Soccer From a Basketball Perspective

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Soccer is undoubtedly the number one sport in the world; their fans are the epitome of the word “fanatic.” It is a team sport, in which individual skill is important but not necessarily needed for domination. It is also a fairly inexpensive sport to play, which allows for all interested to try; there are stories of kids in poor Brazilian neighborhoods playing soccer with rocks or other poorly made round objects, ranging from socks to rubber bands.

Not only am I basketball coach, but I am also a player (extra points to you if you caught that early 90’s television allusion, eternalized by the late great Notorious BIG in one of his lyrics.) Watching soccer, I see so many similarities with basketball. I am falling in love with this sport with each tournament I watch.

Below are some observations:

-spacing is important; finding the open space leads to scoring opportunities
-flopping is universal
-fast breaks are exciting, especially when players are slashing to the ball; quick decisions (reactions) facilitate the intensity
-defense is essential; the goal keeper often is the most athletic player, stretching, diving, jumping to defend the goal
-since most games are relatively low scoring, many games often end in a 0-0 tie, scoring opportunities make all in attendance (or watching on the television, as I am) anxious and excited
-soccer fans are crazy passionate about their team, their country
-their footwork is beyond impressive; the way they handle the ball with their feet (and sometimes head) bewilders and amazes
-they attack the middle of the various zones and then stretch to the sides, only to return to the middle, which is exactly the way to beat any zone
-referees make terrible calls universally; one cannot blame them because they are human and make mistakes, which are then scrutinized relentlessly via replays–can you imagine if that was the case with our lives…no thank you
-good passing beats any defense; much of these games look like multiple triangle offenses are being played simultaneously
-European women and men have impeccable fashion sense
-tattoos and different ways (i.e. hair styles) to express one’s individuality are ever present

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