To play soccer is to partake in a global community of shared experiences. We all watch the same matches, absorb each other's methods and styles and speak one universal language, the language of the game we love. Like anything in life, soccer has its phases — its ups and downs — but we wouldn't have it any other way, because in the end, soccer always gives us so much more in return.
Here are 18 things that show we have far more in common with each other than divides us.
Why do we walk around like we've just emerged from the tunnel and out onto the pitch at the Estadio Azteca? Because you never know, that scenario might just happen today.
In all honesty though, it's extremely comfortable without sacrificing your ability to move, you're going to be playing after school anyway and it's aesthetically pleasing, in other words, fly.
"Do I wear them low like Francesco Totti and Carli Lloyd? Or do I wear them high like Arjen Robben and Marta? Hmm, I’m going to need a few weeks to assemble a pro-con chart on this one."
There's that moment in every player's career when they realize that they don't have to conform to sock length norms and that wearing child's shin guards isn't illegal. From there, you must choose your own path.
If you don’t have an early practice or game, then it’s your blessed weekend to watch your favorite European club at 6 AM. The fact that it doesn’t bother you in the slightest is what’s most disturbing to your friends.
If you haven't started drinking coffee or enjoying the finer things in life (brunch), just know it only gets better.
It's always nice to meet new people, and it's really convenient to immediately know something about them. Whether they're really good, trash or the people who always trigger red card brawls, you know if they're friend or foe.
To you, opening your soccer bag is a rush of involuntary memory — you’re immediately intoxicated by the smell of freshly cut grass, the moldy fragrance of a midsummer's dew and the powerful odors of blood, sweat and tears.
But your teammate needs to get some Febreze or throw that thing in the wash, I mean, seriously. Why do they have to be so selfish?
There's nothing better than leaving late, getting stuck in traffic, becoming lost, rolling up to the field at game time, not getting any warm ups in and then rupturing your unstretched hamstring.
Sorry parents, it'll never be enough! If only they had a map on their phone to show them how to get to the right place every time...
Watching someone get tagged in the groin triggers a domino effect of thoughts that run their course in a matter of moments:
- They’re down! What’s wrong?! I hope they’re okay!
- Oh! They got hit in the family jewels, they’ll be okay!
Even if you lose the ball, there’s still no greater joy in life than executing a skill that leaves the other player reeling. It’s the soccer equivalent of a posterizing dunk, it’s cause for the whole substitutes’ bench to stand on their feet and hold each other back from storming the field.
But when it happens to you, you feel an intense shame. It's game over, time to go home.
Whenever someone busts out a juggling trick that you’ve never seen before, you immediately go home and work on it until you can replicate it. When someone comes to practice and says they beat your highest juggling score, they’re not to be trusted.
But that doesn't mean they won't find you in the driveway that night trying to better them.
You and everything you own constantly smells like Coppertone Sport throughout the summer, but you’ve still got that wonderful tan that those in the agricultural industry would die for.
They hate us 'cause they ain't us.
Who volunteers as tribute for number 16? Nobody? Great.
The fairest way to decide numbers would be to build a Cornucopia and let the Hunger Games commence on that fateful day when the rumors begin: “I saw them in the coaches car!” “They’re here, they’re in that bag!” “They’re Nike!” “No, they’re adidas!”
The coach has never seen a more attentive group of players than at this practice’s final circle.
Who, in their right mind, would put this hill contraption right next to our practice field for such ease of use? Your coach doesn't even have to come up with elaborate conditioning drills or fitness tests, they'll simply order you to run up and down that hill until you puke.
When you're older, much older, you'll be able to drive by that mound and smile.
It doesn't matter if your friends are Real Madrid and you're the Philadelphia Union, there's still no way you're going to lose. After an intense practice or game, there's no better form of recovery than planting yourself in front of FIFA for a few hours, and all that practice is clearly paying off when Alejandro Bedoya scores a hat-trick on Los Blancos.
If there's a little bit of downtime in practice you turn to one activity and one activity only — creating a new handshake that can be used at school, after a goal or just whenever you come across each other. You've got a different one with almost every player on the squad, and that's never a problem.
We all know the routine: tap your shin guards, show your studs. The referee doesn't even look, and we're off! We all have a friend who has forgotten her shin guards, stuffed socks within her socks to mimic them and gotten away with it, but what about the studs?
Probably better to not think about that...
"Well, they're your friend, aren't they?" Has there ever been a dumber question in the history of humankind? Yes, they're your friend, but that doesn't mean you've implanted GPS trackers inside each other. You don't know where they are, maybe there's an app to keep track of things like that, coach?
That cracked and bruised toenail of yours? It's not going anywhere, not ever. You've got to accept that, and you've got to love spending all your time outside of cleats in flip flops. There's nothing stranger than someone who finds feet disgusting — feet are our lifeblood. Regardless, they'll just have to get used to it.
The World Cup pits you and a buddy against, well, the world. You've never felt prouder or more disappointed with a teammate than during this drill, and you've never been more angry with the goalkeeper for letting all the other pairings score the soft ones.
Whether you’re still playing competitively, you’ve moved on to a recreational league or your place is now strictly on the sidelines, the sport remains our commitment and our passion. For coaches, managers and clubs that want to spend more time doing and less time organizing, get started for free with TeamSnap and join thousands of other soccer enthusiasts who put the game first.