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The Reflection

Off the Boards and In

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It’s 7:30 on a Saturday night in early November, and sophomore Andres Muñoz doesn’t know what to wear. It’s his first indoor soccer game since arriving to the United States, and he isn’t sure whether to wear cleats or sneakers. The game begins in a half hour, so Andres decides to stick with his cleats and hope for the best.

Andres Muñoz waits on defense during his first indoor soccer game. Photo courtesy of Andres Muñoz.

It’s 7:45 and Andres has arrived at Kingdom Indoor Soccer center and is greeted by his teammates. Muñoz isn’t sure what to expect come game time. He boasts his Argentina jersey and white cleats, and steps onto the indoor field for the first time ever.

It’s 8 a.m. and the whistle has blown to start the game. Muñoz dominates on defense for the entire 50 minutes of play. The final score 23-8 in favor of Muñoz’s “Gull Lake 1.”

“It was like he had been playing indoor soccer his entire life,” junior captain Zach Reed said. “I definitely plan on keeping him around on my team.”

Born in the Costa Rican capital of San Jose, Muñoz never imagined he would be going to high school in the United States, let alone Michigan. Fortunately, he had the language of English already mastered (although he may humbly disagree with you), and the common interest in the sport of soccer as a few other Gull Lake students. After making the varsity soccer team in the summer, it became evident to his new teammates that he had an immense passion in the game of fútbol.

After the heartbreaking loss Muñoz and his varsity teammates suffered to Plainwell in the district finals, it became time to move the game from outdoor to indoor. The concept of only playing with fve players on a team (unlike outdoor’s 11), playing with boards and only playing for 50 minutes (in contrast to high school soccer’s 80) was new to the sophomore as this form of soccer hadn’t been offered in his home country of Costa Rica. Despite his uncertainty, he was among  the first to sign up.

Sophomore Andres Muñoz turns around and takes on Harper Creek defender in district semi-finals. Photo by Parker Feraco.

“At the beginning [of the first indoor game], I didn’t know what to expect,” Muñoz said.

Andres Muñoz said he realized quickly that he really enjoyed indoor soccer.

“I found out that the games were just to have a fun time.”

Muñoz not only adapted to the new style of play, but he teammates said that it was apparent that he enjoyed it.

“He had a smile on his face throughout the game that you don’t see everyday,” Zach Reed said.

Muñoz enjoys the freeness an indoor player has versus the strict positional play he experienced outdoors.

“You can try [any move or skills] you want to and nobody will judge you,” Muñoz added, “[Indoor] helps you learn new things about soccer,” Muñoz said.

As for the difficulty of the game, Muñoz wasn’t shy of pointing out things in indoor soccer that are much harder than outdoor soccer.

“What can get difficult is the physicality and intensity [indoor games] can have, especially when you have to play 50 minutes straight.”

Whether it was indoor soccer or varsity outdoor soccer, the sophomore believes that the intensity placed on both games help progress a soccer player to improve. Muñoz wishes Costa Rica had different forms of soccer such as indoor to help develop players.  

“In Costa Rica there is a lot of talent, but it isn’t exploited enough for students to get to a higher level,” Muñoz said.

Muñoz will continue to play indoor soccer throughout the winter as he adjusts to the different forms of soccer in his new home of Michigan.

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Miles Renwick
About

I am a senior at Gull Lake High School, and this is my first year on staff. I play varsity soccer and enjoy writing about sports. I am looking forward to a good year.

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