As much as it pains me to admit that I didn't become an avid fan of soccer until my early twenties, it is the absolute truth. As a kid in first grade, I played a year in rec league, but never really grasped the game, and to be honest, never got pushed by my parents to pursue it any further. Only when WC '94 came around did I really turn an eye to the game again. Over that summer, my dad and I found ourselves watching quite a few games, even though neither of were exactly well versed in the ways of the game. At this point my respect and admiration for the game began to develop, but I still had yet to become quite so rabid about it. So WC '98 came and went, and considering the disaster that was for the US, you could say that it did nothing to really get my blood flowing. Fast forward another four years to WC '02 to pinpoint when my love for the game began to emerge. In the couple of months leading up to the cup, I found myself researching various NTs, as I wanted to know what made everybody tick, who the stars were, who played where, etc. It was obvious that getting up at one and four in the morning on quite a few occasions to follow the action was turning me into quite the fan; losing sleep to watch some cracking games will do that to you! I remember one night being out on the town with some friends only to tell them that I would be calling it a short night tonight. "Why?" they asked. "So I can watch the South Africa- Slovenia game!" I quipped. That response drew a blank stare to say the least! So after hanging on every kick of a ball throughout the USA's run to the final eight, I was hungry for so much more of the game. I began tuning into MLS matches for the first time. I became a Blackburn Rovers fan, mainly because of Friedel, but also because I didn't want to jump on a bandwagon for some big club. I got FSW so I could lose more sleep by getting up at 6am on Saturdays to watch some Premiership action. Most importantly, I started playing! I had only touched a ball a few times since I was about seven, so fourteen years later I started working on dribbling, striking, passing, and any move I had seen in games. I have to say, I was horrible as compared to now! But my passion has kept me coming back for more and more. It's commonplace for me to go out to the pitch at 10:00, throw my mp3 player and headphones on and just completely zone out, just me and the ball, for a couple of hours. When one grows up in Auburn,AL , in the thick of college football, it is almost understood that the sport will be your main love. But soccer, football, footy, futbol, or whatever it is you call it in your piece of the world, has become my rival passion, and I can't imagine how I ever lived a single day without it!