It's true that we have all heard the old gag that Americans don't like soccer, but truth be told there are plenty of football fans in America and for the most part, we don't really care whether you want to enjoy it with us or not. Just don't be saying that you think soccer is a bore because that really doesn't sound that interesting, to be honest. For everyone else, interested or not, you may want to know a little more about the sport so that you can enjoy it more during this World Cup. These tips should get you started.
Choose Your Team
It's more fun when you have someone to shout for so make yourself a choice. Pick a team that you think is going to go all the way or choose which side you want to support for each match as they come.Use one of the free sports picks to get an idea of who to support. I love to go for the underdog. Not sure who is the underdog? From here on, it is America.
Do A Tiny Amount Of Research
It will only take you five minutes online to inform yourself on the offside rule and the impact it has on the game. This is the only tricky rule. If you want to spend another five minutes you will find out the next matchups, the favorite teams, who have injuries and even who the girlfriends are if that is your thing.
Don't Just Watch The Ball
If there are two players that are right on top of the ball, there are another twenty who are in the field and what they do affects the game. You could say that football is like a complex game of chess. You need to really get into it. See how the movements of each player affect their teammates and open up opportunities and space. Look at the choices each one makes. On defense, check out how the opposing team is positioned and how the position of one single player can change the 'shape' of the team's defense and either close down space or open it up.
Really Get Into The Sociocultural Anthropology Of It
Really get into the rise and fall of the confidence of each team, as well as individual members. The change in momentum, the meeting of wills. Pay attention to the delicate balance of offense and defense when it comes to risk or reward. See how countries, or at times continents, play the game in a different way - for me, this is truly fascinating.
Lastly, and crucially ....
Really appreciate what is going on
Don't let the angles of the camera stop you from missing what is actually happening. It is all too easy to think a ball when kicked, goes exactly where planned, or that a flying ball gracefully lands in place by chance, but with football, you are playing with an inanimate object. Pretty much everything you see has taken years to master. It's almost like being at a magic show. Embrace that. Clap to your heart's content right there on the couch. At least that's what you will find me doing.
Photo by Kuan Fang on Unsplash