Take a moment to think about the most popular sport in the world. What comes to mind? Maybe it is football, or rugby, or maybe even baseball. Hockey, anyone? You might (or might not) be surprised to learn that the real winner of that “contest” is actually soccer.
Not convinced yet? I understand that for a lot of Americans, we do not really get it. It never really kicked off (pun intended) here like it has in other parts of the world, as you can read about here: https://yoursoccerhome.com/the-reason-soccer-is-so-popular-except-in-the-us/. However, I think it has real potential here, so I want to discuss how we can play it and still stay safe.
Soccer is a High Impact Sport
Now, I know that a common misperception when it comes to this activity is that it is not as “intense” as other sports. However, this is simply not the case. In particular, there is a lot of stress on the players’ knees and other joints. This is because of how much they are running and skidding on the ground.
Of course, all of this action means that there need to be precautions taken to help prevent some of the serious injuries that can occur. Now, that is certainly not unique to this sport. However, that does not mean that we should not take it seriously!
Obviously, most players wear padding. However, some of us who play it recreationally end up not wearing the proper equipment. This means that playing on a field that has proper padding is incredibly important. How does that work?
Well, there are a few ways that professionals go about solving this problem. However, let us think about it on a more local level, instead. When organizing soccer games as a hobby, what can we do?
Something that some leagues do is fundraise to help all players be able to purchase their own knee pads and other protective gear. However, this is not always practical, and sometimes that would simply end up costing too much. More often than not, the answer lies in location.
It can be very painful to fall on natural grass and dirt. Conditions can also get hazardous depending on how much rain there has been lately – muddy fields are far from optimal. That might be why some leagues opt for an artificial turf soccer field, which can usually be located locally. If not, though, it might be worth travelling to.
Artificial grass is less difficult to take care of, for one thing. So, if everyone is teaming up to keep things clean and maintained, it will be less overall labor. Most importantly, though, turf can help to protect the players. Falls on it are typically less severe than the same falls on hard ground.
Soccer is Worth Paying Attention to in Our Communities
I think it is a shame that there are not more local teams. I think this could easily be changed if we started to give this sport the attention that it deserves. If you have been on the fence about trying to rally a group to play it recreationally, even just on the weekends, go for it!
In the end, it will probably be worth it. After all, it is a great way to bring people in the community together. Additionally, it is typically a smaller learning curve than some other sports like rugby or cricket, or even baseball. Kicking a ball around is fun for almost everyone, even those who are not super athletic!
Maybe you are not convinced yet. I understand. Perhaps seeing the perspective of other fans from across the world will help. Here is a blog post that is like that, if you would enjoy reading further on this. You may also be wondering how this relates to turf.
Well, there are still some sports fields that are not made of this, but instead natural grass. This is usually a bad idea, for the reasons I listed above and more. Increasing awareness for soccer might just help push some stadiums and fields over the edge to make the switch. It can be costly, but with more games happening to bring in revenue, it can pay for itself.
So, these are just a few things to think about for your next town hall or similar engagement. Even some churches create their own groups to play games like soccer! If there is not a suitable field to play in nearby, consider trying to fundraise to create your own. When the whole community pitches in, affording turf will not be that big of a challenge.
It can be difficult to bring people together these days, but I find that sports are often a fan favorite method of aiding that process along. Give it a try!