Tag Archives: soccer

World Cup!

Can’t believe today is the day – the 2014 World Cup is here!

So excited. I’ve watched every World Cup since I was probably 10 years old.

My favorite team? The Netherlands…Holland…the Dutch…Oranje. Whatever you want to call them, they’re the squad I’ll be rooting for. Second place in 2010…hopefully one more win this time around! Van Persie, Robben, Sneijder and company should be fun to watch, as always.

Van Perside Robben Sneijder

There’s just something about this tournament that is like nothing else. Maybe it’s the significance these games hold for so many countries that have teams in it. Maybe it’s the every four years thing.

All I know is I’m fired up and looking forward to enjoying some terrific soccer (or football, depending on where you’re from) games these next several weeks.

Let’s have it!

A Soccer Ball, a Football, and a Set of Goalposts

I enjoyed a fun afternoon with my sons and my parents yesterday. All it required was a soccer ball, a football, and a set of goalposts.

We went to a local park and set up shop in a grassy area that happened to have football goalposts set up. The mission? Playing soccer and kicking field goals, of course.

Soccer was first. After some consternation it was decided that we would use the one set of goalposts and play ‘half court style’ where you’d have to ‘take it back’ like you would in basketball.

The teams were set: My oldest son and youngest son versus my parents. I was goalie. And off we went….first team to five goals won.

There was some furious action out there, I tell you. Both sides putting forth a good effort. Shots being taken from left and right. Naturally, it came down to 4-4 with the next goal winning.

After my Dad nearly won it but was denied by a diving fingertip save (I don’t know how real soccer goalies do this on a regular basis with people like Cristiano Ronaldo and Robin Van Persie blazing shots at them) the scene was set for the boys to claim victory.

My oldest passed it to my youngest, and he maneuvered his way for an open shot from about 10 yards out. He curled one past the defenders (aka Mom and Dad) and past the goalie’s outstretched arms, just under the crossbar and inside the left post. Goal! Game over. Oh, the drama…this one would have been a TV ratings hit, I tell you.

Next up? Field goals!

The boys took turns trying their luck at putting one through the uprights. No small task, as these were regulation size. My youngest son was up first and after attempt after attempt, and some helpful coaching from my Dad, he nailed one! Not bad for a six-year-old. After that, my oldest son, also with a little help…and after borrowing my Mom’s shoes (the boy insists on wearing those Crocs shoes no matter what the occasion) he sailed one through as well. Success! Way to go, bud.

It was a good time and a good afternoon. Doesn’t take much to bring smiles around here 🙂


I’ve become a big fan of soccer these past few years – both the domestic and international versions.

I’ll find myself watching matches at various times of the day, courtesy of the wonders of technology (see: ESPN 3, now known as Watch ESPN.)

There’s just something really enjoyable about a good soccer match. The viewing experience (for those of you who are unfamiliar with soccer) is very ‘user-friendly’ and it’s pretty easy to get hooked.

Primary benefit as a viewer: No timeouts and no commercial breaks during play.

That’s huge. You know that feeling you get when you watch a basketball game and the last two minutes or so are coming up? That thing that makes you cringe? Knowing that you’re about to be barraged by countless breaks in both the action and the programming…you know what I’m talking about. You don’t experience that in soccer. They just play. Amazing concept isn’t it?

I love just sitting down and watching the match unfold, knowing that a little bit of stoppage time is all that will be added to the end. Sure, the prospect of a match ending in a draw is not exactly all that appetizing as an American sports fan but I can live with that. Besides, the matches that really count are always played until a victory has been declared in the end.

My first interest in soccer came back in the 1980’s, watching Diego Maradona and Argentina dominate the rest of the world. However the Dutch team has always been my favorite international squad and I watch them whenever I can.

I’ve taken to watching club matches lately. La Liga, Premier League, etc. I love how the fans get into these matches and throw their support behind their clubs. Neat stuff.

I’ve also become more interested in Major League Soccer within the past year or two as well. Much of that is due to David Beckham’s presence in the league, which could actually be coming to an end tonight. Beckham and LA Galaxy will take on Houston Dynamo in the MLS Cup, starting at 8:00 p.m. CST.

His contract expires after the match. I hope he’ll re-sign but certainly wouldn’t blame the guy if he decides to head back overseas. It’s safe to say his time spent in the league has had a positive impact though. I really enjoy watching him play. What a talent.

Anyway, I am realizing as I type more in this entry that this has become a rambling mess of words here. I don’t know what my original point was. Oh yeah, soccer is cool. That’s right.

So there you go. I have the MLS Cup cued up on my browser and it’s time to settle in for the big match tonight. Should be fun to watch.

UPDATE: What a finish! Beckham to Keane to Donovan for the winner. Way to go LA!

Homecoming on the Hilltop

What a weekend. The 2011 edition of Bradley University Homecoming was a lot of fun.

My parents (both Bradley alums) came up for the weekend and they joined me and the kiddos for the festivities.

Things got started with the giant bonfire Friday evening at Meinen Field. This thing was huge. Within a minute of lighting it, some of the people gathered around the perimeter were already having to move back a bit as the heat and the flames both intensified quickly.

The kids got a kick out of the firefighters that were on standby. They ended up hosing down the fire a few times…you know, just in case. It was a pretty impressive fire!

Saturday afternoon was the annual business meeting for the Bradley University Communication Alumni Group, or BU-CAN.

If you’re reading this and you’re a Bradley COM alum or a current COM student, I encourage you to check out the group. It’s a great way for alums to get involved and a great source of information and networking opportunities for students.

My parents mentioned that they had never been to a tailgate before. Conveniently enough, the BU soccer tailgate party was Saturday afternoon and I decided it would be a perfect chance for them to get a small taste of what this stuff is all about.

We sat outside the car and the kids threw the football around and kicked the soccer ball back and forth. Cranked up the tunes and enjoyed some good conversation on what was a beautiful fall afternoon.

Then it was time to head in for the soccer match between Bradley and SIU-Edwardsville. The placed was packed. I’ve never seen that many people there. Great atmosphere.

The Braves came out sluggish and went down 1-0. However, a clutch goal late in the second half tied it and sent it into overtime. That set the stage for the big finish.

We had moved down behind the goal so the kids could kick the ball around a bit. Turns out, we would have a front row seat to the grand finale.

Bradley pushed the ball up the field and Ross Williams sent a great ball into the box, where Wojciech Wojcik headed it in.

High drama at Shea Stadium. Braves win.

Before we left, the kids had a chance to get autographs from the players. My oldest son gave them his homecoming shirt to sign and my youngest son gave them his soccer ball. They loved it.

Good times had by all on the Hilltop this weekend. Go BU.

USA (Unbelievable Soccer Awesomeness)

What a show.

This match had it all. Good and bad. In the end, Team USA performed a last-minute (literally) miracle that no doubt had countless people catching some serious air in their living rooms, in bars, and anywhere that had a television set nearby.

Still can’t believe Team USA pulled this one out. I mean, the script was already written. The final act was wrapping up. It was over. The US was done.

Or were they?

I’ll admit, I had no reason to believe that the ball lifted by Megan Rapinoe’s cross into the box would find a temporary landing spot on just the right part of Abby Wambach’s head and then would sneak inside the post for an equalizing goal with literally seconds to spare in – not just overtime, not just the second overtime session, but literally in extra time of that second overtime session…oh, just about at the end of that extra time too. Wha?? No way.

The odds of the US tying the match at that point were about as good as the odds of me becoming six feet tall someday. It just wasn’t gonna happen. But it did.

I was watching the match with my sons. (ESPN 3 is one of my ‘favorite things.’) They’re both into soccer and have started playing. When that thing went in, they both went crazy. Yelling and screaming and just loving the moment to the max. It was awesome.

The fact that Team USA benefited from a goalie infraction on the first penalty kick minutes later pretty much assured me all of the things that had gone against them in the match (questionable red card, more questionable penalty kick infraction earlier, shameful time-wasting by Brazil’s Erika late in the game) were officially in the books and in the past and were not going to stop them from at least having a chance at winning.

When the last PK went in, you just had to smile. What an effort. What a testament to never giving up, not letting adversity defeat you, and fighting until the end. Watching all of that served as a great lesson for my kids. Here they are right before that last kick.

Meanwhile this match provided a lot of thrills and a lot of smiles in the end for Team USA fans. Truly amazing stuff.

Way to go, ladies. Good luck in the semifinals.