It is no secret I am a new soccer fan. Also last time I checked I haven’t been deported which means I am a soccer fan living in America. This blend puts me in a very unique position. As the sport grows in America for the first time since the 90’s. I am caught up in a bandwagon movement.
The bandwagon makes it exciting, and gives me the feeling of being apart of something important. However it also gives me great anxiety in three very specific ways.
One: The Old Guard
The old guard of soccer fans who turn their nose up at my new Liverpool jersey. The guys at the pub on Saturdays and Sundays who have a table they prefer, and when you accidentally take it yell at you. The group of guys who feel like their cool little niche thing is being invaded by hipster. All of these things are true. My jersey is new, I did sit at the table, and I am now making your niche thing “hip”. However because of that, you the “true soccer fan get soccer on major sports networks. You the “real fan” get to watch every game your club plays in no matter the location or time. So instead of being pissed because they swapped out the Carlsberg tap for a craft beer, how about you shut up and high five me the next time Liverpool wins.
Two: Team History
Look most of these soccer clubs have been around since the days of kings and knights. In fact there are some clubs that can trace back their heritage so far that they are older than most countries in the world. An easy way to combat this is a quick Wikipedia article. The article will give you a brief overview of top player, big wins, and key moments in history. Every team you could want to root for has one of these and it will give you a good start. If you find that interesting I guarantee there is at least one documentary made about your club as well. Don’t be cheap pay the six bucks and watch it online. It will be worth it, and normally the information helps you better align with your club.
Three: Being found out.
Every time I go to have a soccer conversation the entire time in my head I am wondering when I will be “found out”. At what point will I miss pronounce some crazy Argentinian name, or mistaken a rule and exposes myself as a new fan. This unforntuinyl can only be fixed with time, and good friends. Every soccer fan was ushered into the sport by someone, so lean on them. Watch games with them, ask questions. For me that has been Deke. At least three or four times a week he will get a string of random soccer questions from me. Most of the time they are pretty dumb, but he is patient. I think the most I have learned about the sport was watching the Champions League Final last year. Deke was passionately explaining the game from a true fans perspective. It was enlightening and pulled me back into the sport. Since then I have been able to go on Two Beers Deep and talk about the sport in depth with people I consider to be “true fans”. Occasionally I make an ass out of myself, but that’s more of a me thing, then a new soccer fan thing.
So fellow new footy fans, I hope this article eases your anxiety. I hope it make you feel less stressed. I hope that it allows you to continue forward with your support of your club. Because as we say at Anfield “You’ll never walk alone.”