A Non-Soccer Fan’s Take on the World Cup

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Football Fever has taken over the entire world as the World Cup continues in Brasil. 32 countries have been facing off in their group for the better part of a week as teams are being whittled down, and we inch closer to the round of 16 starting later this week. As a general sports fan, I’ve never really been in tune with the original brand of football played around the world. I played soccer in 3rd grade, lost every game, and never looked back. While it wasn’t a scarring moment in my soccer life, it didn’t really give me a love for the sport that many others have.

Fast forward about 20 years, and I find myself watching my first full soccer match in my life this past Sunday. As I took in the sounds and action from Sunday’s US/ Portugal matchup, I found myself appreciating the little nuances of the game that a lot of the major sports in America don’t really have. The lack of commercials was quite refreshing, as is the national pride being laid on the field (or pitch I believe) for both squads. Watching one of the world’s best in Cristiano Ronaldo was quite a treat up until the 94th and a half minute, and witnessing the evolution of Soccer in the US as the team fought valiantly from an early 1-0 deficit.

The World Cup has exploded in popularity over the past decade, which I believe is mainly in part due to social media, and #FOMO, but it’s hard to not get excited about an event that puts the entire world on hold for a least a few weeks. While I’m excited for the NBA Draft, NFL Training Camp, and a pretty modest Phillies winning streak, I’ve found myself checking in more and more into a sport I had no desire to watch a few weeks ago. I’ll admit the same happened to me with the Stanley Cup Finals a few weeks back, but most of that had to do with bandwagoning an L.A. team.

So here I am, looking forward to Thursday’s match with genuine interest. I don’t know if this will translate into watching MLS or anything else down the line, I can safely say I gained a lot of respect for the worlds most popular sport, and can understand the craze it commands every 4 years. So with that said, let’s beat those Germans (or tie) on Thursday and shock the world over the next few weeks!

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