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Views #98 | Low Intermediate 4

Soccer in Kenya

Alex talks about playing the world's most popular sport in his country.
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Todd: Alex, when you were little, what did you like to do?

Alex: When I was small and I was in junior high school we used to like playing soccer with my friends. Actually in Kenya, what's different from other countries, we used to make our own soccer ball to play. So, it's very easy.

Todd: Wow. How do you make the soccer ball?

Alex: We used to collect like plastic papers and bind them with string, around them to make something round. So it was like, you didn't have to spend any money.

Todd: Wow, that's ingeneous. That's great. So were you a good soccer player?

Alex: Not really. I used to like playing soccer but I was not very good, actually to tell the truth

Todd: Yeah, me too. I wasn't a very good athlete. I mean I like sports but I was never any good. Um, so do you play soccer in Japan?

Alex: Sometimes, until last year when I was in school I still played soccer. Right now, actually I'm not playing anymore because I'm like busy.

Todd: Yeah.

Alex: Yeah. You can't play soccer without a big group of people and everyone is busy right now so I'm not playing anymore.

Todd: Yeah, that's a bummer. Like I always want to play sports but it's hard as
you get older. When's the last time you played soccer?

Alex: About one year ago. I think November of 199?,...2003, November.

Todd: OK. Actually in Kenya do you call it soccer or football?

Alex: In Kenya you call it football.

Todd: Football. I'm sorry.

Alex: Actually, I've been in Japan for sometime so I'm used to calling it soccer. In Kenya you call it football.

Learn vocabulary from the lesson!

junior high school or used to

When I was in junior high school, I used to play soccer with my friends.

'Junior high school' is the school you go to before senior high school.  It is usually for grades eight and nine and is frequently shortened to 'junior high'. We use 'used to' to talk about something that was a repeated action or state in the past that is not true now. Notice the following:

  1. He was very popular in junior high school.
  2. He used to have problems talking to girls.

plastic papers or bind them

We used to collect plastic papers and bind them with string.

'Plastic papers' are papers that have been covered in plastic so they're more durable.  To 'bind' things together is to attach them to one another, in this case like a book. Notice the following:

  1. We need to make some plastic papers for the convention.
  2. Make sure to bind your notes so you don't lose them.


That's very ingenious of you to make your own ball.

An 'ingenious' solution is one that is clever, imaginative or resourceful.  It is not a common thought or solution to a problem. Notice the following:

  1. She always has very ingenious ideas for new products.
  2. I think that is an ingenious plan.

to tell the truth

I was not very good at playing soccer actually, to tell the truth.

We add the phrase 'to tell the truth' when we want to make an honest statement that may not be very popular, but it is how we really feel.  Notice the following:

  1. To tell the truth, this isn't the best way to solve the problem.
  2. I don't think you would be the best person for the job, to tell the truth.


It's a bummer that you can't play anymore because everyone's busy.

We use 'it's a bummer' as mild slang to mean 'it's a disappointment', 'it's sad' or 'it's terrible.' Notice the following:

  1. It was a real bummer that it rained every day of vacation, but we had fun anyway.
  2. It's a bummer that you broke your ankle and can't play soccer this year.


Vocabulary Quiz

junior high • used to • plastic papers
bind • ingenious • the truth • bummer
  1. They gave us for all the important charts and information we needed to have.
  2. He had braces and bad hair in .
  3. To tell , this soup is a little too salty for me.
  4. I go out with my friends four nights a week before I got married.
  5. Although it's an invention, I don't think that people will buy it.
  6. It's a that you have to take summer classes.
  7. She is going to all the photos and articles together to make a book.
Answer the following questions about the interview.

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