GOAL: Or How I Learned to Love Soccer

The Fall is an awesome time for American professional sports.  Football season just started the other week and is always highly anticipated.  Baseball season is coming to a close and the playoffs are coming up.  The US Open tournament just finished a few days ago and it was full of upsets, stellar performances, and inhuman talent.  But Fall is the best season of the year because of soccer.

Pele was the first to try...

Pele was the first to try...

Soccer isn’t traditionally a popular sport in the US outside of 5-12 year olds.  Somehow after we leave middle school, soccer just isn’t a game  we play anymore.  Whether this has to do with other high school sports (Football, Basketball, and Baseball being high on the list) or lack of interest, soccer has yet to come into its own.  Even worse, it’s been 34 years since Pele signed with the New York Cosmos and many people still won’t sit down to watch the game on TV.  David Beckham even made a run at it recently and he was repaid with booos.

I also can’t see why people think it’s a boring game.  The game is always 90 minutes long (barring overtime and stoppage time), the play is always moving, and each goal is beyond exciting.  Baseball, by contrast, always seems to be 4 hours long (especially the Yankees, and I like them!), the ball spends a ton of time stationary in the pitcher’s mitt, and home runs aren’t as rare or exciting as they could be.  Football and Basketball are better, but tell me, why does the 4th quarter in each have to be so damn long?  How many foul shots need I see before the end of the game?  Why do NFL coaches only use their time outs in the last quarter?  In soccer, the clock just runs until it’s over, no stopping and no timeouts.  I will concede that there’s a lot of feigning injury, and one ref clearly isn’t enough, but otherwise, soccer has few issues.

Beckham is the most recent...

Beckham is the most recent...

I didn’t get into the spirit of soccer until I the summer of 2005 in Beijing.  China was hosting the Asian Cup and I was living in walking distance from the stadium.  The matches were awesome.  Study abroad students have it easy.  The top 4 destinations – UK, Spain, France, and Italy – have access to some of the top leagues in the world.  The English Premier League, Spanish La Liga, Italian Serie A, and French Ligue 1 all have good teams with throngs of dedicated fans.  The atmosphere in the stadium during any big game is electric.  I highly encourage you to attend a game; you just might be converted.

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the blog of www.gullivergo.com

Gulliver helps students Study Abroad. Our blog covers: current issues in Study Abroad; featured posts by Study Abroad students; and Gulliver updates, news, and behind-the-scenes peaks. Thanks for reading!

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