I'm one of those strange Americans who probably should have been born in Europe or Brazil. I'd probably hate the food, but I would fit in better in places where people have an unhealthy love of soccer.
I just love the sport. I've played most of my life. There, I said it.
I've seen the sport grow at the grassroots and professional level in the United States during the last 20 years -- from a time U.S. National Team games were only shown on Univision to today, where the team gets ESPN, ABC and New York Times primetime play.
The national team, which was the kicking boy of international soccer for decades, recently beat the No. 1 team in the world and almost did the same to Brazil, a soccer powerhouse.
With a World Cup 338 days away (but who's counting?), I've dusted off my Adidas cleats and headed out to the soccer grounds again. I've been playing in pick-up games every Sunday for the last month, and I join a team on Saturday to begin a new adult league season.
I'd spent five years here without playing in one game, but then, to my surprise, I learned the Crossroads has an 18-team adult league. My wife and I spotted a crowded soccer field one Sunday and decided to veer into the parking lot. We were lucky enough to catch bits of the championship game.
From Cuero to Yoakum and Port Lavaca, other crazy Americans like me will dust the cleats off again this weekend to compete in this league's new season. Victoria, I'm told, has nine teams in the league.
So, I got to thinking: Is soccer big in the Crossroads? Areas across the United States that are rich in ethnic diversity tend to have a strong soccer contingency. This has helped Major League Soccer, the country's top-tier pro league, to expand to 16 teams with two more on the way in 2011.
I'm beginning work on a story that features our area adult league. I'll also look at area soccer participation at all levels.
What are your thoughts? Is soccer big in the Crossroads? Ever catch an adult league game?
Thanks for your input.
Gabe Semenza / Advocate public service editor and Pele wannabee
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