Ending a Long Span of No Soccer

13:43 Sun 15 Aug 2010
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Last Friday I played soccer for the first time in almost two decades. I managed not to disgrace myself, and enjoyed it a great deal. It was a variant of five-a-side, although we played first with six players per side and later with four. I was with a group of regular players at SportsCo in Ringsend, and the quality of the pitch there was pretty good. Not that I’m an expert, but it’s the best surface I’ve played on.

I’ve always been bad at soccer. Hand-eye coordination has generally been a strength of mine, but foot-eye coordination is apparently another thing entirely. I played soccer growing up, although just casually—I wasn’t in any sports leagues as a kid, either in the US or Ireland. As a kid and in my teens, I enjoyed the game but didn’t have much skill or creativity (or dedication), and was useful only as a defender because I was persistent. In secondary school I went through a “season” of playing five-a-side in P.E. where I was the only person in the class not to ever score a goal. It was a mixed group of players, so that’s quite a way to stand out. I can still remember some of the missed shots, which include missing open goals, hitting the posts, hitting the crossbar, hitting the goalie when doing so was actually quite difficult, and so on.

Therefore I was quite relieved when I managed to get a goal early on Friday night. That’s the only one I scored, but that’s fine. Breaking the pattern from eighteen years ago quickly was a good thing.

I doubt that my skills have improved any since then. They’ve probably waned with increasing distance from frequent soccer play as a kid. On the other hand, there’s CrossFit, which has made me stronger, more balanced, and more coordinated generally, improved my proprioception, and increased my endurance. That’s why I wasn’t appalling on Friday. I might not be able to control the ball too well, but I can certainly run after it just fine.

I played all-out as much as I could, which wasn’t as much as I would have liked, so I need to add to my exercise routine. It wasn’t a serious set of games, and I had fun with it, and had a good time playing with people I know.

As much as I enjoyed it, and as much as I’m eager to play again when I’m next in Ireland, I won’t be playing it regularly without some other impetus. I still prefer tennis, and I’m leery of the high risk of injury. But it was great to get out there and to occasionally get something right.

4 Responses to “Ending a Long Span of No Soccer”

  1. Anto Says:

    Good to see ya mate. You played really well. Fitter than the lot of us by a good stretch

  2. Kevin Teljeur Says:

    You’re being modest. You were better than me, and I’ve been playing for the last 6 years with few breaks. I’m not as rubbish as I used to be and I was tired that night having played for an hour and half earlier in the day, I have the experience, but if you had that experience, you’d be something else on the pitch. You didn’t have footie gear (like a good pair of astro boots, and shin guards, socks) and you have a lack of experience at the game, let alone the with the playing style of our group. In your position I would have been happy to have a bad game and leave it at that. But no, you had a good game, you pulled some nice moves and you just need some pitch time to refine it, so stop being modest. That was a great performance if you had even a few weeks behind you of play, which you didn’t. Well done and I really hope you’ll play with us again. I don’t know why we didn’t do it sooner.


  3. garret Says:

    With more practice you could be even better and I was impressed by the performance you put in, it exceeded my expectations which were already high. Try a game in the States, it would be a great plus to your fitness regime. Well done it was really fun to play with you.


  4. garret Says:

    This may be helpful in finding a game.



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