Saturday, March 05, 2011

A Postcard From Spain

Guest Contributor David Fox

Hello from Spain du Nord!

Hello du Nord!

I play soccer for William Jewell College in Kansas City. We are an NAIA school which means more than half the teams we play are 60-80% international. This past season we had our best year yet, and made it all the way to the Semifinals in the national tournament where we played and watched teams with all different types of styles comprised of players from all over the world.

The view from my room's window

The second semester of my junior year I left for Madrid and I’ve been studying and playing soccer here for the past 2 months or so. Soccer has been a big part of my experience so far, and I’ve attended a couple of La Liga games as well as regularly playing in a organized pickup league against players with skill levels that vary just as much as the ages.


At an Athletico Madrid game

I’ve befriended some other guys in my program who play college ball in the LA area. Together we have been competing against these teams that we meet at Canal Park. I’ve always been a huge fan and believer in pick up soccer. I grew up in Salina, Kansas (Central Kansas) and never was able to find a club team that I could consistently rely on for practices or games so instead I played tons of pick up and eventually found a few Mexican leagues that I played for.

Pictures from my travels in Spain

I’ve spent my summers in college playing in another summer league as well as playing in a few pickup games every week. I have grown accustomed to the variety of quality as well as the typical style that most pickup games have, but this postcard isn’t so much about the aspects or quality of soccer in the States. Rather, it’s about how soccer is played in Madrid.

bilbao y san sebastian
Pictures from my travels in Spain

The games of pickup soccer here are much more developed than what I initially expected. People understand their place on the team and they recognize the skill level they are at compared with what the competition is. I’ve played with numerous adults here that obviously aren’t as fit or quick as they used to be but rather than trying to compensate for this by trying to do some ridiculous move to get around a player, they play the ball into space or find a players feet.

Love the high nets around the field

The same goes with players my age who just simply aren’t as skilled as the majority. You don’t see them try three stepovers in a row resulting in an awkward cross. Instead, they will actually try combining with you for a give and go, or even elect to keep possession instead of constantly trying to ram the ball down the throat of the other team. Getting used to playing with players who actually have spent their entire lives watching soccer and who understand the nuisances of the game has been refreshing to say the least.

I play a lot of pickup here

This past weekend I had signed up to play Sunday night at 10 after hearing that it was the most competitive time to play. I show up with a few other guys in my program who play at Claremont in LA and I’m pleasantly surprised to find that I have some serious competition tonight. We’ve got about 4 or 5 players from Stanford who are warming up in one corner and I recognize numerous Spanish ballers from previous weekends.

If you closely you can spot a soccer goal in the sand

The teams are quickly divided and play begins and my team waits on the sidelines as we watch the other two teams battle it out for the right to stay on the field. After about 5 minutes of watching I can already tell that tonight is going to be special.

Another pickup spot

This is Madrid pick up, and the teams are organized, skilled, and competitive. The outside backs are overlapping the wingers, forwards are laying the ball back to the CM’s and one guy already hit a bomb from about 25 out, upper ninety. Nothing like sweet competition to get your blood pumping. Fast forward 2 hours, my lip is fat thanks to some asshole’s elbow, my knee is throbbing and we barely finished with a .500 record but I am happy. These are the games you grow from, and when I am walking home under the streetlights I can’t help but smile as I look forward to another weekends worth of soccer.

Peace and futbol!

0 Graham Fox 0 Email 0 Twitter 0 You can reach David here 0


Anonymous Joe the curmudgeon said...

Very cool. Thanks for shring!!

11:57 PM  
Anonymous Bill_Urban said...

Wow, a holier-than-thou Anonymous douche. Perhaps you might have donated the money you spent procuring internet service to compose your douche post to those starving unfortunates you mentioned. Self-centered and hypocritical. Unfortunate. But then you do have your highly refined geographical ability going for you. Which is nice.

Cheers for the read, David, and good luck next weekend.

7:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a beautiful piece. This is the kind of spirit contributors should use when submitting stories, on any footie site. Top marks! (Can you say, "Pelada?")

More, please.

10:06 AM  
Blogger brucio said...

The comment that Bill Urban refers to in his comment above has been deleted by me, as will all comments by the anonymous person who keeps posting here in hopes of getting a rise out of people. I feel sorry for you whoever you are. You should drop me an email with your real name in it we can settle this once and for all.

12:05 PM  
Blogger Jenna Fox Photography said...

YAY David! Glad you are livin it up in Spain, keep it real man and enjoy every moment (although it sounds like you already are!). See ya on the flipside.

7:09 PM  

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