Soccer: More Than Just A Sport By Carlos Villlava

Hello, my name is Carlos Villalva and I’m currently enrolled to New York City College of Technology. Heading into my first year of college is a big step for me, to achieve my degree. I have been told that college is tough and an order to pass my class, I need to abandon the many things that I do for fun. This is so, I can stay on track and not play catch up. Leaving behind some fun activities behind, is no big deal for me, but the one thing I can never abandon is Soccer. This simple sport had played a big role on me, since the day my dad thought me, how to play. Since then, soccer is very important to me because it defines who I am. The following reason is that soccer is a way of life and it can give freedom to anyone. Soccer has personally had helped me gain my confidence and also taught me, many valuable life lessons. For many people out in the world, they can relate to how soccer became a part of their life as well. This sport is truly an amazing sport.

Many individuals, including myself calls it futbol, the beautiful game because the feeling one can get when playing or watching their favorite team play. A passionate person like me will feel sorrow if my team or favorite team loses in an important game and will feel joy and happiness if we win that important game. Fans of this sport, would wake up and search news of what they have miss every time they slept, and would make time to watch any game that was available on TV. I’ll make time every day I could to find a way to play without disturbing my studying time. For me, personally I have always found two huge differences between the feeling of watching the beautiful game on TV and from playing it. I remember when my favorite team, Real Madrid, lost in the semifinal for the third time in a row. I felt devastated for the entire day, thinking if they did one thing differently, the outcome would have been different. Seeing one of the star player’s in the Real Madrid brake down in tears was a feeling I would also understand last year. When my team lost 2-0 in the round of 16 of the playoffs. When the referee had whistled for full time, my team mate and myself broke down in tears in the inside, everything became quiet for me as I realized this was the last year for me to play for my High School. I had gave everything I could have for these colors, but ultimately I failed to give the one trophy my coach and the school craved for. My teammate, who had\s 2 more years left in high school came to gave me helping hand, by telling me “thank you for everything and it’s been an honor to play alongside me.” As I arrived home that day, I was sad and mad at myself because I felt I could have done better at the moment I had my chance but I missed, thus I was sad for the entire week. Winning is easy for any team to do, but getting back up after a defeat is hard to forget.

Everyday in our life, it is clear that not everybody has the privilege to have the freedom to do what you want, due to the restrictions they face. Although soccer has some restrictions when playing a league game, it won’t affect you from having the freedom of expression. People would think of soccer as an ordinary sport and nothing more. That is where they are wrong because it’s more than that, it’s an art. Everything about soccer is art from attacking to defending because like an artist, you create your own style of futbol that defines you. Giving a good pass, beating players and getting the ball back is where freedom comes to play, since it’s entirely up to you to do whatever you think is right. What makes soccer more remarkable is the fact there is another form of it, which is called freestyle. This form of soccer differs from playing soccer because you don’t need to play to freestyle. Freestyle is where you juggle the ball, while doing amazing tricks for a long period of time, without the ball dropping to the floor. You can do this with a friend or by yourself. What I consider true freedom is where you just have fun, no matter if you are not a good player or can’t freestyle well. Soccer is a way to escape from your problems or stress and just let loose by enjoying yourself. Personally, I play soccer to escape the restriction I get from my projects, school and at home. The freedom I receive helps to define the person who I am. Not everyone is gifted with the idea of self expression, but those who seek it often play soccer as means to achieve it.

Confidence, is the key to success. Many people in the world lack this characteristic for many reasons. Confidence is when a person is certain of their own ability or character to make a choice without hesitation. It is often mistaken for someone being too cocky or stubborn, because of the simple fact not many people have seen someone who is just confident. I remember a time when I was younger, where I lacked confidence greatly and it affect the way that I play. This is because I was shy, uncertain and most of all I lacked experience, not only on the soccer field, but in life as well. While playing as a youngest with the grown up, I was often criticized for not being as good, which ultimately hurt my self esteem, when I thought I play well. Gaining confidence is no easy accomplishment because it isn’t something you can just do overnight, but days of mentally and physically training. I learn this the hard way because that’s was my motivation as a child. I knew from as a child gaining self esteem, won’t just improve my game greatly, but influence me in my social and school life. Training by myself, in all my skills had help me believe that the choices I make while playing were the correct ones. While playing again with all my confidence, the grown ups were impressed of how much I mature, but the others would still criticize me. I would just ignore both the praise and criticism because if I listen to them I would either get over confident or start from square one. It had took me a long time to gain my confidence, but in the end it was all worth it. I have never felt any better. After putting myself into intense training everyday, it had help me gain the courage to join my school team.

Gaining something you want requires a lot of hard work, but you can lose something on a instance. Soccer has taught me, many very important life lessons, but the one I will never forget is that life is cruel and very tough. After finishing my first season with the team, I was always the first choice sub because of my flexibly and understanding of the beautiful game, but I was determine to push myself to become a starter. Training during the weekend, I felt that I was unstoppable because I improve everything in my self, all of my passes was accurate and I was easily able to beat a player left and right, without hesitation. What could have possibly gone wrong, with the form I had, but then came the slide tackle that I would never forget. Playing a friendly and fun game in the park with the folks, but one individual didn’t take this friendly as a friendly game because he wanted to win, really badly. As both of us try to get the ball, I was able to give a great cross to my teammate, but it ultimately came with a cost of him sliding tackling at my ankle. It was the first time this ever happened to me, spraining my ankle was the worst pain I ever felt and I was dumbfounded, sad and angry at him. Was that really necessary of him, I ask myself, while rolling around in pain. I first got up to play it off like nothing happen, but only a minute later I felt it that I could no longer play with all this pain in my right leg. It had took me about 2 week to heal, but it would take just another slide tackle on my other leg to put me back injury, for another 2 week. I had gain some weight and lost some of my technique, but I didn’t think it would happen again. That is where I was truly wrong, I pick up a serious sprained ankle again on my right leg, while playing with my friends. Just only a month away for my high school tryout and I was beaten up mentally and physically, all I could have think of is just to give up. Soccer or in life in general can be cruel and unfair, but that is no reason to give up.

The easiest thing a person can do is make up an excuse for something that doesn’t go their way. I was about to use my injury as an excuse for not joining the team, not having the ability I had, that took months to achieve to be lost because of all this freaking injury, clouded my judgment. What could I bring to my team, was all I could think of? With all the attacking player we had on the team, made it obvious to me. The one thing that could make me stand out from everyone was being a defender, an area the team lack greatly. A month was everything I need to retrain my position from a winger to a right-back. It wasn’t easy from switching from an attacking mentality to a defensive minded player, with my sprained ankle still affecting my playing style. Any serious tackle on my right leg could put me out for the season, but it was the only chance I had and I was willing to take that chance to join the team. My sprained ankle would still be with me, during the tryout session that I eventually pass. Only two members of the squad, had seen me wearing ankle support and told me to tell the coach, so I could sit out with the other injured player. Automatically, I responded “no, it’s not that serious, I could play”. They knew I was lying, but they didn’t stop me because they knew I could offer something to the team. I purposely hid my sprained ankle from everyone, so my teammate won’t hold back on me at practice and so the coach won’t drop me from first team because of my injuries. As the preseason games happen, I ultimately impressed my coach every minute I played, even though he had admitted, that I could use some improvement, since defending isn’t my specialty. I played every minute in the preseason game and at the end of it all, my coach told the entire team that I was the only one who improve during the break He also said I was the only one serious about the upcoming season. Those words meant so much to me, during that time because of all the challenging I had faced, the injury prone I had, playing with a sprained ankle and rehanging my position, just to accomplish my goal of being a first choice player. To top all that, I was a crucial and a key player on my team for the season, I played every game and every minute, giving everything I could for the team. Looking back right now, I have no regrets and I’m glad I didn’t give up or gave an excuse to prevent me from achieving my goal. My message to you is to never give up, when you face something that would bring you down, because at the end of journey, you would look back and be amazed of what handwork and dedication can bring you in life.

In conclusion, as a child, I had dream to play professional soccer because I thought that it would show how passionate you are. As I grew older, I realized you didn’t have to play professional to have a love for this sport. I’m grateful for my father to show me this sport and I would love for my future kid’s to play soccer as well. I want them to experience what I had felt and the important life lessons it showed me. High School isn’t going to be where I hang up my cleats, because I plan to join the City Tech soccer team and try with all my effort to win a trophy. Currently, I’m trying to become an architect and I dream of constructing an iconic soccer stadium for the USA national soccer team like, how Mexico has the Estadio Azteca and Real Madrid has the Santiago Bernabeu. I want to build a stadium where I can hear the happiness, sadness and admiration of the fan. As the World Cup appears more and more on condone country, who are not prepared for it, due to the lack of stadiums or building. It would be wise for me to get hired as an architect by FIFA to construct a stadium, which get me closer to my dream. For me, I always wanted to give something back to soccer, like how it has given me so much.

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