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1 Kathryn Mathews Mrs.

Fuentes English 1101 10 November 2013 The Soccer Community Like many other sports, soccer has its own discourse that the players use in a game and/or practice. Members of this community can understand all of the language used in the games and practices and can speak it. There are certain slang words and hand signals that are used between the players, their coaches, and even the referees. The players communicate off the field with Twitter and email. It is fairly easy to distinguish between those who are a part of the soccer community and those who are mushfaking. Soccer players and teams throughout the country share the same goal: to go to the championships and to take home a trophy. Those who have authority, team captains and coaches, would be very proud of their team if they brought home a first, second or third place trophy. Senior, Will Mayhew, of the UNC Charlotte soccer team, shared his views and experiences on the team for this ethnography. Soccer is a game played with eleven players from each team on the field. There are four defenders, five mid-fielders, one forward and one goalie. Players can only use their feet, unless they are the goalie or if the ref calls a throw in. The objective of the game is to kick the ball up and down the field and into the other teams net (a goal). There are two forty-minute halves for the players to do so. Whichever team makes the most goals wins. During games and practices, the players, coaches, and even referees use a number of hand signals and specialized lingo to communicate on the field. Some examples of soccer vernacular are: man on, through, overlap, and wide. Man on is used to

2 warn another team member that a challenging player was running up behind him/her to steal the ball away. This allows each member of the team to help one another. Man on is probably one of the most used phrases in soccer. Through is used by mainly forwards and midfielders, it is a term yelled while the team is on offense. It tells the team member with them to pass the ball in between the players of the opposing side. Using through can be beneficial in a game because it may result in a goal. Another term articulated by the players is overlap. An overlap is a maneuver used to confuse the other team. It means that one passes the ball to a teammate then runs beyond that player, either to receive the ball back or to create a diversion. Calling out overlap, allows ones team member to acknowledge that he or she is trying to execute this move. The last example of soccer slang is, wide. When one shouts that he or she is wide, it informs the teammate of her position on the field and that they are available for a pass. Their position is on the edge of the field near the boundary lines. Not only is there a specific vernacular used by players, but they also use hand signals. Simple hand signals, such as pointing, are enforced in soccer. Soccer players often point to the spot on the field where they want their teammate to pass the ball. Ones team member may not be able to hear shouting, so hand signals allow her to see and when she cannot hear. Using hand signals also provides communication between the team without the opponents knowing what they are trying to say. It is essential that the players use this lingo and hand signals when communicating on the field. Hand signals and slang are not only used by the players, but also by the referees. The referees also use different signals to make calls. Referees have flags to display which team has gained possession of the ball. When the ref points the flag to the

3 right it means that the ball is going in that direction. The same thing goes for pointing it to the left. The flag is also used to inform the fellow referees if a player is offside or if he/she is fouled. There are different levels of fouls that exist in soccer. These are determined by the color of a card that the referee displays. A yellow card indicates a mild foul. When one receives a yellow card, she must step on the sidelines until the next play. A red card indicates an unacceptable action made by a player. One who receives a red card is not allowed to participate in that game anymore. Receiving three red cards can prevent a player from playing on the team for the rest of the season. Players, coaches and referees communicate on the field as well as off the field. The players communicate off the field with social medias, such as Facebook and Twitter. They communicate with their fellow team members as well as fans or friends of the team. One may tweet about the score of a game. For example, UNC Charlotte soccer player, Ryan Enriquez tweeted, Big 3-1 win over Clemson. Big time boys! after a challenging game against Clemson (Enriquez). Social medias can also be used to inform others of when the next game is, and to persuade them to attend the event. Will Mayhew, a senior on the UNC Charlotte soccer team, tweeted, Got the 3-0 win at FIU! Time for some post season knock out soccer! Congreve tourney at home next week! (Mayhew) This tweet was meant to express his excitement for the championships next week as well as attempt to persuade students and fans to show up to this event. Coaches communicate with the players through email. Coaches will email the team about practice, whether it has been cancelled or if it has been relocated. It can also be used to update the players on upcoming events that involve the team or other soccer events.

4 Determining who is a part of the soccer community is not too difficult. Soccer players usually have sporty attire, such as, wearing adidas soccer speed pants and sport jackets. Many of the soccer players on the CASL leagues and school teams own them. Another piece of clothing that separates the ones that belong from the mushfakers is a jersey. Those who are on a team receive jerseys to show that they are part of the community. It is just a style that they have. One can also spot the members of this community by observing their soccer skills. One who is part of soccer has good handling and control with the soccer ball. Those who are mushfaking may not have the set of skills that are necessary for playing soccer. The goal of the soccer teams is to compete in the championship. There are high hopes that the team will win and bring home a trophy for the trophy case. Even if the team does not win first place, it will be okay because they know that they played to the best of their ability. They are usually proud of each other just for making it into the championship. Soccer teams exist because they encourage school spirit. Another reason is because soccer is a popular sport in the United States and in other countries around the world. The captains and the coaches of the soccer team are the ones who acquire authority. The coaches have authority over all the players, including the captains and the captains just have authority over their teammates. One is provided with authority because of their good leadership skills. One in authority must be able to control the team and to lead them to victory. Captains prepare the warm up before games and during practice. Their job is to make sure that the team focuses on soccer instead of something else. They also keep the others in order, making sure they participate in the warm ups and pregame

5 stretching. Usually the seniors or juniors of the team are captains because the underclassmen look up to them. Will Mayhew was interviewed on his experience in the soccer community and how he got involved. He explains that he has been playing soccer since he was a little kid. His parents signed him up for soccer and ever since then he has loved and played it. Getting into the soccer community is not difficult. All one has to do is just find a local soccer league and sign up; there may be tryouts for the classic and challenge teams. When asked, What does it take to move up in this group? he responded, It takes a lot of determination and perseverance to become a captain or a leader of the team. You have to really want it. Mayhew states that those with authority are the captains and the coaches. He is glad that he decided to join the soccer community. Soccer is a community of athletes that use different hand signals and slang words to communicate. Communicating on the field is easier with these short words and phrases that they use. Some examples of this discourse are; man on, through, overlap, and wide. The players also communicate off the field with their Twitter, Facebook and email. These let the fans, family and/or friends know when they are having another game. They are also used to update their followers on how well they played in the game, and whether they won or lost. Distinguishing the real members of the community is not a difficult task. The mushfakers usually stick out from the group. Being a part of the soccer group means that they all share the same goal. Their goal is to play to the best of their ability and hopefully they will get into the championship rounds and win a trophy. Soccer is one of the many discourse communities.

6 Works Cited Enriquez, Ryan. 22 October 2013. Tweet. Mayhew, Will. Personal Interview. 7 November 2013. Mayhew, Will. 8 November 2013. Tweet.