The Beautiful Game Back in The Day

Love Soccer

Love Soccer

I grew up in a time and place that was quite unique. I played soccer and swam on the neighborhood summer swim team. Forty years ago. It was very normal. I had no idea that literally the year my family moved to this unique place, Title IX was passed. It didn’t seem to matter. Boys and girls, black or white or other races were all just kids. We were on teams and in school and we were not told we couldn’t do any of it for any reason. I had no idea how rare it all was. I had no idea that there were huge areas of the country that did not offer soccer as a sport option, or if they did, did not offer soccer as a sport for girls back at that time.

In high school, I played on the Girls Varsity Soccer team, which I believe had only started up the year or two before I got there. I would later learn that one of my former neighborhood team teammates had lobbied hard to make high school soccer for girls a reality at my school. (Thank you, Jessie!) Our coach was a Cuban American woman, who was also my Spanish teacher.  There was no Girls Junior Varsity team back then. I don’t even know when that started in our county. I was in college by then or older perhaps.

So, I was a soccer player and soccer fan in the U.S. a long time ago. We had a very successful Boys Varsity Soccer Team at the time. One young man was drafted to play in the North American Soccer League (NASL), the U.S. professional league, right out of high school. He played for the New York Cosmos, which was a very good team.  It was very exciting to think that someone we knew from our school was playing professionally with some of the top names in the sport.

Today I learned that one of THE legends of the game back then died. Johan Cruyff. He was Dutch, but he played in the U.S. for another NASL team, the Washington Diplomats, for a time. I can’t believe how hearing of his passing has brought to mind this flood of my personal soccer memories and with them, gratitude. I got to see that guy play. And, while the details are fuzzy and honestly irrelevant, I’m happy to have had the honor. But, I’m even more grateful that I was able to play.

Soccer Patches

Soccer Patches

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6 thoughts on “The Beautiful Game Back in The Day

  1. Awww, I love this. Reading your soccer memories brought all mine to the surface today too. I remember my little blue and orange soccer jersey… eating orange slices at halftime… good times indeed. Great blog today sis!

  2. Indeed, what a magical time: Columbia, youth soccer and Title IX. We were the beneficiaries of so many connecting and combining influences. And, yes, I did start the first public school girls soccer team in Maryland, back in 1977! We had two games that year — both far, far away; our coach was a lech and our team was brand new in every way. You came along the next year with a lovely-lovely-lovely coach change and a growing number of other hoco girls soccer teams.

    That’s so cute that you still have your uniform from SAC.

    Happy Easter!

  3. Ah the Memories. Played for a Catholic HS. The only reason i was allowed on the field with my limited skills was the team was a mix of international and East Coast Prep school transplants in Houston. Played other local private prep schools around the city. Late December match against our hated rivals on their field. A frozen field on the edge of open land in a freezing drizzle with wind chills in the teens. Long before Under Armor Dri Fit. Miserable. The way the game should be played. 1981 i got to see the Cosmos play the Houston Hurricane in the Astrodome.
    Finally found my club. Detroit City FC. At long last I can be the Soccer Ultra that was my destiny those many years ago.

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