How To Be Taken Seriously As A Soccer Fan In The US

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Generally speaking, soccer fans in the US get a lot of stick. Most of it stems from the fact they call it ‘soccer’ instead of ‘football.’ What fans back in Europe don’t seem to understand is that American Football is the number one sport over here. Of course, we don’t call it ‘American’ football, it’s just ‘football’ to us Americans.

So, if everyone started calling soccer ‘football’ as well, everyone would be confused! We don’t use the term soccer because we don’t respect the game or understand its history, it’s purely out of convenience.

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Even after explaining this, there are still many European and global soccer fans that look down their noses at us Americans. These kinds of people think we know nothing about the sport and should just go back to watching baseball or basketball or the NFL.

Try to engage in a conversation about the English Premier League or the German Bundesliga with football fans from across the pond, and they might laugh at you. Few people take US soccer fans seriously, despite the fact we might know a lot more about the game than they think we do.

Bearing that in mind, I’ve put together a complete guide to help US soccer fans get taken more seriously by all the other fans over the world.

Check out my ideas down below:

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Pick A Foreign Team To Support

Whenever you try and engage with a foreign fan about soccer, they usually tell you the same thing. Apparently, we know nothing about soccer because the MLS is rubbish. What? That doesn’t make any sense, to begin with. Sure, the MLS might not have the highest standard of soccer on display, but it’s still very entertaining, and the style is improving year on year.

Also, there’s this assumption there that just because we’re American, it means we only watch the MLS. If they want to assume that, fine, let them! All we have to do is prove them wrong with plenty of European football knowledge.

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This brings me to the first tip; pick a foreign team to support. Take a look at the leagues over in England, Italy, Spain, France, Germany, and pick a team to call your own. Start setting early morning alarms to watch their matches every weekend, find yourself some Fanatics coupon codes to buy their replica home and away jersey, and start devoting your life to this foreign club. In doing so, you will start gaining more and more knowledge about overseas football. Not only will you have knowledge of your chosen club, but you’ll also start to understand their league more, and know more about their opponents.

Not only that, but you’ll gain a lot of respect from overseas fans too. What most people don’t realize is that European games tend to get played at less than appealing hours on the weekend. Depending on the kick off time, and depending on where you live, you could have to get up early in the morning to watch a match. This shows you’re committed to following soccer, and your reputation as a fan will increase.

Now, when they claim you know nothing about ‘real’ football, you can prove them wrong with your new knowledge on your team and the league they play in!

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Go To Live Soccer Matches

Another way you can start gaining more respect from other soccer fans is by attending more live soccer matches. It seems as though European fans don’t count you as a true fan unless you attend live matches. Who cares if ticket prices and travel costs are high and you can’t afford to go, you need to watch live matches to be a fan!!

In America, we’re lucky in that MLS matches aren’t that expensive to attend. Plus, we usually get some of the big teams coming over in the summer to play a few pre-season matches before they start their seasons over in Europe. So, attending some of these is a great way to go to a live match and also watch some of the best teams in the world. I believe this year the likes of Manchester United, Barcelona, and Real Madrid are all coming to the US for pre-season tours.

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But, if you can’t attend these matches then the MLS is a great fall back. I know, I just made a whole point of supporting a foreign team to gain respect as no-one else respects the MLS. But, that doesn’t mean you should turn your back on your local team! Go out and show them support as often as you can, it will help you gain more soccer knowledge as you watch. The more matches you see, the more things you pick up on such as player positioning, set piece tactics, individual player technique. You start watching each match like you’re a scout picking out the best players.

This helps you when you end up in discussions with other football fans from Europe. When they try and claim you know nothing as you’ve never been to a real game, you can hit them with all your tickets from the MLS matches as well as the pre-season tour games. Actually, mate, I do know what I’m talking about and have probably seen more live football than you have this season!

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Keep Up To Date With Everything

Aside from using the word soccer instead of football, saying dumb things is probably what helps American fans lose a lot of respect. The problem is, there are a lot of soccer fans over here that don’t pay attention to what happens all over the world. As a result, their knowledge is often outdated, which leads to embarrassing statements.

You don’t want to be that guy that becomes a meme on Twitter because you claimed that Chelsea’s great season is down to Mourinho’s brilliant management. Mourinho got sacked as Chelsea boss last year, he’s the United manager now. It’s these sorts of slip-ups that cost you all the respect you’ve worked hard to earn.

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So, download loads of sports apps and make sure you’re subscribed to soccer channels on YouTube to stay updated with everything. If you ever start talking to a foreign fan, you need to be able to have current knowledge on everything. Otherwise, you can guarantee they’ll call you out on your mistakes and start laughing at the ‘typical American soccer fan.’

Also, post about new information on social media. If you’re getting notifications from soccer apps about the latest news, be one of the first people to tweet about it. You’ll start becoming something of an authority source, and people start following you for soccer news. You’ll become that guy who ‘might be American, but knows a lot about football.’

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Follow Youth Soccer

One of the best ways to get taken seriously as a soccer fan in the US is to watch youth football. Keep up to date with the young talent in world football, and you’ll be incredibly well-respected.

It seems like people who watch youth football and can tell you about the upcoming young players get way more respect from their peers. This is because it shows you have a clear interest in the sport if you’re willing to watch the youngsters making their way up through the ranks.

A lot of foreign youth soccer is hard to watch in the US, but there are always ways if you’re that keen. Regardless, you can always find a way to follow it and keep up with scores and see who seems to be scoring the most and getting man of the match awards, etc.

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Actually Play Soccer

Finally, a great way to be taken more seriously is by getting out on the pitch and playing some soccer. This is a put down European fans like to use all the time when they encounter an American fan that might actually know what they’re talking about. First, they’re stunned, and a little taken aback. How can this American make a valid point about futbol, they know nothing? Then, they regroup, and hit back with ‘yeah, well, what do you know about football, you probably haven’t kicked a ball in your life, go play with your baseball glove.’

Now, things are made that little bit sweeter when you can reply that you actually do play soccer. In fact, you play every week with your local team. Not only will this stun the fan trying to ‘own’ you, but it means other fans give you more respect too.

Again, it’s like watching youth soccer or getting up early to watch a match early in the morning, you prove that you have an undying love for the game, and no-one can diss that.

In conclusion, follow the tips in this guide to show that you care about soccer and love it just as much as anyone else. People will continue to ridicule American soccer fans as they think it’s funny and we know nothing. But, if you can back yourself up with lots of knowledge and a proven passion for the game, it knocks them in their tracks, and they start to take you seriously.

 

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Comments

  1. The main thing I would say is that don’t conflate people on Twitter and people in real-life. As with all things on the Internet, the negative sentiments are heavily amplified. In my experience, most people in Europe are ambivalent on this topic. Americans are no worse in this respect than the likes of the Chinese or Indians. The “Soccer Fan” is just a funny stereotype to us (and, in fairness, American TV shows and Hollywood movies do little to dispel the stereotype), but we don’t take it particularly seriously. We understand your national sporting landscape is different. So if turns out you do like Soccer, and we strike up a conversation, it’s actually kind of interesting to us.

    Within Europe, fans who support a team from a different area to where they live, particularly more successful teams, are often called “plastic fans” sometimes called “fairweather fans”. In other words… superficial. So if you go in too heavily on your support of Chelsea or Manchester United, there’s a risk you’ll be subconsciously dismissed by your European friend as a Plastic. There’s two solutions to this; either follow an unfavoured team (people who supported Leicester before their surprise season gained particular kudos), or ensure that your ‘first’ team is your (literally) local team, and the foreign team is your second team or third team, if your local team is not in the MLS. I’d argue following an unfavoured team is actually far more rewarding, but that’s a whole other debate.

    Hardcore, grass-roots football fans will respect you immensely if you actually support a small, lower-league, local team in your town. And your respect would rise ten-fold if your ‘second’ foreign team was a club from a lower division in Europe, e.g. the English League One or League Two. This demonstrates you’re interested not for the glory, but for the pure love of the game. It would also give you the enviable position of being able to dismiss the European as a “Plastic” if it turns out their a Barcelona fan who doesn’t live anywhere near Barcelona! It’s worth noting even in Europe, this kind of one-up-man-ship is commonplace. Only people who attend every game, home and away, of some obscure village team in the tenth tier of the English League Pyramid can claim total moral victory.

    There are fans in the US who have a lot of respect from Europeans. Portland Timbers fans particularly stand out as having a Europeanesque approach to how they follow the game. Don’t be too hard on yourself and don’t care too much what the rest of the world thinks.

    Finally, if you want to gain encyclopedic knowledge of world football, pick up the PC game “Football Manager (2017)”. It has been going for decades and is widely regarding as having the most comprehensive football database in the world. It’s even used by real clubs to support their scouting networks. There’s no better way to understand the different, leagues, competitions, clubs, players, etc.

  2. A lot of people over here (England) are shocked when I tell them that soccer is an English term taken from association football. We still use the word when it suits us. On sky sports every Saturday morning we have SoccerAM and during the day the update show is called Soccer Saturday. I have a few American friends who are just as knowledgeable as any Europeans. If any Americans want to follow a euro team that’s up to them but I wouldn’t do it to prove my credibility to people who don’t know me. The MLS is coming on leaps and bounds…..even finding a decent spot on Fifa18’s the journey. I’m glad Soccer is growing in the US….it’s the world’s game.

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