I played recreational soccer for eight years as a kid. Orange slices and novelty water bottles were our lifeblood. There were countless practices, games, tournaments. I played indoor and outdoor leagues at one point. I can't say I was particularly good, since I never even played for my middle school or high school teams, but I loved playing.
I usually stayed at defense, since I was aggressive and couldn't run very quickly.
I still remember one tournament game, when I was in third or fourth grade, and I managed to kick the ball from defense and make a goal on the other end of the field. From then on, my coach said I had "the golden toe". Hah! That same coach had trophies made for us every year after tournaments, even though we lost almost every time.
At another tournament, probably in middle school, when I was goalie, I stopped the best player on the other team from making a penalty goal. I had the etch marks of a soccer ball on my thigh that day and a bruise that lasted for weeks to prove it.
It's kind of unbelievable to think for as popular as youth soccer teams are around here, that watching professional soccer hasn't taken off quite as much. For instance, Pittsburgh is considered a three-sport town, with football, hockey and baseball. There is a Pittsburgh soccer team. It just doesn't "count" to most people. It also hasn't been around very long.
Mark and I met up with a friend at a local pub who came to watch the a World Cup match a few weekends ago. I can't say I was terribly interested, but I'm not much of a sports person in general, either. It has nothing to do with the sport being "un-American", as Ann Coulter claimed in a column last week. At some points, it's insane to think I wasn't reading The Onion. But I think this response from The Atlantic makes a good point.
How do you feel about professional soccer? (Or for non-American readers, football?)