The United States is a land of people used to dominating almost everything. From the Olympics to peace talks, the Yanks are accustomed to being the most notable force. However, in the newly discovered world of soccer, MLS quality just doesn’t cut it.
Why would anyone watch a league that doesn’t have the cream of the crop headlining the team sheet? Well, Americans will certainly not settle for anything less, so where does that leave the already limited fan base?
While several MLS clubs attract a notable following, the American fan base for European club teams is much larger. So how do you decide which European team to pledge your allegiance? This question is a tricky one, because depending on what team you choose many American fans will cry foul.
How you could be anything but a bandwagon fan when you choose to support a team on another continent is beyond comprehension. Perhaps you have close family ties to the area that are otherwise left ignored. Hey, at least it’s something.
Other times, Americans choose to support some random European team, often based on nothing more substantive than what color shirt they’re wearing. Well, maybe that’s a bit harsh. Perhaps the more educated folk choose their team based on FIFA ratings. Who would actually watch a full ninety-minute match when a ten-minute game for glory is literally at your fingertips?
Of course the sophisticated fans are attracted to the five star ratings. You have to earn their support. Want me as a fan? Your team will have to carry me through a five-match unbeaten run, and only then will I consider declaring my loyalty.
If you have never been to England but still proudly sing “Glory, glory Man United,” congratulations, you are in the running to be featured in the photo beside the definition of a bandwagon fan in the latest pulsating edition of the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. There is zero reason to support that team other than wanting to be a part of their success.
There is no reason to single out the most successful British club, because the same bandwagon principles apply to everyone. There’s nothing wrong with this… until someone else’s team choice becomes an issue. Whatever the reason, your negative feelings probably stem from something rather silly, like some petty, unresolved issue from your childhood.
In short, it’s perfectly okay to follow a team you have no ties to, because there is no other team that is more worthy than another. Unless you try to take some sort of moral high ground, there is nothing inherently different about the top eight teams, because let’s be real: the number of Burnley fans is almost nonexistent stateside.
American soccer fans are caught in a pickle. The desire to be a part of greatness is almost equaled by that of the desire to not be considered a bandwagon fan. How has this process been so expertly navigated? Much like any argument, loudness has a strong, positive correlation with correctness. Use this information to your advantage next time your purity as a fan is threatened.