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Saturday, October 8, 2011

Recreational Football (Soccer)

Five years ago, I decided to make a football (soccer) team in a co-ed recreational league. The story started like this: one of my good colleagues at work made a team and only asked me on the last day if I wanted to play after I overheard him talking. The invite did not seem sincere so I did not reply to his ultimatum. Then I made my own team and have been playing for the last five years. After a few seasons in the middle ranks of the league (we made one finals and got killed), we finally had a perfect record in last winter's indoors season. We played the #2 seed of the other division in the semi-finals but fell flat so the season ended not so perfectly.

Champions League Winners: We got medals, for some, the first in 15 years. Yeah!

This summer, we assembled a good team with some originals from five years ago and some of my MBA colleagues. We finished at the top but tied the #2 team twice 3-3 during the regular season. So in our division final, we played them again. For some reason we always start strong and end weak. Up with a 3-1 lead and five minutes left in the game, we let in two goals and off we go to the shoot outs. So three games vs our rivals all ended up "3-3". With the soccer gods on our side, we win the sudden death shootout to win the division title. Next challenge is the "Champions League" playoffs where we play a grueling back-to-back double header. First up is the #2 seed from the other division in the semi-finals and if we win, we go on to the finals.

So today, in the Champions League semi-finals we started off great, 3-0 and like usual we let up and the score was tied at 3-3. We managed to get one more to sneak into the finals 4-3. In the finals, we faced the #1 seed of the other division. We had good runs but often screwed up the last pass at the end. We trade goals on both ends and again it is 3-3 with 10 minutes left. The ref calls a handball outside of the box (what!?!) and gives the other team a penalty kick. :(

Our goalie stands up big and saves it. Yes, we are still in it, I tell myself that if we win the Champions League I can finally retire and go back to playing tennis (less injuries : p). On one of the last plays I play the decoy in front of the net, drawing defenders and preventing them from blocking one of our forwards advancing. He shoots, he scores!

And just like that we became the Champions League winners!

All this being said, I think that soccer is a really good sport to get you in shape. Even in the rec league there are some good teams and you still get your feet stomped on with cleats, body checks and head-to-head or knee-on-knee collisions so it's competitive enough for someone like me. If you don't want to play in a league, just head to the park for some pick-up games.

"Yeah, we're #1! We did it!"



 


5 comments:

  1. How dare you RETIRE from soccer?!??! You have to move up to a more competitive league, now that you won the recreational one!!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Who is posting these anonymous messages? Reveal yourself!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Time to move up to the Nutella league

    ReplyDelete
  4. I love soccer. Soccer is easily the world's sport. I don't want to get off at being biased against baseball and football, even though I can't really watch either sport without getting bored.

    soccer camps in new york

    ReplyDelete