Growing up, I was never really into watching soccer. None of my family really watched it or played it, so I had no interest in the sport at all. The only time I would ever really watch would be the Olympics and sometimes the World Cup. But since America has been historically mediocre at soccer, there hasn't been much to follow or cheer for. But I have a friend who knows a lot about the sport, the history of the game, and pretty much everything there is to know about whats up to date with futbol. So over the past couple years I've picked his brain about the sport and about players and whats going on, but I still hadn't found what was missing that made me not interested.
So my friend calls me about a week ago and says his favorite team AC Milan is coming to Santa Clara to play against Liverpool in a pre-season friendly match at Levi's Stadium. So I'm like "Yeah bro, we in there." I was stoked because I have never been to a soccer match, besides my cousins high school games. The atmosphere is something totally different than what I'm used to for basketball for football. There were all different kinds of people speaking so many languages that weren't English, it was unbelievable. Most fans were there for Liverpool, which was better because it felt like the team we were rooting for was the underdog. And even though the game meant nothing, it felt like it meant everything. The players were head and shoulders above any talent I've ever seen in America, and they weren't even the teams best players. I mean, some of these Liverpool guys were pulling off moves that I haven't even seen in FIFA on PS4. Fans were chanting things I couldn't understand, but I could feel what they meant.
I finally found what I was missing from the game, and that was actually being there enjoying it. Watching true professionals of the sport in person do what they do best. Feeling like a part of the team, cheering as if I have cheered for Milan since I was born. I found myself learning the game from a much different perspective. Americans can go to these International matches and learn from these guys. Our country has never cared much for the sport, and it shows when we go to the Olympics or World Cup. As the sport continues to gain popularity in our country, so will the critics. And as the criticism grows, so will the demand for better play and coaching from athletes. I don't know much about the sport, but I do know that I recommend anybody to go to a soccer match, I can damn near guarantee you will have a great time. I walked in without a jersey on, and found myself in a Milan uniform by gametime, thats how powerful the atmosphere was. So hopefully I can gain some more knowledge and help you guys learn more as well. Unless you're like most Americans and just simply don't care about the sport, thats cool too.
And to Vasiliy, Sam, and Derek: #ACMilanBoyz for life
P.S. Levi's Stadium is the absolute worst *poop emoji*
Just a man trying to make the most of his time on this planet.