Why It’s Time to Adopt a Favorite Second Team for the 2014/15 Season

Celtic barely advancing in the Champions League and Ted Lasso videos mean one thing to the serious soccer fan – it’s back.  After a tasty appetizer of the World Cup, European club soccer returns this month beginning with the Premier League this weekend.  While MLS fans would counter that their season is six months old, the lure of seeing the best players in the world teaming-up Guardians of the Galaxy style (with Per Mertersacker as Groot) and compete against each other for more than one fleeting month is a moment to celebrate.

One thing that soccer fans have over fans of other sports, however, is the sheer abundance of choices of which clubs to support. If the English Premier League play is “too physical,” you can flip on Serie A. If you want to watch games with crazy tifos and precision passing, you can watch the Bundesliga. Because of this overwhelming multitude of riches, it is not only perfectly acceptable but recommended that you commit the sports version of polygamy and marry yourself to multiple clubs in addition to your hometown team.

I am a confessed American soccer polygamist. I support the hometown club of my Italian ancestors (A.S. Bari) but because I wanted to support a team I could actually watch on television, I chose to root for Arsenal as well (primarily because of the book Fever Pitch, which makes me like 90% of all American Arsenal fans).  Throw in supporting my local team D.C. United, and it’s amazing I have time for anything else besides soccer.

When choosing a second club to support, there are a few ironclad “cannot violate” rules that move you from sports polygamist to simple frontrunner.

1. You cannot root for two clubs in the same league.

Rooting for A.S. Roma because you love Rome AND Napoli because you enjoy their history is weak and reeks of trying to find a team to support that will win something .  Rooting for two clubs in the same country can be acceptable; however, if they end up in the same league at some point you must relinquish the love of both until one is promoted/relegated.

2. You cannot choose a team based strictly on a player, unless that player is related to you or married to you.

Players change teams (often) and if you go out to buy a shirt (or three) based simply on a player, you may end up looking foolish and stuck when the player leaves. Just ask the West Ham fans with Carlos Tevez shirts.

3. Similarly, you cannot choose a team based on its manager.

Unless it is Jose Mourinho and Chelsea.  Because he is always welcome home it seems for a few years.

4. Do not choose a team based on its colors or uniforms.

The Cardiff City Bluebirds are now the Red Dragons, Hull City are almost the Hull Tigers, and even Juventus chooses to wear pink instead of its iconic black stripes at times.

So how can you choose a second team or what general principles should you follow?  I’ll give you the ones I used:

Chose a second team in a league that you can easily follow on TV because, again, some teams are only available on illegal Internet streams.  To truly experience the joy of watching a favorite team on the television, I needed one that played on there occasionally.  With the wide number of leagues available online and on the flat screen, your options are numerous here.

Experience a different league than the one that you follow.

Try to associate with supporters’ groups and other fans. There are not a ton of active Bari supporters in my area (although I have met one!) so I needed a club where an Internet search of fan groups would actually give me results.

Essentially, when I chose to support Arsenal, I chose a club that was almost the polar opposite of the one I first supported. This allowed me to feel both the pride of rooting for a title contender and feel the agony of relegation and denied promotion. I get the best of all worlds without feeling like a hypocrite.

One of the benefits of supporting a team from a different league is that you can oftentimes find that they’re playing during a different time of the year than the league of your favorite first team. For example, the lower divisions in England kicked off earlier than the Premier League. Plus while Premier League teams take a break during international breaks, teams in lower divisions continue to play on because their squads aren’t impacted by national teams. Vice-versa, there are some leagues that play at different times of the year than the Premier League, so you can watch soccer literally twelve months of the year.

On top of the above named benefits, you can also learn more about the soccer universe outside your own team. You’ll learn about different players, the history of other clubs and appreciate new aspects of the game that you may have otherwise ignored.

Now that I have shared my soccer life story, let’s hear from you.  If you support multiple soccer clubs, why did you choose the “other team” that you did?  If you are considering it, what are some of the considerations going through your head or possible teams you want to add?

Once you’ve decided on a second favorite team to support, let us know which team you chose and why in the comments section below.

14 thoughts on “Why It’s Time to Adopt a Favorite Second Team for the 2014/15 Season”

  1. Bravo. I know there are ton of people who think you can only have a single team, but you know what??? Sometimes I hit refresh on my favorite Manchester United blogs *and there are no updates*! I want more football! :)

    I honestly don’t see the problem with FOLLOWING a second team. As mentioned above, I’m a United fan. But…..I’ve kinda started following AC Milan recently. I’ve violating a few of your rules since I really like their uniforms and Baloteli is always interesting, but still…..how often is being a United fan inconsistent with following AC Milan? If they played in Champion’s League, I’d want United to destroy them. But, that’s only going to happen once every 10 years.

    The one thing I’d add to your list of criteria is that it’s more fun to follow teams that aren’t just on TV, but also have some English-language blogs.

  2. Dean,Here is an idea. try FC United of Manchester?

    you might be surprised at the relative ease of having two hearts but the souls is one?

    OP… I don’t know where to start on that lot?

  3. Love the article! I fell in love with the beautiful game right after the 2010 world cup and started watching the premier league that year. For that first year I pretty much spectated and didn’t really have a team. The following year I decided I wanted to support a club. Papiss Cisse’s wonder strike sealed the deal for me. I began doing more research on Newcastle and saw the huge support the club gets. Whether they are in 5th or 18th you can guarantee 52000 fans will pack that stadium. Football is their life there and that’s what sold me.

    I’m a full Italian and wanted to support a club from Italy as well. I saw Lavezzi Hamsik and Cavani play together in the Champion’s league and loved the way they played. Funny thing is my two clubs have a lot in common: the rich history, the huge support from hometown fans, overcoming relegation recently, and beautiful football.

    One last thing I will say is that, in my honest opinion, supporting a mid table club is a lot more intense and exciting in the league than supporting a top of the table club that you expect to win every match.

    1. Since I’ve started following Newcastle in 2001, I’ve had the chance to root for a contender and feel the agony of relegation following the same club – and yes I had to find illegal streams to watch Championship matches

  4. You mean there are people that ONLY cheer for one team? I have an MLS team (actually three that I follow, in a hierarchy), Inter, ManU, Bayern, and PSG. I know the 4 Euro teams are all top tier so it makes me look bad, but I started following THEM because, as Robert points out, they were the most accessible. Except PSG, but that came down to having an awesome kit.

  5. 4. A. You can’t follow a team by colors… *if they have a sugar daddy who doesn’t relate to the team’s history*

    4. B. It’s easier to follow a team now than ever, especially with paid subscription plans for feeds from the team itself. There are some rich history teams in the lower leagues like Sheffield Wednesday, as well as feel good teams like AFC Wimbledon. There is something for everyone. Be careful not to just pick Leeds United because they are on TV a lot.

    I would recommend giving the Bundesliga a try if you are an EPL fan. Great competition and support in Germany without a lot of scandals.

  6. Good article. I’ve been a Ft. Lauderdale Strikers fan since the 70s, having sat with my dad at Lockhart and wtched the likes of Hudson, Cubillas, JVB, Muller, and Best. So I’ve always been about the local. But up until the last four or five years, my passion for the international game was almost strictly at the national team level. I have watched and loved the World Cup and Euros since the early 80s, Germany being my favorite, as it is the largest portion of my ancestral heritage. I’ve spent many a Saturdya morning the last few years though watching the Bundesliga and EPL and growing more and more interested.

    Last year I started following an English team more closely than I’d ever followed a single European team ever before. Can’t really give a single specific reason for it, just found myself gravitating to the team. The colors, the badge, the style of play, the prolific goal scorer up top – and I did some research on the club. I lvoe underdogs, but especially underdogs who have at least once, gotten their day in the sun. I was surprised to find, and probably had my decision to adopt this club solidified when I found out that, since the formation of the Premier League as the top tier in English football, it’s very very easy for an average fan to name four of the winners of the league title since the Premier League’s inception. Arsenal, Chelsea, Man U, and Man City. But that one other team that won, only once, and has since dropped down the table and landed eventually where they currently reside in the Championship is Blackburn Rovers. I know the arguments about not choosing a team you can’t watch every week or at least somewhat often. But an upgrade of my cable package to include Bein Sports will help me see them a few times a year at least. Plus a good manager in Bowyer, and a very likable star in Jordan Rhodes, and I think they’re definitely contenders for a top six finish this year menaing a chance to get back to the Premier League. They’re on a 13 game unbeaten streak going back to last year, and it does increase my love of the game to have another team to cheer for! So I say love as many teams as you want, and don’t worry about “rules” with just one important exception – never, ever can one by a Strikers AND a Rowdies fan!

  7. It really helps when your club is franchising out to the world. MCFC, NYCFC, Melbourne City and Yokohama.

    In all seriousness it helps being a MCFC supporter and living in NYC. Having my two clubs connected like this is a real soccer heaven.

    1. Thats where im a little conflicted. An MCFC fan from Philadelphia has a hard time wanting any New York team to do well, plus i have beefs with MLS and only support the Union in non-MLS competitions. So i dont think i can root for NYCFC.

      But go Yokohama!

  8. I am a loyal supporter of Manchester United. They were the first team that was on regularly when I started following here in the States. I started paying attention to Spurs as well, due to having a mate from the area – with the caveat that United are victorious whenever they face each other.

    I also have a mate from Bristol, so started following Rovers since they live mere seconds from the stadium – although that one has been tough to keep up on here across the pond.

    With the new wave of coverage, I also started following the A-League, with Brisbane Roar being my club of choice. I also don’t mind to watch Sydney, since we usually only get one match a week, but Brisbane has been where my loyalty lies as they were the ‘first’ I followed from the league.

    Finally, I have a hit/miss relationship with MLS. I was a die-hard New England fan until Twellman and then Nichol were gone. Now I find myself watching, more than rooting, for teams. I like Sporting KC, as they are close to me geographically, and I still follow New England time to time. But the quality of the football is lacking compared to the other teams I follow and have a hard time staying interested.

  9. I have been supporting Man United for many years now. I loved it when I would wear my jersey’s around and people would ask what team is that your wearing. People would ask who is Giggs or Scholes or whoever jersey I was wearing at the time. Now with the booming popularity of European football here in the states it seems people are familiar with many of the top teams. A few seasons ago I wanted to watch a league not many people follow. Aberdeen FC chose me to start supporting them. I have loved every minute of it. I still watch my beloved United but now I also love following the Dons.

  10. I definitely don’t go out of my way to support a second team. I like other teams, but the only team I truly support is QPR. I get what he’s saying about feeling the heartbreak of relegation but come on unless you are 100% committed to one team it’s not the same. Likewise I’m happy when the Spanish team I like, Athletic Bibao, do well but I cared way more that Rangers got promoted than Bilboa Qualifying for the Champions League, and I’d swap Bilbao winning the CL for QPR beating chelsea any day. I feel like most of the reasons given to not support a second team make the most sense for reasons why you like a second team. You don’t really care about them so pick a team with a cool player and if he leaves you don’t have to like that team anymore. Just make sure to own up to what you’re doing if you get sick from dire hard rival fans.

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