A boy plays soccer to win money and save his family from financial problems.
What a fabulous goal!! But Joseph was not at all happy. This was the fourth goal the opponents had scored this game. What was with him and his teammates? They all had a love for soccer, but were unable to convey it on the field. The game soon ended with them losing 4-0 to the 6th place team Los Altos Raptors.
Joseph was the best defender of his team, the Cupertino Eagles, but his losing record was something anyone would laugh about. They would soon be demoted to the recreational league if they did not pick up the pace. Joseph needed to improve his defensive abilities or his team would continue the streak they were already in. Later that day, as he was eating his dinner, his mom told him that she had bad news.
Suddenly, Joseph perked up and asked, “What do you want to tell me, mom?” His mom slowly but clearly told him how his family were having financial problems. His father’s company had gone into a large debt and it had forced employees to help pay or leave. As his father had been at the company for many years, he felt it was his duty to help the company. The result was a 1 million dollar payment. When he asked him the reason for his choice, his father would ignore him. As he lay in his bed for some sleep, he wondered why his father could not of just left the company. But it was no concern of his anymore. Joseph just thought of ways that he could help pay off the money.
The next day, as Joseph was enjoying his summer break and asked his parent for money for the movies, his parent sternly said that they could not afford it. He suddenly remembered that his family was in huge trouble. He knew he needed to help his family in some way. Joseph just didn’t know what he could do to earn such a large amount of money. At soccer practice, their coach told the players that there was a national competition for soccer. The team that won the tournament would distribute 1 million dollars to each player. Joseph felt a sudden desire to win the tournament. That would be enough to pay off his father’s debt. He asked his coach if they would attend the tournament. His coach replied, “Of course, how could we miss this?” The playoffs for the tournament would be starting in 3 days. If his team did not win this game, they would be knocked straight out.
As each player decided to put in their full effort to hone their skills, the team got stronger and stronger. They knew that this potential had always been in them. 2 days passed by as fast as the spring breeze. Joseph went to bed early that night and decided that they would win the tournament. It would be one of the best surprises his parents would ever get. They would be relieved of a lot of stress.
In his coach’s car, the team prepared themselves for the long game. They decided on final strategies and positions. The team was finally ready to win. All the players warmed up well and when they compared themselves to the other team, it was obvious that they were about equal. Now it was all about who wanted the win more. The referee called the players to get in their positions and the whistle blew. Pass to pass and a sudden shot and the dozens of plays never stopped happening. The game started very quickly. Each team wanted an early lead. Joseph trapped the ball skillfully with his chest ahead of the opposing player, and passed it to his right back, Charlie, who passed it back. His team was doing remarkably well at this time. Keeping possession and starting attacks were all part of their strategy. The opponent player, a tough looking player with brown hair, suddenly stole the ball from the midfielder and dribbled down the open lane of green grass. This was a dangerous attack. It was all up to Joseph to steal the ball now. The tough guy dribbled speedily towards the goal and was now within range to shoot. Joseph stuck out his foot to block the ball, but it did not land in the right place. The ball was shot nice and high and soared into the right top corner of the goal. 1-0 was the current score.
His coach shifted Joseph up to help with the attack. They could not lose now. If they did, his father would be stuck in financial problems. Joseph got a pass, did a beautiful fake and crossed it in. The goalie jumped up and pushed the ball out. In this way, they continued their controlled but furious attack. It was a majestic play, but none of them could find the back of the net. The next half, Joseph decided to attack alone. He received the ball and struck it at the goal. It was deflected by a defender, and the Cupertino’s fast forward, George, ran in to strike the ball in. Joseph was elated that his team had scored, but a tie would not give them enough points. If they won, they would have enough points to automatically go to the semifinals because their team would be on the top of the team table. But the game had not been decided yet. Both teams played fast and dangerous as they raced to get more goals. In the 80th minute, the same tough forward who had received the ball before juked a few players and took a shot at the goal. Joseph heart’s sank as he could see it would go in. A waft of wind suddenly appeared and blew the ball even higher. Relief struck Joseph as the ball rebounded against the crossbar and went out. The game was nearing an end.
George was about to take a powered shot, but the defender realized this immediate threat. He slide tackled him from the back, which resulted in a red card and free kick. The coach trusted this vital kick to Joseph. Joseph calmed himself down and focused on his target. He backed up, took a running start, and hit it with all the force he possibly had. The shot hit the post, hit a defender, and slowly rolled in. Joseph was so happy he could cry. He had done it. 2 minutes later, the game had ended.
The team held a pizza party that evening. They were even happier when they heard the good news. The coach yelled out, “We’re in the finals! The other team that had won had forfeited due to a sudden heart attack of the coach.” Even though he felt sad for that team, he was incredibly excited. Joseph could feel the million dollars just out of reach. But they were not there yet. His team had to still win the finals to get the prized money. They would be facing one of the most formidable teams, the Michigan Fire Breathers, in the finals. They were known for keeping incredible possession and then making fast breaks on offense. It was rumored that they were sure that they would win the tournament and steal the much needed money from Joseph. To take out this threat, the team positioned themselves to stop the possession. For the next week, there would be vigorous training. Joseph could not believe the positive transformation of the team. Everyone knew their place and would continue to help everyone out. The game was to happen in Cupertino. The game day was getting closer and closer. They studied the opponent’s tactics to ready themselves.
The game day finally arrived. He hoped that the game would result in a win. To him, it was a matter of life or death. On the field, they saw the other team fooling around and having fun. On the other hand, they were very focused on what lie ahead. When their warm up finally ended, a coach prepped them, and they ran onto the field. This was the moment of their lives. The game was very hard at first for the Cupertino Eagles for they had no possession of the ball. Several amazing plays had been performed and the team was getting worried. They needed to pick up the pace or the trophy would be taunting them for the rest of their lives. Joseph successfully was defending the threats and it was only a matter of time before he would start an attack.
As the half was reaching an end, George suddenly got fouled by a buff player. He felt provoked so he struck back with his fists. A fierce battle ensued and the referee had to interfere to stop the battle. Joseph wondered who would be called for a foul. The red card slowly rose and was pointed at George. One player down for Cupertino meant a high chance that they would lose. They had to find the back of the net quick or they would lose. Somehow they made it through most of the game. Shutting them out of their territory, the Cupertino Eagles kept the opponents at bay. The long 90 minutes finally ended and the rules decided it would go to a penalty shootout.
The first kick was for Michigan. The tall, muscular, player shot a nice ball into the right corner, and the goalie Paul dove for it, but it still went in. Charlie was next to shoot. He took a strong shot, but it hit the crossbar and went out. Cupertino was losing the shootout. Luckily, the next spot kick by the strong opponents was way off target. According to the rules, there would be 3 penalty kicks and whoever scored more of them would win. Bob, another forward of the Eagles, stepped forward, leaned down, and fired a beautiful shot into the center of the goal. The goalie dived the wrong way, and a noise could be heard as it hit the back of the net. The next Michigan player was the captain who looked determined to win the tournament. He looked both ways, and hit it nice and square into the right side of the net. Paul had known that and dived, hit the ball, which hit the post and went in. So close!!!
Joseph had to make the shot or they would lose the title. He focused, and took a swing at the ball. It went up and up and was not even close to the goal. Joseph sank to his feet. He wondered why this had to happen. The whistle then blowed. Joseph looked up to see that the referee was giving him another chance. Apparently, the goalie had stepped of the line before the shot had been taken. Now Joseph felt the pressure and took the majestic shot he knew he had always possessed. It swirled into the top of the goal. As the shots were tied, one more penalty kick would be awarded to each team. Paul, the goalie was chosen to take their one. The Michigan player stepped up to the line and took a shot. Paul jerked and barely touched the ball. Thankfully, it was enough to push it off of the goal. He was a hero. If only he could also make the penalty kick. He ran up to the penalty spot, and smashed it into the goal.
The goalie just stood amazed as the ball curled in. What a goal!!! Amazing performance!! The crowd was shouting. The Cupertino Eagles jumped up in joy. Joseph was so happy he started to cry. His family was saved. He had not only saved his father, but the company too. He ran around and the officials told the players that the trophy and the money would come in the mail a week later. All Joseph could see was green bills. It was a moment he would remember for the rest of his life.