For many, many years I’ve been meaning to pay more attention to soccer. It’s a sport I enjoy both on the field as well as it’s history and folklore. Soccer has been part of my life since I was a child and played in the Stamford Youth Soccer League and watched New York Cosmos games. Yet I find many obstructions to following the game today outside of the quadrennial FIFA World Cup. These include:
- I live in the United States where soccer coverage is hard to come by, even for our local professional teams. I seem to be able to take in news of American Football (which I dislike) by osmosis, but have to dig deep to fin anything about soccer.
- I don’t own a television. Even if I did, I probably couldn’t afford the cable packages that include coverage of European football. Local saloons generally don’t show soccer games either, especially if there’s a Red Sox game on.
- I have a family, and a job, and lots of preoccupations that suck up my time.
Nevertheless, with the seasons beginning in the European leagues, I’m committing myself to trying to follow some teams in addition to my local Boston teams:
- New England Revolution of Major League Soccer
- Boston Breakers of Women’s Professional Soccer
- AFC Ajax of the Dutch Eredivisie
- FC Barcelona of Spain’s La Liga
- Everton FC of the English Premier League
- FC Bayern Munich of the German Bundesliga
The choice of teams is somewhat arbitrary although with exception of Barcelona, all of these teams are from cities I’ve visited and enjoyed.
I started today by watching Ajax’s opening match at FC Groningen online. After a quiet first half, things were looking good for my new favorite Dutch side. Ajax’s new Moroccan forward Mounir El Hamdaoui scored two goals to put the team comfortably ahead. But as the minutes ticked away in the second half, Ajax gave those two goals back and had to settle for a tie. According to a tweet I read this is “the first time they give away 2 goal-lead since losing 4-2 at Vitesse on 24 December 2006.” More on the game from the Ajax website. I actually missed bot of El Hamdaoui’s goals as I was distracted by my son, but that’s okay, that’s what replays are for.
So as the season continues I’ll try to update on my spectator experiences. If anyone has any tips or resources for the novice fan, please put them in the comments. And yes, I do plan to continue to use the word soccer. I like it’s distinctive and unambiguous sound compared to the more pedestrian football.