By Amanda Cupido
I’m not afraid to admit that I’m in love; even though I’ve been playing for nearly two decades, soccer and I are still in the honeymoon phase.
Sure, like every relationship, we’ve had our ups and downs: the joys of scoring on a penalty shot vs. the heartbreak of a tragic overtime loss. But there is something magical about soccer that brings people together. That’s what I can’t get enough of.
Think about it - you can start a pick-up game anywhere by making nets with sticks or lines in the sand. All you need is a ball and people willing to play. I’ve had the opportunity to join pick-up games in many of my travels, including in Italy, Bahamas and even in Indonesia.
Every single time, I was with a large group of people who didn’t have a common language- except for soccer.
Whether you’re playing or watching, soccer has the ability to make you forget about everything else except for the game at hand. Your heart pounds, your hands shake and you may even tear up.
No matter how long you’ve been in love, or if you’re just getting to know the sport, here are some great ways to get into the spirit of the game.
5. Organize a viewing party. Soccer is played all around the world (though most countries outside North America call it football). If you’re in Canada, here’s an easy link to find out what matches are being played on any given day.
4. Help a kid have the chance to feel the joy of scoring a goal. Give a sports ball for just $10.
3. Want a group of kids to have the whole shebang? Send equipment like jerseys, nets and balls for $30! This is a great project to do with your own sports team.
2. Volunteer to coach a team. Many summer leagues are in desperate need of more coaches, giving you the opportunity to give back to your local community and inspire a younger generation to fall in love with the sport. Here are some coaching tips if you want to get started right away.
1. Don’t be afraid to get decked out! Celebrate your favourite team in style like these super-fans.
Girls at the Azraq refugee camp in Jordan have their very own soccer pitch thanks to a World Vision initiative. A number of the young women have now become coaches with the program.