To some, (all those who know me), I’m considered a bike fanatic. So be it. However, bike riding is, by a long shot, number two of my fanaticism’s. Soccer is at the top of the list. This year is a really good year for fans of the beautiful game.
Soccer is the only sport where one can travel anywhere in the world and come across a group kicking a ball around, and by just standing nearby, without saying a word, one of the group will pass the ball to you. Your a fan and your one of us. Also, you can name a team from any country and get a reaction from those in the group. Barcelona, Paris St. Germain, Dortmund, Chelsea, Juventus, Chivas, Inter. Everyone know these eight teams from eight different countries. They know the players, the coaches, the stats and the history of the clubs. It’s the sport where a Saturday afternoon inter league game, Barcelona and Athletico Madrid for example, will draw tens of millions more fans than any Super Bowl, Baseball or Basketball championship game.
The walk to the stadium can be exhilarating beyond description. Drums, flags, smoke, singing, chanting. It’s all part of the experience. And you know what? It’s happening, finally here in America. Our club stadiums are selling out. Our national team is looking like world contenders.
I have been a fan for decades. In the 80’s I worked in marketing for the New England T-Men and can recall success was, twenty percent of the stadium with fans, considered a success. This is soccer in America now.