How I fell in Love with the Beautiful Game

Almost everyone I know grew up playing soccer. Whether that be because it’s the easiest for little kids to play or because it’s the earliest sport available for the youngest age groups, I’m not sure. But most people, if you ask them, probably played at one point in their life or the other.

I guess I was one of the few smart enough to stick it out until now though.

I started playing when I was four years old, and seventeen years later it still has not lost the magic. For someone who has a habit of getting really into something for a short period of time and then moving on, soccer has always been that one constant thing in my life.

I’ve taken my experience in soccer to be a bit of a metaphor for my life. When I was young, I was one of the best players out there, scoring 2-3 goals a game, a veritable Sergio Kun Agüero of the YMCA Under-10 division. My parents, working like my sports agents, ensuring I always got the blue Gatorade, because orange was for those lower division players over at the West YMCA.

But then, I was forced to evolve when I reached high school.

I went from Man City striker to a youth player at Chelsea. No playing time and I had to switch my position to central defense because I wasn’t as flair as the rest. It worked that way academically as well, as the struggles set in much more than it did coming from the general ease elementary and middle school provided.

Morphing into some Gary Cahill type player, where you think he’s good sometimes, but most of the times he just makes dumb mistakes and gets hit in the face. Some say I just never recovered from the running face first into the tree incident of ’08, but the honest truth is I was just never quite good enough for the top division.

Now, I ply my trade in the MLS of the Wichita soccer circuit. Indoor. Just pining for those glory days of when I scored 5 at the hallowed Stryker ground at age 11.

A career in punditry it seems is the new path now though, as the Live in 5 and TitleRace train moves on.

But soccer still remains. At the core. And in my heart.


Colin Johnson