11 Ways Playing Soccer Changes The Way You View The Beautiful Game

I didn’t play soccer as a child. I’m one of those American soccer fans who came to the sport as an adult.

I wasn’t one of you.  I’m new(er) but found that I could inhale a LOT of soccer knowledge via wikipedia, satellite TV, live games, blogs, podcasts, etc.

Pretty quickly, I become knowledgeable even if I wasn’t authentic.

But I had another “soccer awakening” at the ripe age of THIRTY-NINE.  I decided I wanted to learn to play soccer. America doesn’t have training for middle-aged dudes. You just have to sign up for a league, hope for tolerant teammates and learn as you go.  I did that about a year ago and it has changed not only how I watch soccer, but has increased my appreciation of certain aspects of the game. I’m honestly shocked at how differently I view/appreciate aspects of a game that I thought I understood before.  When people ask what position I play, I tell them that I am a competent goalkeeper and a very mediocre, but pacy right winger.

Here is a list of things that have changed for me since I supplemented watching with doing…

1. Player’s feet: At live games, I used to watch the whole field.  Now I watch players feet to see how they do it.

2. Fitness My goodness are those professionals fit.  Lungs of IRON and legs of STEEL. It’s inhuman!

3. Pace: I knew pace was important before. I’d seen fast players abuse slow players, but hadn’t realized what an equalizer pace is until I played. If you are fast, you can overcome technical flaws. If you are slow, you better have technique because the fast guy is running away from you.

4 Communication: When you just watch soccer, you don’t realize how much the players talk to each other.  You certainly don’t see it on TV and even at a live game in a small stadium, you can’t hear most of what they’re saying.  I played all the traditional American sports growing up and none of them require the level of communication that soccer does. I’m still weak in this area – which is a problem as a keeper – but it’s mostly because I’m not used to talking this much in sports. Never shut-up.

5. Teammates: Now I totally understand now why new players take a while to settle into a new team.  You get to the point where you basically know what all your teammates tendencies are, where they will be… trust what they can do.  They almost have a body language that indicates what they’re about to do.  The other team can’t see it, but you can.   

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