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What “Recreational soccer” means in the rest of the world!

I checked in the English dictionary the meaning of the word ‘recreational’ and I found: done for pleasure or relaxation rather than work.

So, recreational soccer. I played it 4 hours a day for my entire childhood. And, like me, in the past 100 years, a few other billions of kids in the rest of the world have done this, but rarely in the USA!

So, what did these billions of kids do, or what do they still do, in the rest of the world, when they play “recreational” soccer?

-They go to a grassy, sandy, dusty or asphalted area and ‘play’ soccer.
Often they play dressed normally and sometimes, they wear the jersey of their favorite player or club. They wear normal shoes, or tennis shoes or play bare foot.
-Usually, the 2 best players choose their team mates. They do this alternatively, one time each in turn, until all the players are chosen.
-They play for as long as they like, or until they’re tired or too many have gone home.
-Often, instead of shooting corners, they take count of them and every 3 corners they shoot a penalty.
-If during the game another kid comes, he/she waits until another one comes so, they can play one on each team.
-The border of the field is undefined. A bush of flowers, a few stones, a soda can or whatever.
-Goal posts are made with backpacks, jackets or just a couple of sticks. A goal is awarded if the ball wasn’t shot higher than the full extended arms of the keeper.
-No adults are there.

What happens here, when kids play, “recreationally“?

-Go to a park, beach, backyard, parking lot, court or whatever, and play “recreational” soccer? Simply unknown!
-To play “recreationally”, they have to be divided into teams and each team wears a jersey of the same color because, often, they don’t know the other kids so, who’s on my team? Often they don’t even know the name of the other kids. Also, sometimes, they don’t even know the name of the team! (I can prove it so, don’t be surprised and don’t write to me saying that this is impossible). So, anyway, the team has a name. Usually a very ‘curious’ one.
-To play “recreationally”, they also wear soccer shoes (sometimes very expensive), shin guards, have team cards, and so on.
-To play “recreationally”, they play on a soccer field with chalk lines and full size soccer goals. So, a keeper who might be just 5 feet tall, or less, even by jumping, is still more than a couple of feet away from the crossbar, and it’s SCIENTIFICALLY impossible for him/her to reach the ball if shot high, and will be beaten just for this reason. This, will be called a GOAL! And the scorer, REALLY will believe to have scored a goal. And his/her parents, too!
-To play “recreationally”, they will have coaches, assistant coaches, general managers, leagues, play offs, travels, and so on.
-Naturally, to play “recreationally” they will have official referees, from the USA Federation. Who, obviously, have to be paid, like the fee for the field, the uniforms, the shoes, and sometimes, even the coach.
-Naturally they play a fix amount of time accordingly to that league.
-The score is often very embarrassing because, it could happen that there is just ONE good player that keeps scoring so, the score could be 10-0, 15-0, and the only way to stop this kid from scoring is to tear him down. There is no other way to stop him or her by so-so players!
-Naturally, from the side line, just because it’s “recreational” some parents yell incitements like this game is the World Cup final! And let’s not forget the few parents that keep yelling at them, for every mistake that they make, just for the pleasure of making it more “recreational“!

So, to play “recreationally” in this country, kids have to act as if they play on the youth teams of Manchester United, Barcelona, Liverpool or A.C. Milan!

Soccer uniforms, soccer shoes, coaches, managers, referees, fields, leagues, standings, play offs, travels. In this “recreational” situation, there is almost everything that would be great for a semi-professional youth team!
I said almost, because there is just one thing that is deeply missed and that thing, unfortunately, is……………………………… SOCCER PLAYERS!

These kids, are not on selected teams, travel teams or whatever. They are just a group of kids, that hardly know each other, who just deserve to have what every kid in the rest of world deserves. To have a lot of fun, without adults that want to explain how to have it!

As I said other times, it’s GENETIC for kids to know how to have fun, and it’s simply ridiculous to force them to have it, imprisoning them in situations that will generate only one thing: really soon, they will not play soccer anymore because, in the way underlined above, for so-so players, it’s not fun and, in particular, not RECREATIONAL!!!

So, let’s try to remember that “recreational” is something done for pleasure or relaxation! That’s how it’s defined in the English dictionary. And in the German, Greek, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and, I suppose, in the Russian, Japanese, Philippine, and Chinese also, even if I‘m not really sure! Anyway, looking at the kids of these countries, when they play “recreationally”, it seems true for them, too.

Probably because I checked in the English dictionary instead of checking in the American dictionary but……………………………................ I cant find one. Probably in the American one, the definition of “recreational”, is what I’ve underlined in the second part above!

Coach Gianni

Posted on 27 Sep 2007 by coachgianni
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