Подкаст: "Football in New Zealand"

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Today's podcast is by Mark. He is a football coach in New Zealand.

Hello everyone.

A few years ago, I moved from England to New Zealand to coach football to children in Auckland, the biggest city in New Zealand. I'd like to tell you about the differences between football in England and football in New Zealand.

I grew up in London in England and spent many hours as a child playing football with my friends in the park. We used to play football after school and at the weekend, and often all day long in the school holidays. One of the first things I noticed when I moved to New Zealand was that very few children play football after school or at the weekends. Even on a sunny day in New Zealand, many of the parks will be completely empty! In cities in England, children will arrange to meet their friends for a game in the park, but in New Zealand the children only ever play football when it's organised for them by their parents or by their team coach.

If you've ever played football, you will know that it takes many hours of practice to get skilful and make the ball do anything you want it to. Sometimes it can take lots and lots of mistakes before a child gets it right! In New Zealand, children don't spend a lot of time playing football on their own so they don't try new things and make mistakes. Instead they spend an hour or two a week being told what to do by a parent or a coach. This means they don't get to make their own mistakes and learn things for themselves. Imagine learning English and never being allowed to make a mistake? It would be very difficult, and not much fun either!

The best two football countries in the world are currently Italy and Argentina. England is eighth best, and New Zealand are at 132. In New Zealand, football in called soccer and although it is played by lots of children, most people prefer to watch rugby. New Zealand has a national rugby team called the All Blacks, and they will almost certainly win the rugby World Cup in France later this year. In New Zealand all the children want to grow up to be an All Black, and all their heroes and role-models are rugby players.

For those of you who haven't seen a rugby game, let me explain how it works. The ball they use in rugby is not a round ball like in football, but is oval shaped – like an egg. Each team has 15 players, and the aim is to get the ball to the other end of the field. The players can do this by running with the ball in their hands, or by kicking it up the field. They can also throw the ball to each other but only if it goes backwards. It is very common in a rugby game to see huge kicks up the field so the team can advance together and get closer to scoring some points. As I said, New Zealand are very good at rugby and everyone in the country loves to see the All Blacks play. I have coached football in New Zealand for three years now, and I think New Zealand's love of rugby affects the way they play football, or soccer as they call it. Let me explain what I mean. In Italy or Argentina or England the most important thing in football is for the players to pass the ball to someone else on their team. If you are lucky enough to watch Italy play Argentina, you will see the players often pass the ball backwards or sideways to a team-mate. However, in New Zealand it is very common to see soccer players kick the ball up the field as far as they can and then chase after it, just like they do in rugby! And when a soccer child in New Zealand does a big kick up the field, it is very common for the parents watching the game to clap loudly and say 'Well done! Nice kick!' They don't care where the ball goes, as long as it goes a long way!

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