Feature photo by WikiMedia
Though it’s technically already spring, springtime is inching upon us ever so slowly. The weather is becoming milder, the birds are singing again and local soccer clubs are gearing up for the start of outdoor soccer season. Some leagues begin as early as mid-March and are open to the public to both play and watch. Attending local games can be a great, cheap way to spend an afternoon. There is no obligation! No tickets are necessary! Just bring your folding chair and cooler, and watch the action unfold.
Unless you are a part of or know someone involved in one of the many soccer leagues in the Chicago and suburbs, finding a game to attend can be a difficult. Sure, if you live in Chicago and near any public parks or fields, the likelihood of stumbling upon a game is fair. For those who don’t, many leagues (and clubs) have schedules posted online or, at the very least, someone’s contact information.
Game days can vary. Popular teams and tournaments can see a large crowd of people, and sometimes feature multiple games simultaneously. On big game days when a lot of spectators are expected, street vendors will bring their fare (especially for the Latino leagues). Nothing tastes better on a hot day than a cool paleta.
Some sound advice, especially for those with children: many of these parks don’t have bathrooms or, at best, have a couple of portable toilets; a quick scope around the businesses in the area on the way to the game may be a good idea in case there are no facilities. Folding chairs are often necessary since seating is usually limited to picnic tables. On a hot day, an umbrella may not be a bad idea either.
For those interested in joining a soccer club, a quick web search can narrow the prospects down considerably. Club and league websites offer pictures, standings, teams, and contact information for tryouts.