Sounds of shuffling feet echoed off the bulkhead in the hangar bay. Orange overhead lights glowed in the haze of the warm, humid night air. The open ocean and a helicopter framed a Sailor bouncing a soccer ball from knee to knee during a soccer skills tournament aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71), June 7.
To help Sailors get into the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) World Cup spirit, Morale Welfare and Recreation (MWR) held the event, which tested Sailor’s juggling and ball handling skills.
“We came up with the idea for the soccer skills competition by talking with other ships,” said Megan Villapudua, TR’s MWR representative. “The idea was perfect with the start of the World Cup happening this week.”
According to FIFA.com, soccer spans numerous ethnic backgrounds creating one of the most diverse sports in the world.
“With this event we were able to appeal to a different crowd of Sailors,” said Villapudua. “The Sailors came out and responded to the event and it looked like they had a lot of fun.”
It can take years for soccer players to perfect their skills.
“It has taken me a long time to be able to handle a soccer ball like that,” said Airman Hunter Jarrett, from Portland, Ore. “I started at a young age and just kept working at it.”
Sailors not only came out to showcase their skills, they also came out to unwind with fellow soccer enthusiasts.
“During the skills competition Sailors were cheering each other on,” said Villapudua. “After the skills test was done they just started little pickup games in the hangar bay.”
The 2014 FIFA World Cup brings together the world’s 32 best national teams to compete in more than 64 games. The action kicks off June 12 at 1700 as Brazil and Croatia battle it out.
By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Anthony N. Hilkowski USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) Public Affairs