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You've given some very useful information about the taking of the image which helps us when providing feedback. If all posters to the Critique Gallery did so!
There's some ripples visible on the background bottom right which you could easily clone out.
Moira and John have beaten me to it regarding the technical details and crop.
Welcome from me too.
A nicely caught moment.
Good advice above.
This is due to flare.
A fabulous shot though I'm glad you said what you'd done to the sky. It was one of the first things I looked at but couldn't quite put my finger on why it looked 'different' to reality. Perhaps a simpler Movement Blur would work well, worth a try.
I like Robert Cappa's philosphy, though in practical terms it means filling the frame with the action, so I'm happy to use a longer focal length if nrecessary.
The light is harsh but if that's all you have...
You have an odd profile embedded in this image - Dot Gain 20%. You should use sRGB for the web.
I'd crop for a bolder and simpler image.
The softness looks due to camera shake as nothing is sharp anywhere in the image. Having the one player sharp and the others out of focus to varying degress would work better.
It's been a while since I shot anything like this, but the same principle apply now as then.
I too like to see a decent bit of contrast in an image. I like moody images too. But that's not to say I don't appreciate for example high key work.
It's very noticeable that there should be more spoace at the bottom (sorry to mention it again) and that's not helped by the large dark area with little detail in above the man.