Well liga bbva is the best ( barca and real madrid) but the English premier is the second best
OT: Need Help with European Soccer Viewing
Speaking of Barca and Real Madrid. Those games are going to be appointment viewing from now on because of the antics of Jose Mourinho. He has lost his mind.
Don't know why the breakers didn't show up. Sorry about that.
If La Liga is so lame, then why did Sergio Aguero struggle to score in La Liga? Why couldn't he keep Sevilla in the top 4?
And yet, this year, he is lighting the EPL on fire and saying things like "The Premier League is too easy."
The notion that the EPL is some bastion of parity and competativeness is so much garbage. What teams have won the EPL the past 6 seasons? Chelsea and Man U. How many teams have EVER won the Premier League? 4. 4 teams. that's it. How the hell is that parity?!?
A game between Tenerife and Espanyol is infinitely more exciting to watch than a shit-show between Blackburn and Stoke City.
Who said it was lame? As a league, it's top heavy. When those two teams play each other, it's fantastic. But the league isn't anywhere as deep as the EPL. I said the rest of La Liga would struggle to win Ligue1. But then I said I like to watch Ligue1. So I didn't say it sucked. I just don't find it to be the best.
It's parity because it's not necessarily a fait accompli that United and Chelsea will win. There are six teams that will battle for the top four positions this year, with Liverpool, Spurs, Arsenal and City filling out what has turned into a Big Six. City can certainly win it. That's much more parity than you can find in Spain.
And "lighting the EPL on fire?" He played Bolton and Swansea, both of which will fight to stay up. And isn't it possible that his start has more to do with the fact that he's on a team with actual good players around him?
If you love Spanish football so much, that's great. I didn't say it was shit. I think it gets too much prestige based on two teams that play with different financial rules than everyone else. La Liga is like Major League Baseball if the Yankees and Red Sox spend like they do and everyone else was the Rays, who develop good players only to let them go when it's time to pay them.
i totally disagree that english soccer is deeper than La Liga. After Man U, Man City, Chelsea, the EPL sucks. so boring to watch.
Besides, your argument of the EPL being deeper holds no water. Who has ever won the Premier League? 4 teams. Thats not deep. Who has won it in the past 6 years? Only Chelsea and Man U
What else are you going off by saying the EPL is deeper? brand recognition?
also im pretty sure you're either retarded or bat shit crazy to say that Barcelona pilfers good young players from other teams more than Man U, Man City, Chelsea, and Arsenal.
Saying "he is lighting the EPL on fire" doesn't seem premature after one and a half games against Swansea and Bolton. Not at all.
Let's see Aguerro in the English winter.
La Liga is shit outside of the top couple teams. Those teams rape the league of it's TV money, hence it's enforced. I hate both of them.
Aguero played for Atletico Madrid, not Sevilla.
Better check your facts bro. Dude was third in the league behind a couple of guys named Messi and Ronaldo. Never heard of them though, are they any good?
And another thing!
Barcelona grows their talent. 8 of their 11 starters came from the teams' youth system (including their 5 most important players). tell me how Man U got their hands on Ashley Young, or David De Gea, or Phil Jones, or Johnny Evans... or how Chelsea got Juan Mata, Fernando Torres, or Lukaku?
Every team has homegrown talent (or at least talent they bought young and developed).
But please tell me how Barca got their hands on Alexis Sanchez, Cesc Fabregas, David Villa, Yaya Toure, Dani Alves, Zlatan Ibrahimavich, Samuel Etoo, and Thierry Henry? Not exactly homegrown are they? (okay, fine, Toure was definitely a depth player, but still...)
Plus, RM and Barca live on depressing the market for players they want by feeding bullshit stories in the media and scaring off other potential suiters.
BTW, I'm enjoying this debate.
Cesc Fabregas came up through Barcelona's La Masia, so there goes your argument there...
Find ONE player from Chelsea who came up through their youth ranks. Same with Man City. Arsenal has Jack Wilshere. Liverpool has Steven Gerrard. Man U has Danny Welbeck. Even Wayne Rooney came up through Everton first.
Barcelona has Xavi, Iniesta, Messi, Sergio, Puyol, Pique, CESC, Victor Valdes, and Pedro.
The way that team is leveraged to spend the money they do (on everything) makes the past financial crisis look sound. Yes they have the best academy in a very talent rich country and grew Messi in a test tube from when he was like 11. They have a wonderful generation together which is basically the spanish national team plus Messi.
They also play in a less than demanding league where they can avoid injuries and stay fresh for the international tournaments. Life's not so hard when you have almost nothing to worry about from any team outside the top four. You talk about how the EPL has had 4 winners (Man Utd, Chelski, Arsenal, and Blackburn with Shearer) but in the EPL the top teams can have a freaking dogfight with almost any team in the division (there's usually one or two pushovers). There are maybe 5-6 teams in La Liga who are even remotely competitive with Barca and Real. Look at the record and goal difference.
The parity isn't close, which you'd expect when two teams split HALF THE TV MONEY.
Cunts. No time for them.
Shut the television off ... it's just as exciting when staring at the screen ... it's about the same amount of action and scoring ... if you have a chick wit you and can see the reflection in the tv ... u will see alot more scoring
I used to think the same thing but its actually pretty exciting when you get into it. Europe's biggest knock on American sports is that we are so concerned with the number of points on the scoreboard. Instant gratification or something like that. I think since I don't know sh-t about soccer and am trying to learn the point totals do not bother me. I'm just constantly amazed at the way they can control the ball - stop it, pass it where they want it, etc.
Comments like this make me wish neg bangs were back. Go watch baseball.
but that's just me. They have games now early on Saturday/Sunday mornings on ESPN2 and then FSC, so it's usually always on. The Champions League is more of a tournament than an actual league, in my view. The games are usually during the week as opposed to league games on the weekend.
I think the English league is the deepest, but Barca seems untouchable so I'll say they're the best team in Europe.
The UEFA Champions League (UCL) is not really a league so much as a tournament. Every year, the best teams from the European leagues qualify for the UCL. For example, in England the top three teams in the EPL qualify automatically and the fourth has to qualify on its own (This is why Arsenal is playing Udinese, because they just missed the automatic qualifying qut in their respective leagues).
You hear about teams going for the "double" or "treble" because you can win multiple trophies in the same year. For example, if Arsenal were to win the EPL, UCL, and FA Cup, they would have won the "treble."
Does this make sense? Let me know if you have any other questions. I'm a big soccer fan.
I've been living in Central and South America for the past year and a half and, needless to say, by association I've been watching tons of soccer. I've started to love it. But, I just want to say that I think there is no doubt that Barcelona is the best team in the world. I think "Barca" is likely even better than almost every national team out there. Put Barcelona up against Argentina for example, who has tons of great players but haven't played well as a team recently, and I think Barcelona wins. Barcelona is just the best TEAM out there. It's amazing how well they play together. Spain, Brazil maybe would be better than Barcelona, but I'm just trying to point out how great Barcelona is right now. Without a doubt in my mind the best team in the world. I mean, they just won the UEFA Champion's League Cup a couple months ago so it practically goes without saying. If you want to watch good soccer, watch Barcelona.
Most of your top club teams in the world -- not just Barca -- are better than most national teams because they're not limited to players from only one country, plus they play together more often.
National teams are almost always worse than club teams. The coaches get so little time to implement their tactics and the players hardly know each other. National teams often only get ten days together at most before big fixtures.
Club teams, however, are together all the time and play in multiple tournaments together.
I prefer the EPL (English Premier League), and I have been following it with varying intensity for the past 15 years. I got hooked during the season when Manchester United tracked down Newcastle to win the title. Man Utd also won the "double" that year when they beat Liverpool in the FA Cup final. You can watch EPL matches on Fox Soccer Network and ESPN.
The UEFA Champions League is made up of the top teams in each UEFA country (Europe), who, based on their performance in their domestic league the year before, play in a multi-tiered group round system and then a knockout round. Today and tomorrow, the final teams are being selected for the first group round of the CL.
WIth your example of Arsenal, they play in the EPL, the Champions League (based on their performance last year in the EPL), the Football Association (FA) Cup in England, and also the Carling Cup. From August to May, some big teams play in about 50+ games, which is actually a ton of games. This doesn't include the games that players play for their national teams.
So, for a novice, would you say that the UEFA is the way to go to get a little taste of all the leagues until I decide where to focus? I'm trying to narrow it down so that I can pick a team to support - I need a team to root for so I can increase my interest in the game itself. (Yes, I have a very technical approach since there is no passion involved yet.)
Thanks to you and Samer for taking the time to explain.
When you watch the UCL, you are seeing the best of the best in Europe, however you might not get to see a team's style of play. The UCL is played in home-and-away legs. So for example, last year Arsenal (they're my favorite team if you can't tell) beat Barca at home. Thus, all they had to do was tie in the second leg. Had you watched that game, you would have seen a very boring offense from Arsenal, which is usually an attacking side.
I guess what I'm saying is you would be watching the best teams, but not necessarily their best play. In the later draws (quarters, semis and final) you'll see great soccer generally, however.
That explains what I just watched tonight - Malmo v. Dinamo. The team in black (Dinamo) were playing defense the entire time and I finally figured out that it was because they only cared about cumulative point totals, not winning that particular game. It was very strange watching until I figured that point out near the end of the game. (That said, it was exciting watching the guys for Malmo fly around trying to hurry and score!)
I watch EPL, La liga, and UEFA champions league. EPL is the deepest league. Man City, Man u, Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal. La Liga has two of the top 5 teams in the world in Real Madrid and Barca. Champions League has the best in Europe playing each other. I have only been a fan of soccer for 3 years but it only rivals football as my top sport to watch.
Anyways, I would focus on teams if you are looking for good soccer. As mentioned above, la liga and the Premiership are arguably the 2 best leagues in the world. UEFA Champions League being the number 1 tournament in the world.
But more specifically, try and catch Barcelona, Real Madrid, Manchester United, Bayern Munich... and then go from there. Those will be the best quality soccer games, but sometimes it's the lower level Premiership games that I really enjoy becuase the players just try so damn hard, where some of the more "premier players" tend to feel entitled to getting every call from the ref.
Oh, and I almost forgot about Footytube.com <- by far the best way to quickly see the highlights of recent top level games. Just wait a day or two after the actual game is played, and there is always a top quality highlight of the game with commentary and everything.
Despite the protests of my friends following football (soccer) in Spain, Italy and Germany the Premiership remains by far the deepest and best overall league to enjoy. Find yourself a team, pick up a shirt and set aside your Saturday mornings (or find their games online...)
I'd recommend Manchester City.
I actually caught one of their matches last week and found them very exciting to watch.
I think one of my problems (one of the many) is that I don't even know what players to focus on (other than Wayne Rooney and I don't like that dude). Any ideas of players I should really try to watch?
I think you might be getting confused between Manchester City and Manchester United.
Man United is one of the most storied teams in England. That's the team Wayne Rooney plays for.
Man City recently got new billionaire ownership and have been throwing money at the top players to get them to City. For lack of a better comparison, Man U would be like Michigan and City would be like Michigan State. Man U has more history and City is kind of like "little brother."
But if you are watching Man U, keep an eye on Nani, Anderson and Chicharito. They're exciting scorers.
If you're watching City, Gareth Bale, new addition of Samir Nasri, and Rafael van der Vaart are probably my favorite players on that team (even though Nasri just left Arsenal)
As an avid Spurs supporter, I just had a mild aneurysm. Gareth Bale and van der Vaart play for Spurs. Gareth Barry plays for City. Although I'm sure it's just a matter of time before Etihad City buys Bale too.
I just came on here to correct my brain fart. Sometimes I get Man City and Spurs mixed up because I dislike them both so much. My mistake.
The most exciting players in the league right now would probably be Rooney, Silva, Aguero, Suarez, Bent, J. Hernandez, Dempsey, and Van Persie. So for flashy players see those guys. Though, the more soccer you watch you may find that your favorite player is a hard worker instead of a flashy player (ex. Dirk Kuyt, Jack Wilshere, Paul Scholes).
Also Tevez, Gerrard.
Scholes is retired. I might add Park Ji in the hardworker group, that guy never stops.
BENT!?!?!?! YOU'RE THROWING DARREN BENT INTO THAT CONVERSATION?!
Well I guess I tried to add in a few players that weren't from the top 6 and him and Dempsey were the only ones that came to mind. So, uh, sorry.
You should root for Fulham because of Clint Dempsey.
I'm really afraid of Man City this year. They are picking up players like crazy. They just signed Samir Nasri from Arsenal. I guess you can equate Man City to the Yankees right now if that comparison helps. They have lots of oil money to throw around.
Double post. Yeppie! I wish I could upvote myself!
would be to watch the Champions League when you can (best teams, less familiarity between opponents, most sense of urgency in matches). I know thats hard because they typically play on weekday afternoons.
In addition, ESPN/2/3 does a fairly decent job of broadcasting EPL games on Saturday and Sunday mornings.
The Italian league has great players, but the style of play can be very annoying (fake injuries, etc. all the things people usually complain about).
I played soccer, albeit poorly, through high school, which meant I came into contact with plenty of soccer snobs. As I am a Michigan fan and Detroit sports fan I find it hard to squeeze in soccer watching aside from the big tournaments, so here's what I try and follow...I'll be fisking your suggestions.
- Champions League works like this: Basically a bunch of teams from all over UEFA are thrown into various pools (I believe eight still) of four teams each. Each team plays the others twice. The top two teams from each group by points advance to the next stage. From there it's a knockout tournament between the final 16 teams (NCAA bracket style) until they get to the championship final. All the matches leading up to the final are home-and-away matches which are decided on goal differential (kinda complicated but hey) and then the final is played at a neutral field. It does rival the Super Bowl in scale, which is pretty neat. I would definitely suggest watching the final, and then some of the knockout games.
- Teams make it into Champions League (and the Super Cup, which is kinda the B-tournament) based on domestic (i.e. Premier League, Serie A, La Liga) success. And each league in Europe gets a certain number of teams in both Champions league and the Super Cup based on the strength of soccer in that country. So while England, Spain and Italy may send 4 or 5 teams to the Champions League, Norway would probably send one, Netherlands maybe two or three, etc.
- Champions League and Super Cup run during the regular domestic seasons. Again, they're based on prior year success.
- As far as what games to watch, I'd start with the Premier League (EPL) as it has quite a few entertaining teams, and I believe regular Fox Sports Network has a game of the week on Tuesday. If you have Fox Soccer Channel you have access to a whole lot more, which is really fun to see the different styles of play in different leagues. Aside from EPL i would recommend any Barcelona or Real Madrid games (particularly when they play each other), any Inter Milan/ Milan games, and Celtic/ Rangers if you can find it. These are some of the big soccer rivalries.
- Assuming you follow the World Cup (you should) you should also look into following the European Championships. They're on the off years between World Cups (so the next one is next year) and there will start to be qualifiers going on for them soon (if not already). The actual championships are great stuff, close for me in scale to the World Cup in terms of hype. I was in Poland for the last Euro Championships in 2008 and even though it was Germany v Spain the ENTIRE COUNTRY of Poland shut down to watch. Again, Super Bowl level stuff.
You can find games on FSC, Fox Sports Net (I believe) and then ESPN360 and ESPN2 usually. I haven't followed as closely the last few years as the seasons take place during football, hockey and basketball season, but definitely follow the championship games if you can. It's also fun to arbitrarily pick a team and cheer for them.
And if you don't mind seeing a lesser product and you can't make it to Europe, take a look at MLS. The caliber of play has risen at least a little bit and more importantly the games are on TV and are fairly reasonable as far as price to go see. Best case scenario is to wait until next summer when the European clubs tour the US and get tickets to see them play an MLS team.
is that the Champion's League is what a BCS playoff could be. A tournament of the best teams from a whole bunch of leagues that otherwise couldn't logistically schedule the types (or amounts) of "non-conference" games necessary to determine such a thing.
I wouldn't want the BCS to be like the Champion's League. You want to wait a year after the season to decide the champion?
I wouldn't want the literal format of the Champions League used in the BCS.
Just the settlling of "hey we have a dozen or so league champions and runners up that haven't really aplayed each other or any common opponents. So lets figure out which team is the best".
Regardless, it's a bit much. You can finish 4th in the EPL and make it in, and every one of the little national leagues gets a team in (at least to the qualifiers). It's like the NCAA tournament. Fun, but not really the best way to decide a champion.
What league are these two teams in?
Celtic (no "s") and Rangers (known collectively as the Old Firm) are the top two teams historically in the SPL. Both are in Glasgow and they have combined to win 96 league titles. No other team has won the league since Sir Alex Ferguson's Aberdeen team did in 1985. Since forming the SPL in 1998, only one team has ever cracked their hold on the top two spots in the table (Hearts finished second in 2006). Both have huge followings (over 50,000 seat stadiums in a league where the next biggest hover around 20,000). Celtic were also the first British side to win the European Cup (Champions League before they called it the Champions League). They are enormous rivals that also have a huge history of sectarian violence/strife/racist chants (Celtic is largely supported by Catholic, Irish Republican sympathizers while Rangers is home to many a Protestant, Union Jack-flying British Unionist).
Both club's supporters are for the most part a bunch of knob ends.
I suggest it if only because the two are sectarian rivals in an English speaking country and you don't get that type of rivalry often, not even in the EPL.
Racism, secretarianism, violence? What more do we need to make a great sporting event!?
I like the Rangers, but like them more now that they have Bocanegra and Bedoya along with Edu.
They are in the Scottish Premier League.
Ed: Well my answer pales in comparison to the one above.
Four EPL games per weekend on FSC (a few more on delay). One on ESPN (sometimes two) on either Saturday, Sunday, or Monday. Champions League games midweek (Tuesday and Wednesday) on FSC with one game live the other on delay shortly after. Various Bundesliga (German) and BBVA (Spanish) games on ESPN3. Whatever you do don't watch Serie A. Watch Bundesliga for free-flowing attacking soccer without defense. Watch BBVA for Barca and Real Madrid (seems like the other top tier teams have become selling clubs). I would reccomend the EPL. There are many differing playing styles, most teams are competetive, and the games have some level of intensity to them. Also tune in to Euro 2012 and international friendlies when the leagues go on international break.
Man City has all the money and spending it wisely. Lots of good young talent. If Tevez sticks around, they have Aguero,Silva, Nasri, Dzeko, Toure, and a bunch of good defenders. If they gel, they can be a threat to win a lot this year.
I said it above, but they just got Nasri from Arsenal as well. They are just loading up everywhere.
The English Premier League and the Spanish League are the two best leagues and have the most profitable teams in the land with Manchester United, Barcelona, and Real Madrid. The UEFA Chapions League is great because it's basically a tournament with the top teams of the major European leagues. I would start with the UEFA and watch the biggest games of the top leagues. You can't miss 'El Clasico" (Barcelona v. Real Madrid). I know we're supposed to say that Michigan v. Ohio State is the biggest rivalry in sports but I truly belive that the political and historic divide between those two fan clubs is too big to compare to any other.
If you really want to enjoy the best soccer, just follow Barcelona. They've been the best team, and the most fun to watch, for 4 years now. They play a great passing, attack-minded style and have some of the best polayers in the world at all positions.
I know we're supposed to say that Michigan v. Ohio State is the biggest rivalry in sports but I truly belive that the political and historic divide between those two fan clubs is too big to compare to any other.
If players for those two clubs only had a four-year window to compete (and mostly sat on the bench the first 2-3 of those years) and didn't receive millions in compensation, I'd agree. Part of what's so cool about college football is that a player's chance to make an impact is so limited. A player might only get one chance in his lifetime to step on the field for Michigan-OSU.
OTOH, Messi can play Real Madrid 20 more times in his career if he wants.
Messi, Xavi, Iniesta, Villa, Barca is awesome to watch.
I'd start with watching the EPL. The Champions League is great, but it doesn't get really good until the spring time. The group stages in the fall can be kind of boring and predictable. Every game in the English league is important. It's also the easiest to follow because of the coverage from ESPN and FSC.
Don't root for any of the following:
These are the European equivalents of the Yankees/Red Sox/Cowboys/Lakers- the trendy big-market teams with a bajillion bandwagon followers. They're the "gateway" teams for Americans who want a team to root for but don't want to deal with the pain of losing. Unless you have some personal connection to these cities, rooting for these teams is as lame as say, rooting for Duke
Choose a team with some history but not one of overpowering success. When it wins, it'll mean something.
Unfortunately unless you have some connection to a particular soccer team you can't be accused of anything but bandwagoning in cheering for a European soccer teams. You don't have to go against the grain and be a hipster soccer fan if you don't want to. Those teams in general are the easiest to follow for Americans so there's nothing wrong with that.
With the internet, it's pretty easy to follow almost any halfway decent European club. And besides, no one roots for a team because "it's easier to follow." If you're a fan, you'll devour that grainy tape-delayed stream of your team - because it's your team, and you'll make sacrifices to watch them.
If you find it objectionable to root for the Dukes and Yankees of North America, it makes no sense to root for their Euro equivalents.
That would be good advice if you had given some examples of teams to root for instead. Ruling teams out instead of giving suggestions isn't really helpful.
P.S. Someone new to college basketball couldn't pick a much better school to root for than Duke - it has history, a strong coach, and great fans.
The lower the level of the club you wind up following, the greater the joy if they ever have any success.
When I moved to Switzerland in '97 the local club had just been promoted out of the top amateur league and was playing their first season against full-time professional players. They were pretty terrible--started the season with two draws and ten losses out of the first 12, if I remember it right. But somehow they stayed up, and eight years later...
This is an experience you can never have as a Liverpool fan (or any other top club).
as usually there has to be some personal connection. For example, I support Arsenal because when I was over in London in 1996, I was able to go to a game at Highbury, their old stadium. After that experience I was hooked.
My suggestion would be to go to Wikipedia and start reading up on teams that are in the EPL and see which ones suit your fancy.
Two teams that you may want look at would be Fulham and Everton as they both have Americans playing key roles in Clint Dempsey and Tim Howard respectively.
I can't tell you what team to adopt. That's a personal thing - you just have to form a bond with one. However, I'd recommend steering clear of the super-rich elite. I don't think it will prove nearly as meaningful to see them succeed. Barça and Real Madrid, for instance, are almost invariably the top two teams in Spain. It's gotten to a point where winning the league title or national cup hardly matters much to them anymore - the main thing they shoot for is the Champion's League. OTOH, if another Spanish club were to win one of those, it'd be a huge, huge deal. The same is true for the English teams outside of the Big Four.
Most teams outside those two countries are more adoptable IMO. Italy has some excellent clubs but they're always on the brink of financial ruin, so they can't quite stockpile talent like the above-mentioned teams, while Germany and France have more restrictive rules about financing that sort of act as salary caps. The smaller countries have the occasional big fish (like Porto in Portugal) but no continent-wide juggernauts.
Thanks jm, I appreciate it.
Italy, Spain, Germany, England...each has a distinctive style and I'd recommend you watch a bit of each and decide what you like. My English friends laugh at continental players for falling over all the time (there's remarkably little diving in the EPL); my Italian friends think English football's unwatchable because all the heavy fouling breaks up the flow and there's a lot of (to an Italian) seemingly aimless running and pressing. I can hardly watch Spanish football because it's gone to the opposite extreme.
I'm not so sure the best teams are the best viewing. I get bored watching Barcelona win 5:1 all the time--I'd rather watch a tight battle in the lower rungs of the table than a scrimmage.
I watch the Bundesliga and follow a team in the Swiss Super League (FC Thun). I suspect I'm a minority of one.
La Liga has Real and Barca which are reguareded as the two best teams in Europe; however, there is a huge variation in the rest of the league. The bottom teams often have a snow balls chance in hell in beating the teams at the top of the table. Spanish soccer has more influence from Latin America and has a better representation of "the beautiful game" than the rest of Europe. ESPN3 and GolTV show many La Liga games
EPL is the best league top to bottom and is the easiest to watch on tv as Fox Soccer and ESPN show many games. Top to bottom this is the best league to watch as anyone can beat anyone on a given day. The style of soccer is often consided dull in my opinion (I am much more a fan of the beautiful game) but many teams have thier own style.
Serie A is unique as there is strong Italian influence, but its changing. Finding game on TV is often difficult and games are limited to many of the top teams. Compared to the rest of Europe the teams are not as dominate, with a few exceptions a la Inter two years ago, but within hte league there is a fair amount of equality.
Bundesliga is a solid league, but many of the best players play abroad (ex Ozil at Real Madrid). Games are sometimes challenging to view but the table often varies from year to year.
Over all La Liga and the EPL are the easiest to view from the states, but with the internet nearly any game can be viewed with the right website. My advice is to find the league that best plays the style you want to view and get to know that league quite well. Research the teams, watch a few games, and become a fan of one team. Then after you have a team you like then view other leagues as to not overwelm yourself initially.
Hope this helps and isnt to much info.
is definitely a good way to go. As many have said, it is the best of the best. Personally, I follow Olympique Lyonnais in the French Ligue 1. The league is good, but nowhere near as deep as the EPL, La Liga, etc. The top teams can compete though, as Lyon knocked Real Madrid out of Champions League 2 straight years before RM won last year.
Choose an EPL team - by far the easiest league to watch in the states.
Don't choose some random team like QPR at the bottom of the table just to be cool and different - you're running the chance of having them relegated and you won't see them again on tv for 10 years. Do you really want to choose a team like the Baltimore Orioles who have everything going against them and need to rely on a whole lot of luck to ever have a chance at being competitive?
Choose from this list: Man U, Chelsea, Man City, Arsenal, Tottenham, Liverpool, Everton, Aston Villa, or Fulham
Man U is like choosing the Yankees and you're a supreme bandwagon jumper.
Chelsea is owned by a Russian billionaire who loves throwing his money at talent. You will also be called Chelski and I'd rather not be associated with the Russians.
Man City is like the Mets if the Mets were good and they look like they could do some damage this year. They're owned by a billionaire who throws his money around as well.
Tottenham is shit and if you like rioting and killing your neighbors choose them.
Liverpool recently got taken over by the group that runs the Red Sox. They have some of the best history and have spent a lot of money to get better this year.
Everton, Aston Villa, and Fulham are all interchangeable to me but maybe you will like someone's style of play on their squad.
As an Arsenal fan, I would advise you to stay away from the Gunners this year unless you want to somewhat relive the entire RichRod saga all over again. Arsenal used to be the cream of the crop, but hasn't won anything in 6 years and they will break your heart with the ways they find to drop points. There has also been a mass exodus of talent from the team and there is talk that the manager and board are not seeing eye to eye.
If you are free at 2:30 tomorrow, Arsenal are playing an Italian side on FSC in what is more or less a make or break game for their entire season. If they lose by 2, they are basically out of the BCS (aka Champions League) for the year. This means they lose all the revenue from being in the Champions League, making it that much harder to replace the talent that has been lost and the top players do not want to join a side that is not in the Champions League. Arsenal also has many key players injured or suspended for the match, and UEFA seems to have a personal vendetta against the manager, Arsene Wenger.
All in all, watch as much EPL as you can and see what top teams catch your eye.
Those analogies are awesome. Thanks for posting!
Actually, I just set the DVR to tape that Arsenal game - looking forward to watching it.
I would add Newcastle to the list as they are a competitve club, though they have not challenged for the title in a few years.
As an Arsenal supporter as well, this has been a supremely difficult offseason. At some point they have to stop being a feeder club and bring in some talent in their prime, much like they did with Bergkamp and Henry. Which also saw them winning trophies.
While the best team in europe is in the Spanish league, the EPL is the by far the deepest and in my opinion the most exciting to watch. Champions league is basically March Madness, controlled throughout the year. After tomorrow, the remaining teams will be split into groups of 4 where every team plays eachother home and away, so the games could be very cautious until the next stage, and the games are far less frequent.
A huge factor is commentating, as FSCs coverage of the Serie A makes it hard at times to put up with the less than steller english commentary, but the EPL has the best english speaking commentators in the world, and highlights and game recaps are easier. Also, start recording the EPL review show on FSC, which in an hour breaks down everything of note that happened in the week in EPL, and is a huge advantage for following. I recommend watching the show and some games, and as a novice, I recommend picking a team that plays exciting football. I personally feel like rooting for Man U or Man City is like a new baseball fan rooting for the Yankees or Red Sox or a new football fan rooting for Auburn or Alabama, while Chelsea is much of the same. I would suggest Tottenham or Liverpool, who both play exciting styles of play.
I would say that the most competitive major league is the Bundesliga and even in the UK some argue it is the most exciting league. The EPL is always going to be won by one of 5 teams (Arsenal, Man U, Man City, Liverpool, Chelsea), so either you get behind one of these teams and support them loudly or you support a team who you are hoping can sneak into the Europa League, which is accomplished by finishing in the top 8 of the EPL. The Europa League is the second tier international club cup, whereas the Champions League is the top tier international club cup (the usual contenders for these Europa League spots include Tottenham, Everton - not this year, Aston Villa, Stoke, Fulham - probably not this year, Bolton, Sunderland). Then all other teams and some of these teams listed for the Europa League will also flirt with demotion. But the point is that teams that are not amongst the top 5 will play quite negatively (defensively) when they play against one of the top 5, so you will see teams bunker into defense like you saw in the Champions League game you watched, particularly when they are on the road against the top 5 just trying to get a point for a draw as that point could be the one that keeps them from being relegated at the end of the season. This happens in most leagues though.
The two best teams in the world play in Spain in Real Madrid and Barcelona, but that league is on strike right now and it seems like it may drag on for some while, as both sides are saying really nasty things about one another in the papers.
Italian football is riddled by match fixing etc on a regular basis and even when it is not, I do not much care for it.
But in short my advice would be to choose a team in the league you can see most regularly and easiest, as it is no fun to support a team you cannot watch. Then watch them in all of the league and cup games across the season -- each country has at least 2 national cups (the English ones have huge tradition and history) that teams will play for during the season in addition to the regular league games and then if you choose one of the top teams you will be able to watch them in the Champions or Europa League (i don't know if Europa League is shown in the States or not but it is a fun competition as well, if you have a team to support). Also, I would suggest finding a bar to go watch the games, particularly if you live in a city in America where there will be immigrants watching the games live as soccer is all about the fan atmosphere.
Then in the summers there are always the international competitions to get sucked into either the World Cup, Gold Cup, European Championships, African Nations, ... And here you will be able to cheer on the players you begin to enjoy watch playing in the league you choose to support.
It's hard to really suggest a club for you without knowing more about what you are looking for. So I've found a simple survey to help narrow it down. Answer as detailed as possible.
1) Does the team you support actually have to have a realistic chance of winning the championship in a given year?
2) Do you care what country the club is in? If so, which country/countries do you prefer?
3) Do you care whether your club has any American players on it?
4) Do you care whether your club has majority local (ie English players in England) players on it?
5) Do you want a club with a rich history of winning?
6) Do you want a club with a history of being a scrappy underdog?
7) Would you rather have a club that plays well and loses or plays ugly and wins?
8) Do you care if your club has any superstar-level players?
9) Do you care if your club is extremely rich?
10) Do you really want to be able to see your club on TV every week? (Note that illegal streaming feeds are available for basically every game in the world.)
This is great! Here are my answers:
1) I don't really care if the team has a chance of winning a championship. I want to pay attention to a team that is on TV frequently and plays "real" soccer - no flopping, etc.
2) I don't really care about the country/location of the team. English-speaking commentary is preferred, of course.
3) I don't really have any affiliation with the American teams/players so that is not an important factor.
4) I think I'd rather support a team that does not throw money at foreign players. Maybe one or two superstars but Real Madrid and Barcelona don't seem all that interesting to me as far as learning about "real" soccer.
5) I think I'd like to watch a team that has great fans (not sure if that requires a history of winning or not). I'm looking more for the experience of soccer rather than wins-losses.
6) See #5 above.
7) See #s 1, 4, and 5 above.
8) See # 4 above.
9) See # 4 above. I guess I'd like to watch a team that has money and can pay some good players but not a team like the Yankees. Somewhere between the Yankees and the Blue Jays, for example.
10) My viewing will only occur at night and I'll DVR games so a regular schedule is not necessary. Maybe there are two teams that I can follow??
Your answer to #1 rules out Italy and Spain. Ajax is a great club with a great history of doing things the right way, but the shift over the past twenty years towards a sport more dominated by money has ensured that no club from the smaller countries (Scotland, Netherlands, Portugal etc) has a real shot at European success. Hell, even OL in France doesn't have much of a chance of going past the CL quarters. So if I were you, I would focus on Germany and England.
Germany is by far the most competitve league. Wolfsburg won the German League in 2009, yet last year they were almost relegated. Stuttgart, Werder Bremen and Borussia Dortmund have also won the league in the past 8 or so years. But the real power is Bayern Munchen.
They are almost always the favorite and they spend the most money. One thing that makes them different than Real/Manchester City/Chelsea is that they do have the core of the German National Team. Kroos, Schweinsteiger, Lahm, Gomez, Muller and Neuer all play for Bayern.
Borussia Dortmund just won the title last year, jumping up from 5th the year before on the strength of a very young core. They play an exciting style and have the best young player in the world in Mario Gotze. Dortmund could be a fun team to follow, but you would need to expect that they won't be able to keep the core together. I wouldn't expect Gotze to play there after this season. Dortmund is known for their awesome fans as well.
The other German team you should consider following is Bayer Leverkusen. This is a team destined to break your heart. In 2002, they went into the end of the season trying to complete an incredible treble. That is, to win the three main competitions that they entered. Unfortunately, they did the wrong type of treble, losing all three compeitions. They lost the league on the last day of the season, the German Cup final to Schalke and the Champions League final to Real Madrid on the famous Zidane Volley. This earned them the name Neverkusen. Levekusen finished 2nd against last year and has never won the Bundesliga. Still, they would be a good choice and won that isn't as "bandwagon-y".
The only drawback with the Bundesliga is that it will be harder to follow. FSC doesn't show much, if any. You can find some matches on ESPN3 but you will often have to watch on an online stream in a different language. (To be honest, the language thing isn't that big of a deal once you learn the game)
The other league I would recommend is the English Premier League. The league is the world's richest and most popular, but it is less competitive. Since 1994, only 4 teams have won the league. There was the one-off Blackburn, who is now a relagation favorite, the great Wenger Arsenal teams up until 2006 and then the Chelsea/Manchester United duo. Arsenal haven't won any competition since the 2006 FA Cup and unfortunately look to be sliding back into somewhat of a rebuilding mode.
Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City all spend exorbitant amounts of money buying players. The one distinction is that Manchester United still does things the right way, giving youth a chance and having the greatest manager of all time too. The problem is that they are still THE bandwagon team. Unless you have some connection to Manchester, you'll never get away from that. I would avoid all three of these.
Liverpool fans like to think of themselves as a tier below those three in spending but that really isn't the case. They spend lots of money too, especially this year as the spent they spent roughly £80 million on average British talent this year. Liverpool fans often suffer from delusions of grandeur and a persecution complex. They haven't won a league title since 1990, giving them 18 overall. They have since watched their biggest rivals (Manchester United) win 12 during that time span to give United 19 total. They also have a tendency to play a Carragher hoof to Carrol style that is incredibly boring.
The teams I would recommend would be Tottenham, Arsenal and Everton. Tottenham have a rivalry with Arsenal called the North London Derby. Arsenal fans celebrate St. Totteringham's Day when it becomes mathematically impossible for Tottenham to finish above Arsenal. This has happened for the past 17 years. Tottenham are the little brother to Arsenal. Also, their manager is a buffoon, their best player wants to leave and their second best player looks like an ape. On the bright side, you won't be accused of being a bandwagon fan. Of course, you can't expect to ever win the league either.
Everton are Liverpool's local rival. They had a great period of success in the 1980s but they haven't been up to those standards since. Everton doesn't have much money any more and hasn't for a while, only the efforts of Manager David Moyes have kept them in the top 7/8. They have a few good players like Cahill, Rodwell and Fellaini and there is a certain nobility in supporting the once-great club, but don't expect any success unless they get bought by someone with money.
Finally we come to Arsenal. They are the other Big 4 team, along with Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea, though the Big 4 is obsolete now. Arsenal had a history of playing for the 1-0 win or 0-0 draw and winning occasional but infrequent titles. They even accquired the nickname "Boring, Boring Arsenal". Then in 1996, a Frenchman named Arsene Wenger came along and changed everything. Wenger is probably the smartest manager on the planet. He has a degree in electrical engineering, a masters in economics and he speaks 6 languages. Wenger took over and turned the team into an exciting, attacking force that played nice passing football. He brought in foreign players and gave opportunites to his youth. In his first 8 years, Arsenal won the league 3 times and the FA Cup 4 times and finished in the top 2 every year. Since 2006, when Chelsea's billionaire owner arrived and Arsenal built a new stadium which restricted the resources available to Wenger, the club hasn't won anything. They have come close many times but haven't finished the job. In the past month, the club sold its best player to his childhood club (Cesc Fabregas to Barcelona) and sold one of its other top players to Manchester City. Arsenal is in turmoil right now and today's game will be huge for the future of the club. For this reason, you might avoid some of the bangwagon stigma, but they are still a Top 4 club.
This is why I love MGoBlog. Thank you so much for taking all this time to help. I know it probably helped others too, but I really appreciate you taking the time to respond to me.
wrong location. disregard.
ESPN3 has a fair number of games on it. You could start out watching games there and see which teams and league peak your interest the most. Welcome to the international soccer world!
...is to fall in love with a club. Let the club find you by watching and seeing what you like, but in general, you'll see someone who is amazing or find an affinity through the club's history and narrative (they, like Michigan football, all have an "attitude", a story and tradition that their fans hold dear).
For me, it happened in 1994, my final summer in school in Ann Arbor, actually. The US had just hosted the World Cup and I went to a game at the Silverdome (Brazil v Sweden) and really enjoyed the experience. So, I decided to start following soccer. A couple of fortunate events were conspiring to happen at the same time; the internet was coming online and it suddenly became much easier to find information about the game and PPV soccer games were coming on satellite at bars. It used to be that you had to pay $20 to cover the PPV cost and go to the bar for the whole morning to watch games. So, I did that and one of the first games I saw was a game between Arsenal and Liverpool on August 28, 1994. During the match, this happened:
I was galvanized by Robbie Fowler and started learning more about Liverpool FC. There were a lot of things I liked: it was a manufacturing town with a working class history like my own hometown of Flint, MI, they had a lot of history and were coming off of a long run of championships and Champions League trophies, they had a blood rival in Manchester United and a little brother rival in Everton that set up perfectly for my own rivalry history with Ohio State and MSU, and of course, they had Robbie Fowler.
Fowler was not just one of the most special goal scorers of his time, but he was a people's player; when the dock workers went on strike, Fowler wore a Tshirt in support of them that he showed when he scored.
When Everton fans accused him of drug abuse, he scored against them and then went down and sniffed the touchline as if it were cocaine...
He was an incredible player and a joy to watch. By falling in love with Fowler, I fell in love with Liverpool and I've been smitten ever since, 17 years now. Had I know then that we would not win a title in that time, that we would be bought by two Americans who would almost destroy the club, that the management of the club would send us into a spiral at the EXACT SAME TIME as Michigan struggled against OSU, that we would struggle under Roy Hodgson just as Michigan was struggling under the final days of RR, that we would hire a former Liverpool player and manager Kenny Dalglish as manager within days of Michigan hiring Brady Hoke-- it would have been insanity for me to allow myself to suffer like that if it were optional. But like all love, it has been involuntary, an emotional relationship that transcends logic and is full of feeling.
There are also triumphs: Michigan's 1997 Rose Bowl and Liverpool's 2005 Champions League Final remain the two greatest sporting moments of my life, with the CL Final winning out only for sheer drama:
Michigan Football and Liverpool FC are my two passions; I never miss a game (the Carling Cup match against Exeter today is set to go on my DVR) and love them both.
As for fans and atmosphere, you'll not beat Anfield and Liverpool fans...
Anyway, my two cents... don't worry about finding the right team, let the team find you for your own reasons.
One last piece of advice: I HIGHLY suggest joining a Fantasy League as you begin watching. It is a great way to learn which players are good and, if you build a diverse team, gives you a nominal rooting interest in many matches. I play at famtasy.premierleague.com and enjoy it very much.
Good luck finding your passion... it is a highly personal thing.
Okay that cocaine thing is freakin awesome, nice celebration. Anyway, I agree with your post. If a fan just watches enough soccer, they will naturally find players they love, or even a team like in your case.
It has been kind of similar for me. I love international soccer, and it started with Thierry Henry and Zinedine Zidane. Today, it's players like Diego Forlan and Luis Suarez.
twhalliii, YNWA. I've always wanted to say that. I don't follow Liverpool closely, but they are definitely my favorite team in EPL.
Thanks... Suarez has quickly become my favorite as well. What a player!
You may have just sold me with the clip you posted of the Liverpool atmosphere. That was an outstanding clip. I may be a Liverpool fan now? Who should I watch for on that team - what players are the most exciting?
That was a big game, but the atmosphere is always great...
The best players at Liverpool are Luis Suarez and Steven Gerrard.
Gerrard is currently injured and heading into the final years of his career, but on his day, he is one of the best midfielders in the world. If you watched England vs USA in the World Cup, he's the one who scored against us.
Luis Suarez is a Uruguayan striker who just joined the team in January. In January, we sold Fernando Torres to Chelsea for £50 million -- which was heartbreaking, beause he was so good for us for so long-- and we used the money from selling him to buy to two players: Suarez (for £22 million from Ajax, the club in Amsterdam) and Andy Carroll, a giant, young English striker who played for Newcastle, for £35 million, the most money ever spent on an English player. In my opinion, Suarez is a much better player-- he is electric on the ball and is alwatys looking to score. His play for Uruguay recently won him the player of the Tournament at the South American Copa America, which Uruguyay won. I hope Carroll comes good, but for now, our game with him in the team is more one dimensional-- kick the ball up to Carroll and hope he bangs one in. With Suarez, we are fluid, pass and move, a very fun side to watch. When Gerrard comes back from injury and if he's healthy, we should be flying.
I should also put in a mention for Pepe Reina, our goalie, who is Spanish and one of the best. He's also a funny guy and has an hilarious personality, a true Liverpool player through and through. Massive fan favorite.
Getting you up to speed: now that the team have been sold to Fenway Sports Group (who own the Red Sox) they've gone about the business of changing the team. We got a new manager, Kenny Dalglish, who used to manage and play for Liverpool back in the 1980's (and won a ton of trophies) and he is in the process of transforming the team; this summer, we've bought 5 new players-- Jordan Hnderson (M, England), Stewart Downing (LW, England), Charlie Adam (M, Scotland), Jose Enrique (LB, Spain), Doni (GK,back up, Italy)-- and may have another Uruguayan, the young central defender Sebastian Coates, on the way.
We are a work in progress and have been for years now, just at the time when our biggest rivals, Manchester United, have been phenomenal. It's been a OSU v Michigan situation all over again; even though we've beaten Man U many times in the past few years, they keep winning titles and we struggle. I think we're on our way back, but it will take time.
Hiistory and tradition are very important to the club. You can find a lot more info on Wikipedia:
Agreed, definitely watch Suarez.
Profit, Suarez had the smartest soccer play I've ever seen with no time left in overtime of the world cup quarterfinals:
I actually saw this play and at first wondered what the hell he was doing. I laughed my a-- off until I figured it out and then watched them win in the shootout.
That's it, I'm sold. Liverpool it is! Now I have to figure out how to learn the chants/songs . . .
hahahaha... that was easy! welcome!
Our main theme is You'll Never Walk Alone:
Fans sing it before and after every match:
Others to know:
Poor Socuser Tommy:
Fields Of Anfield Road:
Steven Gerrard (to the tune of Que Sera, Sera)
Luis Suarez is Just Can't Get Enough by Depeche Mode:
That'll get you started... ;)
Agree that Suarez is by far the team's most exciting player. He always hustles and has amazing footwork. To me the best moment of the 2010-11 season was when he went into the box and owned 3 Man U players in rapid succession to set Dirk Kuyt up for an easy tap-in. Kuyt is another guy I like to watch because he has a nonstop motor and poaches a lot of goals just by being in the right place at the right time. Among the new guys, Downing and Adam are fun to watch because they are both high-energy guys and good passers (at least when Adam isn't trying something crazy). Jose Enrique will also run up and down the field and plays good defense to boot.
I agree with Stevie G being one of the best during his prime. His play has obviously fallen off as he gets older. He has Tremendous long-range striking ability.
Greatest ever Liverpool player... no doubt!
Robbie Fowler's nickname of "God" might also be the coolest nickname in all of sports
I just read that the Netherlands just passed Spain as the top FIFA team. What about a team in the Dutch league? Ajax? Are these games ever on television?
Good luck finding those games on tv easily and the majority of players on the Dutch national team play their club football outside of Holland.
Dutch players in the EPL would be
Robin van Persie - Arsenal
Dirk Kuyt - Liverpool
Nigel de Jong - Man City
Rafael van der Vaart - Tottenham
and I'm sure I'm forgetting some obvious ones.
Wesley Sneijder - Man Utd...oh wait, I mean Inter
Klass Jan Huntelaar - Schalke
Rafael Van der Vaart - Tottenham
Mark Van Bommel - AC Milan
Arjen Robben - Bayern
The Netherlands has a good league. Very competitive at the top with Ajax, PSV, AZ Alkmar, and FC Twente. But after that there is no one. And most of the Dutch players play abroad.
Ajax is a great team to follow though, they have the 2nd best youth syetm in the world so they are always good. Hard to watch their games though.
AZ has signed USA striker Jozy Altidore, who has already put in three or four goals in the first couple of weeks. I've adopted them for as long as he plays for them... I live in NYC and watched Jozy at Red Bull-- great kid and I wish him the best!
I'm really glad to hear that Jozy is getting some PT with his new club. I would rather have him playing for AZ than him riding the pine for some mid-level EPL team.
Almost everything is there, if not in HQ.
I like watching all of the best clubs because the quality of their play is just better. Man City is my team, but I enjoy watching Man u, Chelsea, Tottenham, Arsenal, Liverpool, Barcelona and Real Madrid. Watch Barcelona play FC Porto this Friday on Fox Soccer Channel, they will thoroughly entertain you.
I am not a big Italian Seria a fan, because the Italian game is very defensive minded, therefore being kind of boring. The EPL and Champions league are the best to watch, and anytime Real Madrid and Barca are playing, always try to check it out.
who needs soccer when you have ManBall?
With a new baby on the way, I need late-night entertainment that will last into the football offseason. I figured soccer was the closest sport to college football due to the emotion/passion of the fans involved. So, there it is.
A local rival of Man U and Man City?
Liverpool are starting Suarez against Exeter in the League Cup tonight... On Fox Soccer PLus starting at 2:35 PM EST. enjoy!
Just after we were talking about him he puts in a goal to go up 1-0
make that quadruple
reminds me of something important. Hopefully I can say it without violating the no-politics rule.
There are a lot of soccer teams in Europe; London alone must have at least 30. That means fans don't just sort themselves out along geographical lines like they mostly do here; sometimes class or race or religion or politics comes into play. So for example St. Pauli in Germany has become the club for the anarchist or autonomous community crowd; Bologna in Italy has (or used to have) a reputation as the club for communists. Rostock in Germany has a lot of rabid neo-Nazi fans. Or Lazio.
If you don't have a chance to have a direct, organic connection to a particular club, maybe it's a good idea to vet the fan community before you commit. It may not matter much from a distance, but when you finally visit Rome for that first Lazio match after years of watching them from afar on tv you might be in for a shock when you see the swastikas waving in the stands and the guy next to you has a Mussolini tattoo. (Unless that's your scene, of course.)