Soccer and I have a checkered history; I blame it on coming to the game late. Growing up in Texas, soccer was offered but it paled in comparison to basketball, track, and even volleyball. I'm not sure our high school even had a soccer team, maybe an underground one. In college, it was all about the bike and then I moved out East. Suddenly, there were pick-up soccer games everywhere and the gauntlet was thrown down by a guy who was an awfully good climber. Could someone my size play such a quick game? He was involved in a pick-up game that had been going on for 10 years. Little did I know that he invited me to play soccer not for the love of the game but to set me up with his buddy. Before falling in love with any of the players, I fell in love with the game. It was almost a short-lived romance as the players in this particular pick-up game went to the climber and told him that I was going to hurt someone and he better get me under control. He has been trying ever since. I am not a pretty player but I have learned to play a little cleaner unless the situation calls for something else. I have broken my toe, vomited blood, and had a stroke on the soccer field. I have played in several leagues and made some friends and lost some. I am a defender. I take it very personally when you get past me...I don't have a balanced perspective.
Now, fifteen years later, the climber and I are trying to teach our kids the beautiful game. We are also trying to give them the perspective neither of us had or has. I coach. I'm not sure that I should. The climber doesn't coach. We are pretty sure he shouldn't. My goal as a coach is to get my players to start the flirtation with the game that will ultimately grab their hearts and make them ask themselves 30 years from now...Why is it always soccer?
I don't know the answer to that question, but I know that Memorial Day Week-end, we are staying in town to see the Revs play the Galaxy. Most nights, we watch taped games from the Premier League. There is no greater joy than watching your child score a goal, or stop one. Why is it always soccer? Why not?