I should warn that my journal posts will not always be this lengthy, but I thought it was important to get started in this fashion.
Let me start by introducing myself with my FIFA background and soccer fandom if you are new to the Thumbstick Athletes. I, Eric Homa of the Thumbstick Athletes, played soccer for a short time when I was around the ages of 8 or 10. The only highlight reel worthy play I remember making as a budding super star surely on the radar of the USA national team was the time my coach decided to give my talents a try as the keeper. I can only assume this had something to do with my slightly chubby build and severe lack of interest in soccer at the die. As I stood there waiting to get my paws on any ball that came within 2 to 5 inches of me, I suddenly broke into tears. It turns out that the usually reliable net maintenance team failed to notice a bee’s nest attached to the crossbar that I was guarding like the Castle Walls of Helm’s Deep. I ran off the field holding my hand (insert soccer joke here) where I had been stung, and to this day I don’t remember playing in an organized league ever again.
Fast Forward 6 years to the high school version of Eric. As far as soccer and I went our relationship had seen better days. We never really made that connection that I had with the more mainstream sports in the United States. I spent many an argument debating that Football is more popular than soccer. Now that I know how completely wrong I was I wouldn’t mind setting the Delorian to 1999, and telling myself to shut up and get back in line for another tray of chicken nuggets because you have no idea how much you will miss nugget Wednesday when you are 29. Although I never showed much interest in Soccer I did always look forward to the World Cup. If you don’t know what the World Cup is A) You probably don’t play FIFA anyway and B) You must wrestle me when and if we ever meet. Soccer video games were always something I had an affinity for. I knew nothing about the game or the players, but always found the video game translations very entertaining.
Now look at me all grown up at the age of 29 chiming in with my silly thoughts on a video game podcast with my best friends, and in my spare time working in a management position for a very highly thought of company on the East Coast of our great country that refuses to come to the same realization that I have……..soccer is an amazing and beautiful sport. It was the year 2010 that my love of soccer took its full form. FIFA 11 pulled me closer to the game than I had ever been before. I got to know the players and teams around the world like I never had. I began to notice the insane footwork that takes place out on the pitch. The passion that fans across the sea have for their favorite soccer clubs is something that I very much wish I was able to share in if only for an afternoon at the Emirates stadium watching my team Arsenal. FIFA as a game has grown a lot over the past three years, and so has my love of the game with it. I am beyond excited to share my passion and competitiveness in the world of FIFA with fans of the Thumbstick Athletes both new and old. With the USA national team right in the middle of World Cup qualifying and my online Pro Club team CTUnited always in the hunt for virtual glory I hope you all enjoy sharing my experiences with the FIFA franchise as much as I enjoy sharing them with you.
I am going to keep my first set of the past weeks highlights from FIFA short and sweet. I managed to track down CTUnited captain Geoff, or as he’s known in the Pro Club world Gen Gee. We logged in to our usual spots with Geoff manning the any slot, and my Pro as the central striker. I commonly refer to my Pro as Coopie due to his likeness and play style to that of Kenny Cooper of New York Red Bulls fame. Coopie is best known for tripping over his own feet and a really poor first touch. When he is on his game he passes the ball quite well for a big striker. We started out 2-0 on the afternoon and decided to keep it rolling because when you are in that groove on FIFA you need to make it last as long as you possibly can. In our third game CTUnited got up to an early 1-0 lead and we were looking poised to continue our string of division 3 dominance as we make our not so graceful rise back to top division glory. Then tragedy struck. Our back line was being pressured heavily by the opposition’s attackers. In a move that Geoff is always proficient with he decided to pass back to the keeper and let him boot a ball out of danger. As I watched the ball roll back towards our net I started to notice that our goalie was making no indication that he was planning on making any sort of move to the ball. I distinctly remember letting out a shout of NO! As the ball continued to roll past our apparently paralyzed goalie I began to chant NO louder and more frequently. Geoff and I sat in silence for a period that seemed like 5 minutes, but was closer to 5 seconds. The game was now tied 1-1, and I can only assume that the keeper became distracted by the sheer beauty of our home stadium the Greater Binghamton Sports Complex. Now that we had a newly refocused goalie we were sure to make a push for that ultra-important second goal. Soon after the restart at mid field the ball was suddenly on the move towards our goal again, but at least this time it was being pushed by the opposition. I watched from my striker position as our lumbering ox of a center back defender took down an enemy striker inside the penalty box and the opposition was rewarded a penalty kick not seconds after our hearts were ripped out by our keeper’s day dreaming. No doubt there was a little bit of acting on the part of the enemy player taken down in the box, but that is soccer after all isn’t it? The penalty kick flew easily into the net and within 30 seconds of actual gameplay we were suddenly down 2-1. We were a beaten down pair of broken hearted soccer lovers that couldn’t come back from that kind of devastation and the game ended 2-1.
I picked this story from my week to show just how easily a fantastic night of FIFA can quickly turn into a cluster fuck of emotions that makes the dog scared to even breathe in your direction. I can’t explain the feeling of pure elation that comes over me when we as a club or me on ultimate team score a late goal to win the game, or the satisfaction of a well-played club game that takes a tremendous amount of teamwork and understanding of how each of us plays. Unfortunately the other end of that is just as emotional for me. I get a genuine feeling is despair whenever I suffer a loss, and if it happens to be a loss from a late goal it’s best for me to not speak to anyone for at least 10 minutes until I can clear my head and come to terms with the fact that it doesn’t actually impact my life. Until next time Coopie signing off.