Today I decided to do something that I’ve never in my life done before. I voluntarily sat down and watched a soccer match on television. It’s not the first soccer game I’d ever seen, but it’s the first one that I watched alone, by choice. It was an English Premier League match on NBC between Everton and Swansea City and I flipped on the TV just as halftime was ending. In my mind I was rooting for Everton because that’s the team out of the two that I’d heard of before, but it took me a good ten minutes to figure out which team that was, as both uniforms, rather than displaying the team names, had advertisements across the front. Unfortunately they were the team that was losing, but luckily it didn’t really matter to me in a way that it would for the actual fans of Everton.
As I’ve gotten older I’ve noticed that I have developed a liking for certain things I didn’t like when I was younger; tomatoes, bell peppers, waking up early, and now apparently soccer. I was completely engaged in the match for the entire half that I watched, anticipation building as one of the team’s got close to the goal, and exasperated cries of “come on!” when they inevitably missed the shot, which happened every single time. In the entire time I was watching, which totaled about forty-eight minutes, no goals were scored, which is, one of the biggest reasons why people don’t watch soccer, the lack of scoring that people translate into lack of excitement, but as the world’s newest soccer fan I’ve got to say, those naysayers couldn’t be more wrong in their thinking. As I watched, I realized how amazing it was that any goals were ever scored. When a team gets down near the goal, the player with the ball is typically surrounded by two or three defenders and it takes an incredible amount of skill to maneuver past them and score a goal. I was very impressed with the athleticism I saw on the pitch today, and I really hope soccer becomes more of a mainstream sport here in the United States so I can follow it more religiously.
After just watching one half of a game I’m completely hooked. From now on I will be going out of my way to try and find matches to watch. Now that football is long gone and my favorite basketball team has been eliminated from the playoffs I’m excited to know that I now have soccer to fill the void in my life. I don’t have a favorite team yet, but I’m open to suggestions, so please, let the recruiting begin. For those of you who only watch soccer once every four years when the world cup rolls around, you don’t know what you are missing. I know I make a lot of recommendations here on my blog, but if you haven’t listened to any of them before, this is a great place to start. Give soccer a chance, because you never know, maybe you’ll like it. You won’t know until you try.