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.