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Soccer’s Positive Influence On My Life


Sebastian playing soccerIn honor of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil and all that soccer does to help keep kids around the world active and healthy. I thought this would be a good time to reflect on the impact youth soccer has had on my life.

I first played soccer recreationally when I was 6, but eventually moved on to try other sports. When I was in 7th grade, my interest was reignited and I attended my first competitive tryout. At that point, I was an just an eager kid with immeasurable confidence in my ability to kick a ball, even though I hadn’t touched one in years. I thought I’d be an instant superstar, and was ready to take on the world! I revised that stance after a few minutes, but that isn’t important.

At the time, I was really just interested in soccer because my friends were, I had no idea how important it would become to me. Luckily, I ended up making the team and falling head-over-heels in love with the sport.

I bought all of the soccer video games I could, picked a team to start following and did everything else I could to totally immerse myself in the game. There was something about the thrill of making a great play, the energy of the crowd on game days and the rush of scoring a goal that had hooked me for life.

Over the coming years, I would come to realize that even beyond being the most fun I had ever had, soccer was an incredibly important influence on my life.

It kept me in better shape than I would have been in otherwise, and while that benefit is somewhat obvious, soccer has also influenced me in more subtle ways.

Early in my childhood, I was a victim of bullying and teasing. Although playing soccer didn’t stop everything bad from happening to me, it gave me the confidence to handle situations with more maturity and poise.

If I could run sprints for two hours in the pouring rain until my legs stop working, I could think of a witty comeback on the spot. If I could guide my team’s defense against an onslaught of ruthless attacks by the opposition for 20 minutes straight at the end of a game, I could have a conversation with anyone I encounter, no problem.

Additionally, as I progressed into high school and new distractions like drugs and alcohol became a factor in the lives of my peers, I managed to keep my eye on the prize. How? Between school and soccer, I was so busy I didn’t have time to go partying every weekend, even if I wanted to. I was forced to spend nearly all of my free time doing homework or attending to various other responsibilities, and I’m glad that was the case. I know I’ll be better off for it.

So, how about all of you? Do you have a story to share about yourself, a friend or a loved one whose participation in sports played a significant role in keeping him or her drug-free, out of trouble or simply engaged in a healthy lifestyle? If so, please share it in the comments below. (Either that, or if anyone wants to talk about the World Cup, I’m sure you could guess I’m up for that!)


4 Responses to this article

  1. Amanda Krug / August 10, 2014 at 3:54 pm

    I saw the words “Soccer’s Positive Influence” and had to click on it, with my twin 12 year old daughters reading with me. I am in Recovery, almost 11 years clean and sober. My kids are genetically pre-disposed for addiction, and I have raised them with the knowledge that “just one time” may turn into many, many years of heartache. They are currently playing for the Rogue Valley Timbers Premier team, and soccer has been a huge influence on their lives. Like you, they are so focused on their goals (soccer goals), practice, tournaments, games, and homework, that they do not really have time to get into trouble. They will be in the Olympic Development Program this year, and in my opinion are the best 12 year old soccer players in the world. One is the Goalie, and has won the Goalie Wars 3 years in a row. The other is a Striker, and scores the winning goals at almost every tournament. When I was in my addiction, I would look at these “soccer moms” and vowed to be one; luckily I did not have to force the sport on my daughters…it was their choice to start indoor soccer vs. other sports. Things just evolved the way that they did, and now I am that soccer mom that I once envied…and my daughters have a fighting chance to stay out of trouble because of their love of the sport. :)

  2. Bruce Arterbury / August 6, 2014 at 11:26 am

    My own father died of stomach cancer when I was a boy. As a teen I started drinking and found solace in pool halls. I didn’t grow up to be the father I wanted to be. You could imagine how devastated I was when my own son died at 19 of suicide. Something had to be done.

    Through a 12 step recovery program I gave my life to Christ and gave up drinking in 1984. Yet God didn’t take away my love for the game of pool. In fact, I’ve been playing pool since 1977, when I started my restaurant management career. During the recession of the late 1970′s and early 1980′s I played pool 40 hours a week six months straight and later for nine months straight. I began playing in pool leagues in 1996 and am now a 40 in a masters BCA league, previously a 6 in APA league.

    Now I know why God didn’t take away my passion for pool: God can use it. I envision a pool place called iCUE, designed to attract and support youth in the midst of a very positive environment. I see a place were parents can have one on one time with their kids. It could also be an exciting class field trip site and after school club.

    I’m writing to men’s ministry leaders, small group leaders, youth pastors, and Christian school teachers of Math, Geometry, Physics, and Phys Ed., as well as human resource departments of churches and para-church organizations about this vision, a very God-sized vision.

    I’m ready to pour my life into this vision for a wholesome pool club, a ministry cleverly disguised as a pool hall were the live entertainment alternates between Karaoke and Musicians. A pool hall with a teaching environment that includes Web Cameras, High Def. TVs, and instant replay to review shots. On each pool table’s counter top will be lessons right out of the best books on pool.

  3. Avatar of Brian
    Brian / June 24, 2014 at 2:24 pm

    Factors like concentration, confidence, motivation and belief are significant contributors to your overall performance. Soccer teaches you to become strong mentally and disciplined. You will lead a more cheerful and happy life if you consitently play soccer.

  4. Avatar of Julie
    Julie / June 13, 2014 at 3:27 pm

    Thank you for sharing your story, Sebastian. I love that photo!

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