Faces in the Crowd – Stacey
Here at UnionDues we love to hear YOUR stories. We love to put faces to the seething mass that is the PPL crowd, and the personal stories of how and why you fell in love with the game never get old. We will periodically publish the stories of fans who are willing to share their stories with us. We hope you enjoy them as much as we do
You like Soccer?
Did you play growing up?
Do your kids play?
Did you grow up in Europe?
No, I didn’t play growing up. No, I do not have kids that play. Nope, I grew up in the US.
No, I just discovered a true love of the beautiful game. It is not a particularly interesting story, nor is it particularly inspiring, but it is my story and I am going to share it with all you lucky readers.
Like most casual sports fans in America, I paid no attention to soccer unless the World Cup was on TV. I knew nothing about how teams qualified for the World Cup, how teams were ranked, or how to pronounce FIFA (let alone for what it was an acronym!). But I would watch the World Cup when it was on and think, “Why the hell did they blow the whistle?” or “Wow, that guy writhing on the field must be really hurt.” Oh, to be that naive again…
So when did my, some would say fanatical, love of soccer begin? Well, it all started one weekend morning 9 years ago at about 7:30am. While my husband slept in, I got up, made some coffee, and flipped through some channels looking for something to watch while procrastinating going for a run. I ended up watching a Manchester United game.
I don’t know what it was, but within 10 minutes of watching, I was mesmerized. I know a few of you folks will be upset that it was Man U that sparked my love of soccer – but, it was. At the time, I didn’t know what was drawing me in…it may have been Sir Alex’s obvious determination to redeem himself that season, or seeing (the albeit cliché) David Beckham bend a corner kick, or maybe it was as ridiculous as wow, that Giggs dude is cute; but in hindsight, it was seeing a team with some amazing talent playing at the top of their game. Say you what you will, but Man U played some beautiful soccer that season.
The next weekend the same thing happened, and the weekend after that, and before I knew it I was purposely getting up early on the weekends to watch whatever EPL game was on (although, it was always a bonus if I could find a Man U game). I slowly began to learn some of the rules, learn that the whistle was blowing because a player was off sides and that half the players that fall down were not hurt.
Now, I did not share my love of soccer with anyone (I mean, come on – we ARE in the US after all); but there I was, a closet EPL fan wishing soccer would be embraced in the US.
Fast forward a few years…There are rumors that Philadelphia is getting an MLS team, but I dismiss them…I am just not that lucky. Then one day, driving back from the Jersey shore, as we cross the Commodore Barry Bridge I see a billboard announcing that Philadelphia now has its own MLS team – The Philadelphia Union. I was ecstatic. I immediately called the number on the billboard and the next thing you know, I am purchasing my season tickets. I was now a founding member of the Philadelphia Union!
After two seasons, my love of soccer has grown exponentially. I have met some amazing people, joined a tremendous supporters club and been introduced to La Liga, Bundesliga and the world community of soccer. I now appreciate how each league has distinctly different styles of play, what a DP status means and how maddening the FIFA politics are that permeate the beautiful game.
I did not think it possible, but as each day goes by I find my love of soccer growing…as does my frustration level with FIFA, questionable Union coaching decisions, and a few select Union players, but I’ll save those stories for later…
If you want to share your story and add your AMERICAN VOICE to the growing chorus. Contact us via email.