Often referred to as “The Beautiful Game,” it is a leveler of men and women from all walks of life. Working class to upper class, male or female, rich to poor, no matter your country, race or religion, it has brought the world together.
The FIFA world cup is the biggest single event sporting competition in the world; up to 715 million people tune in to watch soccer being played by competing nations.
Whilst it can be regarded as an emerging game in the U.S., soccer — or “football” — in Europe is the main sport. Europe hosts some of the biggest soccer competitions in the game ,including the most valuable domestic competitions such as the English Premier League or the German Bundesliga.
While Americans and Germans share many similarities and traditions, they do not share many sports. One that we do is soccer and through this medium we have the opportunity to demonstrate our friendship.
It started more than three months ago. Preparation up to three times a week, strengthening fitness, skills and tactical awareness, all for this one game where the Wiesbaden Garrison took on the City of Wiesbaden in an annual friendship soccer match. In its fifth year it was the first time the game had been played on Clay Kaserne using the new soccer facilities in Newman Village.
Nineteen of the best players from the garrison from all walks of life, including Soldiers, civilians, contractors and local nationals brought with them an inclusivity and mix of flavor, styles and contrast to the team.
Although this was a friendly match, both sides came to win. What followed was a fast-attacking game that was wide open for much of the 70 minutes played. For me this typifies soccer: two competing teams going at it, fouls being committed, humiliations of skill and goals scored, but at the end of the game everyone shakes hands with a smile — no matter where you come from. Officers, enlisted Soldiers, Germans and Americans from every heritage, and even the Wiesbaden Lord Mayor, brought together for 70 minutes by the most beautiful game.
Child, Youth and School Services offers great programs for kids to get into soccer, I would highly recommend the programs, when they go back to the U.S., they can play and join in a sport as inclusive as the nation of the U.S. itself.
For more about the game see: Garrison beats City of Wiesbaden 5-2 in friendship soccer match