Why You Should Be Watching Soccer

February 15, 2012

Soccer is one of the best spectator sports around.  If you understand whats going on, and have a rooting interest, then the games are exciting and fun to watch.  Since I, and probably all of you, live in America then going to high level soccer games is impossible.  The MLS is improving but right now it’s still pretty weak shit.  Going to an MLS game will probably poison your opinion on soccer so just don’t do it.  Trust me on this one.  Since going to games isn’t an option we are left with catching them on TV.  This is getting easier and easier to do as ESPN now carries a few games each week.  Fox Soccer Channel also has a bunch of games.  If you don’t have FSC then stop reading because you are probably poor.  (Seriously though, it’s really easy to get.  Less than 5 bucks a month for a huge sports package that has it.)

Soccer is an ideal sport to watch on TV for a number of reasons.

1. It looks badass in HD

Don’t overestimate the importance of this one.  Every thing is better in HD but I think that soccer gets a much bigger boost than other sports.  because the field is so big and the players are very spread out there are a lot of wide angle zoomed out shots.  This makes it impossible to tell what’s going on in low-def.  With HD technology however everything is crisp and even casual fans can figure out what is happening and who is playing who.

2. It is on at weird times

This may sound like a bad thing but here me out.  Soccer almost never competes with other sports.  During the season there are games every Saturday and Sunday morning at 11 and most Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 2:30.  These are dead times for traditional sports and for TV in general.  There is nothing better than waking up and catching some soccer before the football games come on, or getting out of class and seeing a game or two.  This is especially crucial for me since I feel like all time not spent watching sports is wasted.

3.Announcer with funny accents

This one speaks for itself.  My favorite are the Scottish guys.

4. The games are reasonably short

I am a huge football fan and actually kind of like baseball but unless its a really important game I get sick of doing the same thing for over 3 hours.  Baseball is especially egregious.  The average Red Sox-Yankees game (the only exciting regular season baseball game) was over 3.5 hours last year.  That is just absurd.  Soccer games are made up of two 45 minute halves and have a 15 minute or so halftime.  They are over in less than two hours usually.  This allows you to watch a full game and then go on living your life.  Another reason games are so short is…

5. No fucking commercials

There are no commercials during actual game-play in soccer.  Each half is uninterrupted.  There is a running clock and no timeouts of any sort.  This proves that soccer players are in stupidly good shape, but it also makes for a great way to spend some time.  If you sit down to watch soccer then that is what you will do.  No one trying to sell insurance or cars or whatever the hell will interrupt your time.  There are a few ads during halftime but you can switch to another channel since halftime is always 15 minutes.  It is the perfect set up.

I realize that it will be hard to get into soccer without a team to root for.  This is easy to fix.  First and foremost watch all of the USA national team games.  That is a clear rooting interest and requires no research on your part.  If you want to pick a club team then I recommend playing a shit-ton of FIFA.  That’s how I picked my team.  I loved Chelsea so much on FIFA 2005 that I have followed them ever since.  In case you aren’t a gamer or don’t have time to spin the FIFA disc ( shame on you) I will break down the best teams in the game to make it easier.

 

Chelsea

Chelsea plays in the English Premier League and is one of the top finishers every year.  They are located in London.  It was a struggling team until the early 2000’s when Russian oil baron and general oligarch, Roman Abramovich, bought the team.  He has pumped literally billions of dollars of his own money into the team and created a juggernaut.  They have struggled this year but with that kind of cash they will bounce back.  Also they have Didier Drogba, an absolute monster of a striker from the Ivory Coast.  He doubles as an unstoppable force in FIFA.  Just look at the dude.

Manchester United

Manchester United is the world’s most popular soccer team.  They have fans literally all over the world and for some reason have become Asia’s team.  I have no clue why this is but they make a stupid amount of money by touring and selling jerseys in Asia.  On the field they are the most successful team in the history of English soccer having won 19 championships.  They are led by Englishman Wayne Rooney.  He personifies what old English people like about soccer, namely hard work and a lack of speed.  Nevertheless he is a great player and scores a ton of goals.

Arsenal

Arsenal always have a bunch of young talent but have been unable to turn this into winning any sort of championship in years.  They are led by a French manager (soft) named Arsene Wenger.  He is seen as some sort of genius coach but the lack of recent results are starting to make people skeptical.  The reason to root for Arsenal is striker Robin Van Persie.  He scores goals that seem impossible.

Liverpool

They have many followers in England but are not a 5-star team in FIFA so I don’t care at all about them

AC Milan and Internazionale

Both these teams are great and have a very long history.  Unfortunately for them they are Italian, and even worse have Italians on their team.  As a result no one gives a shit.

Barcelona

Barcelona is the consensus best team in the world and has been for a few years.  They use a short passing game and a couple of dominating players and are almost unstoppable.  This year they are only second in the league but their body of work over the past 4-5 years is unrivaled.  And their best player, Lionel Messi, is only 5′-7” so its the perfect team for short people.

Real Madrid

Real Madrid is the only team that can really challenge Barcelona’s title as best team in the world.  They play an exciting game and are worth a watch.  If you are a douche then this is the team for you because they are led by this guy.

Ronaldo is such a mega-douche that he wears hair gel during games.  He also flops, bitches about every call and just generally pisses me off.  He is a great player though and makes any team he’s on better.

 

All of these teams have the right combination of talent, success, and visibility on American television.  As a result a neutral fan should choose one of these teams and just go with it.  If you want a more in-depth analysis on the English teams then Bill Simmons did this one a couple of years ago.  Otherwise just pick your favorite team and thank me later.

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One Response to “Why You Should Be Watching Soccer”

  1. […] a little biased as I am a huge Chelsea and Drogba fan, (if you want to know why then check out this post) but this was one of the most exciting sporting events I have ever watched.  Chelsea has had a […]

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