Wednesday, October 08, 2003

Unbelievable! Rio Ferdinand may or may not be dropped for England's game with Turkey because he forgot to take a drug test. (How could he forget? Weren't they standing there waiting for him? It shouldn't be possible for him to just walk away...)

He tried to take it two hours later but they had left and wouldn't do it until 36 hours later - when he did do it.

Seems to me that the English FA is completely screwed up...

Monday, September 22, 2003

Even frustrating games can be enjoyable sometimes. I coached the third game of the season for my girls' team this past Saturday. We had over twenty shots on goal, the other team had two. But the final score was 1-1. Sometimes you just can't get a break. Admittedly most of my team's shots were poor and their two shots were pretty good. But we still had some good shots that just got blocked in weird ways. Our team literally spent 80% of the game attacking the other team's goal but we couldn't win through - so this week we practice shooting!

Despite all this it was a pleasant and very hard fought game. My girls knew many of the girls on the other team and so both teams were up for the game.

I'm very proud of these girls' defending. They really listened and watched and learned and now they talk to each other and back each other up. The other team got their goal when our team's worst defensive grouping was out there - I put them there because the best goalkeeper was in goal and both the other team's shots came in that quarter.

I should explain. These are under ten girls in a recreational league. All girls are expected to play all positions equally and to get equal playing time - and that's something I completely approve of, but next time I will try to even out the defensive groupings a bit more.

Anyway, the girls were happy, which is what matters.

Sunday, September 14, 2003

Ahh! The joys of a neat, accurate pass clipped through between two defenders and perfectly placed for someone to run on to. The firm, crunching tackle at the last minute when there is nothing else left to stop the run on goal. The crisp morning air in the Autumn as it sears your lungs the first time you really make a run.

I ran into someone at work recently who is a soccer fan but not a soccer player and I was disappointed and it took me a little while to realize why. I realized that there was a whole dimension to the game that they were missing and were never going to understand. And that made me think about why people watch sports and enjoy them and made me realize that it was hard to enjoy watching a sport you had never played.

So I'm glad I played soccer as long as I could and I am glad my kids play or have played and I'm glad they participate in other sports and are willing to try pretty much anything.

Having said all that, I still think that soccer rules as the quintessential team sport. Basketball just doesn't have enough space and enough players to really quite be as good as soccer. In soccer you always have to trust your teammates and several of you always have to work together and breaking down the opposing team is hard work - very hard work. Scoring is just too easy in basketball.

Anyway, I digress. The point here is, get out there and play...

Thursday, September 11, 2003

In other news at the other end of the spectrum, Euro 2004 is heading down the stretch and the obvious cliffhanger is the Turkey-England game in Turkey in a couple of weeks. Both teams have locked up the top and second spots but the winner wins the group. If its a draw, England gets the nod. On top of that they are ranked next to each other by FIFA (probably fairly for once...) AND then the Turkish FA president goes and gees the whole game up by saying that they will beat England so badly that Ericksson the England coach will be forced to resign and will never coach again! The English FA is trying to get no English fans to travel to the game. Can't say a I'd want to go in person since last time three English fans got knifed. But some of the $#^%$# idiot hooligans will regard it as a challenge and cause some kind of trouble - and that's the ugly side of football for you.
Well, I got my first game hurdle out of the way for the fourth grade girls team I coach. I knew they were a decent bunch of kids and I knew that they worked well together, but they added something on I have almost never gotten before - they LISTENED to me! On top of that we all got some nice positive reinforcement with a 6-1 win and two girls who had never scored before got goals!

Tuesday, September 02, 2003

The automatic elevation and passage to greatness of the big spending European teams may, perhaps, be premature. While Real are rocking and rolling, they have already shown at times their customary lack of interest in working at it to win a game. Man United are in a rebuilding mode and still dangerous, but also still vulnerable. Arsenal are still Arsenal - capable of shooting themselves in the foot at any time. The nouveau riche kids on the block, Chelsea, are still a mystery. Certainly they have no excuses left. In Italy there is anough competition to go around with the big Turin and Roma clubs helpfully bashing each other into the ground so that everyone else has more of a chance.

And over here, in the USA? Oh, that's right, there are no big clubs. But perhaps that's just as well.

Monday, September 01, 2003

The dynamics of pickup game soccer can be pretty strange. One person asks if the regular game is happening or not and somehow the whole group gets reminded and you get a massive turnout - more than is fun really. Other times when it is cold/wet and nobody asks you don't get enough.

I personally like six on six or so. Much bigger and you don't get to touch the ball much. Much smaller and the dynamics are too easy and everybody can predict things.