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!