This is one mom’s ode to the sport that has turned her life around.

My days are filled with activities–from working to caring for my young children–but I’ve recently found a new way to relax: watching soccer. 

Most of us played soccer at school, but I didn’t understand the game until the last few years when I would wake up early on the weekends and have a little alone time before my kids and husband woke up. From spending my Saturday and Sunday mornings watching soccer on the TV, I was inspired to buy some cleats and join a local league where I have found soccer really is the sport for me.

When I started getting into soccer properly a couple of seasons ago, I was not a complete novice. I’d played a few games at middle school and high school, but I’d just enjoyed running around. After school, I went to college and started my career, so that was the end of my soccer playing. I’ve always been active, jogging to stay fit, and doing some yoga to keep myself healthy, so I thought I was in good shape. On the weekends, I would wake up early and go for a run to have some alone time after a busy week of work. After my morning run, I would enjoy a coffee and aimlessly glance through my timeline or turn on the TV, which is when I fell in love with soccer.

Manchester vs. Liverpool

One Sunday morning, I found the English Premier League on the TV and found the sky blues of Manchester City playing Liverpool. I was hooked. I won’t lie, the first few minutes of the game were confusing to me as it looked nothing like the games I remember playing as a kid. Once I started picking up the rules of the game and the way Pep Guardiola got his team playing, I couldn’t stop watching. 

Once the game ended, I found myself looking for more soccer on TV and watched a few Bundesliga games from Germany. I took another blue team for my own, Hoffenheim. Although I watch almost any game of soccer that comes on the TV, I do look for Manchester City and love the way they play the game. It’s so exciting!

Getting Down with Other Moms

Like I said earlier, I love staying fit and enjoy exercising. However, I did not think I would go so far as to join a soccer league to play with some other moms every week. But I did.

I’m not saying I’m ever going to be Kevin De Bruyne when I’m playing for our team, but I have been amazed at the confidence and fitness I have gained from pulling on my cleats and heading onto the pitch. Of course, I want to look my best on the pitch and have the right equipment that is inspired by the players I love watching on the TV. (By the way, I found these coupons if you’re interested. Moms with hobbies are always looking for a way to save a little money!)

Soccer Brings My Family Together

One of the areas of soccer I had not thought would become so important to my family and me has been the way it has brought us together. My husband was not a soccer fan, but he now enjoys hanging out with me to watch games with the kids on the TV and in person. I like to think I’ve set a good example for my kids because they come to the games I play most weekends to watch their mom running around and having fun. Both of my kids have decided to join local teams, and I love shopping for their equipment and going to games with them.

While I love spending time with my kids and husband, I’ve found that my love of soccer has opened up a whole new world of friends and fun. When my husband and I get a free night (the kids stay with their grandparents), we often head out to our favorite bar to take in a game with our new friends from my soccer team. We’ve also met lots of Manchester City fans in our local area who now spend a lot of time together watching games and discussing how Pep Guardiola could make the team even better. 

My teams may not always win, but soccer has given me a new lease of life outside work and family that has re-energized my life on and off the pitch.