If you are a serious soccer fan, sometimes it can be hard to convince your friends and family just how important soccer is to you. Although soccer is taken very seriously in most parts of the world, in some areas it is not recognized as a true sport. In America, for example, soccer is played mainly by school children. Although there are professional teams, most Americans do not care very much for the game. If you tell them that you are a soccer fan, they might just think you are not much of a sports fan at all. Of course, you are a fan, a die-hard soccer fan. But how can you prove that you really care about your team? That you do not just claim to like soccer to seem different or trendy?
Here is your answer: wear a soccer shirt! When friends and family scoff at your loyalties, you can just point at your jersey. They will understand that you are serious as a fan. After all, you bought soccer top! Your soccer top can just have your favorite team or it can have your favorite player's number on the back. In fact, you are certainly not limited to purchasing just one shirt. Die-hard football fans have closets full of team gear. It is time the soccer fans struck back!
Wearing your soccer shirt will help promote the sport of soccer. If you choose a soccer shirt with a team name or player's number, it is an instant conversation starter! Have you ever had a boring trip to the grocery store? Of course you have! Every trip to the grocery store is boring! Unless, of course, you have your very favorite soccer shirt on while you shop. When you are wearing your favorite soccer top, every trip to the grocery store has a little of the excitement of a football game. That is because, when you stop to get eggs or something else, your shirt afford the person next to you a chance to introduce himself or herself and tell you a little bit about why they love soccer and what team is the favorite to win the next World Cup. We have even heard tell of an individual who worse soccer top on a job interview. The interviewer was less than impressed until the individual with the soccer jersey stepped out on the sales floor and began talking to customers about soccer. The interviewee made three sales just during his interview. He was, of course, hired and told to wear a soccer shirt to every shift. Of course, wearing a soccer jersey to a job interview is a serious risk. But wearing it recreationally and just while doing errands is a no brainer! Wear your favorite soccer t-shirt or jersey and you can convince individuals to become fans and discuss the ins and outs of soccer with its very oldest fans. Who knows? Even your conversation about soccer might be overheard and might convince a new fan to go out and get his soccer top!
Let's face it; football is one of the most adored games in the world. It is played in nearly every country, and there are representatives from far and wide who qualify for the FIFA World Cup every four years. Some fans take this game very seriously, and they use the international matches as symbolic ways to express the dominance of their country over other countries in the world. When this intensity is focused on a single game, things are bound to eventually get out of hand. The good news is that the game continues to grow and change and the fans have begun to realize that their actions could have negative affects for the teams they love.
Football fans have always been a little more passionate than fans of most other games. Fans have verbally abused referees and other figures of authority since long before the game became officially organized. The fact that there are teams that represent entire nations means that almost every match carries symbolic national implications. Fans feel more connected to teams that represent them on a national level, and the games take on special importance.
Politicizing the Game
Football matches sometimes exacerbate political issues. If there is national tension between two countries, a match between those two countries carries far more intensity than it would otherwise. Fans can become overwrought during the matches, and violence has been known to occur between opposing fans in some high profile games. If two countries have traditionally been political rivals, like Scotland versus England, the game carries several centuries' worth of disdain for one another from the fans in the stands. Any perceived slight by officials or one of the teams can ignite a passionate response from the fans, which sometimes spills over into the streets.
Hooligan support by football fans was begun in Italy in the 1980s. These fans will organize very dramatic ways of showing support for their national teams, often without regard for the legality of their actions. They will set off fireworks, create bonfires, break seats, and even cause small explosions during pivotal moments of the game. The hooliganism invariably degenerates into a wider violence, and several teams have experienced damage to their stadiums and tour buses. The motives of these hooligan fans are usually nothing more complicated than a desire to disrupt the game and give their team an advantage.
Larger European nations have made some inroads in curbing the hooligan behavior. Football coverage in the media focuses on the game and ignores the outrageous behavior as much as possible in the hopes that the hooligans will be discouraged at the lack of attention they receive. Police have also begun to patrol stadiums more diligently, concentrating especially on areas that may provide an opportunity for hooligan behavior. Unfortunately these steps have not curbed the general rise in violence at football games around the world. Much stricter measures may have to be instituted across the game to eradicate this violent trend.
If you mention football in any country, outside of the United States, you will probably receive an enthusiastic response followed by serious commentary on details of the national team. Almost every country in the world supports a national squad, and the players on the squad are held in very high esteem. These teams represent the national pride of their homelands, and the honor is not taken lightly. The game may be a simple sport that involves kicking a ball into a net, but the ramifications of the game are felt worldwide.
Why the World Loves Football
Games that involved kicking balls have been common to all cultures worldwide since ancient times. The game taps into an almost instinctual human response to sport - keep the ball from your opponents and find a way to get it past their defenses into their home net. It is as strategically complicated as chess, yet simple and straightforward as battlefield warfare. That natural love of the game paired with the organizational efforts of a worldwide authority has given the game an unparalleled reach into large and small countries alike.
Early European Roots
The Europeans have played games similar to football since the early middle ages. Their crude, chaotic ball games eventually developed rules and organization to become the game we recognize today. The European Football Association was developed to give a sense of organization to the teams that already existed in Europe, and eventually its role expanded to make the game more accessible to the many fans who were interested in watching the matches. From these European teams, and the European colonists who took the game across seas and continents, the game was spread worldwide very effectively.
Today's football is much more polished and polite than the games of previous decades. Passion has always been a part of this rough and tumble game, but organizers have begun attempts to make it a little more civilized so that more corporate sponsors will feel comfortable advertizing with the sport. This rise in commercialization has brought unprecedented levels of popularity around the world, but it has robbed the game of some of its original charm. It hasn't exactly become the gentleman's sport of golf, but it is a little tamer than it used to be.
2010 World Cup
In 2010 the World Cup tournament will be held in South Africa. This tournament is one of the most anticipated series of games in all of football, and the winner is the undisputed champion of the world until the next tournament is played in four years. National teams spend quite a bit of money and time in the hopes of qualifying, and it can be crushing for the home country as well as the team if they don't make the cut. International tensions are usually tenser around the time of the World Cup, and this year there are plenty of controversial issues that will guarantee a charged atmosphere once the games begin in July. You can bet that the officiating will be closely watched, and fans will be on the edge of their seats for every match.