Monday, September 06, 2010
Soccer in Melbourne
One of the first things I did when I moved to Melbourne was to find a soccer team to join, figuring it would be a good way to meet people and stay in shape. However, recreational soccer for adults in Australia is much different than in Boston. There’s no equivalent to the BSSC, and all teams are organized by clubs that have their own home field and clubhouse. Each club with have several youth and men’s teams and one or two women’s teams, and historically, most clubs have some sort of ethnic affiliation. We also played against several universities, and at first I was worried we’d get our asses kicked by a bunch of superstar 18 year olds, but luckily it wasn’t like that at all- apparently they don’t have intramurals so all of the mediocre players join local leagues instead. My team, the Port Melbourne Sharks (motto: Our turf, no survivors!), belongs to a Greek club- most of the players aren’t Greek, but the Greek men who hang around the clubhouse drinking wine and the fact that the snack stand features items like spanakopita does give a certain mediterranean flair. The other difference is that although the level of play is fairly similar to what I was used to, teams have practice (practice? We’re talking about practice?!!) and a coach. A coach? I hadn’t had a coach since high school. At first, the idea of running drills and whatnot struck me as sort of silly for a bunch of out of shape adults playing in a social league, but it ended up being pretty fun. I lucked out and ended up joining a newly formed team, which meant that most of the other girls were new to the area, having moved from abroad like me or recently relocated to Melbourne from other cities in Australia, so everyone was keen to make friends. And they also like fun and beer. Soccer-wise, we weren’t the best squad in our league, but we weren’t terrible, and I really enjoyed playing in an organized league and getting to know a great group of people. Although now that the season’s over, I must admit it’s nice to sleep in on a Sunday morning.