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Covering Soccer

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Greg Pickel, Mar 3, 2010.

  1. Greg Pickel

    Greg Pickel Member

    Have any of you guys covered soccer, and if so, do you have any tips/advice?

    I have been assigned girls soccer, covering one high school team with about two or three games a week. I am knowledgeable of the game, but the game doesn't really transfer well to articles. I am going to start looking for some samples online, but thought I'd throw it to you guys as well.

    Thanks In Advance!
  2. Stitch

    Stitch Active Member

    How long? 400-word story is easy with a bit of play-by-play and a lot of quotes.
  3. Moondoggy

    Moondoggy Member

    Two words:

    No running
  4. JakeandElwood

    JakeandElwood Well-Known Member

    Obviously talk about the goals, how the play that scored was set up, etc.

    Another important thing is possession. Who's controlling the ball, if one team is able to control it for most of the game, why? And breaking off from that, where is the game being played? Break the field into thirds and if it's being played in one team's attacking or defending third (basically if it's not predominately in the middle third) find out why.

    Hope that helps.
  5. Batman

    Batman Well-Known Member

    Soccer can be difficult because of the lack of action. Pay attention to the flow of the game more than individual plays. Chart shots on goal (and have your own definition of what constitutes a shot, since everyone else does), cards and saves.
    When a goal is scored, quickly replay it in your head and jot down a brief description (including time, who scored and who assisted) so you can describe it later. You'd be amazed how fast you and others can forget who got an assist or what defensive breakdown led to the goal.

    The biggest thing I can suggest is to pay attention to the flow of the game. Charting shots, or the number of shots, can help you with that. One team can sometimes be a step out of sync and just missing chances, or they could be getting outplayed by a superior squad. If Team A has 10 shots and Team B has 3, but Team B wins 1-0, that's a major point of emphasis for your gamer. It means either Team A was missing too many chances or Team B's goalie was playing out of his mind.
  6. Greg Pickel

    Greg Pickel Member

    Damn, you guys are quick! ;D

    My plan was to chart shots, keep track of goals, cards, all the vitals, plus the stuff you guys mentioned.

    I know the game, still playing it, which is an added bonus, but I will be utilizing what you guys have mentioned!

    @Stitch: 400 words is about what it will be, and I plan on using a ton of quotes.
  7. GB-Hack

    GB-Hack Active Member

    This is all good stuff. Check your PMs as well.
  8. Boom_70

    Boom_70 Well-Known Member

    wow don't let the soccer police catch you admitting that. ;)
  9. apeman33

    apeman33 Well-Known Member

    I'd also keep track of offsides calls. Not necessarily to say "Team A was called for offsides 10 times," but as a measure of the discipline of the teams. It seems to me that high school teams that get called for a lot of offsides are trying to press the action, but doing so without much discipline. They can't help breaking for the goal before the ball is kicked to them.

    If a team is not called much for offsides, it's either that A) they're putting on the pressure while also executing better (few offsides but a lot of shots) or B) the other team's defense is so stifling that they can't even get into the attacking zone in the first place (few offsides and few shots).
  10. spud

    spud Member

    If it just 400 words, I wouldn't.
  11. spud

    spud Member

  12. Batman

    Batman Well-Known Member

    Why do I suddenly feel like Bruce Willis at the start of "Die Hard With a Vengeance," when he's wearing the sandwich board and the black guys finally notice him?
    I meant, if you're new to covering soccer, it can be difficult to write 400 or 500 or 600 words on a game that ends 1-0 or 2-0 and has maybe 10 shots total between the teams. Putting into layman's terms for mass consumption a description of a low-scoring soccer game is much more difficult than a low-scoring baseball game (where you can talk about the dominance of the pitchers) or football or basketball (where you have plenty of stats to back up talk of good defense or bad offense).
    You just don't have the volume of stats the can serve as easy filler paragraphs as you do in other sports.
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