Best Urban Soccer - 2007
Ever notice how the commercials during the World Cup always show kids in other countries playing soccer everywhere but the pristine grass pitches that define America's soccer landscape? Future stars are training in the back alleys of Rio, the hardened thoroughfares of Mombasa, and the street corners of Buenos Aires. Never fear, urban soccer does exist in San Francisco. The Mission Playground has a cement "field" that's about half the size of regulation with smaller goals. Still, there is fierce competition. Every weekday night around 7, and weekends at noon, pickup games commence. This is a skills game. Long ball is out. Precision passing is key, and blinding speed comes in handy. And remember, slide tackling won't get you much more than a nasty rash.