Backyard Soccer

The main menu of Backyard Soccer.
The field of play in Backyard Soccer.
The main menu of Backyard Soccer. The scoreboard scene in Backyard Soccer. Team photo screen in Backyard Soccer. Profile screen for Kenny Kawaguchi in Backyard Soccer.

I've lately been thinking back on some of my time spent with old video games.

I used to play on a travel soccer team, and in between trips to practice and tournaments I would spend a lot of time playing Backyard Soccer on PC. At the time, I think it was somewhere around 1998, our family purchased our first home computer running Windows 98.

While, I don't remember the exact model, I do remember that it was a Gateway. I have vivid memories of the big white box arriving at our house, covered in big black spots resembling a cow - their famous brand that some might recall.

I used the machine mostly for downloading music and playing games and Backyard Soccer was one of the earliest games that I can remember playing on it. The game was targeted toward kids much younger than me, but it was such a genuine experience that I enjoyed it from the moment I started playing it.

I would spend hours pretending I was the coach of the team - mimicking some of what I had learned from my own coach and leading the characters to victory.

One thing that stood out to me is that they had such a diverse collection of characters - including one who played in a wheelchair. His name was Kenny and he was my favorite (and always my star player). Thinking back on it - the game did a wonderful job including people from all races, genders, and abilities. It was neat.

Overall, it wasn't a very popular game among my group of friends (I'm not even sure they knew it existed), but it definitely meant a lot to me in between soccer tournaments. Playing it is a very fond memory of mine.