I live in a family neighborhood and love all the benefits that comes with the privilege. There is an automatic camaraderie and feeling of belonging. I am lucky to have many friendly families on both sides. You always have someone to count on for help in a pinch and people to talk to when you feel lonely—even if over the back fence or in the alley by the trash bins.  Of course, we all know about the kids on the block who play in the street or in front of my home with all their equipment including these portable goals – https://www.topcornermag.com/best-portable-goals-youth-soccer/. They are part of the picture, but sometimes a real distraction when I am working in my office. Even though it is at the back of the house, the noise comes through clear as a bell. Since I know their street soccer schedule is in the afternoon when they come home from school, I have adjusted my computer time to the morning hours.

There is nothing as annoying as yelling teenagers enjoying a fast-paced game. I know they need to practice their skills and have been ordered by the high school coach to play in the street if they can’t stay after class. Not wanting to be the neighborhood grouch, I don’t go yelling from the house with arms extended to quiet the mob. Oddly enough, there are times when I want to join them! You heard it right. I used to play soccer and remember the excitement and dynamism of the game. I could go on and on about the foot action and the various strategies that underlie the sport.

Some dads join as coaches and fans, but I want to get right into the game. As you get older, you can continue the games of your youth, but soccer isn’t usually one of them. Most adults stick with golf, swimming, or tennis, none of which require lots of other players. You can’t even get a team together for volleyball or pick up basketball on school grounds. Hence my sudden longing for a session of soccer. I’ve got the rules down flat. I wasn’t bad as a teen and could even offer a few pointers. I am talking about more than the basics of two teams of up to eleven players going head to head (or foot to foot), one of whom is the goalkeeper. Games run for two 45-minute halves. Someone tosses a coin and the captain who wins decide on the goal to defend—and the first kick off takes place.

Now comes the tough stuff. There are various fouls and misconduct to avoid as well as all kinds of regulations. You have to aster throw-ins, corner kicks, and goal kicks. Plus, you have to know when to use direct and indirect kicks, penalty kicks, and when to apply the two-touch or offside rule. Not wanting to make this blog a rulebook, let’s stop here and just give a rousing shout out to the wonderful world of soccer, especially the street games played by neighborhood kids.