Jeff Haws’ Top 10 List

Since it’s spring and there are so many sports going on around the area, us Listers have been dying to get out and watch some games.

Of course, our biggest issue is just narrowing it down. Baseball? Tennis? Golf? Track? So many choices, and we’re really indecisive by nature. You should have seen us just trying to nail down a subject for this column. It got a little ugly.

Anyway, it finally occurred to us … we totally need to hit up a soccer match. When was the last time you watched soccer live around here? It’s been awhile, right? That’s what we thought. And here are the top 10 reasons you should go catch one this week.

10. Each goal can turn a game

One thing you know about soccer is that two or three goals are quite often enough to win. One will get it done quite a bit. And heck, you might not even have to score and just take out the other team in a shootout. So goals matter. A lot. A whole lot.

9. The U.S. team is getting better

OK, the strides are hard to see when they’re ranked behind Hungary, but they’ve had some solid international results recently, and things honestly can’t be getting much worse on that scene. And as that gets better, it improves soccer at every level, and gives the high school kids that much more to strive for later.

8. Smaller crowds

It can be kind of nice to actually find a parking spot and a seat in the stands to see your favorite team, right? Yeah, we thought so. Bring the kids. Bring the wife. Bring the dog. OK, we can’t promise you can bring the dog, but we’re in favor of it anyway.

7. It’s a physical game

It’s not quite football. But if you go to a game, you’ll see plenty of sharp elbows, hip checks and guys taken out by sliding defenders in front of them. Lots of high school kids colliding with each other from all angles, which seems like a fun time.

6. There are no better athletes

Have you ever tried to actually play soccer? We did. We were terrible at it, mostly because we get winded after about 5 minutes. We’re not proud people here. But it’s incredibly hard, particularly if you’re a midfielder. You’re probably running at high speed for most of the game, along with controlling the ball, making passes, etc.

5. It’s an international game

More so than probably any other sport in Georgia, you’re going to see all sorts of diversity on area soccer teams. You’ve got players from all over the world, teaming up and finding common ground together. It can be cool to watch.

4. Occasional shootouts

In the upcoming playoffs, you may see a shootout, which may madden soccer purists but is pretty darn exciting for people like us who trip if we try to dribble the ball for more than 3 seconds. Teams can barely score for the whole game, and then they can hardly not score in the shootout. It’s beautiful.

3. We don’t have an MLS team

Until and unless we get a Major League Soccer team – Hello, new Falcons stadium – high school soccer is one of the only games in town. The Silverbacks are around if you want to get a lower-level pro fix, but there are plenty more opportunities to see the high school kids if you need to see some soccer action.

2. You know how long it will be

This is a pretty great part of soccer. The clock doesn’t stop, so you’ve got 40 minutes in the first half, 10 minutes at halftime, then another 40-minute second half. Toss in a few stoppage-time minutes, and you’re out the door in a clean 95 or so minutes. Contrast that with a football game, which can go on pretty much forever, and sometimes does.

1. We have the best teams

Of course, this is no surprise, because Georgia high school sports are awesome. But we’re the best at soccer. It’s true. If you don’t believe us, look at the latest National Poll, which shows Georgia with three of the top 10 boys teams, more than any other state. Don’t miss McIntosh, Lassiter and St. Pius.

Now we want to know what you think. Why do you like to get out and catch local soccer action? What did we miss? Is there any sport Georgia high schools aren’t great at? Let us know here in the comments or on Twitter at @ajcprepsports.

3 comments Add your comment

gern

April 17th, 2013
8:38 am

Actually, I would dispute #9. While sr level men’s team has had mixed results under new coach Jurgen Klinsmann and they are up in the latest FIFA rankings, there has been a lot of press about the lack of quality results and finishing under Klinsmann. Fortunately, the sr level team has not been the disaster that the jr level men’s team has been over the last few years. The U-23 team failed to qualify for the Olympics, the U-17 team just failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time and the U-19 team was bounced early from their last World Cup. The has been a lot of press lately about the state of the development program and how it will affect the sr team in 3-5 years.

some sense

April 17th, 2013
12:28 pm

People who play it and coach it like it. Nobody else does.

Curious

April 18th, 2013
10:44 am

If a game ends 0-0 after 90 minutes, does that mean it never happened?