Cornwall ON – No matter whether you are a World Cup novice and joining the party near its conclusion or a soccer-junky slowly weaning yourself from weeks of the beautiful game, the next four games are there for us all to relish. Holland vs. Uruguay today, Germany vs. Spain tomorrow, the third-place final on Saturday and the Grand Finale on Sunday, we have four games in six days that will demonstrate why soccer is the world’s game.
Many people have asked me over the last few weeks, why is soccer so popular around the world? My answer is: “it is cheap to play and it can be played by anyone.”
I remember watching the beginning of the game between Japan and Paraguay as they were pictured during the national anthems. The Paraguayans were some much bigger than their Japanese counterparts. But what Japan lacked in stature they made up for with speed, quick movements, and fitness. As the game developed it was readily apparent that they were soccer equals. As we remember this one went to a shoot out to decide the winner.
All that anyone needs to play this game is the willingness to develop foot-ball skills. The greats of the game were given a ball early in their lives, or, as in the case of the great Pele, something round that he could pretend was a ball, and they were rarely without that ball as their lives developed. I am fortunate to have witnessed the development of Christine Julien, Williamstown’s own soccer star and current member of the Canadian women’s squad. I hear from her neighbors that she spent long hours just kicking a ball around her yard. My own daughter, Grace, no slouch when it comes to soccer would shoot a ball into a hammock that we had rigged in the garden; we would sometimes compete to see who could get the most hits. At her best she could get it in 9 times out of 10 from distances equating to taking a free kick or a corner. She ended up as her team’s corner taker even though she was a full-back. I stopped competing with her when my 5 out of 10 was not good enough.
Which, of course, means we have to qualify!
David Rawnsley is President of the Char Lan Minor Soccer Association as well as Executive Director of FOSS, Friends of SD&SG Soccer and a district Referee, as well as co-founder of Char-Lan Women’s Soccer.
Soccer is his Passion, and we’re hoping to get several reports from him during the 2010 Fifa World Cup!