I played soccer through much of my childhood, back when children were still allowed to participate in sports that had seasons. I played club soccer in the fall through middle school, and then in high school also played school soccer in the spring.

I think I started in 1976, the second year that there was organized socceer in my home town, and our initial coaches were parents, and the sum total of their knowledge was contained in the booklet they got from the league.

As I got older, we got a British coach who was much more skilled, and when I got to high school, our coach was a Frenchman named Francois. We like Francois, mostly because his accent was so thick that none of our parents could understand him (my mother said that he practiced his accent to keep it that way).

Around that time, there were a number of asian refugees that settled in our area, and one of them, a player by the name of Vu Tran, joined our team. He was pretty good player, but not a great one, so we were always wondering why Francois always wanted us to see Vu play.

(say it out loud...)

(I'm sorry...)