raise your hand if you were a late bloomer

Discussion in 'The Beautiful Game' started by blkbrnrvr, Oct 24, 2003.

  1. blkbrnrvr

    blkbrnrvr Member

    Mar 2, 2003
    Auburn metro
    Blackburn Rovers FC
    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!
  2. bigredfutbol

    bigredfutbol Moderator
    Staff Member

    Sep 5, 2000
    Woodbridge, VA
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I am in a similar situation. I grew up in rural Nebraska where there were no rec leagues to play. We played some unorganized soccer on the playground, but that ended once we got to junior high and the 'real sports' started. And, trust me, Nebraska is every bit the college football cauldron that your part of Alabama is!
    So I didn't discover the game until my late twenties, as a spectator. That was during the '98 WC. I have been working tirelessly to make up for lost time ever since!
  3. paulo

    paulo Member

    Feb 13, 2002
    I thought this thread was for those 14 year old kids that were traumatized in gym class because they were a foot shorter than everyone else and had no under arm hair.

    Not only was I a little bit like that kind of late bloomer but also in that I did not become a pretty good player until junior/senior year of high school (missing out on a lot of ODP and select youth teams) and then went on to college still improving and having pretty significant success at the state/regional/national US amateur level. My passion for soccer was not "late" though I have loved it and played it all my life (since I was 4).
  4. IASocFan

    IASocFan Moderator
    Staff Member

    Aug 13, 2000
    Sporting Kansas City
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I grew up in the fifties with no knowledge of soccer. I heard about Pele, and that was about it until I was a senior in college and two German instructors challenged their classes and any friends they could dig up to a Saturday afternoon soccer game. Two or three hours of pick up soccer on a field hockey field (I don't think there was a soccer field in the state of Kansas at the time.) followed by a few liters at the Bier Stube. I went to work at IBM in Kingston, NY, where they had an industrial league where novices and old pros played. I moved to Iowa in 1976, and have been coaching, reffing, and playing ever since. With the advent of the internet and availability of soccer news coverage, I've become addicted to soccer. :)
  5. bettendor

    bettendor New Member

    Sep 25, 2003
    Sign me up to that claim, too.

    I played a little bit of soccer growing up, but then switched to baseball. Outside of occasional glances at the U.S. team's performance in Italy during the 1990 World Cup and watching some of the 1994 World Cup here in the states (couldn't avoid since Chicago was the opening site and that's where i was), i haven't become really hooked until this year.

    Since January, I've watched more soccer than I ever did in my life, much to my wife's detriment. Let's just say I drove her nuts the other night when FSW rebroadcast Bracelona's UEFA Cup game against Puchov and i sat there watching it even though I knew that Barcelona had won 8-0 (Great excuse was saying I had never seen Barca play any games in the Camp Nou). Or watching Barca's friendly against Club America on Telemundo, on tape delay (I knew Barca had lost 2-0), and in Spanish (I speak some, she speaks none).

    Combine that with the Chicago Fire's success this year and I've been pretty happy with my new found love of the world's game.

    Now let's see if they show many Euro 2004 games here...
  6. SABuffalo786

    SABuffalo786 New Member

    May 18, 2002
    Buffalo, New York
    You'll have to shell out some cash for that one. :(
  7. usscouse

    usscouse BigSoccer Supporter

    May 3, 2002
    Orygun coast
    Good for you guys, better late than never I always say! You can follow this game at any age.
    I on the other hand can't remember when I didn't play. I used to run 2 miles to school when I was a kid playing off the wall and around the old ladies doing their shopping. I still coach and still get a kick out of the kids who play.

    I might have to pay "shudder" for some Euro 04 matches.
  8. CoChillin

    CoChillin New Member

    Apr 28, 2003
    Nuevo Mexico, USA
    I was a high school and college football (American) player and was probably the kid that most soccer players hated. You know, the kid that teased soccer players for playing a "girlie" sport. To be honest, until I was 21 I had, literally, never touched a soccer ball.

    In 2000 I was doing a year of study abroad in Chile. My girlfriend there dragged me to Santiago to watch a WC qualifier: Chile - Brazil. Never before had I seen such passion for sport or such excitement (Chile won 3-1), not even when I played in Michigan at the Big House in front of 106,000 fans. I was hooked.

    I've had a lot of catching up to do. Beckham, Figo, Zidane, Keane, and Del Piero were not exactly household names for my family. I have become addicted to the game... MLS, Champions League, Premiership... you name it. Hope there will be a lot more people like us in the years to come.
  9. bostonsoccermdl

    bostonsoccermdl Moderator
    Staff Member

    Apr 3, 2002
    Denver, CO
    Nice to hear. Glad to see you "wisened" up...

    Personally I didnt start playing until I was 15 and did pretty well (goalkeeper), but didnt really reach my physical peak until my college years..

    For some reason, strength, speed, coordination, everything, all got much better once I started going out partying wed.-sat. nights....

    true story..funny how these things work..
  10. Ferris

    Ferris New Member

    Mar 31, 2003
    Uphill both ways right? ;)

    I've played since I could walk, and I've always followed the US and Brasil nat teams (and caught club games when I could) but I haven't really been fanatic about the sport till about three years ago. Not sure what it was, maybe the WC qualifiers, but I've lost a lot of sleep since then trying to watch as many games as I can.
  11. usscouse

    usscouse BigSoccer Supporter

    May 3, 2002
    Orygun coast
    Too bloody right...you try it in snow...without shoes...!!!
    What a sport though. The game, not me.

    Just think if it wasn't for this great game, we wouldn't be staring at our computers passing out verbal abuse at each other. In fact there would be no need for computers, we're supporting a whole industry.
  12. copaantl98

    copaantl98 Member

    Apr 9, 2002
    I started watching soccer during World Cup 94. Then I sort of lost interest. Due to World Cup 98, I began to follow MLS closely. After that, I just stuck with soccer and it became my favorite surpassing football.
  13. giggs88

    giggs88 Member

    May 11, 2003
    football to soccer change is pretty unusual.
  14. copaantl98

    copaantl98 Member

    Apr 9, 2002
    I think the same thing. Not only is football second for me, it's a distant second.
  15. Ferris

    Ferris New Member

    Mar 31, 2003
    Yeah, we'd be spewing abuse at each other in person...which is simply a lot more work when you come right down to it.

    I'd rather watch just about any "normal" soccer game than a "normal" football game, except when the Browns are playing. I'd much rather play soccer too..
  16. giggs88

    giggs88 Member

    May 11, 2003
    there is no second for me. and ia m glad.
  17. RichardL

    RichardL BigSoccer Supporter

    May 2, 2001
    Reading FC
    Nat'l Team:
    I was there! I'd never seen a team score more than 6 in about 700 matches before.

    I had no interest at all in football at all until I was 11. Then a mate of a mine, not the most loyal of fans, who was a Man Utd supporter that week, was round my house and we watched the 81 cup final replay and cheered on Spurs as they were playing Man City. The following morning he decided to support Spurs rather than Man Utd and encouraged me too as well. I don't think I noticed them much until they were in the cup final again the following year. I really got into the world cup in 82 though and when I noticed that the latest scores would get flashed up on the screen during Grandstand (a 5 hour sports show every saturday on BBC1) I became rapidly addicted to following 'my' team's matches this way, fixated on the screen like a moth to a light-bulb. The 'discovery' of radio coverage deepened my obsession. It was a further 3 years until a familty friend took me to a game, as North London might as well have been on the moon it seemed to far away to me.
    During the 85-86 season the nearest league club to me, Reading, had a good season. Nobody at my school supported Reading. Nobody at all. It wasn't that they weren't worthy or anything, but at over 10 miles away Reading was seen as some far-off distant land. I used to look out for their scores, but at the tail end of that season (in which they set a football league record for winning the first 13 matches, causing a league division 3 match to get on the back page of the national papers for perhaps the first time ever) I decided to go along out of curiosity. I liked it a lot more than I thought I would and went to the rest of the home games that season.
    The following year I had a job and money for the first time, and the luck of the fixture computer meant that Reading & spurs were at home on alternate weekends, so I went to see both. Very quickly though I found that Reading's games, although clearly of a lower quality, just meant a lot more to me than Spurs matches did. Within 2 years I was following Reading home & away and just looking out for Spurs' results like I used to do with Reading. Two years later I wasn't even doing that. Now I look back on them like you might look back on an old girlfriend, just wondering what the hell you ever saw in her.
  18. DanRod78

    DanRod78 New Member

    Mar 30, 2003
    Kansas City, KS
    I don't know when I started playing soccer.
    I know I was in a team when I was 5 or 6 years old.

    Growing up in Venezuela, I never went to a professional game, but my dad played in a "elders soccer league" and many players there played for the Venezuelan national team.

    I played in teams until I was about 12. But my parents divorced and my dad couldn't take me to play anymore.

    After that I played futbolito (futsal) with friends.
    I came to the US, I was asked by many people to play in the HS team and the university but I couldn't because I had to work (I'll never know how good I actually am, how far I could have got)

    The first world cup I watched was Mexico 1986 (I was 8 years old) ever since I've watched all the world cups.
  19. BadReligion

    BadReligion New Member

    Dec 26, 2002
    Washington, DC
    I didn't get pubic hair until I was 21.
  20. Darknote2

    Darknote2 New Member

    Jun 2, 2003

    This post sounds almost like my own would have been.

    Myself, i played one season with my Jr. highschool team back in New Orleans when I was 12. Since I hadn't played the sport before I was in goal the whole season. I didn't go back, even after being asked to play for a select team by our teams British coach. I played Basketball, Football, Baseball and ran track. I playyed football in college as a Flanker and wideout. Upon leaving school I joined the military and spent several years overseas. Still it took me a while to like the sport. I can remember complaining that all there was to watch at times were these sisy games.
    Then I began to figure out that there was a point to there madness. When I returned to the states about 9 years had gone by. I couldn't find enough soccer anywhere. I moved from New Orleans to Southern California, and when the Galaxy season got underway I decided to checkout one of the games. That was 2002. I was leaving the stadium and found a flyer on my window for an Adult Soccer League. I checked it out the next weekend and have been hooked since. I'm now playing at a competitive level, at the ripe old age of 34. I have a son who is 2 and 1/2. He loves kicking the ball around and watching momy and daddy play soccer. I think he'll love the sport, but most of all he will at least get the chance to meet the sport at a young age. If he chooses another sport, to me that would be fine, but I can't imagine having as much pleasure playing something else.
  21. greenbill

    greenbill New Member

    Apr 30, 2003
    York, PA
    Wow! you really are a true fan of the game if you went home early to watch S.A. vs. Slovenia! :D

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