one girl’s team to nine boys’ and girls’ teams.
In addition to coaching two Celtics teams, Hall stretches his days to volunteer with his wife, Leigh, at the First Presbyterian Church of La Grange and in the Indian Guides and Princesses program for their four children, Claudia, 14, twins Charlie and Elizabeth, 12, and Margaret, 9.
“For most of the things I’ve done, my kids have been a part of it, whether it’s coaching or a group I’m working with,” he said. “I derive enjoyment from working with other kids in town and doing my small part to provide some support for them as I can.”
In turn, Hall said he appreciates when other parents step forward to assist or mentor his four children in some way.
“That’s the strength of our community, the positive role that dads play. It’s noteworthy,” he said. “I would say lots of dads here base their work travel schedule around their kids’ activities.”
Creative scheduling is how Rout keeps tabs on the Celtics program and a team he coaches for his daughter, Sophie, 14, and Margaret Hall, as well as a team for girls a year older.
“It’s not easy to do, but I pack all my soccer into Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday and use a paid trainer to work with the teams I’m responsible for in the early part of the week,” he said. “That’s how we work it for all the dads.
“I travel during the early part of the week,” said Rout, who works for a building materials distributor. “My company allows that.”
In addition to Sophie, Rout and his wife, Megan, have a daughter, Emma, 10, who also plays soccer, and two sons, Hayden, 3, and Duncan, 12, who prefers the clarinet to soccer.
“The best part of being a dad is being a mentor for your kids and passing along your values,” David Rout said. “It’s very satisfying seeing them accomplish their goals, whether it’s in academics, or sports or my son with the clarinet ensemble.
“Those are my proudest moments as a dad,” he said.
Rout said he also finds coaching extremely rewarding.
“Values are a very important part of our club’s culture,” he said. “It could be any sport. There are great social skills involved in team sports, a bit of competition and the camaraderie, pride and team spirit.”
Rout, who has played soccer since the age of 7 while growing up in England, said his involvement with the sport could be all-consuming, so he strives to create family time, especially a get-away over spring break.
“Everbody’s got pretty busy schedules. It’s tough, but we do try to have dinner out as a family once in a while,” he said.
Hall, who has coached teams for his children in soccer, basketball, baseball and volleyball, said that role hasn’t caused any friction.
“They’ve always been there with me on a team, and I guess they’re just used to me being the coach,” he said.
Although the Hall family leads active lives, there’s still enough opportunity for down time together, their father said.
“I would consider my four kids to be homebodies. They enjoy their time at home,” he said. “We’re able to set aside time each day, usually at night after 8 p.m.”