A Bizymoms Exclusive Interview
1. What inspired you to select soccer as your expertise out of all the other sports?
I grew up in a small town where soccer was a popular sport. My dad, uncles and relatives had played, and I basically lived in a soccer passionate culture. I played other sports, including baseball and American football, but soccer was my first love. I went on to play in college, and then professionally for a few years, before I became a coach at the University level.
2. Can you brief us on the basic rules of soccer/football? How many players are there in a team and does each player has a separate position?
A soccer game, generally referred to as the match, is played between two teams of 11 players each, one of whom is designated as the goalkeeper. Each team defends a goal and can score by kicking or heading the ball through the opponent’s goal. The soccer goal is 24 feet wide and 8 feet high. The goalkeeper’s primary job is to protect the team’s goal although he or she also plays an important role in initiating team attack. The keeper is the only player allowed to control the ball with his or her hands and can do so only within the penalty area, an area 44 yards wide and 18 yards out from the end line of the field. Field (“out”) players may not use their hands or arms to control the ball. Instead they must use their feet, legs, bodies, or heads. Each goal counts as one point, and the team that scores the most goals wins the match.
3. How many international tournaments are held each year? and which one is the most watched?
There are a number of major tournaments, but they are not held each year. Probably the two most popular are the European Championships and the World Cup Tournament. These competitions are held every four years. During 2006 month long World Cup tournament the average viewership for each match was 93 million viewers, and more than three times that number tuned in for the final between Italy and France. By comparison, an estimated 97.5 million people watched the 2008 Super Bowl, generally considered America’s premier sporting event.
4. What are penalty cards, and what is the difference between yellow card and red card?
Yellow cards are cautions, warning a player that continue violation of the rules will not be tolerated. A red card signals that the player is ejected from the game for a serious violation of the laws of the game.
5. How famous is women's football?
Women’s football is becoming more popular throughout the world. More than 150 million registered athletes, including more than 10 million women, play the sport on an official basis. Millions more kick the ball around on an unofficial basis, on sandlots, in playgrounds, and on the back streets of small towns and large cities. The Women’s World Cup draws a large audience, and women’s professional league now exist in many countries.
6. How important is it for a child to play a team sport?
It is very important for children to be physically active, on a regular basis. Team sports such as soccer provide an excellent opportunity to have fun, get fit, and learn the value of team effort. The percentage of children who are overweight has more than tripled since 1980 with a third of American kids age 2-19 presently too fat or at risk of becoming so. Nearly one in five is obese. The health risks associated with obesity - heart disease, high blood pressure, joint problems, diabetes, and even cancer – are well documented. Soccer is one avenue to combat the health problems associated with the overweight condition.
7. How important is it for a child to have her/his mom watching her/his game?
Personally, I feel it is very important. For every young soccer star in the making there is a mother or guardian who spends much of her available time transporting the kids to and from practice sessions, watching games, sitting through weekend tournaments, and the like. In that respect the sport provides a common thread between millions of moms and their kids. Soccer is an excellent activity to prepare both girls and boys for lifetime of sports and physical activity, and thus provides an opportunity for busy moms to spend quality time with their kids in a common and healthy pursuit.
8. Who is your favorite soccer legend, and why?
I would have to say my favorite soccer legend is Pele, a Brazilian star who is generally considered to be the greatest player of all time. He still holds the world record for most goals scored as a professional, and he was also actively involved in many humanitarian causes. As I was a forward who scored goals, he was always the one player I tried to emulate.
9. What are your other favorite sports?
I enjoy many sports and physical activity in general. Other than soccer, I played baseball as a boy and young man, and I like hockey as well, although I did not play a great deal of hockey. I also love outdoor pursuits such as hiking, backpacking and canoeing.
10. Does your family enjoy soccer too?
Our family, as a group, enjoy sports and physical activity in general. My daughter Eliza, who is 11 years old, loved theatre arts such as dancing, singing, and performing. She also plays soccer with her friends. My son Travis, who is 10 years old, loves to play baseball, basketball, and soccer. I would say baseball is his favourite sport. My wife Gail was a basketball player in high school, and also ran track. She still like to run as a hobby. For myself, I stay fit by cycling and weight training. I wish I could still play soccer, but the aches in my knees prevent it!!