A story from my childhood…

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...)



Comments (13)

  1. v-henlee says:

    I thought people in US like football game more than soccer, but it’s nice to hear from a soccor fan:D

  2. Apolon says:

    Groan…. You even got me to the point of searching google for this Vu Tran soccer dude out of curiosity – which makes the groan factor even worse.

  3. El Guapo says:

    "back when children were still allowed to participate in sports that had seasons"

    I don’t understand this comment.

  4. Randolpho says:

    I think this post is 12 days late. 🙂

  5. Wow, that was a super long setup. Well done funny man!

  6. ericgu says:


    Lots of soccer players out in the Western US, but it’s not considered much of a spectator sport.


    Interestingly enough, the bulk of the story is true, except for two things:

    1) The vietnamese player’s name was no "Vu Tran"

    2) Francois never said "please"…

    El Guapo:

    Back when I was growing up, sports for young kids (<14) were purely seasonal. You had soccer in the fall, football in the fall, baseketball over the winter, baseball in the spring. You’d practice perhaps a couple of times a week, and then do other things the rest of the time.

    And maybe the seasons spread out when you get older – we had double seasons for soccer when I was in high school (sept-dec, mar-jun) – but you could still be a three-sport athelete if you wanted to be, and most people didn’t do anything in summer (except that football started in late august).

    In the past 10 years, sports have gone from a recreational focus towards a competitive focus. There are select leagues where the kids have 2 or more practices a week year-round, and the only way to do other sports is to double up.

    And kids that want to do multi-sport may have trouble, because the rec teams have trouble staying viable (players leave to go to select, or decide to do another sport), and they may not be good enough to get onto their school teams (which may be full of select players).

    I’ll probably write something longer on this sometime.


    You have poor taste in jokes. I like that.


  7. Christian says:

    S’il vous plaît has an L sound in it. I am canadian. I like hockey.

  8. Eric W says:

    That’s 2 minutes of my life you owe me back:)

  9. Carlos says:

    Soccer is a participation sport. More kids in Canada actually play soccer then hockey.

    In any case, I’ve recently started a new website to discuss soccer, but stumbled on your blog as I was searching for some unrelated programming info.

    Peace out!

  10. Tomer Gabel says:

    The PAIN! Argh. That was an AWEFUL joke. Eric, you suck 🙂

  11. Mellowman says:

    Don’t get it

  12. ericgu says:


    I generally believe that explaining a joke can only make it less funny, which in this instance is a positive boon, so:

    In French, "please" is expresssed as "S’il vous plaît" ("sill voo pleh"), though the common mispronunciation among english-speakers is "see voo play".

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