In the words of Ted Lasso: ‘Football is life’

Avery Bangsund has been playing the sport since she was 4 and plans to continue through college.

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  • | 3:34 p.m. June 26, 2024
  • West Orange Times & Observer
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I started playing soccer when I was 4 years old. My love for soccer started at a young age because my parents wanted to see what I would be good at. To this day, they don’t let me forget that I never really enjoyed the sport when I was a kid. One thing I would say while at practice or games was, “I don’t like soccer because it makes me sweaty.”

However, that didn’t stop me from returning to tryouts each year — and each year, I continued to play the game that I learned to love very quickly. The sweat never went away, but I learned new skills and how to properly play the sport.

Once I knew the rules and it became an actual game and not a game of kickball, I realized how much I enjoyed playing and competing against other teams.

In addition to soccer, I participate in my school’s cross country, weightlifting and track teams. Although, my favorite will always be soccer. While I do love watching and learning from all the different professional sports teams, I love to play and participate in the sports I am a part of more than I do watching them.

Every time I watch a game, I wish I was the one on the track or the field. When I am on the field, I feel at home and in control. Not only that, but I love the feeling of working as a team to win or beat personal records.

Professional soccer teams I like to cheer for include both the U.S. men’s and women’s soccer teams, Manchester United, Inter Milan, Inter Miami, Minnesota United, Real Madrid, and both Orlando City and Orlando Pride. While I do not watch much weightlifting or cross country, I like to watch and cheer on the U.S. national track team. I also like to watch college track meets.

When I do get the chance to see these events live, I like to go with my teammates, coaches and my family. In the last couple of years, soccer has become a family event. Whether going out to practice or sitting at home screaming at the TV and cheering on our favorite team, my brother and I love to learn more about the sport whenever we can.

I will sit there watching the games looking for things I can improve on or things that a particular team does well. I find this helps me improve as a player because I am finding new things that can either make me a better player or help my team improve as a whole.

I plan on continuing my soccer career playing at the collegiate level.


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