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Crap soccer decisions (that my own father would have benched me for): #1

The first in a periodic’ish series of grievances about irritating things that soccer players do, and professionals who should know better. Get off my lawn.

Swansea City v Chelsea - Capital One Cup Semi-Final Second Leg Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images

Maybe it’s because I came to pro soccer late. Maybe I’m old-fashioned. I don’t think I lack a sense of humor, though you’re free to disagree. Whatever it is, I’m constantly noticing professional soccer players doing things that are just not worth the risk, and those things drive me bat-sh!t crazy.

I played rec soccer as a kid, and never had a pro coach, but we learned quite a few fundamentals of the game that still apply today. My dad, and a lot of other parents out there, ensured that we got better by demanding that we learn those fundamentals. In this series, I’m going to talk about some of those things we learned, and why it’s mind-numbingly stupid to ignore them, at any level. Away we go!

Crap Decision #1 - Fighting over the ball in the net

The crap decision is baked right into the heading. “Fighting” is a bad idea. Well, initiating the fight, at least, is a bad idea. Everybody knows that. So it should come as no surprise that fighting while playing a (semi-)contact sport, with emotions high and pride on the line, is a very, very bad idea.

Basically, if your goal when playing soccer is to beat someone up, and/or get beat up, well, there are plenty of other, better ways for you to spend your time. In soccer, fighting, especially over who gets to remove the ball from the net (I can scarcely type this, it’s so stupid), can get you an early shower, make you look dumb on tv, and put your team in a bad situation.

So why, oh why, would someone who’s getting paid to play a game risk getting chucked from said game, just to shave a few seconds between a goal and the ensuing kick-off?

I get it. You’re behind, or you just tied it, and every second counts. But don’t be a d-bag. Get the ball out of the net without getting in a fight. If you encounter resistance, don’t rip the ball away; don’t push anyone; and FFS, don’t throw an elbow at your opponent’s jugular!

While we’re talking about fighting over the ball, let the ball kids do their job. They don’t make as much as you do, and beating them up, or even just kicking them, is a crime, ok? Unless you’re Eden Hazard, and the ball boy is a rich kid who says things on Twitter that upset Harry Redknapp, then by all means. Consequences will be minimal. You’ll probably only miss out on the League Cup Final. But I digress.

Basically, saving time is fine, but use your head and avoid situations that will waste lots of time. If I had ever gotten in a fight over a ball, my own father would have benched me.