I’m a huge fan of soccer. I admit, though, that I’m late to the party relatively speaking. I did not grow up loving soccer. I wasn’t a kid that played it at a young age. I wasn’t even really interested in it growing up. But I’ve come to love the “beautiful game”.
My first exposure to soccer and interest in soccer actually was in 1994 when the World Cup was played in the United States. Though I didn’t attend a game (don’t think there were any within reasonable driving distance), I watched a little on TV. I even got a soccer ball that was the official soccer ball for the World Cup that year (though I didn’t really play with it).
I didn’t really start liking soccer until I was in college. My sophomore year one of my roommates was a missionary kid (MK) from Nigeria. He was a soccer player and as we became friends I grew to learn more about the game hanging out with him and some of the international students. Along with that I began to watch matches on ESPN from England that would be on weekday afternoons after class.
With watching more soccer I began to get more into the World Cup. I didn’t see much of the ’98 World Cup (because I wasn’t as interested as I would become) or the ’02 World Cup (because I was working as a summer missionary and the games were on at weird times being that it was hosted in Japan/South Korea). But the 2006 World Cup was the first that I was interested in watching. Along with watching the matches, I bought my first soccer video game FIFA World Cup 2006 on PS2.
As time as went on, I’ve tried to learn more about the sport as well as cheer loudly for the US National Team. I’ve also enjoyed watching European soccer and really into watching English Premier League (like watching Arsenal, Chelsea and Swansea City) and recently like watching Bundesliga (German top soccer league) (like watching Bayern Munich).
Now the 2014 World Cup is underway in Brazil. I’ve been watching the matches and even live tweeting them. It’s fun to get into and root for some countries. But I’ll be excited when the U.S. takes the field. And I’ll be cheering and live tweeting and getting excited to see how the U.S. team does. I hope there will be lots of moments like in 2010 against Algeria. I hope there will be a deep run in the tournament like in 2002. But most of all, I want to be excited about my country’s team and be proud of the effort they put out there.
Soccer is a cool sport. Even though it’s not a home grown American sport, it has a lot of cool qualities about it. And even more than that? It’s a great way to connect with people around the world. So, if you’re a soccer fanatic or barely know anything, I’d recommend tuning in to watch the World Cup. Who knows? You may become a fan of the Beautiful Game too.