I’ve been playing soccer since I was four years old.
Soccer played a pivotal role in my life. It set me up for a life of athletics and exercise, gave me some of the greatest friends I have ever had, and taught me more about how to be successful than I often give it credit.
It’s only fitting that I now get to pass along so many of these wonderful opportunities I had to the girls we work with here in Cusco. We are finally on our fútbol unit, and it is all at once taking me back to my footy days and allowing me to create new soccer experiences.
Soccer is pretty popular here in Cusco, and in Latin America in general. When Rachel and I head to the track during our free time, there is usually one of the professional Cusqueñan teams practicing. On our hikes throughout the valley, families crowd around grass fields with eucalyptus-trunk goals, cheering on their friends and children.
It is especially apparent with the recent successes of the Peruvian men’s national team. They are currently just two matches away from their first World Cup appearance in more than 35 years. It goes without saying, but it’s a big deal! So big, that in preparation for the last game, the government released a statement encouraging everyone to end work by 4 p.m. on the day of the match against Colombia.
Our girls showed up to class that day with red and white face paint and ribbons.
The pride is admirable, and it is a truly exciting experience to be having here in Cusco. Even more than this, the added excitement shows in the enthusiasm our girls have been displaying this unit. They are eager to improve their skills and extra competitive when it comes to game time, which drives them to work harder as a team and communicate their strategies with one another.
Teaching sports is exciting, but seeing girls fired up about the sport I grew up loving takes it up a notch. It is fulfilling to see them playing better with each passing class and enjoying the same games I loved at their age. I am looking forward to a footy-filled November in Cusco!