Post #1
Sunday September 13, 2015 7:18am

Joined Nov 2012
Total Posts: 1,805
Let's make a soccer stories thread.

Just thought I'd share with you all that I saw the superclasico of Avellaneda today between Independiente and Racing. I've been a fan since '08 but this was only the fourth superclasico that I was in the country for (second at home). I had missed the last one and regretted it for months, and I knew if I missed this one (probably my last chance) I'd never forgive myself. But the problem was although I'm a socio (member), I haven't paid my monthly dues in about a year, and you can only buy tickets if you're up to date on your payments. They do sell tickets to non-socios but they cost about three times more, and I'm really poor.

So I went to the game hoping to buy "reventa" tickets outside the stadium, something I've done a couple times before. It's sketchy. Basically guys who have paid off the security bring people in groups. Sometimes the police harass you, but at least the ticket price is usually the same as what socios pay. I knew though that this time it would be difficult, and unsurprisingly, I didn't hear anyone trying to sell tickets. I made it past all of the security checkpoints and finally arrived to the last one before the ticket gate and was able to slip by without a ticket because of the amount of people trying to get in. Of course I wouldn't be able to enter without a ticket but I was hoping to find reventa here. A ton of people were pushing and shoving and trying to get in (I wasn't sure why, the game wasn't going to start for 30 minutes), and it seemed most had tickets but I'm sure some didn't.

While there are police everywhere, the barra brava are completely in charge of security at soccer games here. There was this big bald dude that was pushing everyone back and another guy I am guessing was trying to bring in non-socios or something, because they were yelling at each other and he was saying "these ones are mine" and I heard him yell a price. They kept on screaming at anyone that was trying to get through them to the ticket gate. Several times the bald guy yelled at people and told them to get lost and never come back. And then he started throwing punches. He was not fucking around. He suckerpunched two guys right in the face so bad that they fell over. I saw one later and his eye was totally fucked up. And there are cops everywhere and none of them at an eye. So I decided to get the hell out of there before they found out I didn't have a ticket.

I waited outside and looked and asked people for reventa but they all told me I was shit out of luck. Finally, ten minutes or so before the game, some guy comes up to me and another guy and asks if we want tickets. He says they're worth 400 pesos, the exact amount of money I brought (about $40, which is a shit ton of money down here). So he takes us around to this other entrance and we make it through security without any problem! I give him the money and go on my way.

There's no use describing the atmosphere because it's indescribable. There is simply nothing like an Argentine soccer match. And while I've been to many, this was simply on a different level. It's insanity. The World Cup matches I've been to were so tame in comparison. Now don't think that I'm knocking on US fans, we're some of the best, and Kaiserslautern was a life-changing experience, but these guys are just on a different level. They have so many songs that I have no idea how they keep track of the lyrics. And as soon as one starts, everyone immediately jumps in in unison. And everyone knows exactly when to stop, even if it's mid-verse. You rarely hear any disunity. And when half time comes, no one can speak because their voices are completely ruined.

I was sitting in the visiting fans' section in the upper deck (they don't allow visiting fans here anymore, which is a HUGE bummer, and so the atmosphere is not nearly as good as it used to be), and so there is a huge fence. It's so annoying because it makes it harder to see the field. If I would have gone a bit higher I would have been able to see the goal unobstructed but I stupidly stayed where I was because people would get pissed when you tried to go higher. When the goal came, I saw the shot but couldn't tell if it went in or not. The crowd erupted in a way that was terrifying more than anything else. Later I heard that it was scored by Martin Benitez, a 21 year old product from our academy system. He's been pro for years but never really has broken his way into the starting lineup until a couple months ago when the second half of the season started after the winter break (southern hemisphere) and he scored five goals in five games. Remember his name because he'll be heading to Europe in a year or two. The pandemonium didn't stop for minutes after, and then, somehow, it reached a whole new level when a straight red was shown on Racing's Marcos Acuña for elbowing. Apparently he had done it earlier. At that moment, everyone seemed to know we'd win.

Of course there was a bit of a stretch when Racing fought back, and we did get a bit nervous. Since I've started watching them, Independiente has had a terrible habit of blowing leads. When I was here in 2008, I went to seven or eight games and never saw a victory because in almost every game we allowed a late goal. In the second half we were completely in control but these are the type of leads we figure out how to choke on. But ten minutes away from the final whistle, Jesus Mendez asked to take the free kick. Our goalie had taken the last one (weird, I know) and it hit the wall. Luckily he gave Mendez the chance, our #8 who had been a complete bull all game. He's one of our best players and I wish Michael Bradley could learn how to play like this guy (you can be a box-to-box midfielder and be really skilled and great at distributing the don't have to be "all heart" and no skill). I focused really hard on the net as to not miss another goal...part of me knew it was going in. And then it just turned into a massive party. When Diego Vera, our Uruguayan #9 headed the third in, we celebrated like I don't think we had in years. This is the best team Racing has had in a long time (they won the league last year because River was focused on the Copa Sudamericana) and they are above us in the table. A win against us and they would still have been in the title race. We have been pretty shit over the past few years (including getting relegated) and to beat Racing like this was just what the doctor ordered.

All of Avellaneda celebrated in a way I've never seen outside of a World Cup victory. When I took the bus back to my neighborhood, it was full of Independiente fans, and you would not believe how these guys can sing. Everyone within blocks knew we were coming. The bus was bouncing because everyone one us was jumping and singing just as loudly as we were at the stadium. Cars honked, people in the streets sang with us as we drove by, and occasionally fans from other teams taunted us. We were an army, and even though we didn't know each other, we shared something that bonded us in a way that only experiences crazy as this can. At the very end I talked with a few of the instigators a bit and they were happy but, surprisingly not that surprised at my choice of team. I think they just too tired to be surprised by anything at that point.

My voice is shot and I'm exhausted I feel like I've returned from a trip somewhere. But it was an experience that I will never forget. Of course the USNT will always be my #1 sports team, this has made me fall in love with Independiente the way Kaiserslautern made me a diehard. And with respect to international soccer, there is just nothing like supporting an Argentine club team. These are the most passionate fans in the world. People talk about soccer being "religion" in Brazil, but they don't have shit on the Argentines. They really live and breathe soccer here in a way that no one else does on the planet. They never stop talking about it because a lot of these people don't really have much else to cling to. Buenos Aires has between 15-20 really well supported clubs that have been an important part of the social fabric for over a century.

(scroll down to see videos of the goals)

Anyone else have any crazy soccer stories they'd like to tell?
San Jose
Post #2
Sunday September 13, 2015 7:35am

Joined May 2013
Total Posts: 1,533
Great story Dolcem. I always enjoy your writing, even when I don't agree with you...which is rare.

Sage of the Soccer P
LA, California
Post #3
Sunday September 13, 2015 9:44am

Joined May 2014
Total Posts: 222
Thanks for sharing that!

Sage of the Soccer P
LA, California
Post #4
Sunday September 13, 2015 10:09am

Joined May 2014
Total Posts: 222
So my dad and mom are from Mexico. One day my dad took my sister and I down to visit some of his friends and family. I was about 9. He had a few friends playing in the Mexican league. So we went to go see a Close friend of my dad who was the gk of Los tecos. Game was fun. Took pictures with the team and had fun. Later he took me to Guadalajara (where both sides of my family is from) to see the grounds of where Chivas play. I was very excited about that. When he was younger his family were members of the club. We were allowed in the training grounds and talked with some of the players. My dad was then invited to a party. Celebrating a players retirement. I think his name was vidro. I remember a lot of the players I saw were there along with there families. Also where other players from different teams that apparently drove down and my dad introduced them to me. Some still playing others retired. I didn't care as much for them... Like typical fashion, the kids went to the backyard to play soccer while while the adults stayed in and drank. I remember having fun with a ton of kids my age.
A few years pass and my dad and I are talking about chicharito moving to ManU. How it was tough for Chivas to lose him and crap. He then says "its cool that you played with him when you were young huh?"
I said what?
He replied "yeah, remember when we went to Mexico and after we went to Chivas facilities we went to a party? You were playing with him. His dad and I were talking while we watched you guys play."

And that is the story how I played soccer with chicharito. And schooled his ass as a 9 year old. He was 10. Lol
(I'm not the best story writer... And my story isn't as cool as dolcems but I think it's cool)

Post #5
Sunday September 13, 2015 1:38pm

Joined Oct 2013
Total Posts: 3,249
Nice one. While living in Guadalajara, I went to a Tecos v Chivas game back when they were still called Tecos and were still in the top division. My cousin had played quarterback for their football team growing up and had his degree from the autonoma, so he's a big Tecos fan. Anyways we were sat just below Jorge Vergara, above us in a "luxury box". There was some action on the field that precipitated it-- but everyone in the stadium started yelling at Vergara, and the Tecos fans in our section started throwing stuff at Vergara. I hit him in the shoulder with a bag of popcorn and it spilled all over him. Like they say, "When in Rome..."

Post #6
Monday September 14, 2015 3:55am

Joined Jan 2013
Total Posts: 5,448
Some threads on here can become so inundated with nonsense that they become difficult to read but this one is absolutely brilliant!

Great story Dolcem and Sage since you were better than Chicharito as a 9 year old, Juergen really needs to think about cap tying you.

Post #7
Monday September 14, 2015 4:46am

Joined Jan 2013
Total Posts: 5,448
My best experience was going to US vs Brazil in the Confederations Cup in 2003 in Lyon, France. I was a summer intern for a company in Germany and once the Confederations fixtures were announced with US vs Brazil falling on a Saturday, I knew that I needed to get a ticket. I had never seen the US play in person before and there was no way that I could let this opportunity pass.

The German town that I was interning in didn't have a train station. Well, it did at one point but then they decided to convert it into a grocery store so my 10 hour journey down to Lyon started with a long nauseating bus journey through the twisting back roads of the German countryside to the nearest train station. There was a direct road that would have only taken a few minutes but of course the bus had to take the long route while making plenty of stops in case any cows or chickens wanted to hop aboard.

The train journey down to Lyon through the Swiss Alps was amazing. The train passed by FC Thun's old stadium (Stadion Lachen) and if you're not familiar with Stadion Lachen it was a real stadium gem. FC Thun has since moved into a new ground and it's really a shame because I always wanted to go back and watch a game at Stadion Lachen for the scenery.

Traveling through Switzerland by train turned out to be one of the highlights of the trip, all I needed was my discman (yes, discman!) and a window. I also met a fellow yank somewhere along the way which led to a detailed discussion about Timmy Howard's upcoming transfer to Man U.

I arrived in Lyon with a few hours to spare and while I had purchased my ticket online, I still had to go pick up the physical ticket at the FNAC shop (the French equivalent of a Best Buy, such a bizarre ticketing process).

Upon arrival the stadium was mostly empty. There was a small US contingent with Sam's Army behind one of the goals but I had paid for a seat at midfield so that's where I sat. A few American fans saw my Beasley jersey and joined me. We amassed a little group of around 20 fans by kickoff which included at least one elderly couple.

The US played pretty poorly except for Tim Howard who was out of his mind the whole game. Brazil won 1-0 after Berhalter (the last man) gave the ball away to Adriano. Howard still saved Adriano's first attempt in alone on goal but Berhalter hadn't tracked back and Adriano had an easy tap in off of the initial save. I still haven't forgiven Berhalter.

Before I made the trip I had heard all the media nonsense about how dangerous France was for Americans an how everybody hated the US but walking around Lyon in a US jersey, the only comment I got was from a few kids on the metro who pointed at my jersey and said "Nike, Cool!" This was my first time in France and I was young and naive to begin with. It was quite an eye opening experience.

After the game I had a chance to explore Lyon which is a beautiful city. They were having a song festival and the streets were packed with local and very amateur performers. One girl was covering Madonna's Like a Prayer only she clearly didn't speak English and was singing noises that sounded close to the lyrics but weren't actually words. That was a surreal moment.

The next morning I got up early an made the 10 hour journey home in order to be back in the office on Monday morning.

The US-Brazil game really ended up being an excuse to go on an adventure. I could never repeat the experience, the variables are too different now but I'll always think back to that game with fond memories.

Sage of the Soccer P
LA, California
Post #8
Monday September 14, 2015 6:00am

Joined May 2014
Total Posts: 222
Lol skangles you make fun... I think hell yes. And at this rate, I consider it as a possibility. Lol

Post #9
Monday September 14, 2015 6:24am

Joined Mar 2013
Total Posts: 1,175
Wow. I really envy you guys with these awesome stories. I have been to a few games only because of my location and fear of flying. I have been to Monterrey to watch them play vs Necaxa. Necaxa vs Atlante here in my city. Mexico in San Antonio. US vs Mexico in San Antonio too. Chelsea vs America in the Cowboys stadium. But no interesting stories like those. Only really weird, or not even weird just exciting stories, are the classic Sunday league rumbles.. But how I wish I had the guts to catch a plane and go to Europe and live those experiences. I can picture myself there though, through the train with skangles or going inside the stadium in fear with Dolce. Watching little pea playing clumsy as hell as a child lol. I bought tickets for Ghana vs USA in Brazil and have a airport manager friend who was going to hook me up with a sweet deal but the fear beat me and ended up selling the tickets. I might not.conquer the fear of flying but I want to make a trip to Seattle to watch a game there. They seem like the most passionate crowd in the US. Or Portland. I can always go to Monterrey and watch a Tigres home game, which has been considered a south America atmosphere, but I'm not too sure with all them cartels. And when I read your stories, I think about how you ended up where you are all at. From Guadalajara to the states. Or states to Argentina. Or Germany. Wish I had those balls.

Culver City, CA
Post #10
Wednesday September 16, 2015 10:12am

Joined Mar 2014
Total Posts: 2,147
I have a bunch of anecdotes, but I don't know if many of them are fan stories. They're mostly about coaching, playing or reffing.

Post #11
Wednesday September 16, 2015 1:25pm

Joined Mar 2013
Total Posts: 1,175
Share some bro.

Post #12
Wednesday September 16, 2015 6:07pm

Joined Oct 2013
Total Posts: 1,064
No really crazy stories for me, I was at the first MLS Cup final though, and that was a crazy atmosphere because of the weather. I went to a Macedonia-Bosnia friendly in 2004 when I was living in Skopje, but that was fairly routine really. Live490, no shame in having a fear of flying; I get panic attacks when driving and cannot drive on many highways anymore. I deal with it the best I can and have learned to value the stuff around me more, not take it for granted as much. I've flown around the world and been everywhere from South Sudan to Myanmar, there are a lot of cool things to see, but there are also a lot of cool things to see within short car, train or bus distance too, and I am appreciating those more now.

Post #13
Wednesday September 16, 2015 9:08pm

Joined Mar 2013
Total Posts: 1,175
Thank you db707. I need to do that, value the stuff and people around me like you too. That is one thing I like about international tournaments and their in depth coverage. Helps me learn.about other cultures and kind of pretend I am there. Soccer has really helped my geographical knowledge grow. And I have learned things in this forum as well.

Post #14
Wednesday September 16, 2015 11:26pm

Joined Jun 2012
Total Posts: 133
2014 World Cup
US v Portugal
Manaus, Brazil

Three Aussies, sitting behind my brother and I in Section 101, screaming "US sucks" after we go down a goal.

I turn around and with the most bass ever in my voice yell "Hey!!"

They quiet down but now the tension is pretty high in our area. I'm not a fighter but national pride is near and dear to my heart and I don't take that lightly.

Cut to DA's cross and the Dempsey goal.

Pandemonium ensues and immediately my brother turns directly around to the Aussies and puts both middle fingers up in their faces and screams "f*ck you"!!!

Next thing I know we are all pushing and shoving each other. Lasted only a few seconds as all the fans around us, including local Brazilians, break up the melee pretty quickly.

Tempers calmed and we all had a moment where we realized the game was more important than us...

Later on, when Portugal scored the equalizer, there was utter silence, except for a few happy Portugal fans. Needless to say, the Aussies didn't say a word and that was that.

The mood leaving the stadium is something I'll never forget as a fan of sport.

But on the walk out, a random US fan did sum it up well to my brother and I, he says, "cheer up boys, if you would've said we'd beat Ghana and tie Portugal a month ago, you'd be happy as hell."

Yeah, I gues...But that stadium and city would've exploded that night had we finished them off.

Culver City, CA
Post #15
Thursday September 17, 2015 12:47am

Joined Mar 2014
Total Posts: 2,147
I just looked up the Confed Cup 2003 out of curiosity. I don't remember if that was televised, but if it was, I watched it.

All my stories are really 1-liners:

-watched 1990 WC at football camp. I was the only one
-went to 1994 WC USA Columbia match
-went to first Galaxy game, shirt to prove it
-went to 1998 US 1-0 Brazil game, shirt to prove it
-met Balboa, Lalas and Cienfuegos in the 2000's, also a few MLS/FIFA refs
--Lalas and I and about a dozen others were trying to figure out where to watch one of the blacked-out USA WCQ games and bouncing from bar to bar together
-in a completely quiet stadium for a US friendly, from about the 10th row near the touchline, I yelled at a 20-year-old MB to grow the fuck up after he picked up a stupid yellow card. He turned and looked at the crowd. I nearly hated him during those years. He was playing over someone I liked but I don't remember who now.

no really crazy stories. I didn't get the playing years and quality coaching that I always wanted during those early years.
As a field player, nutmegging someone who's 5'2" when you're 6'1" always sticks in your memory. You always remember when a great pass leads to a goal (on the field I played LB, CB, DM).
As a GK, your gaffes hurt more than your epic saves feel good. It's nasty. Also, I had a routine save bounce off a sprinkler head and in on some crappy field. That motherfucker who shot that celebrated like he meant to do that. Such a fucking asshole.
At like 20, as a GK, we played against a notoriously, repeatedly dirty team, so I made sure to hurt them before they hurt me. Took 2 out of game. One of them set up under me on a cross. Perfect excuse for an elbow to the head. Bye.

10-16 year olds, boys and girls. HS, all-stars, a little club
I have a boatload of stories of taking small, under-skilled kids and making them giant-killers. That's basically all I'm good at as a coach. I can't do anything with a team that's already good.
So for the teams where it worked, we played a lower skill version of tiki taka (like just constant support runs off the ball), plus bend-don't-break defending without the ball, and just broke the other team's will by the end of the game. 4-4-2 or 3-4-3. So many last minute victories. We out-passioned them because we couldn't out-skill anyone.
For the teams where it didn't work, it was just lovable losers from day one- like, they showed up to the team already defeated, and just kinda phoned it in every day. Sad little wrinkled balloons.

-one year, one of my high school teams had to play 6 games with 10 players and a backup GK as a RB, because of injury, illness, suspension, bad grades. We went 2-2-2.
If you asked me, I would have said we were going to go 5 losses and 1 draw.

-funniest story was playing a 4-4-2 against some dipshit coach who played a (I shit you not) 3-3-4 in a fairly high-level tournament. Obviously we never practiced how to play against a 3-3-4. We made some adjustments on the fly and I think by the end of the game the possession ratio was like 70%-30% us. We won like 4-0. Nice forwards, bro.

-shittiest crazy story was on one of my girls teams where the team was mostly whites with two latinas. The latina player who was good got racist shit from white parents, AND from latino parents. People are fucking garbage. (The latina girl who wasn't good never had shit said at her.... hah, I wonder if that made her jealous?) ...also, that kid was a great person and player couldn't have happened to a better kid.

-which leads me to just how much petty, bush-league bullshit there is in youth sports. From all sides, all the time. It sucks. Parents, players, refs, coaches, administrators.... it's fucking endless. You would think $1M was at stake on every decision.
You would not believe how much trouble I got in as coach (and ref) for consistently applying the rules to everyone, regardless of how rich their parents were.... I got shitcanned from 2 teams in 3 years because of this, and I quit coaching.

-I already told the story on here of the Police League game where we had to call the police on the police....... that's the long and the short of it. Thankfully I was AR, not CR, or I would have felt responsible.

-Best thing is probably having players and coaches, whether for youth or adult matches tell you specifically how you did a great job, non-sarcastically, even though they lost, and then express their wish that you could ref them more often, etc. That's about as good as it gets for reffing, and it's few and far between. Some coaches are cool enough to tell you that they agreed with your PK against them, etc.

-Single worst thing is that as a ref, people will pull the race card on you in the most ridiculous situations, like:
-ejecting a kid for deliberately headbutting someone away from the ball
-refusing to call handball PKs on 9 year olds on a windy day and a lumpy field, as if they could possibly help it.
They will tell you you are a fucking racist for that. I kid you not.
There's not even free t-shirts at stake in those games, either.

-Also, giving a 100% legit red card and then having it turned over because of pure politics. The bullshit side made me quit reffing, too.

Anyway, my overall takeaway from youth soccer (in California, where it's certainly better than other places) is the overemphasis on winning and status over building skills, tactics, character, etc. Humans are just a bunch of featherless bipeds.

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