Finding the Premier League In Unsuspecting Places

Something happened this past weekend that made my day.

I decided to take a long walk Saturday. It was a beautiful day in South Florida. A picture-perfect day. Blue skies, 76 degrees fahrenheit and a cool breeze. It felt so good to get out and walk for about an hour through a quiet, wooded neighborhood.

The hidden truth about living in South Florida is that it’s too hot to be out for long periods of time for six out of the 12 months (May through October are usually obscenely hot and humid). So on such a wondrous day in November, I was surprised to see only five people on my one hour stroll. Three of them were dog walkers, while the only people who were outside walking for pure pleasure were a young boy and his grandmother.

On my way home, I stopped in a Super Target store to pick up a few items for dinner. And suddenly I realized where everyone was. On my walk, it was a ghost town. Inside Target, there were large crowds of people, walking aimlessly around the store. If you want to find America, go shopping.

What made my day though was what happened when I turned down one of the aisles and saw a complete stranger wearing a Manchester United shirt. Where you live, seeing a Premier League football shirt may be a common occurrence. But where I live, in suburbia (outside West Palm Beach), it’s a rarity. I can see one if I go to my local park filled with soccer fields, or if I go to a local soccer game. But I hardly ever (if ever) see one while shopping.

The bloke wearing the Manchester United shirt didn’t notice I was staring at his shirt as I walked past him, but I wanted to look on the back of his shirt to see if there was a name plastered below his shoulders. And there was. Rooney. I smiled and blurted out “Rooney, Rooney” to him. He turned and gave me an awkward “Ahh, yeah.”

While I’m not a Manchester United supporter, seeing a complete stranger wearing a Manchester United shirt in a large store where Americana shopped was a beautiful sight to see. It tells me (not scientifically) that Premier League football is creeping into America’s mainstream. Slowly, but surely, the invasion is happening.

30 thoughts on “Finding the Premier League In Unsuspecting Places”

  1. I live in NYC so Premier League/football shirts aren’t exactly rare, especially Man Utd shirts.. But seeing someone clad in a Stoke City kit one day on the streets of Brighton Beach was a complete surprise to me haha. Or once seeing someone with a Bayern Munich shirt in Northport, Long Island for that matter.

    1. Working in Midtown Manhattan, near Empire State Building, running into someone in an EPL kit is an everyday occurrence. Many of them are tourists, but locals support EPL (in addition to Serie A and the Latin/South American leagues) in equal measures.

      Come to think of it, the only EPL kit I have NOT seen people wearing is, um… Man City :) The traditional Big 4 have the lion’s share in terms of supporters here.

      1. Well, as a soon-to-be Brooklyn resident I’ll be sure to wear some City shirts outside of the ESB everytime I’m in Manhattan lol. 😉 Even though I don’t plan on travelling to Manhattan often.

  2. I live in chula vista (near san diego) obviously lots of Mexico (national & club) and Man Utd Chicharito jerseys over here.though i did randomly see a Leeds jersey once

  3. Living in NYC I see a lot of EPL shirts and have also started seeing car license plates with EPL teams.

    I saw MAN-UTD just yesterday and have seen others in NYC. anyone seen any?

  4. Why is this on ???
    That’s not an article at all, save that for your blog mate, you saw one shirt, good for you.. we want to see real articles

    1. Santiago,

      “Save that for your blog”? This is my blog.

      These types of articles are written from the heart instead of being a retread of other stories you can read in a hundred places on the web.

      Out of curiosity, what do you consider a “real” article?

      The Gaffer

      1. i kinda understand where santiago is coming from, the article feels 10years old. seeing a Rooney jersey out in the public nowadays should not come as a surprise in any American community. but i guess the international break is getting to us all.


        1. ibroUnited, like I said in the post, it may be old hat to people living in different parts of the country, but seeing someone wearing an EPL jersey in one of the stores in my neighborhood of the country is rare indeed.

          The Gaffer

        2. to ibroUnited and Santiago.

          Instead of criticizing the blog, I simply challenge you to write one worth reading and get it posted…how about that?

          to Gaffer: You know my position…and being here in DC, now that i am paying more attention, I see lots of people with kits on. and especially since there is a large Hispanic population in the areas right outside of DC, I tend to also see a lot of Barcelona and Real Madrid kits.

          as far as EPL, of course, Manchester United, Chelsea and a few Liverpool kits may crop up.

          If you ever get to my page on Facebook (I should tag the pic) you can see the custom jacket I had created..

      1. i am not criticizing the article, i am giving an opinion, which shouldn’t be alien on a blog. we are still allowed to make constructive comments right?

  5. Having gone to quite a few jam band concerts over the past few years and a couple of amusement parks I find that more and more younger people are wearing shirts of their favorite soccer team. I don’t think that the over 35 set will ever buy soccer schwag in mass quantity but I do see more and more younger people who have played and are more open minded to the sport compared to a lot of older people that have decided they don’t like the game and didn’t play.

    1. I used to be in the jamband scene until a few years ago and in my experience it was only the 35+ set that would be seen wearing “soccer schwag” as you put it…

  6. I think this is a pleasant story and something different. I think idea is to be creative and write stories you won’t find on other sites. Why keep recycling the same old storeis. Plus, I think does highlight how popular soccer or football is becoming in the US. I live in the Seattle area and I see shirts from all over the globe and a lot of Sounder tops as well. If you don’t like the stories on this blog you can always go elsewhere or create your own blog. The Gaffer is the owner/editor and he can decide what he wants and doesn’t want. Cheers Gaffer.

  7. As stated before, chalk this article up to the international break. Like it or leave it Santi, not too tough.

    And I see/run into EPL fans every now and then in central Illinois. Most of the fans are either Mancs or Chelski, but every now and then I’ll chat with a Gooner which is nice. I think you’re onto something Gaffer with the popularity in America. Now that the entire world is essentially connected thanks to the internet, we can expect more of a cultural influence from Europe to seep into the mainstream American DNA.

  8. A few weeks ago as I was walking home after work along 2nd Avenue I passed a guy wearing a United shirt with a green and yellow scarf wrapped around his neck. I was wearing my City blue and gave him a smile as I walked towards him. He gave me a laugh and wished me luck for the coming match against his beloved United that weekend. In the back of my mind I wanted to slide tackle him as he walked away ha ha.

    Love living in NYC where you can have moments like that.

    1. Good story, Christian. Green and Gold scarf–now that’s a hardcore fan.
      Two years ago when I was at the United exhibition game at Philly I even shook someone’s hand and he’s wearing the Stevie G jersey. Can you imagine that happening in the UK?

  9. Middle of America, Quincy Illinois, spotted a man wearing a Newcastle United jersey at my daughters basketball game. You just never know who and where has the EPL fever.

  10. Living in a big city like Atlanta, I have seen a lot of people wearing PL teams’ shirts. The best moment was last October after I had seen the North London derby I went to work in the local Home Depot. For my surprise one of the first customers had an Arsenal shirt on. Being a lifelong Spurs fan, I had almost lost my job right there. Poor guy hadn’t known the result yet and I didn’t tell him. But it wasn’t easy.

    Last month I took my girlfriend to Orlando and when we get there, the hotel room wasn’t ready yet. We decide to walk around and for my surprise right next to the amusement park there was an English pub proudly showing the colors of Stoke City F.C. The funny thing is there was the game going on and potters were playing Liverpool for the Carling cup. What are the chances…

  11. I go to Indiana University and it seems that seeing people with EPL jerseys is almost a daily sight for me. I don’t know if it is because I am looking for them or what but it seems that I see Soccer jerseys on campus more then I see other sports.

  12. You know why I like this article? Think about it…in the US, you can wear a Steelers jersey, a Celtics jersey, a New York Yankees jersey etc and no one would think twice because it’s a common sight.

    But seeing an EPL let alone ANY kit always makes for a conversation starter.

  13. I am not sure around here in the Northeast, football shirts are not that uncommon, including EPL teams jerseys. Now I am not sure if the author of this article is saying that EPL shirts are a rarity in Florida, or just any football shirts. I always thought of Florida as a place where it would be common to see football shirts, whether from latin countries, caribbean coutrnies or mainland Europe.

    1. There are plenty of people wearing soccer shirts in South Florida. But they’re mostly at the soccer parks and stadiums. Where I live, in suburbia, it’s extremely rare to see someone wearing a soccer shirt in a mainstream American store such as Target.

      The Gaffer

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