It’s probably hardest to be honest with yourself about your abilities and short comings. But it’s also part of playing a sport, and it’s the path to improving in the sport.
We finished our fall soccer season over the weekend. Our team went through some changes this Fall as some of our players found other commitments on Sunday afternoon besides soccer. But in the end, we had several talented people playing in the midfield and up front – with foot skills that at times defied logic and were a definite part of our two tournament wins Sunday.
I was not one of those people.
I’ve been happy over my two years as a footballer to hold down defense and only make occasional forays into the attacking half of the field. I’ve tried this year to improve my 1v1 defending, and then improve my distribution of the ball after winning the ball. I’ve made progress on both of those goals – and contributed on a couple of occasions in the front half of the field.
But I know where I am with the sport – and I’m not to the point of being an equal to my talented teammates or to my opponents. Having played Sunday against several players with recent college experience, I know that I don’t measure up to the best of our league, and I fall in the bottom 50% if ranked. I’m still making too many on-ball mistakes with touch and passing that could be improved with more practice and skills work.
It’s tough on the ego to admit it.
After looking in the mirror, I decided I’m not at a level to try out for our company’s national soccer team – which will likely face off during 2012 against teams from other regions of the world, against players with years of club and even semi-pro experience. It’s beyond where my fitness and athleticism can take me.
But it won’t be forever.
I’ll keep playing as much as possible in the next 12 months. Maybe I’ll seek some private coaching on defending skills. I’ll keep watching the sport at the top level and glean all of the lessons I can from the Premier League and international play.
I just need to close down the gap as much as possible before I realize my age.