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Tell Us Your Stories of How You Converted Your Friends to Become Soccer Fans

soccer fans usa england Tell Us Your Stories of How You Converted Your Friends to Become Soccer Fans

Have you ever converted a soccer hater to a soccer lover? Or how about converting a disinterested sports fan into a soccer nut? If you have, share your story in the comments section below.

It took me 10 years but I’ve turned my brother-in-law from a person who always moaned about soccer, whenever the topic came up, into someone who doesn’t follow the sport, but has grown a greater appreciation of it. He’s watched a few games and has taken an interest in the sport (thanks to his daughter who plays on a travel team).

I’m sure I’ve influenced a few people to becoming mad soccer fans through this blog, but I have a feeling that many of you have much better stories of converting unsuspecting sports fans into soccer die-hards. Share your stories below of who you converted, how you did it and how many people you think you’ve converted.

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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 →

25 Responses to Tell Us Your Stories of How You Converted Your Friends to Become Soccer Fans

  1. Ryan B says:

    I converted my brother into a USA fan by first using his patriatism as a tactic. Love America? Love USMNT. I also overwhelmed him with information about the players and connections he has with their interests in order to get him interested in the players. Once I took him to a game, he was hooked.

    As for EPL, it took a little longer. Over a three year period, I added him into our EPL fantasy league and told him just to try it out and pick players based on who was doing well rather than who they were playing or what team they were on. My intention was to get him noticing big names and teams. It worked and he narrowed his fan-dom to three teams the following season. Now in his third year, he pledged alleigance to MU (despite the fact that I, his brother, is a die hard City fan) and he is in 3rd in our fantasy league. He regularly watches matches and banters on facebook often with our other soccer fans.

    My girlfriend was easy. Buy breakfast and show her pictures of Joe Hart or Roberto Mancini and she’ll watch every game, even with enthusiasm.

  2. Erick says:

    I used to despise soccer. Think of all the typical reasons why people don’t like it…that was me (diving, boring, no scoring, silly looking players, etc.). One day I said to myself “This is the most popular sport in the world, what am I missing?”

    It was 2007 and the Jaguars (my NFL team) just had a good run to the playoffs before getting beaten by the undefeated Patriots. I wasn’t done with it, I wanted more…I didn’t want the off-season. Since football was really the only sport I watched, I was sad to have it all go.

    We recently picked up a TV sports package that gave us FOX Soccer. It was one channel away from FUEL, which I normally watched, so one day I accidentally switched over to FOX Soccer. I was bored and decided to stick to it and watch a game. You see, growing up in the states, you are not exposed to world class soccer. You get to play as a kid, but there are very few ways to watch the best of the best play. Nowadays, channels like FOX Soccer and more recently ESPN are showing EPL and Champions League.
    I had never watched world class soccer before, and this game was Manchester United in the Ronaldo days playing a Champions League game. It was extremely entertaining, so I decided to give soccer a go.

    I picked a team to support (Tottenham)…because sports are a much greater experience as an actual fan instead of benign spectator. I followed each match learning a little more about the sport each time. By the end of the year I was hooked, joined an adult team and am now a fanatic.

    I laugh at everyone who bashes soccer because they compare it to football or whatnot. I see their argument, because I used to say the same things. However, it is because I was never exposed to really good soccer and never understood the game. With a little effort to learn the game I now have a new hobby, am in shape because I play, and can enjoy great things like the World Cup. I am grateful for my decision to rationally figure out what makes it the most popular sport in the world.

  3. Nonsense says:

    Gaffer – is that you with the ‘A’ painted on your chest? Joking, guy looks wasted.

  4. Todd says:

    It took about 2 years of dating and sitting through games before I finally converted my girlfriend into an Arsenal supporter. I’m pretty proud of the achievement.

    • Robert says:

      Why the hell would you want your gf to watch soccer with you. Matches give me 2 hours to drink beer by me-self or with my buddies. Learn how to work

      • Todd says:

        Haha god forbid we enjoy something together! Just b/c you may be miserable in your relationship doesn’t mean I am mate. Learn perspective.

  5. Sam says:

    As much as some might hate to hear it…I used FIFA. I got my friends into the game, they learned some of the players’ names and then they started casually following the actual games.

  6. Clark Meyer says:

    When I moved into my new house, I made an immediate and lasting friendship with my neighbor Rodney, as red-blooded a soccer hating Southerner as they come. He regularly and loudly told me all the predictable reasons he hated the game. But then one morning I convinced him to come with me to the local soccer pub to see a Liverpool / Man U match and enjoy a drinking breakfast. Driving to the local that morning, I had my fingers crossed for goals aplenty, but alas the game was still a scoreless tie going into injury time. Nonetheless, it was an absolutely pulsating 0-0 draw, with chances and drama aplenty, and it completely exploded his preconceptions. Moreover, the pub was packed and the atmosphere was electric. He was hooked. As the match went into the 94th minute, he looked at me and said “I’ll never kid you about a scoreless draw again. The only thing better would be if someone scored right now at the death.” And almost on queue, the Mancs struck with a free kick and bedlam ensued. I can almost accept the Manure victory as a necessary evil for converting my friend Rodney.

  7. Jacob says:

    I am one! It took me all of my youth and early twenties to see the light! Now along side some of my best friends we run http://www.yankscallitsoccer.com about Americans who follow the EPL. So stoked my eyes are open to the beautiful game!!!

  8. The Gaffer says:

    Excellent stories everyone! Thanks for sharing. I’m enjoying reading these. I hope you are, too.

    Keep ‘em coming!

    Cheers,
    The Gaffer

  9. Elan says:

    I am an American born teenager without any ties to English Football. I fell in love! Soccer is a passion more then a sport. The constant drama and ever changing headlines of the soccer world create storyline’s that would fit into a Shakespeare drama. Everyone I speak to about soccer, I try and convince them. How much other proof do you need when your favorite sport is undoubtedly the most popular in the entire world.

  10. Mahlon Christensen says:

    My Arsenal fandom began sometime in the early 2000′s, when I won an Arsenal shirt in a pub quiz at my local soccer bar. I wasn’t fully converted until 2005 however when my friend from Israel suggested I read “Fever Pitch” That changed everything, and solidified my interest in Arsenal. I watched the 2006 CL Final and vowed to follow them as closely as I could via the internet, this I did with spotty success. In 2010 while watching the World Cup, I happened to be having breakfast at a place that had Fox Soccer on. I had never heard of it before, and wanted to subscribe to it, but figured that it was probably expensive. Sometime that September, I heard about NFL redzone for the first time, and decided it was a must-have. I logged onto the comcast site and saw that Fox Soccer was on the same tier…happy day for me :) Once I got FSC I quickly discovered that there were leagues below the EPL, and got hooked on these as well. The latest chapter in my soccer life is that I’m ditching Comcast for u-verse so I can get FS+. Install is Sat. Very excited but worried too.

    Since this thread is about soccer friends, I will state that while I have a few, none support the same teams I do. So if you’re an Arsenal, Forest, or Huddersfield Town fan, I’d enjoy hearing from you!

    Cheers,
    Mahlon

  11. StellaWasAlwaysDown says:

    I’ve found that most people who hate hockey will hate soccer, usually because of the lack of scoring. But once they can appreciate the constant motion of the game (especially if someone like Arsenal is playing), then they get a little more into it. I don’t try to convert people, but I did notice that the World Cup this time was bigger amongst my non-soccer watching friends, family, etc.I’m always willing to talk about AVFC with them though if given the chance!

  12. Temacube says:

    Had my oldest son play youth soccer for exercise when he was about 7. After playing at the park he poached a goal in his first game.

    Got me thinking about his build and temperament — thin, good height and pace, high endurance, competitive, good under pressure, intelligent — and figured this would be a good sport.

    To keep up, I practiced juggling and played in a league at work. Time passed. Then came world cup 2010. The pageantry of it changed everything for me. Since then I’ve become a soccer first sports fan, with a very critical eye.

    Now his Grandad has also started watching MLS and EPL on TV, even catching local high school games. We’re all hooked, and all my sons play in on year round teams.

    The width of the field, pace, flow, history, internationality, creativity, adaptability — short or tall, muscled or not — of the sport, plus just the fun of doing something with your feet make it so great.

  13. Mahlon Christensen says:

    Taylor,

    If you are one, I’m embarrassed to tell you, I picked them after looking at the table to get an idea of the team names, based on the Robin Hood connection. This is my second season supporting them, and I listen to almost every game via Football League audio(Forest player) so I hope that is enough to make me legit.

    We’ve all got to start somewhere :)

    Cheers,
    Mahlon

    • Taylor says:

      I probably one of the few whom are called as “not a true fan” LOL (I honestly don’t care). I like Forest and other clubs although I support Man United. But growing up outside of the US in the 80s, I got tons of live coverages from Europe (FA Cup, the old Division One, premiership, Serie A, Bundesliga, etc) and that was before the internet era, so I naturally can enjoy any games between any clubs, including Forest (when they still had Neil Webb, Nigel Clough, etc and post-Clough era).
      I never bother with the terms “legit” or “not legit” if someone loves soccer, that’s good for me – so don’t worry: you’re a legit soccer fan :)
      The reason I asked is because generally most of people in the US who are not from Europe and visitors of this website support premiership clubs only so it’s a nice surprise for me.
      One short story: back in 2004 we had a guy on secondment from the UK and the first question I asked naturally was where he was from. He mentioned he was from Manchester but was born in Nottingham. So I asked him whether he supported Forest and he said yes. I started talking about Brian Clough, Des Walker, etc and the 1991 FA Cup final. This guy couldn’t believe that he could talk about Forest in Midwest of the US LOL.

      Cheers !

  14. Eric says:

    Starting to like soccer after I have played fifa 07 I believe it was. I always found soccer boring and did not really feel the need to watch it. Nonetheless, after buying this game I started to get more into the real life sport. So I began to watch Chivas games with my father and then I later also began to watch Arsenal. I started watching Arsenal games when Carlos Vela was able to play with them and since then I have been constantly ever since!

  15. Mike Perez says:

    7 years ago i thought Soccer was dumb and was has interesting to watch as bowling now i love me some footy and going pull nighter for Liverpool/United game fyi the game will start at 4:45 am where i lived . The 2006 World Cup really got me interested in sport.

  16. robert says:

    My convert? My wife. Haha! Good thing I got my indoor buddies to play late games with and sneak out to enjoy a pint afterwards.

    Played my whole life, but it took DVR to turn me into a fanatic EPL game watcher. Always watched USMNT but how rare is that? Started watching Fulhamerica (still do and Everton when Donovan plays) and quickly came to recognize the gorgeous version of the beautiful game played in red and white in their first season at the Emirates. Pissed off I missed all their trophy winning seasons, but I’m a Gooner now, trophies or not. And my wife? She knows almost as many stats, players and history as me… though she is a Liverpool fan… hell, ‘least she doesn’t like Tottenham.

  17. CFC_Kris says:

    Fortunately I’m in England and I dont have to sell the sport I love, but I do appreciate how it must feel being in the US having spent 3 months in India and having no one to talk football with, sad times!

  18. Richard the Manc says:

    Born in Harpurhey, Manchester, my family moved to Florida when I was 11 years old. I’ve always been into football but in the past 6 or 7 years I’ve dragged my mates into it. I’d go on and on about it and slowly but surely they converted without realizing it. Now that we’ve grown up and have a bit of money, there is a group of 4-5 of us that travel over for an extended holiday. We travel all over England, Scotland and Ireland to take in football at all levels. We’ve been to Wembley to see England play a WC qualifier, seen the Old Firm derby at Ibrox, we were in the stands when Federico Macheda scored the winner at the death for Man United against Villa and a Shamrock Rovers match in the League of Ireland just to name a few. We’re headed back over in September for about 18 days to do it all again. We’re bringing the last of the converts with us this time. He’s always slagged off footbalI but I think we’ve got him this time. I grew up with these lads and these football trips have made us better mates.

  19. Mark says:

    I converted my roommate and my friend in college. They didn’t exactly hate FOOTBALL (soccer for you yanks), they just didn’t care about it. Me? I’m a big football nut and a Man U fan so I was always watching football, wearing Man U jerseys and just talking about it. One I brought my Xbox 360 from home and the only game I had at that time was FIFA 09. My roommate was bored that day so he just sat next to me watching me play it and because I was quite good, he enjoyed the moves I was pulling off and the way I scored. He asked for a controller and we played together. I purposely took it easy on him so he could come to grips with the controls. I also let him score every now and then especially in the dying minutes. This made him really excited and over time he actually got genuinely good. My friend got in on the act too. And by the end of the semester, they were watching Premier League and Champions League matches with me. It was a good feeling. BTW, they were BIG American football fans at the time so I think there’s still hope for anyone you think is lost.

  20. Lee Allen says:

    All my friends became arsenal fans after I showed them the arsenal rap song by Danny graft. Now at all my track meets my teammates chant arsenal even though I’m a Liverpool fan.

  21. mattjg says:

    I grew up not exactly hating soccer, but not caring about it either. When I started law school 4 years ago, I bought a cable package with all the sports channels, mostly for NFL Network. I liked to have the TV on in the background while I did home homework. On Saturday and Sunday mornings I quickly grew tired of SportsCenter highlights I had seen the night before. The only live sport on at those times was soccer on FSC and GolTV. I would put on soccer for mostly for background noise while I did my homework. Soon I found myself waking up earlier and earlier to watch soccer and putting my homework aside until later in the day. I still didn’t have a team to root for; I just enjoyed watching and learning about the game. Finally, at the end of the 2008-09 season, I turned on the FA Cup Final. It was Everton against Chelsea. I knew I didn’t want to root for Chelsea, because I didn’t like the big four teams; rooting for them would be like rooting for the Cowboys or Yankees. I decided to root for Everton in the Final (they lost) and to learn more about them. I followed them throughout the 2009 offseason and when the fall rolled around I realized I had become a full fledged Everton fan, watching almost every match however I could.

    I still have yet to convert most of my friends to EPL fans, but I’m making progress. I brought a bunch of them to a couple Philadelphia Union MLS matches last summer, and they had great times. I’m pretty sure if I can get them to go to a pub on a Saturday morning for a big EPL match a couple times, they’ll gain interest in the sport.

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