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Friday, February 25

The following is part of a research paper written by MCSC and Idabel High School alumnus Miguel Guerrero.

                               The Wonderful World of Soccer

Imagine standing on a field with a ball directly in front of you. Standing ten yards from you is a towering, six-foot giant guarding an eight yard long by eight feet tall goal. The score board reads 0-1 with your team being down and there are only minutes left in the game. This could be your last chance to tie things up. You look around and see that 90,000 people are watching and you know that over millions are watching worldwide. As you take a deep breath and find a spot to shoot the ball to, you think of all the possible outcomes that could happen in the next few seconds. You could kick the ball a little too hard and send it flying into the stands; you may kick it too soft and have the goalie block it. Either way, you lose the game. But maybe, just maybe, you find yourself sinking that piece of inflated leather into the back of the net. If that’s the case, then prepare for the glory that follows. The stadium will erupt with chants of your name, songs will be written about you, your tale will be passed on from generation to generation, and you may even get your own movie. Imagine that, your face on movie screens all over the world.

While this scenario may seem unrealistic and ludicrous, in the game of soccer, anything can happen. An entire city may grow apart for 90 minutes because its two rival soccer teams are playing against each other and the fans are divided. An entire nation that was once divided may once more by united when its national soccer team does what was thought to be the impossible. Indeed, soccer is much more than just a game to many. To some, it is a lifestyle. To others, it is a world, a wonderful world of soccer.

While England is accredited with creating the modern game, many civilizations before it played a game similar to soccer. For instance, the Chinese played a game called Cuju in the 2nd century B.C. It involved kicking a leather ball through a piece of silk cloth. Another culture to play a form of soccer were the Mesoamericans, whose version of the game involved trying to put a rubber ball into a basket strapped to a wall. Even the Greek and Roman empires played Pheninda, a combination of soccer and rugby that was popular among the imperial armies. As the years went by, the game reached European territory and was soon adopted by townspeople, who played mob soccer. Mob soccer was a very dangerous game, there were no rules and players could use whatever to try and knock a ball to a certain landmark. There were usually some casualties. In fact, in 1314 Nicholas de Farndone, the mayor of London at the time, banned the game altogether. His main reason for the ban was the there was “great noise in the city caused by hustling over large footballs.” 

 It was the first time the game had been referred to as “football.” Even with the ban, the game grew in popularity and soon there were defined teams, positions, refs and coaches. Eventually the idea of having organized tournaments soon sprang up.

If a soccer tournament were to be played, however, there would need to one governing body with a universal set of rules. Half the problem was solved when, on October 26, 1863, the Football Association was created. It would serve as the major governing body of soccer until the creation of the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA). The dilemma with the rules was fixed when Cobb Morely developed the first set of universal rules for the game; which were accepted by the F.A. on December 8, 1863. Eventually more rules were added and modified and the sport became what it is today. On May 12, 1904, the FIFA was created and it soon joined the F.A. and other associations as a member of the International Football Association Board. The FIFA would end up being responsible for creating one of the most prestigious events in the world of sports, the World Cup.

Before 1930, the Olympics were the only international soccer tournament. While amateur players were allowed to play, professional players were exhibited from the tournament and thus, a country could not send out its best talent. By this time, the FIFA had become the top organization in football so the issue was brought before them. They promised to create a tournament that would allow for countries to use their professional, and best, players. The tournament would be called the Jules Rimet Cup, in honor of one of the most famous presidents of the FIFA. The trophy and grand prize of the tournament was named the Jules Rimet Cup. It would carry that name until 1970, when the Brazilian team won the trophy a record third time, thus it kept the trophy. The Jules Rimet Cup was replaced by the modern-day FIFA World Cup and the tournament was renamed the World Cup. The first tournament was held in 1930 in Uruguay. The tournaments that followed were four years apart, with the 1942 and 1946 tournaments being cancelled due to World War 2. The World Cup has been played in a slew of countries, ranging from Japan to the U.S.A. In 2010, South Africa will make history by becoming the first African country to host the tournament.

Soccer has become a sport played and viewed by people all over the world. There are many different professional teams as well, with some being located in Mexico, U.S.A., Italy, France, Brazil, and even Canada. To some die-hard fans, a soccer game has a deeper meaning than just 90-minutes of kicking a ball around. In Spain, for instance, whenever cross-town rivals FC Barcelona and Real Club Deportivo Espanol meet in El Clasico, it is almost as if the Spanish Civil war is being reenacted. There is war like violence both on and off the field. It has gotten so bad; the fans are now considered “armies.” Soccer games may unfortunately lead to death sometimes. For example, on May 29, 1985, 39 fans were killed at the Heysel Stadium in Brussels, Belgium after a riot resulted in one of the walls collapsing. Also, on March 10, 1987, 20 people were killed in Tripoli, Libya after knife-wielding ruffians caused for them to stampede and collapse a wall, trapping many. However, there are some moments in the world of soccer that are just priceless. When the Ivory Coast national soccer team qualified for its first ever World Cup, the separate factions that divide the nation forgot their differences for one moment and rejoiced as one. One could even say that the qualification did more to stop the civil war than any politician could have done.

The game of soccer has truly changed and evolved over the ages. One can only think of what new rules and ideas lie in store for the game in the years to come. Even if no changes are made, the game is still majestic the way it is. It doesn’t matter how rich or poor one is. On the field, there is no such thing as social status. When one is on the field, the only colors that matter are the colors of the uniforms. No one cares if it’s a male or female foot striking the ball, as long as they’re accurate. One doesn’t even need a goal; any target will do just fine. That’s the thing about soccer, it’s one of the simplest and yet most powerful game one may ever play.

Tuesday, February 9
Why The Change To Annual?

Many people have questioned the reasoning behind the board's recent decision to transform the MCSC from a bi-annual to an annual association.

I replied to an email yesterday from the director of another youth soccer association in the region who's board are also considering changing from a twice yearly to yearly organization.  He was interested in how we had arrived at our decision

Although citing the poor economy and competing sports activities as contributing factors, it was the lack of parental involvement and poor volunteerism which was the premier reason behind the board's decision.

Without help, the regular core of volunteers who have so generously donated their time year after year could no longer maintain the club in its current form.

The board was split on when to hold the new annual season. In the end a majority vote of 3-4 decided to compete against softball & baseball in the spring over youth football, basketball, cross country & school band activities in the fall. These were tough choices for the committee that were not arrived at easily.

Now that these decisions have been made, I strongly encourage all parents to play a more active part in the seasons ahead. Volunteering your time in some manner will help to ensure that the MCSC will continue into 2011 and for years to come.

Ian Gilmore

President, MCSC

Wednesday, October 14
Supporting Your Club

I recently received an email from one of our terrific coaches inquiring about club rules concerning parents bringing their own snacks and drinks to the games on Saturday's.

The coach had been told that the MCSC did not allow parents to do this, that they had to purchase all refreshments from the concession stand.

I was totally unaware that any of our members thought that this was club policy.

Here is a portion of my reply:

The MCSC has never directed coaches not to bring snacks and drinks for their players, so I am not sure where the previous coach obtained this information.

All members should realize though that in the absence of weekly admission fees, the concession stand is the main source of revenue for the club. 

Without the patronage of the MCSC's members and other visitors, that source of revenue would be lost, and with it the ability of the club to continue both operating in its current manner as well as plan for the future.

While encouraging the club's coaches to explain to their teams the importance of frequenting the concession stand, the MCSC Board Of Directors does not have the authority to forbid teams from providing their own refreshments.

Hopefully the majority of parents realize that each purchase they make at the concession stand will help to enable their children to continue playing soccer. 

I would like to think that most of our members realize that.

Ian Gilmore

MCSC President.


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