So I’ve played in the city soccer recreational leagues for about four years now. And in those four years, I’ve played against two of my old teams. It’s been pretty mixed in terms of experiences.
When I first started playing in the leagues, I had joined up with one team as a keeper with a few friends. However, we eventually left to start our own team since we’d be interested in doing so for quite a while. That summer we jumped up divisions after dominating in our first season and I played that old team. I made a number of friends on that team, so despite the competitiveness and ferocity during the games, it was relatively friendly (minus the drama in one game after I kicked off a player from the team and them joining that old team). It was overall fun during that rivalry. Heck, even some of them are on the current team today.
However, there are times where it’s a little different… Sunday night was one of them. I knew about it and another old team that I played with found out we were playing them. I have to admit, I didn’t leave their team on the greatest of terms, since I didn’t agree with their tactics or strategy and told that to the manager. I wrote a little comment on our website saying, “Calling dibs on an attacking position during the game”. When it came time to play against them, my former manager had this intensity I hadn’t seen before. She was more commanding of her defense, which I hadn’t seen before (but then again, that was my job when I was playing with them). It got a bit more physical, but then again, we definitely dished out our fair share to some of their players as well.
Halftime came around and it was pretty interesting. I went to go get a blanket for one of our teammates because she couldn’t play due to not having her card. I just gave a couple of pointers here and there about their attack and how to stifle it. Basically, I just did what I did with any other team. Just remained chill but kept in control of the situation (even though it wasn’t really needed). But I could hear my old team devising a strategy in the background, discussing pretty thoroughly.
In the end, their strategizing didn’t work out so well as we managed to win 5-2. But it was just weird to see them up their intensity like that. I hadn’t seen it before. I have a pretty strong feeling it was knowing that they were playing against me. I guess I would too if I was told by someone leaving the team that they didn’t mesh well with my tactics or fit the strategy I was trying to implement. But it happens. I think the only person in the game that I think I could knowingly goof around and joke with was my friend Erin, since she subbed for our team when we played on Saturdays.
In any case, I hope it was fun for them. I know it was for me..
… Especially when I assist a goal where my teammate traps my heading pass, then volleys in a goal from nearly 30 yards away. So sick.