Casa Grande, Arizona — I thought I could sneak out of the house for the day by telling my wife I was going to the gym to do a double day (she didn’t believe any of it) and take the nice quiet 35 minute drive south to Casa Grande to see the Sounders play Vancouver in relative anonymity, but not so.

I wasn’t even to the field yet when a handful of fellow work-skippers greeted me with enthusiastic welcomes before I realized that they were two old teammates and a former college coach of mine.

Small soccer world it will always be…and that’s a great thing.

So we ventured over to a bench that sat just feet from the sideline at the top of the penalty box and enjoyed a spirited preseason game in perfect weather (Seattle won 3-2 after trailing Vancouver 2-0 early on) with good friends and two straight hours of soccer talk.

It doesn’t get any better than this. Well, except that one of my buddies noticed the beverage cart lady from the golf course was cutting behind the goal nearest to us and he ran over to her for a cold frosty beverage and returned, DOUBLE-FISTED with well-deserved treasures for the non-drivers in the group.

There was a nice turn-out fan-wise with plenty of them wrapped in Sounders scarves (though the perfect 70 degree weather didn’t warrant them).

So get yourself and your friends out here to Arizona this year and if not, this year, certainly next…the weather is perfect, the soccer up close and personal, the soccer friends easy to come by and the beverages cold. Want something else from your life?

Good luck finding it!

Because for now, at least for preseason soccer in the U.S. the place to be is in AZ. The Kansas City Wizards, Real Salt Lake, Vancouver, Chicgo Fire and San Jose Earthquakes all continue to train out here.

-Mark Vincent Lincir

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