I love the sport of Futbol or Soccer, as it is called in the United States. When I think about it, this sport has really shaped my life. I started playing it when I was in the Third Grade; I have always played as a defender, once in a while, maybe a mid-fielder, but I love defense. I played all the way through High School, where I learned how to play the game mentally as well as physically, as well as in adult leagues until I was about Twenty Eight. As I have become older it has taken longer for the injuries to heal, so I decided to quit playing and just coach.
I coached my first team when I was a senior in High School. It was an under 12 boys team. I coached with a friend of mine who was also on my High School team; he coached the offense and I coached the defense. We had a pretty good team, but I certainly had fun. When I attended Sacramento State University I coached the Women’s Club team at the University. Three weeks into their season they fired their coach and needed someone to take over, quickly. One of the players on the team had the same history class as me and we always talked about the sport, so she asked me if I would take over as the coach. We went all the way to the finals which we won. I think that I was cautioned by the referees when I was coaching this team, than I ever was as a player.
It was while coaching this team that I met my wife. She was a striker as well as a goal keeper for the team. It was about half way through the season that she and I started to date. We would probably not have met, if not for this great sport. She still coaches our daughter’s team. I quit coaching when our youngest son was thirteen. It is at this age that some of the boys had major attitude and the parents were not very supportive.
In 1998 I received my Grade 8 referee license and I have been refereeing off and on since then. This past year I have refereed all twelve months. When the youth leagues end, the high school season begins as well as State Cup tournaments and adult leagues. I really do enjoy refereeing! I have the best seat in the house to watch some really good games. I have been able to stay fit all year and I am maintaining my fitness goals because I do referee. This past weekend I officiated nine different games over the two day period. I lost seven pounds in two days.
I am grateful for the World’s Greatest Sport! Call it what you will, but it has helped shape my life and I like where it has taken me. You learn how to be a part of team; as a player, as a coach and as an official. I will leave you with a song that I used to play before every game for my team, when I coached that very first Under 12 Boys team. This was our theme song….you figure out why.