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Random Amateur Soccer Observations

post #1 of 108
Thread Starter 
Amateur Soccer Observations
So....I've very recently taken up soccer. I ignored it all my life, finding it boring as hell. Despite being named for a soccer player (Tampa Bay Rowdies FTW), I never played until last December - I stuck to football in my teens, then basketball in my twenties and early thirties. This game is a fucking blast and I wish I'd taken it up sooner (I'm 34 yrs old). I have little to no "touch" and have only in the past few weeks successfully been able to head the ball with either missing entirely or almost breaking my nose. My main asset to the team is that I hustle all game long and am pretty tall, so I'm a decent defender and usually play all game. Some of the guys on my team are fucking insane with the ball. I'm so envious of the skill and footwork. Anyway, general observations -
1. There are pretty marked cultural differences in the style of play. Generally speaking, Islanders, Latinos and Middle Easterners flop a lot, even in pickup. Euros and whiteys tend to play a lot more physically, without as much flopping. They also tend to be on the backline more.

2. It's a good way to meet a diverse array of people. There's only four native-born Americans on my men's team (all white, all defense).

3. There are A LOT of injuries for this being a noncontact sport. Maybe we've got bad luck, but in our ten games this season, eight games have had someone on my men's team knocked out with a season-ending injury. First week - a fellow defenseman gets checked. The guy's maybe 5'2, 130 lbs and get checked by some bigass whitey. He begins to writhe on the ground. It looks like the typical flopping, so I slowly trot over to see - and almost puke. Dude's collarbone is jutting up. I sprint over and grab his other arm and start saying in my awful Spanish "no mirar! vamos llamar 911!" It was so gross. This week I heard this old guy get kicked in the shins really hard and thought "thank God for shinguards" and then remembered he proudly never wore shin guards. His leg was snapped.

4. It's the perfect sport for kids and older people. Because there are eleven players on a 120 yard field, it's easy to "hide" bad players. And as my own play demonstrates, you can be unskilled technically and still make some contribution just by running around.

5. Co-ed leagues have some fine-ass women. Seriously, it affects my play because I'm trying not to check them too hard. Damn, I'd've given up basketball a long, long time ago if I'd realized this shit.

6. It's a great way to enjoy the outdoors. You play on grass (usually), get some sun, and run around. Tough to beat.

I love this game!
post #2 of 108
- The best are corners. Can't get enough of pinching, shoving, elbowing, and pulling. - The worst are free kicks. You always have some chump acting as if he was Ronaldo or del Piero. Everyone lines up the wall and the kicker almost always sends the ball sailing out of the pitch. smh
post #3 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by FLMountainMan View Post
1. There are pretty marked cultural differences in the style of play. Generally speaking, Islanders, Latinos and Middle Easterners flop a lot, even in pickup. Euros and whiteys tend to play a lot more physically, without as much flopping. They also tend to be on the backline more.
Good observation and very true. The two different styles tend to view each other with contempt, too.
Quote:
3. There are A LOT of injuries for this being a noncontact sport...
Where'd you get that idea? There are lots of kinds of hard contact in soccer that are perfectly within the rules of the game.
Quote:
I love this game!
Me, too, and largely because it is a contact sport!
post #4 of 108
I like this thread.

I just started getting into the game about 5 years ago, before Germany 2006. It's been a near-constant obsession since.

Totally agree with you about different nationalities prone to flopping - it's just how they're brought up, almost as if it were ingrained in the game. If you start watching pro matches too you'll see differences between play in the Spanish league (La Liga), England (Barclay's Premiere League), Italy (Serie A), and Germany (Bundesliga).

I consider MLS to be the poor red-headed stepchild of the English game, although it's developing fairly well, and may even be able to compete with smaller Euro-leagues in a few years.

I need to get to class for now, but will definitely be back in here to read and share.
post #5 of 108
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dah328 View Post
Where'd you get that idea? There are lots of kinds of hard contact in soccer that are perfectly within the rules of the game.

I'm a Southerner, so my idea of a contact sport was football (American) and rough basketball games. My exposure to soccer was watching dudes roll around on the field during World Cup games after they were bumped. I still wish there were a little more contact, but the level of contact that there is has surprised me. It's been fun as a defenseman to check the hell out of the little forwards. I've always played sports where I've been one of the lightest guys out there at 170lbs. And I can't wait for this summer and even hotter weather. Should be a real slugfest out there.
post #6 of 108
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Neo_Version 7 View Post
- The best are corners. Can't get enough of pinching, shoving, elbowing, and pulling.
- The worst are free kicks. You always have some chump acting as if he was Ronaldo or del Piero. Everyone lines up the wall and the kicker almost always sends the ball sailing out of the pitch. smh

This is the worst. I hate (and I'm sure his teammates do as well) the guy that invariably gets the ball from thirty yards out and just blasts it twenty feet over the goal. So irritating.
post #7 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by Neo_Version 7 View Post
del Piero.
Quote:
Originally Posted by FLMountainMan View Post
1. There are pretty marked cultural differences in the style of play. Generally speaking, Islanders, Latinos and Middle Easterners flop a lot, even in pickup. Euros and whiteys tend to play a lot more physically, without as much flopping. They also tend to be on the backline more. 3. There are A LOT of injuries for this being a noncontact sport. Maybe we’ve got bad luck, but in our ten games this season, eight games have had someone on my men’s team knocked out with a season-ending injury. First week - a fellow defenseman gets checked. The guy’s maybe 5’2, 130 lbs and get checked by some bigass whitey. He begins to writhe on the ground. It looks like the typical flopping, so I slowly trot over to see – and almost puke. Dude’s collarbone is jutting up. I sprint over and grab his other arm and start saying in my awful Spanish “no mirar! vamos llamar 911!” It was so gross. This week I heard this old guy get kicked in the shins really hard and thought “thank God for shinguards” and then remembered he proudly never wore shin guards. His leg was snapped.
1. This is accurate, and holds true in the top leagues and throughout the game's history; European players tend to be physical, hard working kind of players, while S.America has mostly very quick, technical players. There are exceptions of course, but the best example is shakhtar donetsk from Ukraine who has native players as the defensive back line and ball winning midfielders, and 9 Brazilians who add the spark and flair on the attack. 2. Soccer has a lot of contact and is a very physical game; I even remember that after years of soccer I gave basketball a try, and kept coming out after 5 fouls because I behaved on the court as I did on the field; shoulder checks, slight shirt pulling, blocking etc. Injuries are common in the armature level mainly because some of the players don't know how to tackle correctly and how to avoid being tackled. Stick with it; as you said its an awesome sport, gets you in crazy shape and allows you to enjoy the outdoors while playing a very fun game.
post #8 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by FLMountainMan View Post
1. There are pretty marked cultural differences in the style of play. Generally speaking, Islanders, Latinos and Middle Easterners flop a lot, even in pickup. Euros and whiteys tend to play a lot more physically, without as much flopping. They also tend to be on the backline more.
This is why I could never get into it. I tried picking it up after the 2002 World Cup but the flopping, which was the one thing I hated at the international level, and like you, was surprised to find it at the pickup level, killed it for me. As a guy who plays/played football, rugby and boxes, flopping at physical contact is completely abhorrent to me. You play through pain and contact like a man, not writhe around like a little girl.
post #9 of 108
I've played since I was a toddler, played in college and have continued to play club soccer at a decent level on into middle age.

The worst thing about the flopping is that amateur referees are generally TERRIBLE - so bad that they consistently ruin matches. Can't discern a flop except in the most egregious circumstances. Infuriating.

On the other hand, when a ref starts letting everything go - someone gets hurt. Can't win.
post #10 of 108
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nil View Post
You play through pain and contact like a man, not writhe around like a little girl.
It is a completely different mindset. Yesterday it was well over 90 degrees here and not a scrap of shade. People were faking injuries left and right to get subbed out. I guess the incentives favor doing that. I find flopping has begun to spread to basketball as well.
post #11 of 108
Another thing I kind of hate but also find hilarious are off-side calls in pick-up games. I like being a left back so when I'm playing with people who can't really set basic traps, it just amuses me.
post #12 of 108
best part about soccer hands down

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post #13 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by FLMountainMan View Post
It is a completely different mindset. Yesterday it was well over 90 degrees here and not a scrap of shade. People were faking injuries left and right to get subbed out. I guess the incentives favor doing that.

Lol, sounds like you need to find a new team man. Football (i.e. the Soccer kind) is a rough game and far from a pussy sport. Shame that players like Cristiano Ronaldo and Fernando Torres are setting wrong examples with their diving. But if you check out a proper game from England for instance, you'll get a different idea of the game.

Glad you like it though. Best sport in the world.
post #14 of 108
The only 'adult league' I've ever been a part of was seriously awesome. It was at least 90% hispanic (I played on the El Salvadorian team haha [I'm white]) and many teams had a massive age range, from 50 to 15. For some reason they would play with a certain brand of ball, fairly sure it was from WalMart, that was like a rock it was so hard and over-inflated despite my insistance to play with my whatever new state of the art ball was out at the time. This on top of the field being cracked, dry, and rock hard.

The skill level also varied considerably and was much lower than what I was used to. It took a full season to get to know how the team played and how I was expected to fit. Eventually our desperation plan was to kick it far down the field and have me and the other fast player beat the opposing defense.

We never had a big problem with diving in this particular league, probably because of a lot of the players had an old-school attitude about the game. It was a great experience though and am glad I was a part of it. This was their entertainment. Get off work, go to the field in whatever shirt you were wearing at work and put on some blue jean shorts and run around for a couple of hours.

And of course if the game was decided early on, cigarettes and tequila at halftime
post #15 of 108
Man, you guys are making me want to pick up the game.

FWIW, our XC student came from Iceland and was used to a more physical game, it took him a few penalties and yellow cards before he adjusted to the 'sissy' way we play it.
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