You like soccer right? Well what if, by some crazy means, soccer were actually called football? I know it seems odd to call a game where you ONLY use your feet “football” when there is a perfectly good game where you hardly ever use your feet called “football,” but such is the case in England. Our homeland. The place we come from. We call New York New York because in the UK there is an older place called York. We have New Hampshire because our former country has an older place called Hampshire. Those nutsos are crazy over there and they’re super crazy about football (soccer).
In England there is a league of football called the English Premier League, or EPL. There are 20 teams, most of which are in London (not really, but six teams are located in London which is a fair amount). Every team plays each other team two times. Once at home and once away. That makes sense, right? There are no conferences splitting the teams in half. There are no divisions splitting those teams into thirds. There are no playoffs. Every team plays 38 games and at the end a champion is declared. Every outright win will get your team three points. Every draw (tie) will get your team one point and every loss will afford your team no points. This all makes a ton of sense. There are also no salary caps for teams and the League doesn’t reward you with the best up-and-coming player if you’re the worst team. Instead your whole team gets sent down to another crappier league for a year and is told to “try again next year.” This actually happens to the three worst teams of the league. The best three teams of the lower league are then told to suit up because you’re the next three contestants of the premier league.
Much like watching the NBA for the very best place to watch basketball as there’s no higher level of competition in the world and everything else is just pretty good, the same goes for the premier league. The premier league is like the NBA of of football (soccer). Sure, there are two Spanish clubs that are probably better overall in Barcelona and Real Madrid, but in competition top to bottom the EPL has the advantage. And sure, MLS games are fun to go to because they’re nearby and cheap, but they don’t hold a candle to the mad skills produce by these European men and hey, sometimes even Americans make it over there. I’m looking at you, Jozy Altidore.
Since we live in the US, hours behind our mother country that means we have to put our DVR skills to good use. Premier League games are typically played in the afternoon in England which is morning time for us. This is a good thing because I love waking up to sports. What a beautiful way to start the day! Plus, it’s great to watch while eating breakfast. Since most American football (not soccer) starts in the late morning, you can finish off your beautiful game of soccer with just enough time to grill your burgers before putting on the helmets and pads and watching American football. Don’t worry, none of your fave channels for American football are going away. If you want to watch EPL matches this year, (soccer isn’t a game, it’s a match and they don’t play on a field they play on a pitch. It’s all very hoity toity as you’re also required to sip tea and eat crumpets while you watch a Premier League soccer match) you’ll have to tune into the NBC Sports Network which is great as they don’t have any American football anyway. Games are usually played on Saturday and Sunday with the occasional game during the week. This season’s games start this Saturday August 17th, 2013. EPL seasons start in August and runs through May (just like school. Remember school?).
The action never stops as there are no timeouts and no commercials. The game is played in two halves, 45 minutes each with a halftime. Play never stops except for at the halfway mark which means no commercials for 45 solid minutes. In the EPL, the style of play is fast paced which means lots of goals scored, and that is when football (soccer) really gets exciting.
Goals. Goals. Goals. Watching football (soccer) at this high of a level is magnificent to behold. Goals scored usually appear to happen as if from nowhere and when a goal is scored it’s a moment of pure wonder. For that reason this game, especially played at such a high level, always has my attention. I never know what’s going to happen next but I’m excited about it.