The top 5 reasons the Mayor loves soccer

I am a sports fan. There is something about team sports that has always enthralled me. My first love is football, because growing up my dad and I never missed watching Monday Night Football together. Now, I never miss watching a Bronco game and I even play in two fantasy football leagues. Recently, however, I’ve developed a new love.

Conor Casey takes a free shot on goal after a foul in the season home opener against the Chicago Fire. This match ended in a 2-2 tie. Photo by Ryan Schlaefer

For several years now, my husband and I have been Rapids season ticket holders. The Rapids are Denver’s professional soccer team. The popularity of the sport on a professional level has been growing, with Major League Soccer expanding to include a team in Philadelphia this year and teams in Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, British Columbia in 2011.  

The game of soccer use to bother me; I didn’t like any sporting event that could end in a tie. However, now that I’ve taken the time to get to know the game, the tie isn’t so bad. Understanding the nuances of a match is an important step in getting to know the game of soccer. And what a beautiful game it is. So without further ado, here are the top five reasons I love soccer.

1.   No commercial interruptions. That’s right, a soccer match consists of two uninterrupted 45-minute halves, making soccer virtually commercial free. With the exception of half time, play is never stopped except for foul or injury. It’s 90 minutes of nonstop action.

2. The players are true athletes. Ask a football player or baseball player to run up and down 100-yard field for 45 minutes straight and it would never happen. Soccer players are in amazing shape and have the legs to prove it.

3. The build up. It’s true that a soccer match can end in a tie. It doesn’t happen often, but it does happen. However, the fact soccer is a low scoring game makes it much more exciting. There may not be fights like in hockey, but when a striker is running with the ball straight at the goal, it’s breathtaking. A shot on goal is the accumulation of minute upon minute of pure tension

Earls attempt to save a ball from going out of bounds in the Colorado Rapids 1-0 win against the Seattle Sounders on Memorial Day weekend 2010. Photo by Ryan Schlaefer

4.   The beauty. Soccer is a truly beautiful game. Yes, there is pushing and shoving and flopping, but watching a player control the ball, pass the ball, receive a pass, jump to head a ball – it’s all a sort of soccer poetry, or at times, soccer ballet. Look, I don’t want to get all romantic and silly, but soccer really does have a rhythm and flow unlike other team sports.

5. World Cup. They don’t call soccer “the world’s game” for nothing. While professional soccer is still working to gain a foothold in the United States, it is the most favorite sport of nearly ever other country on the planet. FIFA World Cup starts on June 11, 2010. The worldwide tournament was first played in 1930, and it now occurs every four years. Thirty-two national teams from around the globe compete in a month long competition for the right to call their team the best in the world. It’s the best time to be a soccer fan.

So there you have it, the top 5 reasons why I love soccer. If you haven’t already, I hope you’ll give professional soccer a try. If you are interested in purchasing tickets to a Rapids match at Dick’s Sporting Goods Field, visit www.coloradorapids.com. To find a listing of World Cup matches, visit www.fifa.com/worldcup/.

Article also appearing in the Berthoud Weekly Surveyor.

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