Saturday, November 27, 2010

Life Changes

One of my greatest moments in soccer occurred in the spring of 2008. I was the captain of my club soccer team, Rampage F.C., and we were invited to participate in one of the biggest college showcase tournaments in Southern California known as the Surf Cup. As captain of the team, my coach continuously required perfection and leadership which put a lot of stress on my shoulders. In order to prepare the team, my co-captain and I called extra practices for our team every Friday night, missing nearly all our high school football games. It really upset a lot of players, including myself, that we missed out on a lot of our high school experiences.
However, hard work does pay off. By the end of the tournament we became the Surf Cup champions. Woohoo!! It was definitely a tough bracket playing teams from all over including Canada, Washington, Michigan, etc. With this championship under our belts, a lot of my teammates started to be looked at by many college coaches. I have two teammates attending Cal State Northridge, a Division 1 soccer school. As for myself, I was scouted by a school named Vassar all the way out in the east coast. I went to visit the coach for a second time and received a private tour of the school. Unfortunately, I decided against it because the school just wasn’t for me. I do not regret my decision to attend Long Beach but I continuously wonder how my life would have changed if I had chosen to attend Vassar instead.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Catch me if you can!

It is definitely a sight to attend your first futbol game inside a major stadium. I’m sure there were some first time fans out there at the friendly game between Brazil and Argentina. An all time classic game between two powerhouse teams. However, there was one over zealous fan during the game who decided to go for a little run. He thought it would be a good idea to run straight through the field as the players were still playing. Fortunately, he was not one of the naked runners that come through every once in a while. So all those first time fans did not get to see too interesting of a show. 
That is something I hope to be able to do one day before I die. Some time during the span of my life, I would love to just run through a major soccer game in a big stadium. I’m sure anyone who has done it before must know it has to be a major rush of adrenaline. I don’t think I will be one of the streakers, but I would like to do something just as spontaneous and just as crazy. For all you people out there who have made a bucket list, I suggest putting this running event at the top. I think it would be hilarious to get a whole group of people in on the run and have multiple people run through the field. That way, when security comes, they have to spread out and try to catch all of us as opposed to focusing on one person. 

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

An Octopus that could tell the future

I’m sure we have all seen one of the many movies of Air Bud or possibly the fainting goats on youtube. Here is an interesting topic that I recently learned about myself. Apparently, over the course of this previous world cup, there was an octopus that pre-determined the outcome of every match correctly. A psychic octopus named Paul! There are many talented animals I have heard about all over the world but this particular talent is a particular favorite of mine. If you are a bookie taking bets for world cup soccer games, I strongly suggest buying a psychic octopus like Paul.
Unfortunately, Paul the octopus died on October 26, 2010 at the age of two and a half. Paul was located at the Sea Life aquarium in Oberhausen, Germany. His unique gift came from deciding which treat he liked better. Paul’s handlers placed shells and various goodies inside two glass tanks; one with one flag of a country and the other with the corresponding country’s team. Paul the octopus would float down and choose the first box he saw fit. Surprisingly, every time Paul chose the first box, his prediction of which team would emerge victorious came true.

Friday, October 22, 2010

How To Play Defense

Some athletes and sports fans will tell you that the best defense is a good offense. I have to disagree, not only because I play defense, but because without an adequate defense, your entire team is able to be easily scored on. If you do have a good offense and score 10 goals in one game but get scored on with 11 goals, then your team still loses. Reason why I feel defense is still necessary even with a good offense.
Defense is a team effort. There are 11 players on the field, so why not utilize every single one? Many people think that a forward’s job is simply to score. Yes, that is an extremely crucial part of their job as forward but forwards are still required to play defense just as defenders are required to play offense as well. When playing against such goliath of players like Messi, Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, etc. it is extremely tough to play defense with just one defender. Going up against a more advanced player takes patience. Knowing they have the skill and talent to beat you at any given moment, you, as a defender, need to play smarter, not harder. The way to do this is by waiting until the right moment to attack and steal the ball. The best opportunity for this is right as the player with the ball makes a mistake. By remaining patient and waiting the opportune moment, no player will be able to get past you. 

Friday, October 15, 2010

Practice practice practice!!!!

 Every coach will tell you that “practice makes perfect.” This is true...if you want to be average. However, I feel as though a great coach will tell you that perfect practice makes perfect. Every athlete makes time to practice but only the ones who are looking to aspire in their sport; soccer, baseball, football, golf, etc., will practice with a purpose. Average players tend not to push themselves but those who look to stand out from the crowd will work when their is no crowd to watch them. In other words, a great athlete will do more than what is asked of him or her during practice. 
Practice is essential to becoming a great soccer player. A soccer player requires a lot of stamina, more than the average athlete. They need to have enough stamina in order to run continuously for 90 minutes with about a 15 minute break at the half way point. But stamina is not the only thing that makes the elite soccer players great. It not only takes hours of running, but intense training with the ball as well. Skill is the other half of a soccer player’s arsenal. This is something my club soccer coach drilled into my head all the years of playing club soccer.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

A Personal Experience

I have been playing soccer ever since I was about 5 years old. It started in the basic AYSO soccer league. My father continued to push me more and more, sending me to various soccer camps at different locations. I would never had expected that at the age of 13, at one of the many soccer camps, to be scouted by a club soccer coach. My parents and I had no idea what club soccer was until this coach approached me and asked me to play with his team. This had began my career as a soccer player. Slowly, I continued to better myself and worked to become captain of my club and high school team. During one of my big college showcase tournaments, The San Diego Surf Cup, I was scouted once again by a soccer coach from Vassar College up in New York. I traveled and visited the school to see if I wanted to join but, unfortunately, it was not the school for me. Luckily, I was accepted to CSULB and joined the club team. Still to this day, my father continues to check up and make sure I am continuing to push myself to always strive for perfection.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Chelsea vs. Arsenal

Back on October 3rd, there was another great match between Chelsea and Arsenal. Both teams are strong and competitive holding first place and fourth place, respectively. Results of the game ended with Chelsea taking the win over Arsenal 2-0. Calling it a great game would be an understatement. Right from the beginning of the game, we had a bullet of a shot from Andrei Arshavin, generally a right-midfielder for Arsenal, which was amazingly saved by the Chelsea goal keeper Petr Cech. 
However, the first moment of brilliance came from Didier Drogba, a Chelsea forward, with the first goal of the match. In case anyone is interested, Didier Drogba is one of the greatest players in the English Premier League in my opinion. Anyways, a cross came from Chelsea’s left full back, Ashley Cole, directly to Drogba’s feet where he magically squeezed the ball between Arsenal’s goal keeper, Lukasz Fabianski, and the soccer post with his back heel. If you have never played soccer in your life, for one thing, I’m terribly sorry, but that is not the easiest thing to do when a defender is holding your jersey and trying to prevent you from scoring.
The second goal came from Chelsea’s defender, Alex, who made a spectacular free kick. The amount of bend on Alex put on the ball was unbelievable. If you do not trust my judgement, then see for yourself. I provided a link to the highlights of the match which also shows Alex’s great free kick. 
p.s. - Sorry William. Chelsea beats Arsenal once again. Haha

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Basics Part Two

This is a continuation of the “Basics Part One” blog. It continues to discuss the rules and basics of the game. 
The coach and players arrange their team the best way they see fit. For example, a coach can command his players to play a 4-4-2 arrangement, meaning 4 defenders holding in the back, 4 mid-fielders controlling the bridge between the defenders and forwards, and 2 forwards holding the ball and trying to score on the other team’s defense. This arrangement of players can be switched around however the coach and players see fit to try and beat the other team. A team’s structure is not set in stone. Players move all over the field and disrupt the general formation of the team all the time in order to win.
A throw in is given to a team when their opponent kicks the ball out of the field boundaries. However, a corner kick occurs when a team kicks out a ball that travels out of the sideline which their own goal is located on. If, at the end of the game, a tie occurs then one of three things can happen. Option one; depending on the importance of the game, for example a tie is given a point sometimes within pool play, the tie stands and the game is over. Option two; the teams advance to play two 15 minute halves. The game could continue for the entire length of both halves or until the first team scores, otherwise known as golden goal. Option three; the two teams move to a head to head penalty kick shootout. 
During a “PK” shootout, 5 players are selected from each team to shoot a ball 12 yards away from the opposing team’s goal keeper. If, at the end of the shootout, the teams are still tied, for example all 5 players make their shot for both teams, then the teams begin to move on to the a sixth player and then a seventh, etc. 
And that’s about all the basics and rules of the game. If I think of anything else important I may have left out, then I will post the extra information within the comment section.
Thanks everyone!

Basics Part One

As I am sitting thinking of new posts about futbol, I realized that I never went over the basics of the game. This is a fast paced game that requires a lot of stamina. Any part of the body can be used to control the ball other than the hands and the arms. The optimum size of a normal soccer field is 75 yards by 120 yards. The game consists of two halves each generally 45 minutes long, depending on the age group of the teams playing. Generally, the game is shortened since the physical capabilities of 10 year olds cannot last for 90 minutes. 
Three referees are placed on the field, one in the center and two on either side of the sidelines, in order to keep control of the game. Each team has 11 players on the field to begin the game, 10 players on the field including a goal keeper. If a foul consists somewhere on the field then the team of the person being fouled receives a penalty kick. Depending on the severity of the foul, the player that committed the foul receives a yellow card, based on the judgement of the center referee. This card is known as a warning. If the same player receives two yellow cards, then it results in a red card and the player is kicked off the field. If any player is kicked out of the game then that particular team is at a disadvantage having less players on the field. No one can be substituted in the game for that player. Another penalty of a red card means the player must sit the next game out as well. 
View the second blog, “Basics Part Two” to learn more about the game...

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Manchester United vs. Liverpool

Let me take you back six days ago on September 19, 2010. It was Manchester United vs. Liverpool. The results ended with Manchester United taking Liverpool 3-2. With such great history behind each team, this was bound to be one of the greater games to watch within the English Premier league. There is a special rivalry which exists between the two teams. In the history of Manchester United and Liverpool, both have won a total of 18 major titles. Hoping to add on to these accomplishments, Steven Gerard, the Liverpool captain, managed to score both goals for his team. One came from a penalty kick developed by Fernando Torres, a Liverpool forward, and another from a free kick also created by Torres. The accuracy and placement of the ball by Gerard was incredible. However, no one out performs Dimitar Berbatov, a Manchester United forward. Berbatov managed to score all three goals for his team, also known as a hat trick. One of the more impressive goals involved Berbatov receiving a crossed ball and in mid-air, bicycle kicked the ball into the net. The beauty and finesse of Berbatov was sheer excellence. However, it was not simply Berbatov that was brilliant with the ball, the entire English Premier league is filled with great players that can do unbelievable tricks with the ball. I feel this is one of the reasons why this particular league is one of the most enjoyable to watch, in my opinion.

Here is a video of different highlights from the game...

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Hi everyone! My name is Kyle Pham and I am apart of the English 100 blog group. So my blogs are going to focus mainly around the game of soccer; who plays it, how the game is played, some insights about the game, etc. The reason is due to the fact that soccer is the greatest sport known to man. There is no greater feeling than collectively, with your ten other teammates, putting the ball in the back of your opponents net. It keeps you in shape, for one thing, and it is a fast paced game so there is no stopping for time outs or switching of innings. There are some people who will argue that soccer isn’t a physical sport but those of us who have played it, we know how rough it can be out on the field. I have been playing soccer since I was about five years old so I consider myself a bit knowledgeable about the game. It’s a lot of fun to watch the games with your teammates as well. Unfortunately, it is not one of the more popular games in American sports.  There are those who pretend to say that they know soccer and watch it but these are the people who tune in once every four years for the World Cup. Then we have the occasional girl (or guy depending on your preference) who will jump into a conversation about soccer and bluntly say something like, “OMG. Christiano Ronaldo is so sexy!” Ladies, please keep your comments to yourself. We know he is a good looking guy but at least learn what team he plays for first. That is one of my pet peeves about watching the game. Well, that’s my first blog on soccer. More to come down the road.