Reasons to play and support soccer

I'm a big fan of soccer, more from the point-of-view of a player than as an observer. Here's an item I wrote for on why people should consider playing or supporting soccer:

It's not called "the beautiful game" for nothing, you know.

Soccer is a sport that combines so many positive attributes into one activity that it's hard to list them all.

Here are just a few reasons why the game deserves our support:

First, it's accessible, regardless of the players' status in society. As organized sports go, it's relatively cheap, and many of the game's brightest stars have risen from very humble roots. Think of Pele. Think of Zinedine Zidane. Unlike American football or ice hockey, for example, the equipment required is very basic and registration costs are low. Some professional players actually started out as children kicking around balls of rags on dusty village squares. It's a game that can be played by everyone.

Second, it's a simple sport to learn and play. Youngsters play soccer naturally, with very little initial instruction. One of the beautiful aspects of the game is that, as the players' skills rise, so does the strategic level of the game, until one reaches the professional level, where the sport exhibits tightly balanced moves and counter moves, and the game becomes like a spectacular form of chess, played in a vast arena. Players must think creatively and strategically and adapt to rapidly changing conditions; but at the heart of it, it's still a very simple game.

Third, soccer is a perfect combination of individual activity and team strategy in which players hone their skills and find ways to exhibit personal style, while at the same time, work closely as a team if they hope to achieve any measure of success.

Fourth, soccer is a game where scoring is not the only thing that matters. Smart, creative, heads-up play is just as important to coaches, players and spectators. In South America, for example, spectators cheer innovation and grace under pressure, qualities we can all appreciate in life.

Fifth, it requires and produces exceptional player fitness. It's a game in which players move constantly at various speeds and in various directions for ninety minutes, with very few interruptions. Players accelerate forward and move laterally all the time.

Soccer is a game that was born well before the age of television, and as such, is a game of fluidity and constantly changing pace. It's a game that is a pleasure to watch because it does not require constant huddles, consultations on the sidelines or time-outs for commercial breaks.

These are just some of the reasons to play and support soccer. Soccer is fun and exciting. It's accessible to all, develops a high level of aerobic endurance and muscular ability and requires good strategic thinking.

Oh, and kids take to it with the same innate sense of joy as playing tag in fields of wheat on a windy day.


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  2. I agree to all your reasons.