As a soccer coach, players’ friends and families sometimes approach me to figure out the game. It’s understandable. How are you supposed to support a loved one during a match if you have no clue what’s going on?
Besides that, soccer is astonishingly popular. Billions of people watch it worldwide, and it’s a fine game.
If you’re a newbie to the world of soccer and want to learn how to watch the game seriously, you’ve come to the right place. Consider this guide your one-stop shop for understanding the game and becoming a part of the global soccer club.
Why Is Soccer the Most Watched Game in the World?
Soccer is popular in four major world regions, including Europe, America, Asia, and Africa. The game has over 3.5 billion fans, and the world’s population clocks in at 7.98 billion in 2022, meaning that almost half of humankind is a soccer fan.
But why is soccer so popular? Is it the game itself or the glamor that attracts people? One of the biggest reasons soccer is such a hit is that the game is exceedingly simple to understand (there’s more on this below).
Another motivator is the way the game is played. You’ll know what I mean if you see a player do a bicycle kick.
But, the sense of community is the most significant pull of the game. People from different countries speaking different languages find common ground through soccer.
What To Do Before You Start Watching Soccer?
Some folks would advise you to jump in and start watching a game on television, and I’m not against that approach. Even so, watching a soccer game without knowing its rules can be highly frustrating. If you’ve been thinking about getting serious about the sport, this section can help. Here are the two things I advise my readers to pick up before a game.
Rules of the Game
When it comes to learning how soccer works, one of the first questions I’m asked is – how is soccer different from football? The truth is that the terms ‘soccer’ and ‘ football’ can mean the same game. Let me say it like this, soccer is football in Europe and U.K., and football is soccer in the U.S.
As to the rules of soccer, learning how the game works will take time. Thankfully, there are dozens of videos on YouTube explaining the basics. Watch a couple of these, and you’ll have more than enough beginner’s knowledge. If you’re interested in in-depth rules and regulations, skim the International Football Association Board’s (IFAB) Laws of the Game.
I also recommend watching the game with seasoned supporters. It’s easier to learn all there is to soccer when someone you know explains it. Finally, for those of you who like reading, picking up R. Gullit’s How To Watch Soccer is an excellent place to start.
No matter how you learn about soccer, the golden rule is to take it a day at a time. Your main concern should always be enjoying the sport; everything else is secondary.
Go For A Team
Naturally, the next step is to pick a team you like. No soccer fan is ever partial, and there is always an affinity to one team. And watching their games and the players will certainly go a long way in getting you hooked on the game and lead you to understand it better.
In most cases, soccer fans tend to choose their national team. But, when you read on further, you will realize that there are no restrictions when it comes to showing support for any team.
Once you’ve decided which team you like, you can do a little in-depth search about the team players and their tactics. It helps to know each club’s background, tournaments, and rivals.
How to Watch Soccer as a Fan
Soccer is all about passion, team spirit, and momentum. If you’re watching a game of soccer as a fan, you will have the chance to see some great moves and crafty plays. But you will witness something more when teams go against really skillful players.
In such circumstances, players chase the ball like it’s their very last game. And there are heightened emotions and an unparalleled show of enthusiasm from fans. When the team is doing well, there is no doubt much cheering. But even when the team is playing poorly, encouragement from the fans, such as battle cries, can propel the team toward victory.
Excited yet? Here’s how you can go about watching soccer seriously.
Watch Your Local Team
As a beginner, you may not exhibit similar zeal as other fans. But that comes with time. Also, watching a game live and watching it on TV are two very different experiences. You should watch local teams play and join their fan club to develop your enthusiasm for soccer.
Watch Your National Team
You’ve seen nothing if you think that local soccer team fans are over-the-edge. To truly appreciate the ardor of soccer fans, you need to be in the stadium when national teams compete against each other.
The crowd’s excitement, palpable energy, and the players’ drive will reel you in to become a hardened fan like nothing else. Not to mention, the players’ training before the game, the pregame and half-time trips for snacks, and even the half-time entertainment make it a thoroughly joyful experience for fans.
Watch The European Soccer Leagues
Watching national teams play soccer is fun. But watching the Euro Soccer Leagues play is another ball game (excuse the pun). These teams, their players, and even the fans demonstrate a level of intensity that is incomparable. The kind of showmanship and skill you will see from the Euro Soccer Leagues will have even a novice soccer fan in raptures.
You must understand that witnessing such games requires more dedication, time, and financial resources that might not be everyone’s cup of tea. Often games take place in different cities in several countries. And acquiring tickets between two rival Euro Soccer League teams can be pretty challenging.
The Euro Soccer League consists of the English Premier League, The Spanish La Liga, Italian Serie A, the German Bundesliga, and the French Ligue 1. Here, the best of the best are playing, along with the most fervent supporters.
Bonus: Pick Your Favorite Player
Picking a favorite player(s) depends entirely on the fan. Many supporters of soccer players are just mesmerized by the talent displayed by the players. A huge chunk of fans is pretty taken with their looks, sense of style, and bravado. Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi don’t just have an enormous fan following due to their skills; some take them to be fashion icons too.
Becoming a fan of soccer depends on your level of involvement. The rules of soccer are easy enough to understand and remember. As you watch the games, your knowledge and interest will grow. But, when it comes to being a soccer enthusiast, your love relies on your emotional connection with the game rather than intelligence.
Soccer has been around for some time, and if you ever go through the game’s history, you will be amazed at the legendary players and spectacular teams. It’s little wonder that people get obsessive about soccer as the game has held millions of hearts for many generations.