I grew up playing soccer, but never was able to get into watching games on TV - other than the World Cup. Part of it was I just don't find MLS to be very good. Over the last few years, I've watched an EPL game or two throughout the season, and was much more intrigued with how good these guys are. The problem was I didn't have a horse in the race.
I decided to change that for the upcoming season. Now - if you're like me, you've never had to choose a professional sports team to watch - it's always been Celtics, Bruins, Patriots, and Red Sox. So take it from me, it's actually really hard. So I thought I'd share how I chose a team to follow for this year.
To give me a cheat sheet, I used this article:https://soccer.nbcsports.com/2018/08/10/new-fans-guide-to-finding-favorite-premier-league-club/
The first thing I decided was that I didn't want to pick a team and have them relegated in the next year or two. So I chose a team that had been in the Premiere League in at least 20 of its 27 year history. Goodbye: Bournemouth, Brighton and Hove Albion, Burnley, Cardiff City, Crystal Palace, Fulham, Huddersfield Town, Leicester City, Watford, and Wolverhampton.
I had no idea there were so many teams just in London. It's fascinating to me. A city as die hard as Boston, wouldn't be able to support two NBA teams - let alone six. It really shows how nuts people are for soccer - sorry football - over there. Anyways, I figured I didn't want to choose a team that was in the biggest market in the country. I'm not a New York guy; I won't be a London guy. Goodbye: Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur, and West Ham United.
I decided I didn't want to root for a team that used the same nickname as an American team. I have no interest in rooting for a team called the Saints or the Spurs. Those names are tainted to me. Goodbye: Liverpool, Manchester United (Red Devils is close enough to Devils), and Southampton.
So this left me with: Everton, Manchester City, and Newcastle United.
Manchester City are the current league champions, and I didn't want to be a bandwagon jumper. Goodbye: Manchester City.
So it was down to Everton and Newcastle United; the Toffees vs. The Magpies.
I didn't know what else to use to narrow it down from here. Even reading the article I referenced didn't do a whole lot - although he compared Everton to the Boston Bruins and Newcastle United to the New York Knicks, but that was just one guy's opinion and I didn't want it to be my deciding factor. So I thought about rivalries. The Celtics have the Lakers. The Red Sox have the Yankees. It would be nice to join a team with a built-in rivalry.
Everton is located in Liverpool. And there are only two teams in the city, which seemed like it would make for a natural rivalry. As for Newcastle United, the two biggest rivals listed in the article were Sunderland and Middlesbrough. I hadn't even heard of either of those teams.
So a decision was made. Congratulations to Everton. You have a new fan! I've been following along all summer, and I clearly must be good luck, because they'll be bringing in Moise Kean - apparently one of the best young players in the world.
I'm actually really excited for the season, and disappointed I'll only get to watch a handful of games.
Overall, this was actually a really fun process. Even if you have no interest in soccer and won't actually follow a team, I'd still recommend doing it; especially for those of you who never chose to be Celtics fans.