11 Things You Know All Too Well If You Played Co-ed Soccer

11 Things You Know All Too Well If You Played Co-ed Soccer

"Way to play like a boy out there" is easily the worst compliment to get coming off the field.
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I'd like to say that I was one of the few lucky ones who got to play co-ed. Co-ed soccer was amazing, and I loved every minute of it. I'd give anything to go back out on that field again, just one more time. I learned a lot during my time, and some things were good and others were not. Win or lose, my experience was one-in-a-million and easily my favorite high school sport.

1. Playing an all boys teams is the most fun.

Those guys just assume they can run you over, but boy did they have something coming for them. I may only be 5 feet 6 inches, but don't think you intimidate me, boys. Half the time I was bigger than the majority of the guys on the field or the ones I had to guard. It never scared me. Bigger girls in basketball have knocked me to the ground. Just because you don't have a b*tch braid and boobs doesn't make you're any more scary to me.

2. When you run over one of the guys and take the ball away.

It definitely deflates the ego a little when you show them that you can play at the same level as they play.

3. That one guy on the opposite team that wants to prove he’s a douche and a woman hater.

We get it, you’re the starting forward. Sorry that our defense isn’t afraid of you. Your flow isn't impressive, and you've missed more shots than you've taken tonight.

4. The boys on your team know not to underestimate all the girls on your team.

Thanks for all your support, boys. We had a team of basically half boys, half girls. In due time, the boys knew that girls were better in some places on the field. In other places, a guy fit the position better. Regardless of gender, we were all teammates.

5. Going back to all girls sports is really weird because you don’t know how to function without your guy friends.

Where’d they go? Why are there no boys on the field? Why do girls always have to have long nails and even longer hair?

6. The determination.

If playing sports wasn’t enough of a motivation, showing your sexist coach that you can “hang with the boys” is more than enough satisfaction. Don't try and knock us down. "Wow, way to play like a boy out there!" was not the compliment I was looking for as I came off the field playing the entire half. There were so many other ways you could've worded that, sir.

7. Getting hurt and walking it off.

Oh, how you wish you could just rage, but no. Keep it together, girl. Walk it off, and toughen up, just like any practical girl would do.

8. The gross guys that try to flirt with you while playing the game.

What?!? Yes, this happens. Yes, it is not cool. I am dripping sweat with my headband half off my head, stop trying to make a move you sleaze. Uncomfortable would be the nice way to put it.

9. People questioning why you, a girl, have soccer in the fall.

Because I’m a badass, that’s why. Well, really, it is due to my school's small size and inability to field an entire soccer team for both genders, so we merge. I was never a fan of volleyball season anyway.

10. The guy that somehow always “accidentally” pushes off your boobs/ass.

If a red card wasn’t on the line you would be so done for, bud. LIKE DUDE, NO.

11. Loving every single minute of being a part of an amazing team.

Not many people get the chance to play co-ed, but it is a great opportunity! I can't imagine playing soccer without playing against/with guys. It was an amazing time, something I will always remember, even if we weren't the greatest team in the league.

Cover Image Credit: Mackenzie Boivin

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To The Coach Who Ruined The Game For Me

We can't blame you completely, but no one has ever stood up to you before.
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I know you never gave it a second thought, the idea that you're the reason I and many others, never went any farther in our athletic careers.

I know you didn’t sincerely care about our mental health, as long as we were physically healthy and our bodies were working enough to play. It’s obvious your calling wasn’t coaching and you weren’t meant to work with young adults, some who look to you as a parent figure or a confidant.

I also know that if we were to express our concerns about the empty feeling we began to feel when we stepped onto the court, you wouldn’t have taken the conversation seriously because it wasn’t your problem.

I know we can't blame you completely, no one has ever stood up to you before. No one said anything when girls would spend their time in the locker room crying because of something that was said or when half the team considered quitting because it was just too much.

We can't get mad at the obvious favoritism because that’s how sports are played.

Politics plays a huge role and if you want playing time, you have to know who to befriend. We CAN get mad at the obvious mistreatment, the empty threats, the verbal abuse, “it's not what you say, its how you say it.”

We can get mad because a sport that we loved so deeply and had such passion for, was taken away from us single-handedly by an adult who does not care. I know a paycheck meant more to you than our wellbeing, and I know in a few years you probably won’t even remember who we are, but we will always remember.

We will remember how excited we used to get on game days and how passionate we were when we played. How we wanted to continue on with our athletic careers to the next level when playing was actually fun. We will also always remember the sly remarks, the obvious dislike from the one person who was supposed to support and encourage us.

We will always remember the day things began to change and our love for the game started to fade.

I hope that one day, for the sake of the young athletes who still have a passion for what they do, you change.

I hope those same athletes walk into practice excited for the day, to get better and improve, instead of walking in with anxiety and worrying about how much trouble they would get into that day. I hope those athletes play their game and don’t hold back when doing it, instead of playing safe, too afraid to get pulled and benched the rest of the season.

I hope they form an incredible bond with you, the kind of bond they tell their future children about, “That’s the coach who made a difference for me when I was growing up, she’s the reason I continued to play.”

I don’t blame you for everything that happened, we all made choices. I just hope that one day, you realize that what you're doing isn’t working. I hope you realize that before any more athletes get to the point of hating the game they once loved.

To the coach that ruined the game for me, I hope you change.

Cover Image Credit: Author's photo

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The U.S. And Europe Can Learn A Lot About Immigration From The 2018 FIFA World Cup

The beauty of diversity at this year's World Cup.

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The 2018 FIFA World Cup was alight with surprises and unexpected twists throughout its entirety—the defending champion Germany getting knocked out in the group stages (still upset about that tbh) along with powerhouses Portugal and Argentina getting slotted in the Round of 16, Russia's improbable run deep into the quarter-finals, and Croatia's absolutely incredible venture into their first ever FIFA World Cup Finals, culminating in France's victory for only the second time in its career as a nation made for an incredible tournament in Russia.

While the United States was unfortunately unable to qualify and compete this time around, there are some key takeaways that we can utilize as a country from the success of this incredibly diverse French side in Moscow—namely, the idea of immigration as a force for good, which has been set alight as a largely controversial topic of discussion by consistently inflammatory remarks made by our President and various members of the far right-wing sections of the Republican Party.

Unfortunately, the value of immigration as a core component of our great nation and the work ethic displayed by those who aspire to achieve what is touted as the "American Dream" is downplayed by pure-blood activists such as Steve Bannon (how that monster of a human—actual Neo-Nazi and white supremacist—became a political strategist still defies conventional expectation) and Tomi Lahren (who seems to think that the only acceptable immigrants are ones coming from Europe like her own), among many others of the Republican Party who claim themselves loyal to the United States, a country that was founded upon the principles of freedom from tyranny and the hope of a new life for those seeking justice and prosperity.

The central aspect of ridding our nation of whom Trump calls "illegals" was one of the founding pillars of the dogma that took Republicans by storm during the 2016 election cycle, and was a major factor that led to Trump's rise to power and the destruction of moderation of Republican ideals by candidates such as John Kasich in favor of an extreme set of tactics designed to beat down and discourage the very concept of American immigration.

So far, we have had several attempts to ban Muslim immigration outright from select countries and multiple efforts to reduce the flux of immigration across the Mexican border, which has culminated into a substantial crisis as ICE has routinely separated migrant children from their families in an effort to undermine the attempts of those who seek political asylum in the United States for a chance at a new life, away from the horrors that they fled from. Our President and Congress have done nothing but degrade the concept of immigration from nations other than Europe.

Beyond just the United States, the status of immigration throughout Western Europe has come into question amidst a rising tide of right-wing candidates such as Marie Le Pen of France and political parties such as Alternative for Germany, who preach about the sanctity of national identity as the backbone of patriotism. Such contingents constantly prove their hypocrisy about the value of their so-called nationalism by pointing to national sports figures as a symbol of their countries prowess but then insulting those very athletes for their perceived lack of national character during a loss.

Whilst on the subject of the World Cup, no athlete comes more prominently to mind as a scapegoat for his national identity than Mesut Ozil, a key figure of the German National team (colloquially known as Die Mannschaft) who has been constantly ridiculed by the German right-wing for his perceived lack of Germanness due to his silence during the National Anthem (Ozil has stated that he prays during this time to ensure success), amongst a plethora of other accusations. Despite the overall poor performance of the entire German squad at this year's World Cup, it was Ozil who was singled out as a pariah by the AfD, and not for the first time.

Amongst all of the Germany squad, it is Ozil's Turkish roots that are the most heavily inspected, in spite of his unquestionable talent as one of the best midfielders in the game, and the status of other immigrants and the children of immigrants that have donned the black and white national jersey, including Sami Khedira, Lukas Podolski, and Miroslav Klose. When the team wins, they praise the strength of the collective unit; when they lose, it is often Ozil who is left taking the majority of the backlash himself. The hypocrisy of the right-wing in Europe truly is astounding.

Enter the French National team, a contingent of 23 players spanning a wealth of nationalities including the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Algeria, Guinea, Cameroon, Germany, Portugal, and Spain, amongst various others. All but 2 of these footballers were born and raised in France, and their devotion to their home allowed them to put aside their differences to fight together for the collective whole of Les Bleus, culminating in a victory that can be defined as a success story for all immigrants.

In the passion of the beautiful game, it mattered not who they were as individuals, but what they represented—the ethos of Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity that defined their character as a unit, and that is why they stand triumphant as world champions. The victory of the French at this year's World Cup is a symbolic icon of the value of diversity in today's world.

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