The 2015-16 Premier League season starts tomorrow, so for us soccer fans across the pond, that means waking up at 4:45am to watch the action.
I’m a Galaxy fan because I love all things L.A., but the MLS is still years away from competing with the European leagues. It’s nice to have the European stars on the downsides of their careers come over and build the MLS fan base, but watching the teams in the Premier League or La Liga reminds me why the sport is called The Beautiful Game.
It’s why Americans like me wake up before dawn to watch soccer.
When I’m not rooting for the Galaxy, I’m pulling for Manchester United. As someone who came to the sport later in life, I had to choose a team. It’s not like how I chose my basketball, baseball, or football teams; that was easy, since I grew up in L.A., which meant following the Lakers, Dodgers, and Rams (although once I saw the Raiders play, I immediately switched allegiances. This was made easier by the fact that the Rams abandoned L.A. for Anaheim, then the Raiders moved down from Oakland. Also, I was seven years old at the time).
So why Man U? My stepdaughter roots for Manchester United. Before I became her stepdad, I’d watch her play for her club and school teams. I learned about the sport so I would know what was going on when she played. I watched videos and learned the history of the league. I read the fantastic The Miracle of Castel di Sangro by Joe McGinniss. I felt like a bandwagon fan when I started watching Man U, since they’re the most successful club in league history, but that wasn’t going to stop me from cheering for them.
And something funny happened along the way: I became a soccer fan.
It’s my favorite sport by far right now. I’ll never be a rabid Man U or FC Barcelona (my favorite non-American team) because I believe you have to live within the city where they’re located to truly feel the fans’ passion. I think of American football and the passion that it ignites among fans here in the States. Or how the city of Los Angeles gets into a frenzy whenever the Lakers are closing in on another NBA title.
But I love soccer. And I’m rooting for the Red Devils, bandwagon or not.