The 2018 FIFA World Cup ended last Sunday after France’s exciting 4-2 victory over Croatia. As my colleague (and #collaborator) Jonathan Newby pointed out, this tournament had it all. Penalty shootouts, last-minute drama, and amazing storylines. Now that it’s over, are you feeling withdrawal? Missing those early morning wake-ups and VAR reviews?
Well fear not, soccer fan. Here are four things you can do to keep your soccer intake strong nowthat the World Cup is over.
Were you mesmerised by the youngster Kylian Mbappé? Did you love how midfield generals like Luka Modric, Paul Pogba, and Kevin De Bruyne controlled the tempo of the game? Maybe, after missing the Cup, you want to renew your faith in Americans playing in Europe? Or are you just on GOAT Watch, tracking the weekly moves of Ronaldo and Messi?
Good news for you because all of the major European leagues will kick off their seasons in mid-August. Club soccer’s’ version of the World Cup, the UEFA Champions League, will get going in September. And here in the U-S-A, you can watch the English Premier League matches on NBC, the Bundesliga on Fox and Serie A, and Ligue 1 and La Liga on beIN Sports. What a credit to how much the game has grown. Because of this, many clubs have fan groups in cities across the U.S. where you can watch matches at a local bar. Many of these clubs will travel around the country for the International Champions Cup, so you can see them in person too! So pick a player, pick a team, and get ready for the club season.
As much as I love watching soccer around the world, the only way the game is going to grow in America is if we support it. So why not throw your weight behind a local club? It’s not hard to find a fun team within the MLS. But maybe get adventurous, you hipster! Find yourself a club in the burgeoning United Soccer League (USL) or other small, independent leagues across America.
And don’t sleep on the talent in the National Women’s Soccer League because those women can ball. The NWSL has all the best players in the world, and has been growing season-after-season into a true powerhouse. These leagues are growing, and the next generations of men and women soccer players in the U.S. deserve our support.
If watching countries battle on the soccer fields is is your jam, then you’re also covered. There will be a slew of continental tournaments taking place from 2018 to 2022.
In 2019, we’ve got the Copa America as well as the CONCACAF Gold Cup (hosted by the United States if you want to see it in-person), the Asian Cup, and the Africa Cup of Nations. The European Championships will be held all across Europe in 2020 to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the tournament. Before you know it, the 2021 Confederations Cup will be here and the quest to qualify for the 2022 World Cup will be in full swing.
Last, but most certainly not least, the Women’s World Cup will take place in 2019. I don’t know if you heard, but the United States Women’s National Team are the defending World Cup champions and will be going for that fourth star. Despite a shocking loss in the 2016 Olympics, they remain the best team in the world and will need all of our support as they gear up to defend their title.
So find a new team and dust off those I BELIEVE chants. We’ve got plenty of soccer to keep us satisfied until 2022!