Matt Bick – Minneapolis, Minnesota

Matt Bick

“I’ve been playing soccer since I was six years old and have played consistently since then. In late 2010, I studied abroad in London. I made sure to bring my spikes and goalie gloves with me (I had been a fullback for years growing up, but I decided in college that I wanted to give ‘keeper a try while playing on an intramural team). I became friends with a few folks in my classes, and we of course got to talking soccer. A couple months into my time in London, I was invited to play in a pickup game. I got on the Tube at King’s Cross with my friend, and he led me to a stop in a neighborhood that looked all-but abandoned. We walked down two dark blocks of London roadway before getting to a highway underpass, where to my surprise, I found flood-lit turf fields. The pickup game was incredible – fast-paced, frenetic, etc. I made one save I’m still proud of to this day, and right as I got up, I heard and saw fireworks go off right behind me. The date was November 5th – Guy Fawkes Day – so Londoners were lighting off fireworks to celebrate the foiled plot to destroy parliament. In that moment, I just knew how special the game was – a random kid from the Midwest, standing in goal a few thousand miles from home on a floodlit turf field under a highway, playing a game the whole world loves while fireworks were lit all around. It was just such a “Whoa, this is insane” moment for me. Another thing hit me as we continued playing, too. I had always heard that soccer was the world’s game growing up, and World Cups certainly helped reinforce that, but this experience truly drove it home for me. As I stood in goal, hearing players in front of me shout at their friends in their native tongues (English, French, Farsi, Spanish, and others), it just suddenly, truly made sense to me – the entire planet loves this game. This game brings folks from all sorts of backgrounds together. This is unique. This is amazing. This is the definition of special.”

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