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American Literature Research Paper
Spring Semester 2012

Soccer is the most popular sport in the world. The first set of soccer rules were created in London, England in 1863, but the sport was played long before that, for recreation. Bill Shankly a Scottish soccer player once said, “Some people believe soccer is a matter of life and death...it is much, much more important than that.” Shankly’s quote is the general feeling throughout the world about the game of soccer. Saying soccer is a game in most parts of the world is incorrect…it is a lifestyle and undoubtedly the one number sport. On Americas list of most popular sports there’s football, baseball, basketball, and even hockey, before finally at the fifth spot soccer will show up. Why is that? How can the whole world love this sport, and for some reason the people of the United States have such little interest. Some reasons for the phenomenon have been studied; maybe there is not enough scoring in soccer? Or not enough physical contact? Or perhaps Americans do not need soccer, and like to play more complex sports, and soccer is more popular by the third world countries that can only afford to buy/create a soccer ball.

Seydina Seck is a youth soccer coach in America. Seydina was born in Senegal in 1976, and has played soccer throughout his life. Growing up in Africa without much money is very tough, and extremely dangerous. Like many other African children his family was not ideal, he grew up without a father figure and his mother was forced to try and support him and his four siblings on a low paying job. In Africa if a child does not have money to pay for school, they do not receive a proper education. Without any schooling or money, the children have a great deal of free time and not many options on how to spend that time. Africa is tremendously dangerous and many children who have no school to attend, and no other options make bad decisions, ending up in gangs or dead. Seydina’s mother was not going to let that happen to her son, so she introduced him to a soccer ball at a very young age. Seydina and his friends would play soccer all day and night, from the age they are able to run until the point they make it out of Africa. For boys like Seydina without an education the number one goal is to hopefully be seen playing soccer by a European scout who will give him the opportunity to come to Europe and try to become a professional. For the children without educations, soccer is seen as the only way to succeed in life, and ultimately make it out of Africa for good. Seydina worked day in day out; until his day finally came at age fifteen. A scout for the Senegal national team had seen Seydina playing in a recreational league game and offered Seck a spot on the Senegal national team. After playing for the national team for around two years Seck was offered a contract to play for a French club team. Seydina was moved to France away from his family to live his dream. Seck was now being paid for playing the sport that had been all he knew his whole life. Along the way in France, Seck was educated the minimal amount but more than ever before. At age twenty-three, after playing in France since age seventeen Seydina had earned the money he needed to come to America, which he says had always been a dream of his to come to the “Land of opportunity” (interview). In America Seck was an ill educated soccer player and spoke no English. He was fluent in French and spoke little Spanish, so it was hard to make it in America at first, but he was fluent in one more language…soccer. Soccer was again his best option to make it, but now in an entirely new country. Seck went to a tryout for the Los Angeles Galaxy, a professional soccer team in Los Angeles. He attended a few days of the tryout and had made the team, but only three weeks into the training for the season Seydina broke both his ankles in a ghasty injury. The Galaxy had cut Seck from his contract due to the fact he could not...
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