How Do I Become a Soccer Fan?

soccer_archery[dropcap background=”yes” color=”#333333″]S[/dropcap]occer season is upon us. I watched Harry Kane score 2 goals on Saturday and actually cheered with excitement.  Wait. Did I just write that?

I can already see it happening. Soccer in the USA is gaining in popularity and the soccer snobs will start complaining that average fans are infiltrating their passion.

“Soccer Snobs aren’t using their high soccer IQ’s or passion to grow the game by embracing fans of all types. Instead they choose to spread vitriol aimed at scaring the casual fan away.” – TheShinGuardian

With limited knowledge of “football”, I’ll attempt to describe what it’s like being a die hard NFL fan attempting to spend some time enjoying another sport.

 

International Leagues

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European Champions League

By far the most interesting aspect of the sport is its broad appeal.  240 million people play soccer in over 200 countries.  National pride for excellence helps propel the sport as seen by the World Cup every 4 years.  There are also national leagues throughout England, Germany, Spain… and even the USA that are played annually.  The Champions league is one of the most prestigious competitions that combines the best teams throughout Europe and gets remarkable TV ratings.

This leads to the MLS and the USA national team.  I watched the USA in the World Cup in 2014 and they did great to make it out of their group only to lose in the next round.  How does a country of 316 million people lose to a country of 11.2 million people (Belgium) in the World Cup?

  • The MLS has only been active since 1996.  Germany’s Bundesliga, the football league with the highest average stadium attendance worldwide, was founded in 1962.
  • Eldrick "Tiger" Woods at a young age.

    Eldrick “Tiger” Woods at a young age.

    Lack of USA soccer role models certainly plays a part.  Landon who?

  • Other options for sports.  Basketball, baseball, and football are other popular options for young athletes.  These leagues in the USA are far more lucrative than the paltry salaries offered by the MLS.
  • The USA does not dominate the sport.
  • Where the hell are the riots we hear about in Europe?
  • The sport itself.

 

The Weakness of Soccer

Boring SoccerSoccer fans will never admit that their sport is boring.  Tactical play.  Strategy.  WANTING TO TIE!  All of this turns high level intelligence into a snooze fest.  Many games end with one team scoring one time.  Heaven forbid you have to watch a game that ends 0-0.    If this wasn’t enough to turn you off, there’s more:

  • flopping_soccerFlopping.  Constantly throughout games players flop to get calls and are rewarded for being good at being sneaky.  As a sports fan rewarding bad behavior is bad for the sport.
  • 45 minutes followed by 45 more uninterrupted minutes.  If you aren’t bored after watching for 5 straight minutes you have to watch for 9x that to get through a half.  Worst part is if you get up to take a leak during that time span you might miss the only few seconds of excitement.
  • The leagues are unbalanced.  Teams that have the most money get the best players. No salary cap means that teams the top teams usually stay the top teams.  Hard to get excited as a Leicester City fan.

 

The Verdict

world-cupI’m a sports betting fan.  I like the idea behind putting my money on a sporting event and watching it.  It gives me rooting interest and I genuinely enjoy sports.  Plus the games air at 7:45am on a Saturday morning which means morning drinking which is better than day drinking!

I’ve never given soccer a chance though because I find the game slow.  I watched a USA – Panama friendly match on Sunday and it was watching paint dry.  I can’t imagine I’d get more excited watching a MLS game without money behind it.

The English Premier league interests me strictly because of the rivalry’s involved.  The idea of a Champions league where Bayern Munich can play Real Madrid excites me further (they lost 5-0 last year).  I want the best of the best.  Don’t tell me the CONCACAF is coming to Philly and we aren’t sleeping until it arrives.  Just a joke Gourlay.

Let’s not forget Alex Morgan.

 

Thanks @karakeoughboz for this hilarious vid. Had to share since I had no idea she was filming! #houstonfun

A video posted by Alex Morgan (@alexmorgan13) on