Taylor Newquist is the Sports Editor for The Easterner. The overtly hyperbolic opinion expressed in this article is his own and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Easterner’s editorial board.
If you’re a sports fan and you’ve ever found yourself saying that you don’t watch soccer because you think it’s boring, or because nothing happens, then listen up. You’re dead wrong. Worse than that, you’ve probably never given the sport a chance because foreign means less than to some people.
It isn’t cool or edgy to hate on something you’re ignorant of, and the same old “soccer isn’t a sport” jokes are played out. But if you still think they’re funny, you’re probably pretty stale anyways.
Here’s the deal: I’m challenging you to sit down and watch an entire second leg of a UEFA Champions League match, and still hold that contrived opinion.
The Champions League is my favorite competition across the sport (world cup included). It is a cup that features the best teams from leagues all across Europe. Once the competition has reached the knockout stage, teams play two games with each team hosting one of them. The combined goals (aggregate) from the two matches determine the winner.
Do ties hold you back from being a soccer fan? Perfect, there are no ties in the knockout stage.
Last week, Ajax (a club from Amsterdam that regularly has its young players poached from clubs with more money) toppled European giant Real Madrid 4-1 in the second leg of their quarterfinal match, winning 5-3 on aggregate. Madrid had won the competition the previous three years running, and four out of the last five years.
The match was nonstop drama from start to finish. Madrid entered the match with a 2-1 lead and after 18 minutes, Ajax had already taken control with two goals. In the 62nd minute, Dušan Tadić bent the ball into the top left corner, nearly assuring a victory. Madrid came back just eight minutes later to pull a goal back, but Ajax wasn’t done. It was their day for glory. Lasse Schöne scored two minutes after on a free kick to secure the rout, and shock the world.
Of the four Champions League matches last week, three ended in comeback results. There was a combined 14 goals in those four games. If you’re able to sit through all that and still tell me with a straight face that nothing exciting happens in a football match (yeah football, get over it) then you’re lying to yourself, and that just isn’t healthy.
An NFL game will span an average length of three hours, and when you cut out the unrelenting commercials and instant replays there are only 11 minutes of live action, according to a 2010 study by the Wall Street Journal.
The only commercials during a soccer match come at the halftime break. Other than that, it is between 92-100 minutes of nonstop action. No TV timeouts. No clock stoppages. But maybe you just don’t have any attention span, and enjoy flashy lights and someone trying to sell you something every five minutes.
Soccer haters, it’s time to swallow your pride and admit you’ve been wrong. It’s OK, we’ve all lived in ignorance of great things at some point in our lives. I never watched an episode of Breaking Bad until well after the entire series had aired, and I’m certainly not proud of that.
Set aside your prejudice and take the time to watch a match. You’ll be on my side by the final whistle.