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Soccer in America

How did you become a soccer fan?

How did you become a soccer fan?

Soccer is a game for everyone. Regardless of where you come from or where you are going, soccer is there.

That could be as a player, coach, fan or employee. Everyone has a different story of one team, one player or one moment that allowed them to become a fan of soccer.

Eventually, that passion grips our lives and essentially forces us to watch as many games as possible each day. Plus, with the breadth of soccer across the world, there are seemingly endless options to watch the beautiful game. We are curious, how did you become a soccer fan? Be sure to let us know your stories in the comment section.

Here are just some examples to jog your memory in thinking about your past experiences with the sport.

– A certain player did something special that simply wowed you. Something like Diego Maradona’s mazy run against England in the 1986 World Cup.

– Maybe you scored the game-winning goal in a youth team’s tournament that brought you elation. A moment like that can drive passion for years and keep players wanting more.

– Soccer could just be a part of your family, your history or your town. While soccer is on a rapid rise in the U.S., there are certainly passionate soccer hot beds in the U.S.

– Or, you support a club and you base your fandom around that. European soccer is prominent here in the United States. But, you could become a soccer fan based on an MLS, USL or Liga MX side.

How did you become a soccer fan?

Those are just a few examples of how people become soccer fans. We encourage you to be detailed as you recall some of your favorite soccer moments that boosted your fandom of the sport.

Let us know in the comment section below. There is a strong possibility someone else has the same story as you.

PHOTO: Keith Griner/Getty Images

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36 Comments

36 Comments

  1. Ra

    May 10, 2022 at 3:59 pm

    I do not recall a single Eureka moment. Just grew watching and playing soccer – on the grass, concrete, asphalt and sand.
    But I do recall the 2002 WC very well – it was weird to go barbecuing at 6-7 am!!
    Sundays 4pm and Wed 9pm are the times I grew up used to watching it on TV, and I still have a strong urge to turn it on at these times.
    Soccer is so diverse that it appears to be different sports depending on the league and type you are watching. 11 vs 11, futsal, beach Soccer, freestyle are completely different styles.

  2. Arsenal4904

    May 10, 2022 at 3:20 pm

    I became a soccer fan in late 2013-early 2014. As late as the second half of 2013 I hated soccer. I was looking up a list of popular Wikipedia articles and saw “FC” in some of the titles. Articles included in the list were “Manchester United F.C.” and “Arsenal F.C.” (the club I started supporting for its name).

    I then watched the 2014 World Cup; the U.S. performances is what made me a soccer fan for life. If the U.S. ended up last in group stage that year, I wouldn’t be a soccer fan for the past 8 years. As the U.S. performed so well against Belgium, I became a soccer fan forever and now want it to grow popular in the U.S., in my city and every place.

  3. Jasinho

    May 10, 2022 at 6:51 am

    Pretty much every World Cup since 1986, our family gets together to root for Italy. And growing up in America throughout the 1980s and 90s, there weren’t too many other options to watch soccer other than what is now known as Liga MX on Univision. The fact that Soccer oftentimes conflicted with the usual Sports broadcasted on US television limited my opportunities to appreciate the game as much as I’ve done the last 17 years.

    In 2005, I was introduced to the UEFA Champions League by virtue of being a DirecTV subscriber. At that particular point in time, I was working the night shift so there weren’t many opportunities to enjoy sporting events at the usual time of day and soccer happened to suit my need. After all, what else is on Tuesdays and Wednesdays? I was easily impressed with not only the quality of play, but the sheer amount of clubs from the various European cities. Not even a couple of weeks later I’ve learned that every country has their own league. So what progressed from watching the likes of Milan, Roma, Madrid, Barcelona, Liverpool, Manchester, and Munich progressed to watching the Premier League, La Liga, Serie A, Bundesliga et. al. on the weekends simply because they fit my night shift schedule at the time. The next thing I knew, most of my free time was spent watching soccer.

    Then came the 2005 Champions League Final, quite possibly the greatest match I’ve ever seen outside the World Cup. It was at that point where the concept of things not being over until its over really came to meaning for me. Then I fell in love with the game since.

    Before long, the 2006 World Cup came around and a whole lot of faces all of a sudden became familiar. That is when everything made sense as far as where do soccer players ply their trade outside the World Cup. I’ve never known for almost 20 years since my first watching of the World Cup that the path to the World Cup is mostly paved via the UEFA Champions League.

    Take that from someone that entirely missed David Beckham playing for Manchester United.

  4. Jack

    May 10, 2022 at 3:30 am

    Started casually watching international soccer during 2002 World Cup. Never forget Brazilian Ronaldo dominated the tournament along with the crowd atmosphere.

    Spains victory in the 2010 World Cup got me interested in following club soccer specifically La Liga, Premier League and Champions League.

    The Netflix soccer documentaries helped a casual soccer fan like myself understand the background of the star players and great teams.

    So it’s fair to say that over time, I began to embrace soccer as my 3rd favorite sport behind NFL Football & Ice Hockey.

  5. Laura

    May 9, 2022 at 9:01 pm

    My son started playing soccer in Arkansas at age 6 in 1981, and I’ve been watching soccer ever since. I was a “soccer mom” long before the term was coined. I drove carpool for the boys, made ouo out of town hotel reservations for tournaments, took ice packs to every game… and loved it all. He played for club soccer, high school soccer, and ODP. When soccer became so much more available on TV, I became a Bayern Munich fan!

  6. Jose Hilario

    May 9, 2022 at 3:31 pm

    During Spring Break 2006, there was nothing on TV other than college basketball. I happened to tune into Fox Soccer plus and catch Newcastle playing Tottenham. It caught my interest even though I didn’t know the rules. Then I stumbled upon an Arsenal game, and I fell in love with their style of play. I’ve been a fan of theirs ever since. It also happened to be a world cup year that year, so I also started watching the US national team men’s and women’s games.

    • Kirk Healy

      May 9, 2022 at 6:01 pm

      As a yank, my father got me in to English football. In the sixties, he would bring the match results home from the Pentagon, and I would keep track on a wall chart in Maryland. We sometimes got to see film of LFC, but no TV. We only had 3 channels, all in B&W, and never any football…but, the stories that Da would tell, had me from the start. Now 58 years later, technology gives us so much to enjoy. I only wish he could have lived to see them become Champs. The bucket list only has one remaining item. One day it will happen…Thanks Da.

  7. MMaggie

    May 9, 2022 at 1:29 pm

    Born in Leeds, family supported them. Started going to games in the Scratching Shed in 1965, never missed a game till 1970 when started my nurse training at the LGI.
    Left for the US in 1974 with my husband ( from Stoke but came to Leeds Uni in 1967 ) also a Leeds fan.
    Had 3 boys who all played soccer through high school and beyond. Now we all live in Austin Tx.
    My husband and I continue to be big Leeds fans, go back to England and see live games when we can. MOT Leeds Leeds Leeds.

  8. Michael

    May 9, 2022 at 11:49 am

    When I was in college my Fraternity brother was from Nairobi and he was always constantly clamoring about Soccer this, Soccer that. We would always ignore him. I simply had no more room on my sport capacity to add another sport. My home state University Of Nebraska Football team were reigning National Champions (ironically they haven’t won another since then). After 15 years of my dad bonding with me on every single radio broadcast of the New York Yankees, despite being one of the worst team of the late 80’s they had finally won another title for the first time I was old enough to actually remember. The Chicago Bulls were in the Summer already back to back champions about to go for a 3Peat with the #GOAT. Finally, the San Francisco 49ers which had three members of Nebraska (Roger Craig, Tom Rathman, Jaime Williams) that had been drafted and caused me to become a diehard 49ers fan in the time where I was old enough to remember 4 of their 5 Super Bowl Championships. I simply had a full plate of teams and and I wasn’t really interested. Well he kept at me and said, “Ok at least give me a compromise. We are out of School for the summer. So watch the World Cup with me.” Well, I start watching it with him each day and then I saw that France team with Thierry Henry, Zinédine Zidane, Frank Leboeuf, etc. Well that first game, I don’t remember who that played…but I was like, “hmm…these guys have a little swag to them. They are pretty interesting to watch.” Well after that first match I decided that this would be the team that I would follow because I didn’t have any horse in the race. I would ask my Frat brother about who the players were and what clubs they play for. At this point I had never watched a club soccer match before. As the tournament went on I started to follow Thierry Henry and realized that this dude was amazing! After the World Cup I looked up Arsenal because that was the team that he was playing for. I realized that he was even more of an amazing player than he was on the National team. So I made it a point to watch all of Arsenals’ games that could catch and then I watched that UCL final Arsenal vs Barcelona. “That was an amazing match!” I noticed all the amazing players for Barca, but since I was only watching the Arsenal games, I didn’t really know them yet. Well, then after that year Henry went to Barca so I started following them and trying to catch their games any way that I could. Well after actually watching them on a regular basis I was OMG! Ronaldinho, Xavi, Iniesta, Messi and many many more in addition to Henry. In addition I started watching all the La Liga games, and I was blown away. This was so much different that the EPL games that I was watching before. Nothing against the EPL for those that prefer that, but when I saw the skill of the La Liga I was hooked for life! I haven’t looked back. Most of the players from that amazing era have moved on…but am I still faithful. While I haven’t dropped my original 4 “first sports loves,” I have definitely made room for number 5. Finally in 2008 I finally admitted to my Frat brother that I am indeed a “Football” fan. He laughed, and told me he knew it would happen. “Welcome to the Club.”

  9. Arnie Duerrmeier

    May 9, 2022 at 11:24 am

    To be a soccer fan is lifelong. I was a kid in World War II and when regular leather soccer balls were not available we
    kicked everything that was kickable, tin cans, tennis balls, rubber balls, etc . etc.
    I belonged to a youth team, was not fortunate enough to own my own soccer shoes. So when we played games a
    friend was nice enough to let me use his.
    So in my “old age” I watch as many games as I possibly can on TV, preferably Bundesliga and Premier League.

    Arnie Duerrmeier

  10. jason

    May 9, 2022 at 10:41 am

    Always been into international geography and flags since I was a little kid. I like sports too so, I got into the Olympics watching that for the first time in 1988.

    So naturally soccer started to appeal to me. I barely have memories watching the 1990 world cup. First one I watched in great detail was 1994 USA. First time I got into club footbal was in 1998 when after that World Cup, Fox Sports Net showed the English Premier League highligths show which had all of the players names i recognized from the World Cup. Funny thing that was the year Manchester City was in the 3rd division!

    And it grew from there!

  11. TK

    May 9, 2022 at 9:48 am

    25% FIFA video game
    10% UEFA Euro 08
    14% USMNT at confederation cup/2010 World Cup qualifying
    51% having only morning and night classes in college during the week and being bored in the late afternoon

  12. Larry J

    May 9, 2022 at 9:31 am

    I grew up in NJ where soccer was played as a regular lunchtime game in schools. It was brought to us by families visiting Princeton U.

    In the 70’s I was able to get scores from European games (mostly the Bundesliga), but I had to wait until midnight or later. Anyone remember Star Soccer late at night? The host was Mario Machado.

    We are lucky to live in the Tampa Bay area where the NASL winning Rowdies played. We had season tickets up until the last days of the NASL.

    Now we have the internet and streaming. I can watch games almost any time I want. The Rowdies are back playing again.

    I chose Newcastle as my main team in the late 90’s. I have suffered for years with ownership that was satisfied with just getting by. I am happy to see the new owners have ambition.

    Let’s all give thanks for “The Beautiful Game”.

  13. Roberto

    May 9, 2022 at 8:25 am

    In the mid-1970s after playing in some low level pickup games I joined a rec. league team. This after watching Soccer Made in Germany like John.The NASL Seattle Sounders had just formed and after seeing a few games at the H.S. stadium they played there early games, I bought a season ticket and stayed with them until the end. For several years in the 80s I went to England for a 10 day EFL holiday. In London you can see 4-5 games in that time. So now, I am mainly a MLS fan with an interest is non-big 6 EPL teams.

  14. Sharon

    May 9, 2022 at 7:31 am

    When I married my husband 1979 who was from Brescia Italia originally (and a soccer star in his high school in Jersey City NJ) he had season tickets for the then called Giants Stadium Rutherford, NJ for the Cosmos where that was my introduction to soccer and the Great Giorgio Chinaglia and many others Great players played and I did miss the Great Pele who played for the Cosmos the year before. I have since broadened my interest in soccer when I retired in 2008 to love and watch English Premier (Liverpool, Manchester United and Arsenal), Serie A (Juventus and Milan & All the teams) 6-8 hrs. every weekend; La Liga (Real Madrid), Brasilero (Flumengo and Athletico Minerva), Bundesliga (Bayern Munich) Ligue (Paris-St. Germain), Scottish League (Rangers) and some Argentina Soccer games. I have broadened the spectrum to love ALL Soccer as I think I now live and breathe it. ⚽😉

  15. Davido

    May 9, 2022 at 7:26 am

    I caught Rebecca Lowe recapping the last day of the 2013-14 EPL season on NBC. Intrigued, I looked into the EPL over the summer and chose a team to follow for the 14-15 season. The team I chose was LFC and the journey has been spectacular.

  16. John Valandingham

    May 9, 2022 at 1:50 am

    The 1958 Manchester United football team disaster hit me hard when I was a kid, from then on I supported the team where my grandparents were from. Back then I used shortwave radio and newspapers to get results but now I never miss a match!

  17. Dagmar Frank

    May 9, 2022 at 12:13 am

    When our Scottish son-in-law was first in our house i watched 2 soccer matches with him. It was a new sport to me but I loved it immediately. So graceful! I’m now 83 and still watching the British Premier League. Not common for women in the US.

  18. Jen F

    May 8, 2022 at 11:34 pm

    I was the goalkeeper on my high school soccer team. None of us had played before (much less even watched a match!), so we were utterly terrible. But I developed a love for the game that remains to this day. I first watched the World Cup in 1986 on a Spanish-speaking channel in Chicago that barely came in. I wouldn’t call myself a follower of any team in particular, but Bundesliga is my favorite league.

  19. Rick

    May 8, 2022 at 11:32 pm

    WGN radio host Roy Leonard had children who played soccer and he talked a lot about the Chicago Sting from the start of the NASL. As newlyweds living a mile from Wrigley Field and looking for cheap entertainment, we decided to go to walk to a Chicago Sting game in the summer 1977. I was hooked on the sport and became a coach for the youngest players when my first child was old enough to play, and then a referee until I had knee surgery. When an exchange student from Merseyside brought a Liverpool jersey as a host gift, I became a Reds fan.

  20. Barbara Malatesta

    May 8, 2022 at 11:30 pm

    I live in the US and was never interested in sports. My husband had played soccer in school and is a fan of Arsenal FC. Every weekend he would watch all the matches of the EPL, and I would go out as a “soccer widow.” I wanted to spend time with him, so I read the rules of soccer, which made a significant improvement in my understanding and enjoyment of the game. Soon, I was watching all the matches with him, and was also an Arsenal fan. As time went on, and my understanding of the technical abilities of the players improved, and for some unknown reason, I began to watch Kevin De Bruyne very closely as he played for both Chelsea and then Manchester City. Watching his skill on the ball, coverage of the pitch, and accuracy of shooting was stunning to me. It was like lightening had struck, and I was suddenly a fan who couldn’t get enough of the game. I still enjoy an Arsenal match, but Manchester City has my heart, and I love that my husband and I can argue about our different teams and players.

  21. Eric T

    May 8, 2022 at 10:08 pm

    I remember watching highlights of the 1998 World Cup when I was eight years old. I later got the World Cup ’98 PlayStation game. I think that’s when I fell in love with the game. I really go into it a few years later with the 2002 World Cup.

  22. Jeffrey Lazar

    May 8, 2022 at 9:38 pm

    I was an exchange student in Heidelberg Germany during the 1971 to 1972 academic year as well as the next. No cable television back then, so we depended on the sport show (SPORTSCHAU) on broadcast television Saturday evenings. That was when Gerd Müller set the record that people believed would never be equaled. So my love affair with Bayern München is indeed 50 years old.

  23. Matt Thompson

    May 8, 2022 at 9:24 pm

    I’m a sports fan in general and 1 Sunday the Manchester Derby was on while I waited for an NFL game to come on. The singing, chanting fans just gripped me. I wanted to be there. I wanted to feel for a team the way those fans did. So I bought a Bournemouth jersey and dedicated myself to them, as they were just being promoted to the EPL. It seemed right as I was a new fan, that someday, when they win the EPL, I can say that’s my team and I’ve been there with them from the start. Then….I’ll be like the fans I saw 7 years ago at the derby.

  24. Stuart Cohen

    May 8, 2022 at 9:20 pm

    I moved to the Barcelona area in 12/2015 and lived there for 2 and 1/2 years . You can’t really be there and not become a fan of the game. I went to Camp Nou several times and watched most of the other games on Tv. After I returned to the U.S. I found that La Liga games were on TV, as were the Championship League contests. I haven’t lost my interest after leaning Barcelona.

  25. Alan Cameron

    May 8, 2022 at 9:03 pm

    Born in Govan. Christened by the right royal Reverend Curry, the Rangers chaplain, who also married my mum and dad. Attended Ibrox primary across from the east enclosure, where I was always out to see the players at training at the Albion. Was a ball boy for the reserve games. Brought up a Ger. WATP.

    • Anna Page

      May 8, 2022 at 10:12 pm

      Born in Coatbridge to an extended family of Gers. Living in NW USA only choice (a good one) was Seattle Sounders. Then EPL on TV for years then finally SPL on Paramount +!

  26. Daniel Schmidt

    May 8, 2022 at 9:02 pm

    About 20 years ago I worked with a bunch of polish guy that all they did was talk about soccer , so I had to start watching it and following it or the was no one to talk too , I’ve became hooked and been following and watching since .

  27. Deolu Akingbade

    May 8, 2022 at 6:54 pm

    When I was no more than 5, I started playing a soccer video game on my iPad. It was really exciting and gripping, so I naturally gravitated towards natural soccer. Also how I found my favorite club: through Fernando Torres’ Atletico Madrid.

  28. Rick

    May 8, 2022 at 6:52 pm

    Watching Match of the Day in 1970’s hosted by Jimmy Hill, John Motson and Barry Davis. Football Focus too with Bob Wilson.
    Listening to games on the radio and the legendary Liverpool team from the 70’s.
    That’s how I grew to watch the beautiful game.

  29. JP

    May 8, 2022 at 6:45 pm

    Soccer was always around me, but the 1st time I actually enjoyed watching it was during Italia ‘90. Helped that I was a massive 11 year old sports fan and happened to be captive indoors with the chicken pox for most of the knock out rounds.

    Cemented with USA ‘94 and being in the crowd for Italy/Nigeria. Still my #1 moment as a live spectator for any sporting event. The shift from dejection after Zola’s red and thinking about how depressing the ride home in traffic was going to be, to absolute elation was like nothing ever before. Didn’t actually see Baggio’s tying goal go in, just knew from the eruption!

  30. Jimmy

    May 8, 2022 at 5:39 pm

    1994 World Cup in the USA. Then, the development of the soccer product in the USA keep growing and I was hooked with MLS. I happen to cheer for the hapless Houston Dynamo.

    This feeling grew with ESPN’s coverage in 2010 World Cup and a member of the American’s Outlaws.

  31. Skip Tamke

    May 8, 2022 at 4:00 pm

    Not by choice, originally! My daughter was playing u9, and at u10 the team split in two, and there was no coach, so being ‘that’ dad, I volunteered. Then started watching every game I could to learn rules and tactics. Found myself falling in love with the sport, to the exclusion of most others.

  32. Tony Gentile

    May 8, 2022 at 3:42 pm

    For me it was the early 2000s fifa video games that got me into it to start. The big moment was the 2006 World Cup, my Italian grandmother had just passed away a month prior to the start of the tournament. She had a Italy 94’ World Cup hat that I’d wear during the tournament in 06’ and boy what a tournament it was. Watching the whole tournament I felt she was there with me and the love has just stayed ever since really.

    • Eric O Casares

      May 8, 2022 at 9:40 pm

      I married a German in 1974 and she’s from Bavaria. She has 5 five brothers all Bayern fans. What else can I say! Well,been to 2 World cups one in Germany 2006. Coached youth soccer for 10 years. FCB “forever number one”!

  33. John Ketcham

    May 8, 2022 at 3:39 pm

    My father is/was a soccer fan and it was a way to bond. I also grew up 20 minutes from the PBS station that brought us Soccer made in Germany. Mostly I collect sports like people collect books or other things and soccer was something new to try. I was thrilled that TNT broadcast Italia 90 and when Fox Sports World came along it was transformative. I’m also an Anglophile so soccer was a natural fit. Now my soccer love exploded in the era of streaming. I watch 600 games a year and love every minute of it

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