Would You Mind If I Play? - Chapter 52 - Limitless[Updated at: 2021-01-11 03:57:30]
Chapter 52: Limitless
Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
In the next issue of High School Soccer, Chen Huafeng who covered the match wrote:
“A very wonderful match to watch! The game started off slow at first, but as soon as the second half began, Shu Guang High steamrolled through the game with great cooperation on the front lines. Such levels of teamwork have never been seen before in the history of this cup! Shu Guang’s prided offensive lineup displayed seamless teamwork in the match, showing the world what the strongest offensive team in Luoyang is capable of when they go all out. Their scoring of five goals in the match is a huge declaration to everyone that there is no defense too hard for them!”
After allowing their opponents to score the first goal, Guan Lin High did not attack Shu Guang aggressively as many thought they would. Instead, they played defensively, waiting for an opportunity to strike. Their strategy was to play it slow and steady so that they could wear down their opponents for a counter.
However, that did not stop Shu Guang from stepping up and maintaining their tempo. Additionally, Guan Lin’s defense did not become too much to handle for Shu Guang High. With their newfound synergy on the front lines, all of Guan Lin High’s defensive efforts seemed like they were just for show.
Kaka challenged and stole the ball in the center of the field, carrying it forward without any hesitation. As he did that, the three other forwards came running to the front. They were attacking again!
Seeing his teammates making their move, Kaka sped up as a defender stepped in to challenge him for the ball. Kaka raised his right foot behind him, implying that he was about to kick the ball far away. A defender then quickly got into a slide to try to stop him. Kaka swung his foot forward, but did not kick the ball. Instead, he stopped the ball with his right foot, and with his left, he hooked the ball up to the right as he leaped over the sliding defender!
What a beautiful feint! The crowd went wild, shouting, screaming and clapping at Kaka’s brilliant move!
As soon as his feet got back on the ground, Kaka flicked the ball with his right foot. It sent it high up, over another oncoming defender and over to Zhang Jun.
Zhang Jun was facing away from the goal at that point. When the ball came down towards him, he reactively kicked it away, passing it over to Yang Pan before turning around and sprinting towards the penalty box.
The other Guan Lin High defenders all closed in on Yang Pan, trying to pressure him into making a mistake and giving up the ball. However, Yang Pan did not panic. As soon as the ball came into his possession, he kicked it hard, sending it flying to the far right. The ball flew towards the corner of the pitch where there were no defenders. Only one player was there to receive the ball: Ren Yu De!
The goalkeeper quickly moved to the side of the goal. After letting him score the first time, he knew that Ren Yu De was good at scoring from tight angles. So, he moved in close to the side to make sure that he could not get a proper shot.
Ren Yu De raised his left leg high up behind him. He was making his shot! The keeper readied himself to receive the ball, but… the ball did not come towards him. Instead, Ren Yu De kicked the ball further out to his right. He was not planning to score, he was passing the ball to Zhang Jun!
The ball flew to the front of the goal and Zhang Jun, who was running towards it managed to intercept it. As a defender sprinted towards him from behind, Zhang Jun suddenly stopped. He threw the defender off and instantly widened the distance between them. He was open!
Zhang Jun drew his foot towards his back and his body became a locked crossbow. Right whenthe landed in front of him, he fired! His leg swung forward and connected squarely with the ball, sending it flying straight towards the undefended goal. A volley!
The ball flew in a straight line, hitting the goal line before bouncing into the net behind a clueless goalkeeper. He turned around just in time to see the ball pass him by and go into the net.
And that was just 17 minutes into the second half!
A brilliant display of teamwork from the four stars of Shu Guang High, which ended with Zhang Jun’s volley sealing the deal.
Zhang Jun was thrilled after scoring. He ran towards his team with his right hand raised, celebrating the goal. His teammates all cheered and ran along with him.
Chen Huafeng watched the whole thing happen from the stands. He watched as Zhang Jun ran over to this teammates with his hand raised and how his teammates ran along behind him. That scene felt to him like Zhang Jun was the head of a vanguard, leading the charge and waving a flag with his raised hand. The people who were following him were his comrades who trusted him just as much as he trusted them. These boys were all brothers in arms, teammates on the pitch, and friends in life…
Six minutes later, Zhang Jun headed the ball and like a leaping fish breaking the surface of the water, he scored his second goal. He did his victory run again with his right hand raised while his teammates ran along behind him.
Another 10 minutes later, Zhang Jun received a pass from Kaka. He evaded the goalkeeper who came forward to try to stop him and sent the ball flying into the wide open goal. A hat-trick! Once again, he did his victory run with his right hand raised while his teammates followed suit.
The same victory run, happening three times within the span of 16 minutes! Chen Huafeng smiled.
“So, that’s where trust comes from!”
Zhang Jun scoring a hat-trick in such a short period of time sent the Shu Guang High cheerleaders into a frenzy. They shouted, “Zhang Jun! Zhang Jun!” non-stop.
They cheered every time Zhang Jun took possession of the ball and every time Zhang Jun shot or passed. The freshmen cheerleaders who still had their doubts about Zhang Jun’s skills from the first match, were now cheering for him passionately. That day, they finally witnessed what a scoring champion was: One who made a breakthrough when the team was in a deadlock, one who did not back down even after his team was in the lead, one who stepped up to the task and and carried the team, one who’s charisma drove the crowds crazy, one who would always bring hope and assurance to the team, never leaving anyone behind; one who kept on scoring, keeping the dream alive…
Su Fei was amazed as she watched how enthusiastic the spectators had become. As she heard “Zhang Jun! Zhang Jun!” being shouted from all sides of the stadium, she wondered, since when did Zhang Jun become so popular? Since when did he gain so many followers, so many fans? And since when did he stop being a simple kid with no desire to do better; a kid who was not interesting even in the least and one who was never going to become a main character?
Was it because he scored a few goals?
Su Fei did not believe that to be the reason. Looking back at his performance in the game, his persistence in his attacks and his calming, reassuring smile; these were the things that won the people’s hearts. These were the things that made the naysayers all turn around and place their hopes as well as dreams on him too. That’s right, she was looking at a new Zhang Jun right now. After going through so much, he had grown up.
Su Fei suddenly felt tears building up in her eyes. If all the disappointments and heartaches they went through were needed to turn him into the person he was today, then all the blood, sweat and tears they sacrificed was worth it. All that suffering they went through to get to this point was worth it.
“Zhang Jun, I started loving soccer because of you. And now, because of soccer, I now realize just how much I love you…”
The match ended with Yang Pan’s signature powerful long-ranged shot, giving Shu Guang High their fifth goal. It also gave an explosive ending to a wonderful match.
5:0! Shu Guang High eliminated Guan Lin High with an impressive score in the final eight round. And as soon as the referee blew the final whistle―bringing the match to an end―the reporters present at the match instantly surrounded the winners like a pack of starving wolves, locking on their prey. Every member of the team, from the coach to the players were all bombarded by the press without mercy.
“Coach Liang Ke, your team’s front line showed us some really scary offensive power not to mention, excellent teamwork in today’s match. Can you tell us how you trained them?”
This was no doubt the biggest question playing in many people’s minds. Many interested parties were eager to find out how they got to such a great level of teamwork. At this point, a lot of people were already familiar with how strong Shu Guang’s four star players were on their own, but seeing them all play with such fluid synergy in today’s match was something new to them. What kind of training did they go through to be able to make plays like that?
Liang Ke simply looked at all the eager eyes staring back at him, and smiled. “Well, I let them fool around during training.”
The members of the press were all taken aback by his response. What kind of coach would allow his players to “fool around” during training? Training was supposed to prepare the players for the matches. It was meant for drilling them with all the tactical as well as technical skills required over and over again until they were good at them, instead of having fun!
But Liang Ke was not joking! The truth was, the team trained five days a week. But in the first three days of training, Coach Liang Ke would not make Zhang Jun, Yang Pan, Ren Yu De and Kaka do any drills. He would throw them a ball and say, “Go play on your own!” And then he would divert all his attention into training the others, especially the newcomers like Lin Xiaofang, Chen Bo and Wang Ning. The whole team would only get together for training on the other two days.
When Kaka first joined the team, Liang Ke already noticed that the boy had a natural talent for improvising on the go. Not only that, he could also be very creative in handling the ball, a result of growing up while playing soccer on the beaches of Brazil. He utilized a lot of improvisation in his gameplay, which were not bound by any rules or consistency whatsoever. This made him extremely unpredictable. Liang Ke knew that if he tried drilling the boy with rigid tactics and standard techniques, Kaka would only be able to play at only about 30 % of his full potential. So, he decided that the best way to bring out the best in Kaka was not in limiting him, but in letting him go wild. But that meant that whoever teamed up with Kaka had to be able to read his plays, get into position and prepare for his random passes from out of nowhere. That’s something regular textbook training could never teach! Hence, Liang Ke figured that the best way for them to achieve this was not through training but rather, letting the boys play and have fun by themselves. That way, they could get used to each other’s styles better and something good may just come out of it.
Despite all the risks involved, Liang Ke was glad he made that decision. Today’s result was a testament to just how effective the “training” had been, with all five goals being nothing short of satisfying . The four players kept passing the ball around as they moved in and out of enemyterritory, cutting through the defense with such fluidity and tempo. It made it seem like they were all linked together telepathically.
“Coach, Zhang Jun gave your team a hat-trick today; is there anything you can tell us about him?” Chen Huafeng finally got the chance to ask his question. He had prepared it in advance.
“He’s a very outstanding forward and his ability to score is way above average. And seeing howhe performed over the last three matches, there certainly has been a great deal of improvement in his attitude on the pitch.”
“Then, how would you describe his future?”
“Hmm…” Liang Ke gave the question some thought, before looking up to the clear blue sky and saying, “Limitless…”
“Limitless!” Liang Ke’s reply was more than enough for Chan Huafeng. This was the opinion of a man who personally witnessed Zhang Jun’s growth.
Sunday, in a quiet alley somewhere…
“You sh*tty brat! Have you forgotten what you promised me? You said you would throw the match! Make a wrong pass! But what did I get? 5:0! A huge win for Shu Guang High! You son of a b*tch!” Cleftie was shouting angrily at Ren Yu De, who had his back up against the wall.
“You’re too loud. You’re gonna attract people here,” Ren Yu De replied as he dug his ear.
“So what? You lied to us! Shu Guang should have lost that game!”
“You called me out here for this sh*t? What’s the big deal? How much did you lose? I’ll get you the money,” Ren Yu De said nonchalantly.
“F*ck you! You think this is about the money? You just poked the hornet’s nest! You’re dead!”
“Alright already! Let’s stop wasting time. So all of you at once or one-on-one?” Ren Yu De asked the six other guys ganging up on him as he started to take his jacket off.
Cleftie was surprised. “You… Aren’t you scared of what the committee would do to your team if you get caught fighting?”
“Hah! Look around, there’s no one else. No witnesses!” said Ren Yu De with an evil grin. But as soon as he finished his sentence, another group of people entered the alley.
“Well, now there are!” Cleftie laughed. However, as soon as he turned to look at the group of people, he froze.
“What’s going on here?” a fierce looking Ah Yuan asked as he sized up the group surrounding Shu Guang High’s No. 9.
Ren Yu De also turned and looked at the group, after which he found Li Yongle as well as Zhang Yang standing next to Ah Yuan.
“So that’s why.” Li Yongle nodded in comprehension. He finally figured out why Ren Yu De performed so badly in the first half of the match. “Didn’t you wonder if the cassette really exists?”
Ren Yu De nodded.
“And judging from your last match, you figured that the recording doesn’t exist?” Zhang Yang asked. He was staring at Cleftie’s posse while popping his knuckles.
Ren Yu De nodded again.
“Oy! Oy! What do you think you’re doing? If you get caught fighting here, you’re gonna get your team disqualified!” Cleftie shouted.
Hearing that, Li Yongle put his hands into his pockets and said, “But, we’re not the ones fighting. Right, Ah Yuan?”
Ah Yuan along with his other eight lackeys were all glaring at Cleftie and his gang. “You bastards think you can just do anything you want on my turf?”
Cleftie and his crew turned pale. They had despair written all over their faces.
“Ah Yuan, please don’t hold back.” Li Yongle waved, then left the alley with Zhang Yang and Ren Yu De.
“How did you guys get here?” Ren Yu De asked Li Yongle as soon as they exited the alley.
“Oh, we were just passing by.”
“Yup. We just heard someone’s annoying loud voice from afar, so we came by just to check it out,” Zhang Yang replied.
Ren Yu De laughed. He may have been calm and composed in front of Cleftie in that alley, but the truth is, he was very worried about getting the team disqualified. Now that Ah Yuan showed up with his crew, the whole situation turned out much better than he could ask for. Buteven if they did not show up, he was not going back out if they wanted a fight. At most, he thought, he could just quit the team, claim full responsibility for working with a soccer betting syndicate and withdraw from school. This was nothing new to him.
“You don’t have to worry about them giving Shu Guang High any trouble. I left my camera with Ah Yuan,” Li Yongle said.
“Look at this fine weather, we were just going to hang out with Ah Yuan and his gang and go take some pictures. I even got a new film! Argh… That’s just giving those a**holes too much!” LiYongle replied, tilting his head to the side as if he was annoyed.
Ren Yu De caught his drift and the thought of those punks being photographed after getting beaten up made him laugh.
“Don’t get me wrong, I’m doing this for myself. I can’t have you guys dropping out of the competition just yet! I’ll be the one to defeat you guys! Nobody can stop me from getting my revenge!” Li Yongle spoke through his teeth.
Ren Yu De was shocked! But Zhang Yang just laughed and said, “Here we go again! He’s always like that, don’t mind him.”
Later on, in a certain luxurious mansion…
“Young Master, they have failed.”
“A bunch of useless dimwits! They wasted so much of my money! Fine! Prepare the car, I’m going to see my godfather!”
“But, Young Master! Isn’t that a little too inappropriate?”
“Why? Can’t I ask my godfather for a little favor?”
“No, of course you can, but… If Master finds out…”
“Well then, who’s going to tell him? You idiot! Now, go!”
The butler had no choice but to follow his orders. As soon as he closed the doors upon leavingthe room, Ma Ni uttered under his breath, “Zhang Jun! I’ll definitely make you kneel and beg for mercy…”