…And boy, do I have plenty of those! With the recent re-launch of Soccer365, a new door has been opened, Ackermann’s Anecdotes. A fresh start, if you will. Some of you may remember me from my previous column, Spanish Kicks, but since I no longer find myself in the Catalan capital, a new platform has presented itself. One I jumped at, of course, without hesitation. The chance to write about my antics, opinions and to share my footy tales, all taking inspiration from my travels covering the “beautiful game” around the globe – Where’s the negative in that?
For those who don’t know anything about me, here’s an abbreviated version: Born in South Africa, and then made my way to England, USA, Spain, and New Zealand and now, Thailand.
Of course, that doesn’t offer much insight, so consider this my first anecdote: how it all began. My passion for the beautiful game manifested itself during one of the most important relationships in my life – a bond shared with the man who singlehandedly inspired me to be a better person, my grandfather. After his passing, I religiously watched football, and as most you of you know, once the game draws you in, it’s a hard one to escape!
The first step in the right direction was making the decision to leave South Africa and pursue my studies in the United States, and in 2010, my life as I knew it would be turned upside down, for the better.
My first MLS game would be in 2010, and despite the fact that the New York Red Bulls were experiencing yet another less than memorable season, I found myself intrigued and captured by the mass amounts of die-hard fans that surrounded me. The atmosphere was enough to keep me coming back for more…
One afternoon, a few hours ahead of a home game, I caught a glimpse of a female sports caster, and to say that she looked indifferent to the magic of the beautiful game would be a severe understatement. That was the turning point.
I made the promise to myself that I would pursue my dream of journalism and combine that with my love for football. Most of my friends snuffed at this ‘grand’ idea, but despite their doubts, I made it a reality within four months. After covering a handful of RBNY matches, I had landed a spot with a well-established soccer website and my first international game would be USA-Argentina. Dream come true.
Of course, with this sudden success, haters (since there is no other appropriate word) had soon gathered, and to those I want to say thank you, for you only pushed me to work harder.
From there, doors opened and numerous international games later, I found myself unchallenged with covering MLS. As a firm believer in always following your dreams, I had set my sights on covering F.C Barcelona. I learnt Spanish and made the move to the Catalan capital, where I would once again fulfil my dream.
During the last four years, since this all started, I have experienced scenarios I could never have imagined in my wildest dreams. From hanging with the “La Roja” boys in D.C to making an utter fool of myself in front of Fernando Torres, this will be a place for all of these tales to be shared with footy fans, who might appreciate them more than the ‘average Joe’ on the street. Of course, you can also expect my opinions on the ever-infuriating (and sometimes humorous) Sepp Blatter, and with WC2014 inching closer; previews, opinions, teams to watch out for, player interviews and whatever else catches my attention.
A fan of interaction, feel free to drop a line whenever there is a topic you might want me to write about, but this is one place you can expect opinions-a-plenty. Having lived in nations where the absence of the beautiful game drove me nearly insane to cities where it is considered a religion, I have realized one thing – I never want to imagine a world without the “global game” and consider myself lucky that I never have to. Let’s get this ball rolling…