Top 5 Events in Soccer

This list is thanks to a dear friend, Jose, who knows just a little bit more about the soccer tournaments. This is his top 5 list and I definitely agree with it.

1. World Cup
2. Euro Cup
3. Champions League
4. Copa América (American Cup)
5. Olympics

 
The World Cup is a world-wide tournament that is played once every 4 years. This time is filled with such excitement and competition between countries. People take pride in their country and wear their colors, talk trash about other teams, and fill the sports bars on game days. Ask anyone who has been around people who are passionate about the sport during one of these games, things get intense. To be in the country at the time of the World Cup is even more intense. The World Cup takes place in a different country each year, similar to the Olympics. The places get voted on and then decided. Last summer it was in South Africa, and in 2010 it will be in Brazil.

 
The Euro Cup is a European tournament that is also played once every 4 years. This is a time when Americans can choose a European team and not have to feel guilty about not choosing America to win. There are 9 groups and they play down to the finals. This tournament also takes place in the summer and is held in a different European country each year.

 
The Champions League is similar to the Euro Cup, but it is help annually. It is said to be one of the most prestigious cups for soccer. This cup however, is played by the clubs rather than the countries. Everything else is the pretty much the same as the Euro Cup.

 
Copa América is a tournament played by South America. This is Latin America’s version of the Euro Cup. The brackets consist of twelve teams. This tournament is held every other year and normally within the 10 countries of the original Copa América confederation. This year it will be held in Argentina.

 
The Olympics is last on this list because it can be seen as a practice run for the world cup. It is played in the summer and once every 4 years. Each country participates just like any other sport in the Olympics. Next year the Olympics will be held in London.

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Spring Break!

So it’s spring break this week at our school and I won’t be posting as often. Stay tuned for more exciting stories about soccer and what goes on behind the scenes.

Until then, here are a few funny videos that I found from friends and another blog about sports.

This video was taken at a cricket game…this guy is just a little odd. Also check out the kid standing next to him.


 

This video is just for humor…feel free to share this with others. Which part is your favorite?


 

Have a great week and don’t forget to come back next week for more information.

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Practice Talk…Early? or Late?

Practice is at 6pm. So what time should you be there by?

A)     Right at 6pm, ready to go

B)      About 5 minutes before

C)      15 minutes before

D)     30 minutes before

Well if you picked A, you’re wrong. A coach wants to start his practice right at 6 and sometimes even before that if everyone is ready.

If you chose B, that’s correct in my book. I think that if you give yourself about 5 minutes or so to put your gear on and just relax before practice, that’s a good amount of time to get those tasks accomplished. But according to most coaches, 5 minutes before practice is wrong.

For most teams, C is the correct answer. A coach will give you the spiel about the importance of being early for practice and games, which is a good skill to possess. However, many coaches will tell you that if you aren’t there 15 minutes before practice, you’re late. One player from a previous soccer team, Trisha Roberts, said that she feels like they should try to aim to get to practice 15 minutes ahead of schedule and any time after that should be left for the stragglers.

There’s this saying that must be taught at coaching schools across the world because almost every coach I know of uses it. The saying is, “If you’re early, you’re on time. And if you’re on time, you’re late.”

Doesn’t that sound confusing? It makes sense, but if they want you there so early, why don’t they just say that practice is from 5:45 to 7, instead of 6-7.

As for D, There was this one coach that had practice from 5:45-7 and wanted players there 15 minutes before. However, he forgot to mention the fact that practice didn’t start until 6. So he wanted the team there 30 minutes before practice started. I mean, the team was always on time for the start of practice, but 30 minutes before? Seems a little over kill.

Coaches have their best interests for us, but sometimes they can get a little ambitious and expect a lot out of us. Especially when soccer is not the only thing a person has going on in their life. All in all, players have a love/hate relationship with their coaches. They either hate them for everything, or they hate them while they play under them, but love them when they are gone.

 

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Eleven

The number that comes after 10 and before 12, used to represent the month of October, wished upon when we see it repeated on a clock (11:11), sometimes referred to as the “master number,” the year we are currently in (2011), and also the amount of players per team that are on a soccer field at one time.

In a game of soccer there are a total of 22 players on a field at one time, two goal keepers and 10 field players.

Why is that? Who decided that 11 would be the lucky number? Why not 12?

Some sources say that it’s because when the sport was just beginning, they would play it at English Private Schools with small classes of ten students. The classes would play against each other making it 10 on 10, and they would use the teachers as an eleventh player.

Another source suggests that the reason there are 11 players is simply because that’s how many people are needed to cover the field appropriately. This is true, but then how did they decide how big a field should be? That’s just something for you to ponder.

Players are often divided on the field into three distinct sections. Forward, midfield, and defense. The basic formation that most teams will use is known as a 4-3-3. The more advanced team will use a formation like either the 3-4-3 or the 4-4-2. The 3-4-3 is used for a more offensive game whereas the 4-4-2 is used in normal play and for a defensive game. The numbers refer to the amount of players in each position, defense-midfield-forward.

 

Keep an eye out for the next post; it’s going to be a practice talk! This is where players will give insight to what goes on at practice. Until next time…

 

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Refs…need I say more?

Elbows in the back, tugging on the jersey, and clipping ankles from behind; these are all things most players can get away with without the referee seeing what’s going on. However, there are some players that get these normal jabs and take it out of control. This is why soccer can sometimes be seen as dramatic. They might get a kick in the ankle and then proceed to fall down and roll on the ground as if it was something serious. This is when it gets out of hand. Soccer isn’t about the dramatics of the game; it’s about the beauty of making passes through players, making it to the 18-yard-box of the opponent’s goal line and scoring.

However, there are plenty of times that a serious foul occurs and the referee won’t call it because they consider it fair. Or, for instance, they make passes through players, make it to the goal line and the side ref calls it off-sides when it clearly was on-sides. I will cover off-sides in a later post and go in-depth into it so it is easy to understand. There have also been a few professional games where the ref has either missed something or called a foul when there was nothing wrong and it affected the outcome of the game. This website has a list of five such occurrences. There are also a few jokes which you can indulge in if you please.

Many players blame losses, injuries, or goals on the referees. This is the same in just about any sport. Good referees are hard to come by because most of the time, a refs idea of what foul play is, is different from another ref. One might call every single bump, whereas another ref will only make a call if they think that play would have hurt them.

The fans also get pretty brutal with the referees. Fans call them blind, stupid, idiots, ask them if they’ve been paid or bribed, and more serious fans have been known to threaten the refs. Needless to say, players don’t get along with referees too much. Some referees are even escorted off of the field because of this distaste for them.

As much as players don’t like referees, they are there to keep the game safe and always have to put up with abuse from players and fans alike. Here’s another short clip about these poor refs who have made some funny bloopers.

Sorry there isn’t any sound…feel free to add you own!

Also, there’s another video about a particularly funny referee that we can all laugh at.

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Another whistle? Really? Why?

What is considered a foul?

During a soccer game, the whistle is blown for the beginning and end of every half and for fouls in between. The physical play during the game correlates with the amount of whistle being blown. This happens about 70 percent of the game. Kind of annoying, but needed in order to control and order in the sport.

The fouls can pretty much be categorized into direct kick fouls and indirect fouls. These kicks are the results of a foul. Whether it is from rough play, a hand ball or directly and intentionally injuring an opponent, these kicks are used to re-start the play. As to what constitutes a foul, this website provides the basic rules to that posing question.

Fouls in soccer can also be enforced by giving out either yellow cards or red cards. A yellow card is used as a warning to the player to cool it. It shows them that they are playing too rough and that if they keep playing that way, they will get another yellow card. Now, two yellow cards equal one red card. A red card is issued for more violent play. This card results in direct ejection from the game and the team must play a man down for the rest of the game. On the same link from before, it also explains what happens when you receive either of these cards and what you do to get one.

This post is a little dull, so here’s a video to spice it up.

 

Some of these fouls are intentional, some are not. Which one is your favorite? Any thoughts on these fouls?

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Be on your best defense.

Soccer players have a reputation of people being very prideful in their sport, which probably has something to do with the fact that other athletes sometimes think of soccer as a joke.

How hard could it be? In reality, soccer is harder than it looks. Running with a ball, looking for open players, being aware of where all the other 21 players are, and making sure to be open at the same time can be pretty difficult. Not only that, but this goes on for 45 minutes straight. There are no time outs in soccer. A soccer player needs to have endurance but be able to maintain a high-speed. They have to drink about their body weight in water to stay hydrated but still have to keep nutrients in their system so they won’t pass out on the field.

That’s only the physical part; mentality is the other half of soccer. Players deal with fans screaming, coaches yelling orders from the sidelines, captains trying to dictate the field, and trying to hear their own thoughts in the meantime. People have had teeth knocked out, just about every ligament and tendon in their legs torn or sprained, broken bones, elbows to the face, hair ripped out, concussions, and much more. And some people say it’s not a contact sport.

Check out this video from ESPN of Elizabeth Lambert. The thing is this stuff really happens all the time in a physical game. One soccer player from Warner, Brooke Gary, actually had a chunk of hair ripped out from an opposing team member. It was a physical game, but that was uncalled for.

There are many soccer quotes that also defend the sport. Many talk about the fact that players don’t use helmets, pads, or sticks for soccer. One quote in particular picks at football:

In real football we actually do use our feet to play, we don’t stop play every six seconds, we’re not covered head to toe in pads, we don’t suck oxygen on the sidelines, we play more than one game a week, we have a real world championship. So if you can’t handle that, go play that sorry excuse for a sport they call football, you wimp!

So when someone says that soccer is a wimpy sport, players might get a tad offended.

Also, if you have any questions about soccer that you would like answered, just post a comment and I’ll do my best to answer it.

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Why soccer?

What’s the big deal about soccer? Why is the referee constantly blowing the whistle? How many players are on the field at a time? How come there are no time-outs? Why are their scores so low if they have that huge goal with a tiny person standing inside of it? And what in the world is off sides?

Most people who watch soccer for the first time have these kinds of questions. So, here are some answers to those questions that have been acquired by either the World Wide Web or fellow soccer players.

What’s the big deal about soccer?

According to learninginfo.org, soccer is one of the most popular games throughout the world because it is played worldwide and it is easy to get together. All you need is a round ball and two teams. The rules for a pick-up game are simple too, don’t use your hands and kick the ball into the net.

Also, soccer is one of the only sports that has a world-wide tournament. The FIFA World Cup’s first tournament was held in 1930 in Uruguay. It started out with only 13 teams and has now grown into a 32-team final tournament preceded by a two-year qualifying process, involving almost 200 teams from all over the world.

Some girls from one of the local soccer teams said that they love soccer because of the feeling they get when they play. One player mentioned the feeling of slide tackling when playing defense. “I just love the feeling of making a clean tackle and getting control of the ball,” said Brittany Patton, a sophomore at Warner.  Another player said that she loves how she feels when she takes the ball down the field and makes a cross that ends up being a goal.

I found this quote a few years back and it describes how pretty much every athlete feels about their sport. So this is for everybody who has ever been in athletics.

People don’t play sports because it’s fun. Ask any athlete, most of them hate it, but they couldn’t imagine their life without it. It’s part of them, the hate/love relationship. It’s what they live for. They live for the practices, parties, cheers, long bus rides, invitationals, countless pairs of different types of shoes, water, Gatorade, & coaches you hate, but appreciate.

They live for the way it feels when you beat the team next to you by 1 pt. in overtime & you know those 2 extra sprints you ran in practice were worth it. They live for the way you become a family with your team, they live for the countless songs you sing in your head when you’re running ALL those suicides. They live for the competition, they live for the friends, the practices, the memories, the pain, it’s who they are. It’s who we are.

The rest of the questions will be answered in posts to come, along with inside stories that only players really know of.

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