On Saturday night a group of about 20 ECS members, all women, gathered on a field to practice the game of soccer. Some had played ages ago, others never before, but all wanted to up their knowledge of the game. In a few cases their introduction to soccer was through attending matches in the Brougham End and discovering the love for the team, the community and the game through that fashion. At some point someone suggested a soccer basics course so they could learn about these things that are done with the ball, and all in an environment where the goal isn't wins and losses but just love of sport.
The story isn't limited to this group of ECS women. There is a beginners ECS men's team. Many other adults who have separated from the sport are getting back into it after watching the Seattle Sounders play in MLS for these three seasons.
This group did a few things unique though. The coach is a Sounders Women's team player, so she knows a bit about the sport. Afterwords all gathered to watch the team take on Chivas in a little away viewing action. And to highlight the importance of learning the game was a certain Steve Zakuani who helped coach through a few defensive and small sided drills. Zakuani and I were the only men. My role was just to fetch the errant balls and take a few photos so they could remember the evening clearly. Steve wasn't in charge, but there to help.
It was an effort to broaden the roots of soccer here in the Seattle area. To make it more than just a story of gameday spectacle and reports about massive support people are finding new ways to connect to the game. It's kind of similar to why this site is the way it is. At one point the concentration of soccer coverage on the American game was all about spectacle. Every day more people are spending time on the game. With a ball at their feet, reading the FIFA Laws of the Game, coaching. It isn't just songs, chants and support.
Soccer is first and foremost a game. And even though I wasn't playing it was such a joy to have the ball at my feet again.