Putting children in minor sports can often mean a big time commitment for the whole family, as parents take on the role of coach, manager or driver and siblings wait on the sidelines.

Most minor sports involve at least one practice and one game a week, a commitment of time that will only grow along with the level of competition.

The Morgan family includes six children, and a lot of soccer.

The eldest, Brynn, has taken on the role of leader, but can’t always be there for her sister Ciara’s games.

“When I don’t have practice, I’ll go…and I’ll get to see what she did wrong and I can tell her what she did right,” she says.

On a typical evening the family enjoys an early dinner before everyone heads out.

Dad Sean is an assistant coach for daughter Brynn’s team, so mom Jackie takes the four not involved in sports on any given night to watch.

“You can sit on the sidelines or you can be on the field with them and I’d much rather be on the field with them and it will be…it’s a lot of time, so you might as well be with your kids if they’re going to be old one day,” Sean says.

Each season he also coaches at least one other team that his children are involved with.

Jackie, meanwhile, is the manager for Brynn’s team, but is often pulled to the events of her other children.

“I’m a very competitive person…so any sport, I always cheer my kids on.”

That means planning the family’s schedule very carefully, to ensure all of the children’s activities will fit together.

In addition to soccer, the children participate in gymnastics and music classes, keeping the family busy six nights a week.

But Jackie says the primary focus is always school, with Sean, who is a teacher, helping keep things on track.

Jackie says “He’s home earlier enough to help out with me before we go to any activities, it’s nice to have that extra person here.”

“We just go with the flow,” says Sean, “day to day.”

Coming up in part two: From the calendar to the cheque book, looking at the cost of minor sports, how families are coping and what support is available.