When You Give A Girl A Pair Of Cleats

When You Give A Girl A Pair Of Cleats

It's more than a pair of shoes.

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.


The Girl Who Hung Up Her Cleats

Cover Image Credit: Hannah Cook

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19 Things You’ll Understand If Your H.S. Life Was On The Soccer Field

16. Not being able to refrain from kicking the ball in other sports.

Soccer was, and still is, my escape. It pushes you beyond you think it possible, takes skill and strategy that is earned and not given and creates countless, special friendships. If you played soccer in high school, you are guaranteed to relate and enjoy these nineteen facts.

1. Pre-Wrap was life.

Your bathroom cabinet was essentially a showcase for the absurd amount of pre-wrap you owned in almost every color. And yes, this was necessary because no matter how much you loved pre-wrap, it would always break at the most inconvenient times.

2. Them calves though

There is nothing like those soccer calves beautifully sculpted from the countless hours of practice (that will also take about three years of inactivity to fade away).

3. Bruises. Were. Everywhere.

Not only were your legs covered with an array of colorful bruises, you also somehow end up with marks all over your body. Like how did I get a bruise on my shoulder blade…?

4. Scarred for life

In addition to bruises, your knees and shins are permanently scarred from the numerous slide tackles (that seemed like a great idea at the time) and the worse of all, the turf burns.

5. The tan lines are real.

There is nothing like having one-third of your body tan AF while the other two-thirds look like it hasn’t seen the daylight in over a year. Your non-soccer friends always had an enjoyable time making fun of you at the beach.

6. Junk in your trunk.

No matter if it was off season or not, the trunk of your car always had an extra pair of cleats, shorts, soccer socks, a cutoff and of course, two or three balls. You never knew when you’ll need full gear for a random pickup game.

7. The smells weren’t all roses and sunshine

Let’s just say that no matter how much perfume, air fresheners and frequent washes, your car, soccer bag, shin guards, cleats and let’s be real, you too, always had a distinct aroma that only soccer could produce.

8. Huge water jug

One third was for drinking, one third was to pour on yourself and one third was reserved for those random water fights at the end of practice.

9. The feeling when you hear your warmup music.

Dusk is approaching, the sun is fading, and you hear your warmup music break through the silence- that is what gives you the hype. Regardless of how many years have passed since high school soccer, those songs will always be a nostalgic reminder of the nights under the lights.

10. Unwarranted hate

Every team has their rivals, either for stealing the championship title the year before, breaking your teammate’s arm during a previous game or simply being the town over, the mutual dislike of another team is sometimes all the motivation you need to kick some ass.

11. Spaghetti dinners were the BOMB.

Forever thankful for the parents who fed twenty sweaty and hungry girls. Whoever claimed that boys can eat more than girls has obviously not seen a girls soccer team at a spaghetti dinner… But like, where’s the garlic bread?

12. Bus rides - aka the best team bonding

First, everyone would find their predetermined bus buddy - often arguing who would get the outside of the seat. Second, you would settle in for an unpredictable road trip with your best friends often filled with truth or dare, karaoke, or dance parties.

13. It is MUCH more than just a number.

Your jersey number becomes apart of who you are. Yes, it may just be the screened print of the back of your shirt, but for you personally, it is your soccer identity.

14. The embarrassing nutmeg.

That epic feeling of nutmegging another player followed by the hoots of burns and approval from your bench! But also, that complete embarrassment but also respect when the other team nutmegs you…

15. Soccer t-Shirt for days

“This is where I hang my soccer t-shirt, and if you look over here this is wear I put my folded soccer t-shirts Oh! And that pile of clothes in the corner are also my soccer t-shirts.”

16. Not being able to refrain from kicking the ball in other sports

You may see a basketball, volleyball and even a football, but all a soccer player sees is a round(ish) object that they can juggle.

17. Dress-up days

On games days, we wear dresses (or sweats, if it’s an away game). We really just wanted to prove that yes, we can look delicate in our skirts, but we can also strategically take out a girl without the ref calling it while mud streaks our white jerseys.

18. That special bond.

No matter what your relationship is outside of soccer, when you are on the field your teammates became your family. One that you never let another team push around without slyly and aggressively shoving them the play afterward.

Besides, most of the time your teammates, regardless of your ages, will become your best friends.

19. Game days are the best days.

No matter how long you have played soccer, the game day jitters never disappear. It is the drive to the game with your personal pump up songs blaring through the speakers, tying on your favorite cleats that are held together with duct tape and faith, hearing your name echo through the stadium during lineup, the dew that gradually descends on the field, the background cheers from the fans, and complete sense of being free playing the sport that you love.

Cover Image Credit: Karlee Onstad

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Can FC Bayern München Win The Treble In 2018?

The five-time defending German champs have a shot.

It was September 28, 2017, and it was a dark day for the city of Munich and millions of fans around the world. Germany's crown jewel in the form of sport was suffering. One of the largest and most successful soccer teams in the world were in crisis mode.

FC Bayern München (translates to the Football Club of Munich, Bavaria) got hammered by French rivals Paris Saint-Germain in the UEFA Champions League 3-0. Fingers were being pointed in every direction, riots were happening everywhere, the city was in flames.

Okay, there were no riots and the city wasn't on fire but the five-time defending German champions were in a heap of trouble. They were humiliated in European competition and basically out of the title race in Germany as Borussia Dortmund were running away with it.

With seemingly no other options, they fired their coach Carlo Ancelotti. And two weeks after that, they brought in a new but extremely familiar man to coach the team for the remainder of the year, that being Jupp Heynckes.

Yes, the very same Jupp Heynckes that famously led FC Bayern München to one of the greatest seasons in world soccer history in 2013. Heynckes' tactics and leadership led the Bavarians to a treble: a domestic league championship, a domestic cup championship, and a European championship.

After running away with the Bundesliga and defeating arch-rivals Borussia Dortmund in the UEFA Champions League Final, Heynckes made it clear that the DFB-Pokal Final would be the last game he would ever coach. And after Bayern won that over VfB Stuttgart, Heynckes rode off into the sunset. That is until he came back to help out this past October.

Since Heynckes has come back, FC Bayern München has won EVERY single game in all competitions, except for that one loss that they suffered to Borussia Mönchengladbach in the Bundesliga. As of today, the Bavarians can win the Bundesliga on March 4th, which would be a record for the fastest victory of the league ever. They are in the semifinals of the DFB-Pokal which will take place in April. And they are in the knockout stage of the UEFA Champions League.

So now the question has to be asked...can they do it again? It's a question, as a fan, that I've been asking every year. And every year I've somehow been disappointed. We've gotten humiliated by Real Madrid and FC Barcelona. We've blown it against Borussia Dortmund and two years ago the refs were paid off by Atlético Madrid (hah).

But now that it's February and the big games are about to start, it's a possibility that every Bayern fan has to consider. I mean, the man who led us to the promised land five years ago is back again and we have one of the best teams in the world right now, especially with giants like Real Madrid struggling.

We're going to win the Bundesliga for the sixth year in a row and there's no denying that. It's not a question of if it will happen, it's a question of when. It could be March 4th! Winter wouldn't even be over yet, that'd be amazing.

In terms of the other German competition, the DFB-Pokal, I have no reason to believe we wouldn't win that either. Dortmund is out, courtesy of us back in December, and they've proven to be the only challenge we ever face. We have to go to Leverkusen in April and that's a very tough ask because Leverkusen is good and we've struggled there in the past. But again, there's no reason we shouldn't beat them and then roll over either Schalke or Frankfurt in the final.

So a German double seems reasonable. It'd be our fourth in the last six years. The big challenge is the UEFA Champions League. We have to play Besiktas JK in the Round of 16 and that shouldn't be a problem. And to be honest, there are a bunch of teams that shouldn't be a problem. There are, however, a few problems.

There's a huge dark cloud in England and their named Manchester City, coached by our former coach Pep Guardiola. If not us, they'll be the winners in Europe this year. And of course, Bayern fans know that we have to worry about Real Madrid, because even when we should beat them we can't. And there's also Paris Saint-Germain, but we showed in December that we can beat them too.

Unfortunately, I don't think we can win the treble this year. I've been right the last four years as I've watched us painfully lose. As great as this team is this year, the other competitors are just too good. I'm just trying to figure out when I'll experience an excruciatingly painful loss this year. Will it be like 2015 and 2017 in April? As I watched us blow a 1 goal lead both years to Borussia Dortmund and get destroyed by Cristiano Ronaldo. Or will it be like 2014 and 2016 when I watched us lose to both Madrid teams in May. I'm not sure, but I'm already expecting to be heartbroken.

But if there's a will, there's a way. I don't think anyone saw us beating FC Barcelona in the 2013 semifinals and we beat them 7-0. Maybe my negativity will be wrong, I mean it's been wrong before. I thought the Germans would lose to the Brazilians in 2014 and the Germans won 7-1 so who knows.

I'm not getting my hopes up for a treble because I just have that same feeling that I've always had, like we'll find a way to lose or we'll get screwed. But it's definitely a possibility. I'll be keeping my fingers crossed.

Cover Image Credit: Flickr

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