21 April 2011

No More Soccer For Me (Part 2)

"So what goals did I achieve? well to you, dear reader, they are probably not that special...to me they are akin to scoring a winning goal in an FA Cup final!"

In my previous blog I described the event leading up to me retiring from playing my favourite sport - Football, or soccer as it is also known as.

I mentioned in it that I had achieved all the goals that I set out to do. I even scored a few goals too. Not bad for a defender who occasionally played in midfield!!

So what goals did I achieve? well to you, dear reader, they are probably not that special. However, to me they are akin to scoring the winning goal in an FA Cup final! So here goes...

Winning trophies - I have won a number of 5 a side and indoor football trophies. Interestingly, in a work mixed football team we decided to put one of our female players in goal (she actually volunteered). That meant we had more males in the outfield. Consequently we never lost a game and were champs three years running. No other team tried to copy us which surprised me.

In the long form of the game I have won two league titles, achieved a couple of promotions, been runners up in a cup competition and only once felt the pain of relegation. One of the league titles was won in England and one in Sydney, Australia. When the English one was won my team played 32 games won 28 drew 2 and lost 2, scoring 103 goals and conceding just 32. Actually we went something like 7 games without conceding a goal which was extremely rare in the Sunday Leagues I played in.

The Australian one was more impressive. We played 18 won 17 and lost 1. It was our second game of the season and we lost 1-0 to a dodgy penalty, if my memory serves me correct. After that game we were unstoppable. Interestingly, the reason for our success in winning both titles was down to teamwork rather than any individual ability.

I had two personal goals that I always wanted to achieve. One was to become player of the year, and the other was to score a goal direct from a corner. I finally was elected player of the year for my Australian football team in what was, at the time, their most successful season ever. I knew I had played well, but to win this award, as voted by my co-players, meant so much to me. I only won it once but came close on a few other occasions.

I had always wanted to score a goal from a corner when I saw my best friend Andy do it twice in a minute in a school game. Andy was a skillful midfielder who could do the unusual. Me? I was the more industrious type of player. Well it took me more than 20 years to score direct from a corner. I have to admit that on occasions I had tried to do this but when the right game came along I knew I would score it! I took the corner and saw it sail over the goalkeepers head. I muttered under my breath "don't catch it!" and fortunately for me he didn't!!

One of the strangest events happened in England when I was a teenager. I dreamt that I would score a goal in the morning. In my dream a good friend of mine was going to play in goal. The game started and we were 2-1 down. I anticipated a back pass and got the ball and put it through the legs of the goalie, my friend! I was ecstatic. It was also my birthday that day as well!!

I have scored a few goals too. Probably my best one was a bullet header in a game in England. For once I connected well with it! My most important goal was another header in a cup tournament that knocked out a team 3 divisions higher than my team.

I have also had the pleasure to play against a few ex-professional players and at least 2 ex-international players too. I feel that I held my own against them quite well. Mind you, in their heyday some of these opponents would have been very good players!

So there you have my most self indulgent blog ever! For me its therapeutic as I close the door on my long football career and move on to the next big thing. I hope you enjoyed learning a little about myself as well.

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