Living in the States, I’ve experienced six World Cups here. And each of them has been a battle.

In each instance, there have been soccer naysayers who dismiss the relevance of the tournament. They make cheap jokes about the sport. They rely on the past and still think that hooliganism is rife. It’s a constant battle between the non-believers and soccer fans like us. In the minds of the non-believers, we’re pesky bugs who come out of the woodwork every four years to try to convert the masses to adopt our sport. We’re seen as the enemy who have been corrupted by foreigners. It’s a sport that mainstream America doesn’t understand and can’t relate to.

Matters are made worse by the mainstream press who, every four years, write idiotic columns from their lofty perches counting the reasons why they hate soccer. Thankfully, as society advances every four years, these dinosaurs who despise soccer become fewer as they retire or go to the writer’s graveyard in the sky. But they still exist despite the fact that they’re hardly as relevant as they once were when newspapers ruled the roost.

So, soccer fans, it’s time to join together, arm yourselves and be prepared to fight the good fight. Here are the 8 rules of the World Cup “Fight Club”:

  1. The first rule of the World Cup ‘Fight Club’ is that you do not talk about World Cup ‘Fight Club’
  2. The second rule of World Cup ‘Fight Club’ is that you DO NOT talk about World Cup ‘Fight Club’
  3. Third rule of World Cup ‘Fight Club’: Someone criticizes soccer or says something inaccurate, you call them on it and explain to them why they’re wrong — no matter who it is
  4. Fourth rule: Wear your heart on your sleeve and let everyone know you’re a soccer fan. Wear soccer shirts on casual Friday. Add a World Cup wall chart or bracket to your office cube or door. Make sure everyone you come into contact with understands that the World Cup is coming whether they like it or not. And during the World Cup, talk it up at work. Ask people what they thought of those games from yesterday. Force the issue and make them feel like they’re missing out on the best thing ever.
  5. Fifth rule: Make sure total strangers know you’re a soccer fan by putting a World Cup bumper sticker on your car or attaching a flag. Show strangers that soccer fans can be passionate too.
  6. Sixth rule: Adopt someone. Make it your goal to introduce one friend, work colleague or family member to soccer this summer. Don’t force them. But help them give the tournament a chance and then let the World Cup work its magic as it’ll hopefully blow them away.
  7. Seventh rule: Contact your local media. Call or write your local newspaper or television station. Ask them why they aren’t covering the biggest sports tournament in the world. And if they are covering it, call or write them and thank them for the coverage. One voice speaks for thousands, so the more you’re proactive and make your voice heard, the better the chances are that there’ll be more and better coverage.
  8. The eighth and final rule. Arm yourself with facts. Be prepared to counter inaccuracies by naysayers and folks in the media with facts. How many people in your country play soccer? How many people watched the last World Cup? How do the number of viewers for the Super Bowl compare to the World Cup Final? And so on. If you haven’t done so yet, pick up a copy of Soccernomics for tons of valuable statistics.

As a soccer fan living in the United States, I’m sick of being on the defensive when it comes to my favorite sport. This World Cup I plan on being on the offensive to see if it works out for the better. Yes, some of you may argue that we no longer have to care about mainstream America because the soccer underground is booming on the blogs, podcasts and specialty soccer channels. But sooner or later, soccer has to make the giant leap into the mainstream and there’s no better time than now.