Good for you to be coming up on 42 and to be in good enough shape to still be playing. I know it is a lot of running and you probably inspire some people to get more fit. Thanks for your insight on the game.I'm 41 (almost 42) and have played for 39 years. I was never fast so, to be good, I had to excel in strategy, tactics, angles, etc. Reading the game is still my strong suit and making incisive passes into dangerous areas is the only reason I'm valuable to a team.
The result of all that experience and success is a deeper appreciation for the game than any other sport. There's more strategy and nuance in a soccer game than any other save for maybe hockey. You not only have to be a great athlete with great skill, but you also have to be a great thinker and process multiple inputs quickly to make proper decisions.
I've coached now for 5 years. My oldest is just now getting to the age where they're starting to think through the game as they play. Getting them all to think the same way as they advance through a game is our biggest challenge now. But it's a fun one.
I watch every sport that exists so, even if I hadn't played for 4 decades I'd probably still watch and enjoy it to a certain extent, but it's my favorite because of how much of my life has been spent in and around it.