“I looked up at the scoreboard: one minute!! Surely we can’t lose now, I thought.”
Ding ding ding!!! I switched off my alarm clock, but then five minutes later, DING DING DING!!! Fine, I gave in, I rolled out of bed fell on the wooden floor of my tiny room. I got up and changed. I ate a banana and chose my shoes; soccer is all about shoes. I ran at top speed to the field my team was playing at. I took my hand and wiped the sweat off my forehead as the sun beat down on me. I drained down a bottle of water and joined my teammates in warming up.
“Bring it in, Bring it in,” yelled coach.
He gave us our positions.
“And Johnny” he said to me, “you’re striker.”
I nodded my head. The ref took the captains and did the coin toss. We got ball first!!! I took my position and waited for the ref to signal. I looked up, the stadium was huge, bright blue, and newly polished. l saw my family there, they were in the fifth row by midfield, perfect seats. Once he blew the whistle. I rolled the ball so smoothly across to my teammate for the kick off. The ball glided across the grass as it slowly made its way to its destination. The ball reached my teammate, he passed it back to our midfielders so they wouldn’t steal the ball right away, a typical way of starting off a game. After that I pushed up to grab the space of the upper half of the field. The ball was sent to my feet. Once I had the ball it felt magical weaving past the defenders. I took a powerful shot at goal, but the goalie stretched out as far as he could and made a diving save. As soon as he got his hand on the ball I knew he was as great goalie. But luckily, the spin on the ball made it roll the other way out of bounds on them, it was a corner. Our right defender got the ball and got set for a corner. He put his hand up signaling that he was about to take it. The ball came soaring through the air right to me! I bumped the ball into the back of the net using my head. The crowd erupted, everyone was screaming, our team started celebrating, there was nothing better than being up early.
Beeep Beeep Beeep!! It was halftime, and we were up 1-0. We got water and went into a huddle with our coach.
“You guys have played a great game so far, great goal Johnny, but if we raised the intensity just a little bit we would be up 2-3 goals. This game is far from over, we have got to go out there and attack the net more aggressively.” We got back to our positions. As soon as they kicked off they made a mistake and we won the ball. Instead of playing back we pushed up forcing the other team to bring attackers back to defend. I didn’t want to just dribble and make the game boring, so I took a shot and the top right corner netting welcomed the ball to his home. 2-0. I leaped into the air with excitement and threw a fist into the air. The crowd was screaming in delight, for this was a home game for my team.
Though we scored the other team was quick to react. They quickly dribbled down the field and took their first shot of the game. It hit the post and went in the back of the net!! In a snap of a finger the crowd became silent. Everyone was astonished and no one dared to speak. After that our team tried to slow down the pace of the game. We were worried the other team would score again.
I looked up at the scoreboard: one minute!! Surely we can’t lose now, I thought. I looked up at the game, what the other team had a penalty!!! A penalty is a shot for the other team from a pace inside the penalty box and the defenders have to be behind the ball, this is a great opportunity for the other team to score!! If they miss this they will be ashamed of themselves. But they didn’t, it was tied and going to extra time.
At the start of extra time we got the ball first. My friend passed me the ball, I dribbled past two defenders. I passed my friend the ball, and he shot the ball. It went into the back netting! The ref blew his whistle, signalling that the goal didn’t count because my friend was offsides. When a person is offsides it means that they were in front of everyone and they got passed the ball. But my teammate clearly wasn’t offsides. I got really mad at the ref and ran over to him.
“That’s not fair,” I yelled at the ref. And the ref gave me a yellow card. A yellow card is a warning. If you get two yellow cards, you get sent out of the match. If you get a red card you get sent out of the match automatically. I didn’t want to argue more because then I would’ve got a red card.
The goalie kicked the ball far off to the other side of the field. Their striker controlled the ball and took a shot, and it went into the back of the net. It was 3-2 them, when it should have been 3-2 us. I was furious.
We were taking so many shots on goal but none went in! We were controlling the game. I kept telling myself that it was one goal but I knew that the clock was ticking, and I knew this was the championship match. We’d come all this way, we couldn’t lose now. Just then I had a flashback of last year when we lost lost, how devastated I was, it was such a disappointment, but what I remember most was the walk home. I was ashamed of myself too embarrassed to show my face to people.
Five minutes left, I thought to myself. I played my heart out. I looked up at the clock, time was running out. There were only seconds left in the match. I dribbled the ball and then tapped it through one of the defenders legs. It came out the other side. I ran and got the ball. I ran past another defender. I saw the clock. There were only five seconds left. I knew I had to take a rushed shot. I shot the ball right before the clock turned zero. The goalie deflected the ball, but not hard enough. It went into the back of the net! The game was going to penalties.
Our coach called us in. “Guys, that was a close one. We nearly lost two times in a row. But now we’re not going to lose it. We have to go out there and score every penalty. We have to make sure we don’t miss one. Because if we miss one we leave the door open for the other team to score and take the lead.”
The ref blew his whistle and he called the captains over to do the toss for who would take the penalty first. We won the toss again. And I chose to shoot first. It was our team’s penalty. It went into the back of the net. Great, I thought, but they scored as well. The penalties went on and I knew that if I scored we would win. I lined the ball up, I thought to myself, this is it, this is what I’ve been waiting for all my life, the opportunity to be the star of the team, the star of the league. I closed my eyes, the ref blew his whistle, I shot the ball right down the middle. The goalie anticipated that that ball would go to the right hand side of the net, where most of my shots went earlier. He dived to the right but my ball was down the middle. I love that sound the ball makes when it hits the netting, kind of like the sound a basketball makes when there’s a swoosh. And right there on point it happened again. The crowd roared I ran to the corner flag and jumped back facing the crown [the Ronaldo]. It was awesome for we had won the championship match for the first time!!!
“And the 2016 junior soccer championship goes Arsenal,” as the presenter gave us the trophy. Everyone was so happy, I could hear my family, they were so proud of me, my coach was proud of me, my team was proud of me, but most of all, I was proud of me.