Getting my kicks in the District
July 22, 2010 1:40 PM   Subscribe

I haven't played soccer since I was 6, but I'd like to start. Which leagues in DC should I be looking at that will accept a person with almost zero experience in the sport? I'm male, 25, and in middling shape.
posted by downing street memo to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
First off, don't join a league, at least just yet.

Find out where there are fields in your area, and people are playing pick-up games. Invariably, there are always pick-up games going on just about everywhere. Find a group that has an appropriate 'pace' for you.

I can't really hang with the late-teen pickup games (I'm 30), and don't really care for the central-American pickups (too much dribbling), so, I've ended up playing in a group of 25-to-35 year old players, largely Asian, Caribbean, and African.

You will get better, almost by default, and if you find a good group, they'll encourage you, and teach you. Sooner or later (usually after your 6th or 7th game), somebody will tell you that they also play on a team, and are looking for players. This is your in.
posted by The Giant Squid at 1:49 PM on July 22, 2010 [3 favorites]

Before playing pick-up games I would highly suggest getting a ball and friend and get used to the feel of the ball by running and dribbling and passing.
posted by sandmanwv at 2:12 PM on July 22, 2010

Nthing pick-up games and knocking the ball about in the park, and once you're feeling league-worthy, start with 5/6-a-side: more emphasis on passing and ball control, less running up and down the pitch.
posted by holgate at 2:29 PM on July 22, 2010

(This list of DC pick-up games is more up to date.)
posted by holgate at 2:33 PM on July 22, 2010

I agree that it is a good idea to start out playing pick-up games first. It will be a safer, more comfortable re-introduction to the game and, as it has been noted, it is a good way to find a team.

As for leagues in D.C. I have played in just about all of them and have no complaints about any. However, if it does come down to a choice I recommend a 7v7 or 9v9 co-ed team with Districts Sports.

In small side soccer there is often more opportunities to touch the ball and be involved in play. Co-ed teams are good idea because they are often a nice mix competitive and social soccer (folks like to win, but really just want to have fun).

I like District Sports in particular because the games are played on super nice "FieldTurf" pitches inside the city (rather than out in VA or MD).

Another important thing to look out for when picking a league will be whether the league permits slide tacking or not. I recommend beginning in a league that does not permit slide tackling.
posted by odacrem at 7:29 AM on July 26, 2010

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