A New Team

Soccer is fun, I think we can all agree on this. But throughout my illustrious soccer career team dynamics have been a thorny issue. Soccer is the kind of sport that attracts a wide variety of personalities, which is not always a good thing.

In high school, I rarely got along with more than 1 or 2 people on a team, at school and on my club team. Soccer was the sport for the “cool” girls, a group I was very clearly not a part of. Back then, I didn’t want to be liked by the team, I was on the field to play soccer, defend the goal, and get the hell out of there.

When I met my college teammates, I was stunned to find them all to be intelligent, well-adjusted people that wanted to socialize with me and interact in friendly ways as well as play sports. Who were these alien “soccer girls” who had brains as well as cleats? And why was I invited to all their parties? My cynical self warmed to the idea that not all soccer players are horrible bitches, and quickly joined the fun.

Then coaching began, and while I loved leading a team of gregarious high school girls, there was part of me that just wanted to get in the mix. Along came my first co-ed soccer experience in nearly twenty years. On the roster were:
-a Senior VP of Telemundo
-a New York-born son of a shipping magnate
-a racing yacht crew member
-a corporate financier and his girlfriend
-me
Sweet.

We rocked. We had fun. We lost many a game due to poor attendance =). Everyone else drove a Mercedes or a BMW to practice, and I rolled up in my rusted minivan.

While I traveled, I knocked the ball around a few times, but never really got to play. Then, once I finally settled in NYC i decided it was time to try my hand at the co-ed soccer.

ZogSports, the largest co-ed league in the city, was the first to get my money, and in August I dug my cleats out for my first full-field game since 2004. It was great to get back in the game, and running around on a gigantic pitch certainly helped whip me back into shape, but something was missing. Most of the team hadn’t played soccer before and didn’t really ‘get it.’ There were some big male egos and a lot of yelling at the refs. I’m sorry, but if you’re a good player yelling about it doesn’t help. Pushing, shoving and belittling the other team from the sidelines doesn’t compensate for an embarrassing lack of skill–all this in a league that’s designed to benefit *charities.* Yes, I do catch the irony. Then, if that weren’t enough, nobody really wanted to socialize after the games, and we hardly ever hung out as a team. Lame.

So when an old college teammate called me up on a Friday afternoon and asked me to moonlight in another Brooklyn league to fill the female quotient, I zipped over to McCarren Park in a hurry. It was really the logo that hooked me, apart from the friendliness of the team, the 7-a-side format, and the proximity to M’s apt. A cheeky take on the timeless “I [heart] NY”, I desperately wanted a t-shirt that said “I [soccer] NY.”

And so I signed up. Man, it feels good to have a new team.

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