Taylor - Atlanta, Georgia
Entered on November 1, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: sports

The sport of Soccer is a wondrous thing that most Americans take for granted. The United States population consists of many people that don’t appreciate this great sport because, as an onlooker, you don’t get the same emotional fulfillment as you do being on the field. The physical bonding of being part of the game makes you feel overwhelmed with energy and happiness. Much different than the European game of fútbol, which Europeans view as a Godsend, soccer in the United States is pushed to the back of the popularity line behind football, baseball, and basketball. I believe that being a soccer player and a member of a team is a life-fulfilling position. As a soccer player you become part of a hardworking and energy filled “family.”

Running onto the field before a game, with a nervous, but excited feeling in your gut, makes you feel as if you have slipped into a totally new identity. As the game soundtrack is switched to “play”, “Heart of a Champion” comes blasting through the stadium speakers. Blood starts pumping through your veins and the realization that it is now “Game Time” kicks in. Running through different drills and listening to my teammates yell, “Over here, Split, Kick, SCORE”, is something that we as soccer players live for. While we warm up, I unintentionally make quick inquisitive glances at our opponents, making mental notes to prepare us, while the adrenaline starts to pump and the heart begins to pound. The coin is tossed, sides are picked, and I think to myself, “Let the game begin!” Each team crowds around their bench. The starters are chosen, and the players yell their team chant at the top of their lungs with hope for some last minute intimidation. The eleven players run onto the field giving each other quick pats on the back, words of encouragement, and put on their game faces. The whistle blows and the game begins.

Running back and forth across the enormous field space is quite tiresome, but the outcome is all worth it. The ball is passed every which way with a specific outcome in mind. Kicked by one girl, headed by another, and ricocheted off a player’s shin guard are just small parts of a soccer game. In one heart wrenching game, I remember sprinting across the field with the ball at my feet and a wide open field in front of me; an opponent is on my back breathing heavily in my ear and I have a one on one moment with the goalie. In this particular situation I was left feeling like I was on top of the world, untouchable. Hearts were pumping and the crowd was raging in their seats. I make a quick move, throwing off the goalie and sliding past with a power filled kick, and “GOAL!” I scored. My team went crazy and all the sweat, bruises, and mistakes I had previously made and undertaken were all worthwhile. My teammates acted as if they had scored the goal while we celebrate together, and I can see in their faces the joy that I feel being a part of the soccer team.

I whole-heartedly believe that being a soccer player is an unforgettable experience that all should take advantage of.