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Enjoying 2015’s frenetic but marvelous Summer of Soccer

TV watching

Good gracious, I feel like I’m somewhere between Cloud 9 and the Nuthouse. And that’s a good thing.

June is typically a wacky, wonderful month for the soccer fan. Being a year removed from Brazil 2014, it can leave you with a false sense of calm, as if you might be able to have a quiet month away from the soccer tube.

But then you flip on the opening match of the Women’s World Cup, and all of the sudden you’re addicted. Of course, the Women’s World Cup is always a plus for an American like myself since it’s a tournament we actually have a chance to win. Abby Wambach & Co. haven’t been entirely convincing in their first two matches, especially their most recent draw against Sweden. But still, you know that if they find their stride, they’re one of the favorites.

In general, the Women’s tournament has given us its share of memorable moments. Watching Ivory Coast push and push against Thailand only to fall just short was exhilarating and heartbreaking at the same time. Seeing players crumble in the emotion of wanting a result so badly, to almost taste it, but then to have a crossbar turn it away … it’s something unique to international soccer. It makes the expansion to 24 teams worth the extra matches (and the unavoidable blowouts).

Being the hardcore soccer fan that I am, I decided to sneak in a viewing of the Copa America opening match on beIN SPORTS. On the surface, host Chile facing Ecuador doesn’t sound like the match to sell a tournament. But it was riveting, marked by precision passing maneuvers from the Chileans, parried by swift counterattacks by Ecuador. I immediately had to hit the “Record All New Episodes” button on my DVR to make sure I didn’t miss a minute.

I wish I could toss in some Euro 2016 qualifying. But as quaint as some of the nations like Luxembourg and San Marino can be, there tends to be a lot of giant smacking the little guy in the qualification process. Or perhaps even some qualifying from the African Cup of Nations, or early Asian World Cup qualifying. Let’s just saying that the difficulty in finding broadcasts of those tourneys in the U.S. is probably a good thing for my sanity.

One pitfall of all of this (and working a day job) is that I’m slightly behind on my watching, which makes social media a real pain because I HATE spoilers. One of these days, I will have to concede defeat and move ahead to real time viewing.

And you can almost forget about an MLS match showing up on my screen, let alone the U.S. Open Cup. If you’re like me, you’re stoked that CONCACAF has staggered the Gold Cup into July. On a related note, I’ve just ordered more hours in the day from Amazon Prime. Hopefully the drone doesn’t get shot down by Father Time on the way to my house.

That kind of insanity is what this silly season we know as the summer international break is all about. Enjoy the Summer of Soccer, while it lasts.

 

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