Monday, January 24, 2022

Are you ready for some Soccer?

Marissa, Em, Kelsey, Ellie, Riley, Shack, Andy.

Marissa, Em, Kelsey, Ellie, Riley, Shack, Andy.

The 2010 World Cup is being held in South Africa starting June 11th and World Cup fever is already spreading across the globe and, yes, the US is very much a part of it! “Does the US stand a chance?” is a regular question I am asked. Yes! Very much so, and what’s fascinating is that in the same group (Group C) in which they are drawn, are Slovenia, Algeria, and England. I predict that the US will move onto the next round. And I predict theirs will be the largest US viewing audience ever for a sports competition.

First, let’s not underestimate their achievement so far. 205 countries have taken part in the earlier stage of the competition; 172 teams eliminated; leaving 32 countries left in groups A to H. Truly a Global tournament.

A brief World Cup history

The Federation Interenationale  de Football Association (FIFA) was formed by seven  European soccer associations in1904.The first World Cup was held in 1930. There have been 19 World Cup tournaments since, including the present one 2010.

However, World Cup Soccer History really owes its beginnings to Jules Rimet who became president of World Football Association in 1921. Rimet, along with other officials, organized the first World Cup tournament in 1930, teams from Europe, South America and North America competed, which including Mexico and the USA.

There have been plenty of drama and upsets over the seventy years which have shocked many fans and this is where I eat humble pie: In June 1950 England, who at the time considered themselves Kings of Football, met the USA in a qualifying game. The odds were 3:1 for England to win the Cup, and the USA 500: 1. The USA won 1- zip and England failed to qualify! So expect more upsets and surprises in this years tournament.

The positive message invoked by Jules Rimet is summarized by his famous words as he pushed to organize this

Jo, Santi, Kyahan, Kyle, Sean.

Jo, Santi, Kyahan, Kyle, Sean.

international event that would make no discrimination on the grounds of professional or amateur status:

“Soccer could reinforce the ideals of a permanent and real peace.”

The local soccer scene

The Optimist soccer season is coming to an end. What great fun we have all had, over 200 kids in 29 teams ranging from kindergarten to 8th. Grade. It’s amazing to see the difference, after regular weekly coaching on skills and team awareness, ball control, seeing the game as a big picture, letting the ball do the work, communication, and to see the kids play as a team. My present coaching sessions start at 6:30 in the evening and finish when it goes dark. That means non-stop activity for one and half hours. Even then the kids want to keep going. Their fitness level, without exception, has improved. They all look and act healthier and are all big buddies.

Our Optimist teams have given 100% and have shown respect for both their fellow team players and their coaches. It’s been so encouraging to see parents on training evenings and game days full of praise for the effort everyone has put into the sport, and some have been surprised at the advances made by their sons and daughters. It’s all been good healthy competition and a lot of fun. So well done guys!

I have to mention that we have a donator who has contributed some $5,000 to Optimist Soccer over the last two seasons who wishes to remain anonymous. Thank you everyone for your support, donations and company sponsorships. Its good for the kids, it’s good for the parents, and it’s very good for Marco Island.

Stop Press –

Don’t miss the Optimist Soccer Final end of season Film Show and Party at Mackle Park on Saturday, June 5. All soccer players, families and fans are welcome. Starting Time 5:30 PM. All World Cup games can be watched throughout the tournament at Vandy’s.

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