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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When You Give A Girl A Pair Of Cleats

It's more than a pair of shoes.
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When you give a girl a pair of cleats, you are giving her far more than a new pair of shoes. You are giving her new friends and new challenges and so many lessons and some of her best memories.

When you give a girl a pair of cleats, you are giving her a team. You are giving her a group of girls that she might not have ever talked to if it wasn’t for these common cleats. A group of girls who will teach her how to be a teammate. A group of girls who will laugh with her and yell at her and train with her and win with her and lose with her. With a pair of cleats comes a group of mismatched people with a common goal who are learning from each other and working together.

SEE ALSO: To The Coach That Took My Confidence Away

When you give a girl a pair of cleats, you are giving her a coach. This coach is going to play an instrumental role in her love or hate for the sport. This coach will work her hard. This coach will train her and teach her and encourage her and yell at her and make her cry and hug her and cheer her on. This coach wants to see her succeed. This coach knows what these cleats mean, what this sport means. And this coach will be someone that she will watch. She will watch the way that her coach talks to her and talks to her teammates and talks to the other team and she will see her coach’s responses to games that are won and games that are lost. This pair of cleats comes with a role model, for better or for worse.

When you give a girl a pair of cleats, you are giving her team practices. You are giving her practice that will instill discipline and dedication and commitment. You are teaching her that she is on a team and she is expected to put in time. You are teaching her that her presence is important and that people are relying on her. You are teaching her how to balance her time, because, now, she has school and practice and games and teammates and friends and family. And for the first time in her life, she has to establish priorities. With this practice time comes some of the hardest conditioning and training. With this practice time comes some of her favorite memories as she bonds with her teammates and laughs with them and works hard with them. This pair of cleats comes with quite the time commitment.

When you give a girl a pair of cleats, you are giving her game days. You are giving her bus rides and warm up playlists and team matching hair ribbons and orange slices at half-time and constantly looking for your water bottle on the sidelines. You are giving her a competitiveness that can only come out on the field. You are giving her the cheers from the sidelines and the screams of her coach and the exhaustion in her legs at the end of the game. You are giving her handshakes with opponents and a winning attitude even when she loses. With a pair of cleats comes pasta dinners and game days; These will become her favorite days.

SEE ALSO: My First Semester As A College Athlete

When you give a girl a pair of cleats, you are giving her a challenge. She is going to grow and learn, and she’s going to want to quit at times, but she is going to look down at her feet and remember why she’s doing this. She’s going to remember her teammates and her coaches and the amount of time she’s poured into this sport, and she’s going to realize that it’s worth it. She’s going to be covered in bruises and her socks are going to stink, and she’s always going to be looking for a sock or needing a hair elastic. She’s going to be tired, and she’s going to get hurt. But those cleats are going to establish lessons that she’s going to remember for the rest of her life, friends that she is going to learn to love, and discipline that she is going to be thankful for. If you’re the girl with the cleats, soak it in. Love the long practices and the exhaustion and the sound of the whistle that starts the game. If you’re the girl without the cleats, go get some. Try something new. Take the risk. Sign up for the team, the musical, the club. You will regret it if you don’t. Even if you fail, few things can teach you the lessons that those cleats will.

Sincerely,

The Girl Who Hung Up Her Cleats

Cover Image Credit: Hannah Cook

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As A Soccer Fan, I'm Still Salty  The United States Didn't Qualify​ For The World Cup

There's nothing I love more than watching the U.S. men's national team play.

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Some of my all-time favorite soccer players play for the United States National Soccer Team whether it's newbie, Christian Pulisic scoring on the field or legends Clint Dempsey and Tim Howard or even any of the women's players like Alex Morgan.

However, watching the World Cup will still be exciting so here are my top picks for the winners of this year's world cup in Russia even though I'd rather be watching my favorite team with national pride.

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United States Soccer Federation / Instagram

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