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

By |2016-10-29T12:38:03-04:00February 9th, 2015|Sports|4 Comments

The Deflating Goal That Prevented a Riot

ronoaldoBaby, You’re a Rich Man was blasting through my internal speakers before this travesty happened. With the US leading 2-1, the bar was super charged and the US only had to get through penalty time. The table was prematurely celebrating which felt like the right thing to do at the time. Sam, Hurricane, and myself all had some money on the game with Sam and I getting 3 to 1 on our action and Hurricane getting 8-1. Dollar signs were blinding our vision obviously. Super good looking Ronaldo crosses to an African guy from Europe and souls were crushed.

turkey_soccer_riot_7The plan was to storm out of the bar and start rioting with the amped up crowd at Fado. As such, we went home dejected and not even Rita’s could lift the spirits. At the start of the game if you would say that we would have tied Portugal, everyone would have taken it. In actuality, this was the USA’s game to win.

Overall the environment was charged up and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have a good time.  For a Sunday Evening, it was definitely different.  After the game I went home and slept from 9pm until 7:30 because I was beat from the weekend.  Playing 4 or 5 games of basketball while hungover was near death.  My body is achy today and I just want it to be Friday again.

By |2016-11-01T23:19:50-04:00June 23rd, 2014|Sports|2 Comments

Defend Soccer’s Red Card. You Can’t.

image6-578x395This World Cup week is the most soccer I’ve watched over my entire life. I’m hardly an expert but I have a major gripe…red cards. Red cards are too powerful and they are given out like candy at Halloween. In hockey, when you commit a penalty, you spend up to 5 minutes in the penalty box and your team is at a man disadvantage for that period of time. Major penalty’s can last 1/12 of the entire game and this is a MAJOR penalty. Red cards leave your team an entire man down for the duration of the game. If you get a red card in the first minute of the game your team plays a man down for 99% of the game. There isn’t even a rule where the other team scores and you get your man back. Oh wait, and he can’t even play in the team’s next game!

A rule is a rule, I understand that, but refs are throwing out these red cards on fouls that aren’t even fouls! Watch these two clips from 2 games over the past 2 days. Remember, there have only been 6 games and this happened in two of them!

Now naturally I wouldn’t have that much of a stance on this other than it’s ridiculous but this is costing me money. When you bet on a game and this absurdity happens and your team is down a man for the rest of the game, you know you are fucked. This feeling in me when I see 10 v 11 is how I know this red card shit is what makes me hate soccer. Aside from the constant flopping to draw fouls, the refs hand out cards for virtually nothing. I would be fine if a red card was given for tackling someone who is on a breakaway scoring opportunity. Or a headbutt when someone wasn’t looking. Song’s elbow was red card worthy except HE FAILED TO EVEN MAKE CONTACT! Sure he was trying to be a dick but he didn’t even do it properly. Yellow card him but don’t ruin the game over it.

I know there are die hard soccer fans out there and I hope they read this post because if you want an opinion on why soccer isn’t nearly as good as you think it is, there’s one.

By |2016-10-29T13:10:35-04:00June 20th, 2014|Sports|5 Comments

I am a Real American

ghana-USAAside from a few drunk Saturday mornings, I don’t watch soccer.  I find the game slow and the acting for penalties difficult to stomach.  However, I felt the urgency to watch a game that the USA only plays every 4 years…because it’s a game to bet on.  I’ve been riding some Bovada money and have a a few shekels to throw around.  So I think to myself, USA or Ghana in a pick em?

On Friday night I took a cab home at 1:30 and had a cab driver who was from Ghana.  I knew that Ghana knocked the US out of the last world cup and that they had the US’s number in past games.  The cab driver and I discussed the match and he wasn’t overly confident that Ghana would take down the US.  Today I decided to make a wager.  I knew I was planning on watching the game with a crowd and also know that it is in bad taste to bet against the USA.  So I did what an American does, I bet on US.

If you watched the game, you know this proved amazing.  An early goal brought elation to be followed 80 minutes later by a goal from Ghana.  Knowing how hard it is to score goals, especially with 9 minutes left, I was chalking it up as a loss.  Pony tail man’s corner was perfectly placed and John Brooks, Jr. headed it in a few minutes later.  USA didn’t deserve to win that game but they pulled it out.

When I asked Gourlay where the smart money was he told me to lay off it.  His heart said USA and brain said Ghana.  This proved to be exactly right as Ghana “won” the game, but the US scored more goals.    I will say though, and I’ve done this in the past but have learned my lesson, betting against the home team is a scummy move.  There will always be another game. USA! USA! USA! Ok I’m off the bandwagon until next game.

By |2014-06-16T22:32:56-04:00June 16th, 2014|Sports|1 Comment

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