Pull for Belgium in the 2018 World Cup

I'm Rooting For Belgium in the world cup and you should too

Since the U.S. didn't qualify, some might not know what team to pull for; Belgium is the answer.


Right away, I'll let you know that I'm biased. My all time favorite team is Chelsea F.C. in the English Premier League, and both their goalkeeper (Courtois) and 10 player (Hazard) are Belgian and a part of the starting lineup. I was a goalkeeper, and Courtois is one of the best in the world, so of course he's my favorite Chelsea player and I'm going to pull for his national team.

However, you should pull for Belgium because they are going to finish in the top three at the very least.

Belgium won their opening game 3-0 after a lackluster first half. In the second half, they played with more urgency and finesse and scored three goals. The quality on their roster and the fact that they proved against Panama that they can connect to get solid results proves that they are a winning team in this tournament. In their game against Tunisia, they won 6-2, doing everything in the first half that they didn't do against Panama, scoring early and playing with a flourish.

During qualifying, they lost none of their games and only tied once, meaning that they won the ten other games. Courtois had 6 clean sheets and only conceded 6 goals, which is impressive considering they played 11 games and lost none of those. They scored 46 goals, averaging 4 per game. This is a team that likes to score and they certainly have the capability to.

The players on their roster are stellar.

Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku, Thibuat Courtois, Dries Mertens, Kevin De Bruyne these are all players who are in very good form right now. De Bruyne just won the Premier League title with Manchester City, and he was definitely important in that win. He won the playmaker award in the 17/18 season, the season in which they won the league. He also scored 8 goals for Manchester City this past season. Courtois and Hazard won the FA cup with Chelsea this past season, and Courtois had 15 clean sheets this past season. Courtois is also very good with his feet and passes from the back with ease and gets the ball back into play quickly, rolling or throwing it out.

Lukaku is a powerhouse striker who uses his size very intelligently and has excellent technique. This helped him score 16 goals with Manchester United this past season and two goals for Belgium in their first game. Despite his size, he had 0 red cards with Manchester United, and I think that reflects kindly upon the way he likes to play. Hazard had 12 goals and also 0 red cards. Mertens scored a beautiful goal for Belgium in their first match and currently plays for Napoli in Italy. There he scored 19 goals with them in this past season. They finished second in Serie A. Mertens also received 0 red cards and minimal yellow cards as well.

Seeing as Spain has given up several foolish freekicks in the world cup thus far, along with several other teams, it is important to pull for a team who has disciplined key players. Discipline is key in soccer, where a foul called can decide the outcome of the game.

Belgium has the players who can score, a solid defense and goalkeeper, and the discipline necessary to see a lead all the way through the game. They're the team I'm pulling for this world cup, not only because of club loyalties, but also because of the talent and finesse with which they play that impressed me greatly during the last world cup. The team was on the younger side four years ago, and now I think they have the age and therefore experience as a team that is sometimes necessary in soccer. Go Belgium!

Cover Image Credit:

Oscar Belo @oscarbelo873

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A Thank You Letter To The Best Teammate I've Ever Had

There's no "I" in team.

We all have those amazing memories when it comes to sports. Sometimes it is from winning tough games, but most of the amazing memories that we have come from the teammates that we shared those wins with. Teammates are the people who you spend so much time with that you eventually become a family. Teammates do more than help just win a game; they can be there through everything. There's always that one teammate that stands out from the rest, and this letter is for you.

Thank you for being selfless.

Looking back, I remember a lot of teammates. Some were great and some were not that great. I've had teammates who have only cared about their playing time. I've had teammates that have only cared about if they score more goals or more points than anyone else. You did not care about that. If the coach told you to play a position that you did not want to play, you still played it without a complaint. If I was tired at a certain position and wanted to switch you, you did it. You never complained about where you were playing or how many goals you had; you just wanted the team to win.

Thank you for having my back.

The best kinds of teammates are the ones that support you no matter what you do. I got a red card? That referee is stupid. I got into a fist fight during a game? You were the first one next to me swinging. Some girl makes fun of me on social media for messing up in a game? You were roasting her in her mentions. Even if I was right or wrong, you always supported me no matter what I did.

Thank you for seeing me at my worst and building me back up.

There are always times in an athlete's life where we run to the point to where we need to throw up. There are times where we go through games and miss too many shots. There are times where we get a little too mad at our coaches and feel as if we cannot deal with it anymore. You were the one that got me through it. When I was in the middle of a run and my lungs were burning, you stayed right next to me and reminded me that there wasn't much longer to go, even if there was. You always reminded me how capable I was by yelling at me and telling me to go score. You've seen me tired, sweaty, crying, screaming and throwing up. After all that, you still went out of your way to build me back up and I cannot thank you enough for that.

Thank you for making me love the game.

Without people like you, I would have had a very rough ride through my sports career. I have had teammates that have made me go home crying because they were so mean and rude. I have had teammates who have only cared about themselves. Without you, I would've forgotten what a good teammate is. Looking back, all I remember is the celebrations, the screaming random songs in cars and us hating each other's exes automatically... Then talking about all these things at practice. Thanks for being a leader with me. Without you and the rest of the team, I would not have loved the sport that I played.

Cover Image Credit: Cheap Seats Photography

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The First Time My Mistakes No Longer Controlled My Life

Mistakes suck, and though I've conquered a few, I'm still learning.


The whistle blows as the team cheers on.

My heart pounds as if it will burst out of my chest at any given moment and I taste the salty sweat trickling down my face. I must serve over the net, I must get it in, I must ace my opponent or I will fail. Fear.

In his first inaugural speech, President Franklin D. Roosevelt famously stated, "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself." Such a statement proves powerful to the matured minds of society; however, in the minds of some adolescents, this declaration appears somewhat foolish, as numerous "threats" ignite fear, thus causing teens to grow anxious.

A major cause for fear in the rising generation takes form in failure. In the eyes of these people, making a simple mistake paves the way towards absolute failure; therefore, perfectionists constantly walk on eggshells attempting to do the impossible: avoid human error. This mentality gives way to constant stress and overall disappointment, as perfection does not apply to human beings. If one can come to the realization that not one person can attain perfection, they can choose to live life in ease, for they no longer have to apply constant pressure upon themselves to master excellence. The fear of failure will no longer encumber their existence, and they can overcome situations that initially brought great anxiety. I too once put great pressure on myself to maintain perfection, and as a result, felt constantly burdened by my mistakes. However, when I realized the inevitability of those mistakes, it opened the door for great opportunities. The first time I recognized that failure serves as a tool for growth allowed me to no longer fear my mistakes, and instead utilize them for my own personal growth.

The whistle blows as the team cheers on. My heart pounds as if it will burst out of my chest at any given moment, and I taste the salty sweat trickling down my face. I must serve over the net, I must get it in, I must ace my opponent. As hard as I try, I fail; as the ball flies straight into the net and thuds obnoxiously onto the gym floor, so does my confidence. I feel utter defeat, as I know my fate. My eyes water as my coach immediately pulls me from the game, sits me on the bench, and tells me to "get my head into the game" instead of dwindling on past errors. From then on I rarely step foot on the court, and instead, ride the bench for the remainder of the season. I feel defeated. However, life does not end, and much to my surprise, this mistake does not cause failure in every aspect of my life. Over time, I gradually realize that life does not end just because of failure. Instead, mistakes and failure pave the way toward emotional development and allows one to build character. In recognizing that simple slip-ups do not lead to utter failure, I gain perspective: one's single mistake does not cause their final downfall. Thus, this epiphany allowed for my mental growth and led me to overcome once challenging obstacles.

Instead of viewing mistakes as burdens, one should utilize them as motivation for future endeavors. The lesson proves simple: all can learn from their mistakes. However, it is a matter of choosing to learn from these mistakes that decide one's future growth. Instead of pushing faults away, I now acknowledge them in order to progress. Before coming to such a realization, I constantly "played it safe" in sports, fearing that giving my best effort would lead to greater error. I did not try, and as a result, I rarely failed.

Although such a mentality brought forth limited loss in terms of overall team success, it also brought forth limited, individual success. Today, fear of failure no longer controls life on the court. I use my mistakes as motivation to get better; instead of dwindling on an error made five minutes prior, I focus on the form needed to correct it. As a result, skills will constantly improve, instead of regress. Thus, errors serve as blessings, as it is through these errors in which one can possess the motivation to better themselves.

For some, fear acts as an ever-present force that controls every aspect of life. In particular, the fear of failure encumbers perfectionists, as the mere thought of failing causes great anxieties. In the past, I have fell victim to the fear of committing a mistake, and as a result, could not go through life without feeling an overwhelming sense of defeat. However, in a moment of what appeared to be a great failure, I finally recognized that life does not end due to one mistake, let alone one million. Instead, mistakes pave the way toward personal development and provide essential motivation to succeed in everyday life. Without mistakes, it proves difficult to grow in character. One must first learn to accept their faults before they can appreciate their best qualities. Thus, the fear of failure inhibits the growth of an individual; therefore, all must come to the realization that essentialness of mistakes, as they allow for the further development of overall character.

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