Painting the Town Red

Since I was 12 years old, I've been a die-hard Tennis fan. The first tennis matches I watched we're the burgeoning rivalry matches between Federer and Nadal, so it's no wonder I was hooked. But other than tennis, no other sport had really struck my fancy, unless it's playoff season, because it's always more fun when there's something on the line. 

That said, I recently decided to jump into a new sport that I had otherwise ignored: soccer. Being American, it's actually really easy to remain oblivious to soccer as a sport, since it's not one of the big four (football, baseball, basketball, or hockey). But between my brother-in-law, some co-workers, and my time abroad in Japan, there were enough people in my life who love being a part of soccer, so I figured I'd test the waters.

 

Testing the Waters

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I didn't realize how many soccer teams there were until I decided to give it a try, and let me tell you — there are so many! The simplest solution is to just pick your home town team, which has been easy enough for other sports living in Boston. Still, I'm not a huge fan of Robert Kraft, and my brother-in-law is a big NYCFC fan, so it didn't feel right to go with New England Revolution. So, I thought I'd try a new tactic; watch another country's league. And the easiest choice was the English Premier League. But I still needed a team, so I arbitrarily went with Arsenal. I knew I wanted to choose a team that wasn't just the best team, but was still in the top tier, and I had a good friend who likes Arsenal, which made it easier to decide. 

So with a league and a team, I was ready to start watching in August of 2017. Things started off well, with Arsenal winning the opening match of the season, but I could tell I wasn't committed to the team yet. I started to learn more about the league and about other teams, and I learned who the owners were and about their histories. But it was the first match between Arsenal and Liverpool that sealed the deal. A 5-1 blowout in favor of Liverpool, and I was enamored. What a fantastic team, and when I learned they were practically a Boston team, owned by the Fenway Sports Group, that made it even easier to switch allegiances. Plus, they haven't won the Premier League since it reformed in 1992, which reminded me of my hometown Buffalo Bills. (I'd later learn that Liverpool and the Bills are nothing alike when it comes to championships).

 

Painting the Town Red

Salah.jpg

With a new team that I felt much more committed to, I started to dive deeper into the club and player histories, and what an impressive display Liverpool have: 5 European Cups, 3 UEFA Cups, 3 UEFA Super Cups, 18 League titles, 7 FA Cups, 8 League Cups, and 15 FA Community Shields. The Reds dominate both domestically and abroad, but still aren't the immediate #1 club that come to mind in recent years with the lack of Premier League titles, which really adds to the fun of seeing them rise back to the top. 

I imagine that this season has probably been the best season for a new Liverpool fan to watch. Based on what I've gathered, the team hasn't been in a such great form for over ten years, and in the case of Mohammed Salah, they've got a player breaking records almost every time he plays. Here's hoping this dynamism continues as long as I'm a fan!