With the arrival of the Beckham's on this shore and the recent Confederations Cup, Soccer (or Football as it is more commonly known across the pond) has suddenly started to sweep the nation by storm. With this in mind, British soccer fanatic Adam Baxter has decided to let loose a few handy hints for those who need a little help breaking in…
By Adam Baxter
David Beckham's one-man mission to make soccer the number one sport in America has yet to prove as fruitful as he would like it to be. Still, one cannot deny that this ‘beautiful game' is becoming increasingly popular stateside.
Indeed, the USA was the surprise package in the recent Confederations Cup, beating a strong Spanish side in the semi-finals and pushing soccer heavyweights Brazil all the way in the final. Considering this, now seems like the perfect time to get on board.
With the next World Cup – staged in South Africa – less than a year away, why not use the forthcoming season as a means to hone your soccer knowledge and etiquette?
Look the Part
When it comes to soccer, there's only one drink of choice – beer (and preferably lots of it). Whether watching at home or in a bar, beer in hand will automatically tell those around you that you ‘fit right in,' even if you really haven't got a clue. We all know it's more acceptable for the modern man to enjoy the odd cocktail or two now and then, but trust me, this is one situation where Cosmos really won't cut it.
Also, it always helps to check whether the bar you plan to watch the big match in is affiliated to a particular team – as wearing the wrong colors or cheering an opposition goal is likely to result in an early bath.
Photo by 2 Dogs
Know the Rules
It may seem trivial, but the amount of people who forget that ‘half time' signals the swapping of goal keeping ends is staggering. Save yourself the embarrassment by remembering this fact. Asking the simple question “which way are we shooting again?” may cost you all of your credibility.
And now the big one – Offside. I won't bore you with the details, as explaining the offside law could take longer than an actual match. It's one you will come to learn, but for now, I'd recommend just going with the majority. Failing that, side with the guy who looks the toughest – you probably won't want to end up arguing with him…
Keep It on the Pitch
If you don't know any of the players' names, don't worry. You will easily learn during the match because handily, their names are printed across the back of their shirts – simple! Of course from time to time, team sponsors can also be found on the back of the jerseys, but you're smart enough to know that there aren't 11 men all called ‘Pepsi.'
Perhaps more importantly, keep the chat about the players, and only the players. “Is that the one going out with Posh?” isn't likely to win you much respect. Log onto your favorite gossip site later in the safety of your own home to find out who is dating whom!
Soccer is life
The most irritating thing one can ever say to a soccer fan is – “it's only a game.” You may be thinking it, but never should you say it aloud. In fact, this cardinal sin is likely to result in a season long ban – you certainly won't receive an invitation to the next match.
Use these quick tips to help you fit in, wherever and with whoever you choose to watch the beautiful game that is soccer!
Adam Baxter is a freelance sports journalist based in the UK. He is also a devoted Hull City fan, so much so that he is considering getting a personal tattoo emblazoned on his arm in their honor.