As a 20 something year old woman, I have found myself post college in city after city scoping out pick up soccer games where I’m the only woman there. I’d say it comes with the territory of pick up but WHERE ARE MY FEMALE SOCCER PLAYERS AT?! I’m looking for you all.
In the meantime, I offer you a guide for scoping out pick up when you are looking at a field of all guys.
Before stepping on the pitch, here are a few questions you should ask yourself:
- Is there a man over the age of 35-40? If yes, this is a great sign – it likely means the guys you are about to play with aren’t jerks and are more laid back aka less likely to break into a fistfight. The older the oldest guy is there, the better the sign it is!
- Do you hear accents or people speaking something other than English? If yes, another great sign! Pick up games can be very diverse. The more diverse the games, the more communicative the guys tend to be (they have to be) and the more open minded I’ve found them to be.
- Do they ask for your name? This is a pretty good sign of whether they are invested in building community and including you in the game. If they never plan on passing you the ball or receiving the ball from you, they won’t give a shit what your name is 🙂
- Watch them warm up – is there at least ONE guy you are better than? If yes, you’re in. It’s like advice with bear attacks: you just need the one person you can outrun 😉
Once on the field, here are some tips to solidify your position:
- The first time you are given the ball, don’t try to do anything complex. They are judging you. Do something you can trust: a solid pass splitting two defenders or a quick one-two pass with someone else. Remember: they don’t know you and they don’t know your skill level. They want to include you but they are also testing you.
- Find the guy who is giving the other guys a hard time – give him a hard time at some point. It’ll make everyone laugh including him.
- Hear me when I say this: They WILL give you too much space with the ball. This always happens. I am not sure why but take it. Take as much of the space as they will give you after you’re settled into the game.
- Find the best player on the field and mark him for a bit (10-15 min). Give him a hard time, disrupt his passes, annoy him, and have at least one show stopping defensive play. They will love it – he will hate it.
- Communicate a TON. Make them look like idiots for not passing you the ball when you were wide open in the middle or making a streaking run down the side. Pretty soon you’ll hear other guys standing up for you: “Dude, she was WIDE OPEN. Pass it sooner to her next time ugh!”
- Score on them 🙂