Why You Should Watch Soccer, Part 1: How I Got Into Soccer
Most purists would probably have me shot for calling the sport “Soccer” instead of “Football”, but I am an American and in the interest of not confusing one great sport with another, I will call American Football “Football” and the world’s most popular sport “Soccer”.
Over the weekend I watched three soccer games: 1) a heart breaking 2 – 1 Sporting Kansas City loss to a terrible Toronto team; 2) A fantastic 3 – 2 Liverpool win over Tottenham; and 3) the small market San Jose Earthquake come back against the large market New York Red Bulls to win 2 – 1.
After watching these, I decided that this week I need to share my passion for soccer with you. It isn’t a passion I have always had (I didn’t play soccer in High School or anything), but rather it is one I have developed over my four years in college. And I genuinely think that this is a sport more Americans need to get into.
So today I will share the story of how I got into soccer. Later this week I will make a case for why Americans should support soccer, especially in relation to Travel! And finally, by the end of the week we will look at why you should specifically get into the MLS.
As a freshman in college I went on a trip to Mexico City. Two of my friends on the trip are avid soccer fans, one a fan of Manchester City and the other a fan of Chelsea. They went on and on about soccer the whole way down to Mexico. Finally when we arrived I decided I needed to do some research and pick a team, just to keep up! Not only keep up with my friends, but all of Mexico wants to talk soccer (Futbol) 24/7!
Now, at this point I have been playing FIFA for a couple of weeks. I had never played before and it was immediately addicting. I’d even venture to say that it is the best sports game out there. But FIFA may be just as responsible for my soccer fandom.
I began looking through all of the crests of the football teams. I wanted something that looked old, but in a cool storied history kind of way. There was Manchester United, but I knew enough about them to know I didn’t want to pick them as my team. It was too easy. They are the better team, with more followers, and with more money! They are like the Yankees and I just couldn’t bring myself to pick them.
Then I came across this crest (to the right) and it just looked awesome. I knew two things about Liverpool: 1) The Beatles are from Liverpool; and 2) The Wombats are also from Liverpool. I like both of these bands, so I did my research and read the wikipedia page of this team from Liverpool.
It turns out that they are one of the most successful clubs of all time, but haven’t won the league in 20+ years. They are in a huge drought. They have history. Their stadium was built in the 1880s. They are also the historical rivals of Manchester United. They are the smaller market that is trying to have success against the clubs from Manchester and London. And they have the best fans in the world (the last part might be more opinion based… might be).
THIS is a story line I can get into. A historic team seeing its troubles in recent years. And the rivals of the most valuable team in all of sports (Manchester United). And so I picked to follow them, bought a jersey and never looked back. To make it even better, not long after I began following them, they were bought by Fenway Sports Group, the owners that turned the Red Sox around and ended their historic drought. Hopefully things will turn out similarly for Liverpool Football Club.
That is how I got into Soccer. I picked a team based on the design of their crest and the fact that two bands I like are also from there. Stay tuned for the near future when I share Why You Should Learn About Soccer for Travel.