This semester I have started playing intramural soccer with my fraternity. I played soccer in high school, but had not touched a ball since my final game of senior year. In picking the sport back up, I noticed immediately the difference in intramural from my high school game, and it all had to do with size. Both the size of the field itself and the size of the players was completely different from my previous experiences playing soccer in a competitive atmosphere.
The IM games are played on a small 7v7 field and the highly skilled players stand out significantly. Due to the size of the field, the IM game relies on quick passes and having a great touch in tight spaces. However, in high school the game was dominated by physicality and athleticism. For comparison, the best player on my high school team was 6-2 195lbs and the best player in my fraternity is about 5-6 120lbs. While I enjoyed playing in high school and was able to hold my own as the style of play was catered to my strengths, in the past couple weeks of playing IM soccer, I have grown to have more of an appreciation of the “beauty of the game”. Watching from my view on the back line as my friends expertly bounce the ball back and forth to each other is incredible to watch and is much different than watching the ball be played over the top repeatedly to a stud athlete striker. I think that the IM version of the game is much more true to soccer on a national scale and the Americanization of the sport has caused high school and even college soccer to lose some of the beauty of the game. While it is fun to watch impressive athletes compete, it is almost more fun to watch highly skilled players craft their way to victory.