Some thoughts on soccer from Aldie Caram

Our Class soccer commentator offered some good thoughts about the world's most popular sport, the Beautiful Game:

I wish I had had the time / discipline to respond to each of these last 5 emails that came after the one with the "Brazilian hug". There are so many interesting stories, aspects, and opinions that I'd enjoy interacting with. Guess I'll do a couple to start.

First, Co-ed soccer.
I started playing soccer around age 8. On our neighborhood's cobblestone streets. Afternoon and evenings, even with occasional cars coming through. One of our "fields" was in a one-way city block that could be managed by our own look-out and the drivers seemed to cooperate as well. And from age 8 [ until two days ago!! ] I had NEVER seen or heard about co-ed soccer games! Women's soccer teams were a rarity in Brazil, perhaps in some (very few) college or private high schools, and I never had the chance to see one of these. Then I got to the U.S. and no women's team in Granville H.S. nor Dartmouth. And I didn't see it, or didn't notice it, on all those beaches and gyms in Chicago. So I started seeing women's "futebol" only in the last 10-15 years. And, as I said, discovered co-ed futebol from Elias and Talmadge 2 days ago.

Given that one of my soccer-related dreams is to see professional tournaments with co-ed teams, you can imagine how much I welcome the news.

The reasons I believe it's possible is because I watch such short, light weight men, playing in National All-Star teams (in other words, very top players), against guys who are almost double their height and weight, and leg length, and strength. And they keep up, dribble them, disarm them, bump with and confront, score goals, make the difference, leave us in awe, etc. As well as the big guys do. In other words, the difference in strength and/or size can be made up (conquered) by skill and will.  

If it is as possible as I suspect it can be, I'd love to watch it get all the way to professional co-ed tournaments.

On all the roughing that's happening in men's games.
As you probably know, it wasn't always like this. Just watch some films about top matches in the '60s and '70s. And it's been getting steadily worse. My solution is to try to watch European tournaments. I started recently with England and Spain and European. The degree of roughness and shit-moves is a fraction of what is being done in Brazil and South America. Part of the reason may be because the top European teams are made up of veritable all-stars gathered from all over the world. Therefore there's a bigger proportion of skill, and less of that shit. I hope it stays this way.

And also that women keep showing this great level and growing even more, so we'll keep appreciating how much better soccer can be when it's not so close to testosterone fueled mixed martial arts (great Jenson!)

Pardon me for going soooo long.

All the best,

(BTW in this Copa America tournament that just ended, the  Brazil x Argentina semi-final match was quite good. Still rough but not as bad as Brazil x Peru's (whom we had beaten earlier, 5 x 0). So they came to the final knowing they were going to get their asses kicked and bet on the roughness.)