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Behind Most Soccer Fans Is A Great Woman

germany spain supporters Behind Most Soccer Fans Is A Great Woman

You may have heard the phrase before, “Behind every great man there’s a great woman.” Or as Jim Carrey said, “Behind every great man is a woman rolling her eyes.”

While we’re rolling out of bed at indecent hours or sacrificing a part of our life in the name of football, there is often a girlfriend, wife or significant other who is left wondering what this whole soccer madness is all about.

Does this sound familiar?

For me, I’m lucky that my wife is a soccer fan like me, but she’s not nearly as passionate about the sport as I am. I met Debbie about 10 years ago on an indoor soccer field during a co-ed scrimmage game. We needed an extra player and she volunteered. She played hard and wasn’t afraid to get stuck in when defending against men that were twice her size. She hit it off immediately as friends.

To make a long story short, I ended up proposing to her in the center circle during halftime of a match between Miami Fusion and Tampa Bay Mutiny. She tackled me to the ground, said yes, and then we both did a lap of honor around the pitch in front of 12,000 strangers.

We got married a year later, now have three children together and are happily married.

However our passion for soccer has forked. Mine has become more intense. She still enjoys soccer, coaches an AYSO team but very rarely watches a game. I’m sure when the World Cup comes around this summer, she’ll definitely watch some games. But it’s obviously hard work watching the kids and finding time to watch soccer games on television. With the World Cup around the corner, I’m sure she’ll get a chance to watch some matches.

But like the phrase, “behind every great man there’s a great woman,” and that’s especially true with my wife. She’s, for the most part, understanding of my passion and supportive. But still, she doesn’t “get it” sometimes! Nevertheless, if it wasn’t for her, there would be no EPL Talk. She makes a ton of sacrifices to give me the time to help me pour my passion into this site and the business, as well as the sport I love.

What about you? Tell us about your old lady, the better half, the missus or your significant other. Who is the great woman behind you? How did you meet, and does she understand your passion for the sport? Does she think you’re loony? And does she “get it”?!

Photo credit: DIETER NAGL/AFP/Getty Images

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About Christopher Harris

Founder and publisher of World Soccer Talk, Christopher Harris is the managing editor of the site. He has been interviewed by The New York Times, The Guardian and several other publications. Plus he has made appearances on NPR, BBC World, CBC, BBC Five Live, talkSPORT and beIN SPORT. Harris, who has lived in Florida since 1984, has supported Swansea City since 1979. He's also an expert on soccer in South Florida, and got engaged during half-time of a MLS game. Harris launched EPL Talk in 2005, which was rebranded as World Soccer Talk in 2013.
View all posts by Christopher Harris →

19 Responses to Behind Most Soccer Fans Is A Great Woman

  1. Adam S. says:

    Is your wedding anniversary today? What did you do man!

  2. Jesse says:

    God I hope my wife doesn’t read this,….

    Interesting article, so much so that I was trying to put some similar thoughts down recently which didn’t amount to much. My wife is fantastic in that she supports my passion and allows me the time necessary to pursue it to no end. We carpool to work and often times the first thing she says when I pick her up is, “how many games do you have to watch tonight?”

    She often says she likes watching matches with me, but rarely does and will often leave the room when a single match turns into 3 or 4.

    I think, for the most part, she always wants my team to win but for the wrong reasons. If they loose or draw, she’s seen me in enough foul moods to really hope they win for the sake of the vibe in the house for the remainder of the day. She’ll route extra hard especially if we have plans to go out later that same matchday.

    All in all, I can’t really complain much as I have no kids and enough free time to pursue what I want.

  3. barry says:

    Football is my better half. Sad, but true.

  4. yespage says:

    Soccer is perhaps the best game to be a fanatic. You can get a game underneath the belt before 10:00 AM on the weekend. Try doing that with the NFL which rips into your afternoon or evening. Soccer is better as well because a match is 2 hours, with a short break of commercials in the center. NFL Football is a commercial marathon of which even I start pondering about changing the channel and can last over three hours. NBA and College Basketball take up valuable prime time spots, and can take about 20 days to finish the last minute of a game.

    Soccer is certainly a wife friendly or wife compatible sport.

    The one thing my wife doesn’t like are those horns (or more affectionately called the large swarm of bees about to attack the stadium) that’ll be playing during the World Cup. I think I’ll need to adjust the bass and treble to tone some of it out.

    • Duke says:

      Your wife isn’t the only one who dislikes those horns! I thought FIFA was going to ban them from the World Cup? If I have to listen to those damn things buzzing throughout the WC matches, I’ll probably watch a good deal less. I already have constant ringing in my ears, and 90 minutes of those things is almost enough to make me postal.

      • soonerscotty says:

        I love the Vuvuzelas!! Love the sound, love the passion, just love’em. I even bought 5 to take with my students and I when we watch the women’s matches at the college I work at!

        I hope all the stadiums team up with their vuvuzelas so that I can hear them echoing all the way across the ocean =]

  5. Christopher says:

    Hell, it was my wife that introduced me to this sport. There are certain games each weekend that we set aside to watch together, the Wigan-Liverpool game being one of the most recent ones. (and anytime that Chelsea plays for that matter)

  6. Carlos says:

    I told my girlfriend at the time ‘look love I’ve been going over The Arsenal since I was six years old and it ain’t going to stop now’.

    It’s amazing how many ‘ex’ girlfriends claimed to have ‘no problems with it . In fact I quite like Football’. Only after a few weeks they start asking questions like ‘If your at home and you kick off at three. Why do you and your mates have to be in the pub at 12?’ etc.

    Only one never took any notice and ignored my insanity like staggering down the street after we lost the League Cup against Luton with a bottle of Pernod in my hand singing ‘We love you Arsenal at the top of my voice’.

    We’ve been married nearly 20 years and have two sons. Who unfortunatly for her have followed in the true cause. Saying that years of baggering have made her a massive Arsenal fan and it doesn’t help her brother is also a member of the ‘lose 20% of your IQ when Arsenal are playing club’.

  7. Gustavo says:

    To say that my wife understands or supports my football passion would be stretching it. She puts up with it is more appropriate. The early weekend mornings, the midweek Champions league pub trips, the jerseys I wear are all too much for her. That last one is a personal pet peeve of hers and as a result I can only wear my ManUnited or Mexico jersey at select times.

    But all that said, she will still put off things that have to be done on the weekends until after the last live match ends. And since we have an 18-month at home, she is also thankful that I can watch her in the mornings while she gets a few extra hours of sleep.

    So I may not have a wife who is side-by-side on football, but she is definitely behind me and she is definitely great!!!! :)

  8. kevin says:

    During the winter of 2007-2008, my college roommate and I started organizing small soccer games. My future girlfriend and her friends came and started playing. She hated soccer at first. She didn’t know how to play and felt self-conscious. We continued playing into the spring and summer when something funny happened. She started to get better. Not only that, she started to enjoy the game. We played weekly through the summer of 2009, rain, hail, or sun. She loved it.

    During this time, she started watching the US National team’s matches with me and my friends. They were just friendlies at the time, but she started learning the offside rule, what constitutes a yellow and red card. She watched some premier league and started learning about all the different competitions, relegation/promotion, etc. UNfortunately, she decided that Everton were her favorite team, and not the Whites (she has a huge crush on Tim Howard), but that was fine.

    We watched the confed cup together and she took the Brazil loss harder than I did, I think. We rejoiced together when Davies torched the Mexican defense at Azteca, and despaired when Demerit’s tackle caused the ball to fall fortunately, at the feet of Sabah.

    She watched almost every qualifier for the USA with me, ordered a kit, and bought tickets to the MLS all-star game. We went to see RSL a few times. We made some great posters and took them to the USA-El Salvador qualifier. This forced us to miss watching the BYU-Oklahoma football game, where BYU stunned the heavily favored sooners. We were all BYU students, but we also agreed that our choice was the correct one.

    She followed the 2009-2010 premier league season almost as closely as I did. She managed her fantasy PL team into 2nd place in our mini league, and even wrestled 1st place away from me for a few weeks.

    She has since decided to live abroad for a while, but it was really fun for me to have a part in teaching the game to someone who grew to love it.

  9. M Emanuel says:

    Interestingly, my relationship with my fiancee has been intertwined with sports from the beginning. Our first date was a local sports bar to watch her beloved Pistons. During a few subsequent dates I tried to explain to her my passion for soccer. Luckily for me, this was during the summer of 2006 and I could easily point to the World Cup as an example of beauty of the game (sans the infamous headbutt of course). We actually spent quite a bit of time during that summer watching matches and getting to know one another. As we started dating, she would tag along when I went to the pub to watch a match, and although I think she initially went for the early morning beer with breakfast, she started to take to the songs and comradarie that you can only find at a pub at 7:30 am during EPL season. While she’s far from passionate about the game, she does appreciate it and fortunately she appreciates my appreciation of it. She does ask about scores and she even gets into some of the tabloid fodder. I’ve even gotten her to wear a soccer shirt on occasion, albeit reluctantly (something about it matching her outfit) and she’s learned a few songs which are music to my ears. She also didn’t think I was crazy when I insisted that we avoid all contact with news outlets during the Champions League Final in 2008 so that we could watch the match on DVR. Although, she ended up finding out the score because of a fellow United Supporter in the pizza shop where we stopped to grab dinner, she played along and even attempted to comfort me when I thought all was lost headed into spot kicks.

    Our relationship has really come full circle as we will be attending the World Cup in June for our honeymoon. To me, this is one of her greatest concessions for my passion and it is a nice way to remind us where we started during that summer of ’06.

  10. Cmoney says:

    The first date I ever took my girlfriend on was to a River Plate game in Belgrano, Buenos Aires. We studied abroad together in the capital city, yet it was at estadio Monumental where I took her out the 1st time. Kinda funny how she decides to become a Boca fan after that, just to bust my chops

  11. Amanda says:

    Who is the great woman behind you?

    Oh. I see.

  12. Lyle says:

    Not here. My women hate the game. I’m constantly opening and closing internet windows to hide my addiction. They don’t know where Fulham, is, let’s put it that way.

  13. CA_backpacker says:

    Heh…I’m one of the lucky ones, my wife is equally crazy about soccer. In fact, she is by far a better player than I am, having played from grade school all the way through Div-II College level here in the US. Not only do we watch almost every EPL game shown on FS+/FSC/ESPN, but we play together in a co-ed league once a week, and she plays in women’s leagues 3 times a week!

  14. I always thought that hockey was women’s favorite spectator sport.
    I guess I was not paying attention to all the “soccer mom” references
    even regarding a vice presidential candidate. Women do play a big
    role in getting the kids to the games.

  15. Tony says:

    Brilliant way to propose Gaffer, so romantic, you have inspired me…

    I can see it now: center field Home Depot Center, just before the LA Classico, Donovan lobs me a special ball from the sidelines with a thumbs up, I chest trap it, do a little juggling then open the special ball to reveal the ring… fireworks erupt.

    Years later with the help of reproductive technology…

    My ten sons and I playing for the local adult league championship…

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