Soccer: the world’s game, but definitely not America’s game. But America has come a long way. The MLS has produced talent that is excelling on an international level, and it has reached a point of respectability capable of drawing international stars who have multiple years left in the tank.
Still, the only time you’ll catch a lot of American’s watching soccer is every four years when the World Cup comes around and the US Men’s National Team inevitably evokes high emotions and eventual disappointment (despite typically being the underdog). This year, however, there is no World Cup. But, we are treated to an international soccer competition that ESPN will be exclusively covering. The Euro happens every four years, just like the World Cup, but it features only qualifying European countries for the tournament and is spaced two years apart from the World Cup to wet our collective appetite.
Now, you probably have no vested interest in any of these teams, but that’s even better! You’re not obligated to root for the US; you can freely choose cheer on whomever you want. Whether it be who has the coolest jerseys, who plays the most entertaining football, who has names that you can actually pronounce, what star name you recognize, or who is about to win (shame on you) you can ride the wave of excitement and emotion that goes along with following a team through a run during these tournaments. Or, you can even switch to a new team and feel much less guilty about it, depending on how attached you become to your pseudo-country.
I myself have been converted from someone that loathed the game of soccer into a soccer enthusiast, so I know that simply telling you that the anticipation of goals and the meaningfulness of each one makes up for the “not enough scoring.” It’s like telling someone how divine the new meat, carb, cheese combo is at Taco Bell, how sick the opening track on the latest mixtape is, or just how much more dope Twitter can be than Facebook. One can be told, but you never really know until you give it a go yourself.
So, while you begin to feel sports starved this June, or would like another reason to be less productive at work. It might just be worth your time to tune into the drama known as Euro 2012 on ESPN3 or on a television with friends who have also arbitrarily picked a side to support.