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Soccer. Where has the dressing room gone? (new version)

I've played soccer all my life.
I began at 6 and stopped at 35.
I done that across the ocean so, I know that every country has it's own reality and sometimes it's very different from place to place, but a few basic principles are the same because they're dictated by logic and good sense. I believe that these 2 aspects, logic and good sense, are ‘universal‘ aspects that don’t change from place to place. Or do they?

So, when I came here 9 years ago, I was astonished to notice the total absence of one of the principle and fundamental things in soccer. A thing that in any European countries is universally there to the side of every soccer field, independently of the level of the players or the importance of the team.

That thing is ……….The dressing room/locker room.

Independently of their age, every soccer player in Europe NEVER, EVER arrive at the field dressed for playing. They arrives at the field with a sport bag in which there are soccer cleats, socks, shin guards, etc., etc. Everything……. but the uniform. They enter the dressing-locker room, undress and dress in the soccer uniforms they received from the coach.

In this gesture there is a kind of transfer of trust and responsibility. The coach gives you something that makes you a part of something. Something important, for the town, for the fans, for the parents, for the coach and for the other players.

The dressing-locker room is a world apart. This closed space helps us in one of the hardest aspects of any sport. TRANSITION.

-The transition between everyday life and the game.
-The transition between the game and going back to everyday life.

A few months ago I read an article (sorry, I don't remember the name of the coach) in which it was said: "Once the game is finished and has been commented on by the coach and the players, the soccer game stays on the field. Allow your child to be a kid and not only a soccer player."

I totally agree but this can only happen with the TRANSITION through the dressing-locker room. What is said there, no matter what it is, it stays in there. Whatever happens, between players, coaches, people responsible for the management of the team, it happens there and IT STAYS THERE.

But these are clearly sport aspects connected with the game, not necessarily soccer. There are other very important ‘practical’ aspects connected, as I said at the beginning, with logic and good sense:

-After having played the game, at any age between 6 and 35 or older, players undress, TAKE A SHOWER, dry off, and put on dry clothes. When they go out the door, the game is over.

-In winter, people (kids) DON'T stay covered in mud and get in the car.

-During summer, people (kids) DON'T stay sweaty, wearing a wet uniform all the way home while getting 'frozen' from the air conditioning.
People, (kids) not only can get sick by doing this but could even be forced to give up their sport. It's wouldn't be the first time that even professional players, have to give up their careers because of pneumonia.

American friends, men and women, have told me that when they were young they always suited-up at school, took showers after sports and put their dry clothes back on.

I know from what I've seen myself in different high schools, ex-showers transformed into storage space for sports goods. This means that, originally, these showers and dressing-locker rooms were used by the youth students, boys and girls.

What happened in a couple of decades in this country?

Are our kids to shy to undress in front of the other kids or are there other reasons? For a false sense of decency do we want our kids to get sick?

The dressing-locker room is an 'institution' that could help our kids not to grow up with 'taboos' that could negatively influence them all their lives.

So please show a little logic and good sense, and go back to reality!

Coach Gianni

Posted on 07 Feb 2008 by coachgianni
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