4 Beautiful Reasons Why I Love Soccer

4 Beautiful Reasons Why I Love Soccer

It promotes peace, love, and understanding.
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For the purposes of this article, I would have to respect my readers in the USA and call football soccer. True fans of the sport call it football and not soccer, but I would call it soccer to respect my readers.

I grew up in the southwestern part of Nigeria in a family involved greatly in soccer. Growing up in a home full of watching, playing, and arguing about soccer, I have grown to love the game. I watch mostly European soccer and I support an English club called Arsenal. Throughout the years, soccer has become a great part of my life and made me fall in love with the sport. There are a lot of reasons I have grown to love soccer. Soccer to me is the only sport I know that can speak to everyone in the world; that is why it is called a "global sport" and it speaks one language called football.

1. It is quite simple

Soccer is a very easy sport to learn and play. Looking from the outside, it might seem really hard and confusing, but when you start learning, it is not that hard. Soccer involves a ball and a human. There are other rules and complex technicalities involved, but, with time, you would be able to understand them

2. Soccer video games

I love soccer to the extent I go out of my way to buy the video games for the sport. There is a popular soccer video game called FIFA. I have been playing FIFA since 2005. It is really fun, exciting, and competitive. I love playing FIFA and it has cured me of many things, funny enough. For example, there was a time I was really sick and I played FIFA with my friend on his PlayStation 4 for hours, and at the end I felt a lot better. I used FIFA to relieve stress because it helps me relax.

3. It is very educating

I have learned so much from soccer throughout the years. The things I have learn through soccer, I don’t think I would have learned them anywhere else. For example, through soccer, I know almost all the countries and cities in them. I know places like Zurich, Leicester, Liverpool, Munich, and Shrewsbury. I know these places because when you watch soccer, especially European soccer, you get to listen to a lot of analytical thought on teams that come from these places. Also, through soccer, I was able to score higher on my SAT. Listening to experienced commentators during the soccer matches also helped improve my vocabulary, and during my SAT, a question appeared about a word I heard a commentator use in a match the week before.

4. It is fun and brings people together

There are many instances where soccer was used for peace. In my country, Nigeria, soccer is a very popular sport and it is played and watched everywhere. For example, a civil war broke out in Nigeria from 1967 to 1970. In 1967, Pele traveled to Lagos, Nigeria, to play an exhibition match. In order to allow both sides of the conflict to see the greatest-ever play the game, a 48-hour ceasefire was called and honored. It was incredible seeing that millions of lives were lost in this war, and because of soccer the war had a ceasefire. Another example of this is a personal one. My brother and I never used to get along, and during those times, the only thing that kept us together was either playing soccer or watching soccer, and it was through this sport we finally became close. Another example is seen at Lee University. Every Friday my friends and I play soccer at the Rec Center at 7:30 p.m., and through this I have been able to meet more people from all over the world.

To me, soccer is more than just a sport; it is life. It promotes peace, love, and understanding. I am Chike Okwudiafor, and I love, eat, sleep, drink, and dream soccer.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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The Coach That Killed My Passion

An open letter to the coach that made me hate a sport I once loved.
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I fell in love with the game in second grade. I lived for every practice and every game. I lived for the countless hours in the gym or my driveway perfecting every shot, every pass and every move I could think of. Every night after dinner, I would go shoot and would not allow myself to go inside until I hit a hundred shots. I had a desire to play, to get better and to be the best basketball player I could possibly be.

I had many coaches between church leagues, rec leagues, personal coaches, basketball camps, middle school and high school. Most of the coaches I had the opportunity to play for had a passion for the game like I did. They inspired me to never stop working. They would tell me I had a natural ability. I took pride in knowing that I worked hard and I took pride in the compliments that I got from my coaches and other parents. I always looked forward to the drills and, believe it or not, I even looked forward to the running. These coaches had a desire to teach, and I had a desire to learn through every good and bad thing that happened during many seasons. Thank you to the coaches that coached and supported me through the years.

SEE ALSO: My Regrets From My Time As A College Softball Player

Along with the good coaches, are a few bad coaches. These are the coaches that focused on favorites instead of the good of the entire team. I had coaches that no matter how hard I worked, it would never be good enough for them. I had coaches that would take insults too far on the court and in the classroom.

I had coaches that killed my passion and love for the game of basketball.

When a passion dies, it is quite possibly the most heartbreaking thing ever. A desire you once had to play every second of the day is gone; it turns into dreading every practice and game. It turns into leaving every game with earphones in so other parents don't talk to you about it. It meant dreading school the next day due to everyone talking about the previous game. My passion was destroyed when a coach looked at me in the eyes and said, "You could go to any other school and start varsity, but you just can't play for me."

SEE ALSO: Should College Athletes Be Limited To One Sport?

Looking back now at the amount of tears shed after practices and games, I just want to say to this coach: Making me feel bad about myself doesn't make me want to play and work hard for you, whether in the classroom or on the court. Telling me that, "Hard work always pays off" and not keeping that word doesn't make me want to work hard either. I spent every minute of the day focusing on making sure you didn't see the pain that I felt, and all of my energy was put towards that fake smile when I said I was OK with how you treated me. There are not words for the feeling I got when parents of teammates asked why I didn't play more or why I got pulled after one mistake; I simply didn't have an answer. The way you made me feel about myself and my ability to play ball made me hate myself; not only did you make me doubt my ability to play, you turned my teammates against me to where they didn't trust my abilities. I would not wish the pain you caused me on my greatest enemy. I pray that one day, eventually, when all of your players quit coming back that you realize that it isn't all about winning records. It’s about the players. You can have winning records without a good coach if you have a good team, but you won’t have a team if you can't treat players with the respect they deserve.

SEE ALSO: To The Little Girl Picking Up A Basketball For The First Time


Cover Image Credit: Equality Charter School

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Kyler Murray Is A Heisman Winner Playing Baseball

Oklahoma's Quarterback Kyler Murray was named the Heisman winner for the best college football player in the 2018 season. But his future does not lead to the NFL.

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On Saturday December 8th, Quarterback Kyler Murray from Oklahoma won the 2018 Heisman trophy, which recognizes the best player in college football. Murray has become a household name among many college football fans throughout this past season.

However, what is surprising to many is that Kyler Murray is choosing to forgo the 2019 NFL draft to play professional baseball with the Oakland Athletics. The A's drafted Murray with the 9th overall pick in 2018 MLB draft before his breakout season with Oklahoma. He signed a contract with Oakland and is guaranteed $4.66 million. Murray's agent is Scott Boras who is the "Most Powerful Sports Agent in the World" since 2013 according to Forbes Magazine. Currently his clientele includes Bryce Harper, José Altuve, Kris Bryant, J.D. Martinez, among many others. Considering his agent Murray has the potential to make more money in the MLB than in the NFL, especially with some of the massive contracts we have seen big name players in baseball sign within the past few years.

A Heisman winner has not played in the MLB since Bo Jackson back in 1985 who was a two-sport professional athlete (both baseball and football). While Murray expressed that he would like to try and play both sports the reality of him playing both sports at the same time, like Bo did, is highly unlikely. Professional sports have grown and changed a lot in the past 30 years and have grown a lot more competitive, it would benefit Murray to specialize and focus on one sport rather than trying to juggle two and not being able to reach his full potential in either. His Oklahoma baseball coaches stated that Kyler didn't take infield/outfield at all with them last year.

Another scouting report on Murray states that he needs to take more reps at center field and practice throwing the baseball more to develop a better arm. He was rated as having a 30 arm by a MLB scout which is on the lower end of a 20-80 scale. The reason for this is because his arm was always muscled up for football. This further support why Murray should try to focus and specialize in one sport rather than take on the challenge of balancing both.

Even with his success on the football field, Murray is listed at 5 foot 9 inches and 195 pounds according to NFL Draft Scout. This size for an NFL level Quarterback is short to say the least, which could cause problems for him being able to see over the lineman while in the pocket. Murray does have exceptional athleticism, being able to fire the ball downfield with precise accuracy, and the ability to scramble out of the pocket and use his legs. That being said, him being a mobile quarterback can lead to him taking a lot of punishing hits, and in some cases dual threat quarterbacks in college struggle to find the same success in the pros where everyone is quicker and more athletic on the defensive side of the ball.

Murray has been able to make improvements to his swing by adding in a leg kick to generate more power. His speed which contributed to his success on the football field translates to his position at center field, it will give him an advantage for being able to stretch his range for those balls hit into the gap. It seems that all signs for the future of Kyler Murray point to the diamond, and he will definitely be a fun player to watch in the seasons to come.

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