This is my story how I became a die hard soccer fan. I encourage all who follow RSL Soapbox, Real Salt lake, or whoever your team is to share your story with all of us.
I love soccer. More than any other sport. The World Cup is the biggest sporting event I look forward to. Where did my passion for soccer begin?
It started when my Son was 6 years old and out of nowhere my wife tells me she signed him up for Rec soccer. I looked at her like she was crazy and asked her why? My boy was going to play football and baseball and basketball. Not soccer! She said all the kids are playing it. I said if he wants to, OK . He wanted to so off we went to watch him "practice" with a rec league. And then his first game of "bunch ball". My Son is a natural athlete. He tried to get the ball out of the pack and do something. But you know how that goes, Where the ball goes, every player on the field goes. Watching that for 3 years was difficult. He finally got on a rec team that had a coach who actually taught the game. After 1 year, that coach wanted to put together a competition team and asked my Son to play. My Son was eager and asked us if he could. I knew the difference between rec and comp having played little league baseball when I was a kid. The object was now to win and develop the skills rather than all the kids play and have fun.
So the new era of comp soccer began. I knew that if I was going to support my Son, I better learn the game and how it was played. So I watched this coach teach them positions, triangles, possession,etc. I asked questions. I watched our team get clobbered by the elite teams in tournaments over the years. My Son eventually played on elite teams and were one of the best teams in the state. I evolved from being a a soccer dummy to be assistant coaches, team managers, and became the "Soccer Dad".
During that time, my youngest, my Daughter wanted to play and she went through the Rec to Comp path. We were virtually doing soccer 5-6 days a week between the 2 of them. Both of them playing Comp, and tournaments in and out of state, and High school. My Daughter got a college scholarship from playing soccer. And along the way I was loving every minute of it. Not just because my kids were involved, but I understood why this sport is the most popular sport in the world.
I started to attend the Utah Blitz games with my 2 kids. Became friends with Adolfo Ovalle because he coached my Daughter. Then it was announced in 2005 that were have been awarded an MLS franchise. I did not think Salt Lake would get the attendance to make it work. I mean, if we got 3000 at a Blitz game, that was a great crowd. Where are the other 7000-8000 more fans that we will need going to come from? I bought 2 season tickets for the first year and every year except one year due to a catastrophic event. The success of RSL and the love of the game has made me a die hard and passionate fan to this day.
My 2 kids are grown and married with their own children now. And they intend to raise them as soccer players. My grown children still play the game. I go watch them when I can. I never miss an RSL game and still a lifelong STH. My Son as well.
Who would have thought that the crazy idea my wife had to sign up my 6 year old Son to play rec soccer would be the turning point in my life to develop a passion for the greatest sport in the world. I knew there was a reason why I loved that girl enough to marry her.