Jason Barash is looking to hedge his bets and land on a European soccer team. We have a decently rounded bit of fandom here, so should we try to lure him into our own fandom? Or should we pitch another team to cast the net a bit wider in our writer’s room? I asked our team, and here’s what we came up with.
In defense of:
I can make no strong persuasion, which is really a larger metaphor for my life in general but let’s not get into that either way because I merely adapted to a fandom.
I defy you to live with a lovely, albeit slightly crazy, Irishman for several years and not choose to adapt. After several Sundays of being woken far too early for my liking, I decided to lean into learning about Chelsea because if I was going to be kept awake for their matches I might as well know what’s going on in them. So if you don’t have your own personal Irishman to convince you to love a team this may not be the method of picking a side for you.
BUT, if I were to have chosen based on my gut feeling I have to admit that I would have probably gone with City. If for no other connection than the NYCFC one.
He should follow Leeds. Bielsa is a beast, he’s entertaining as hell, and he crouches almost the whole match. Jack Harrison used to play for NYCFC and, even though on loan from City, is entertaining. They play fast paced, stylish, football that excites even the neutrals. Win or lose, their matches are exhilarating. They are an historic club in their first season back where they belong and hold fierce rivalries with Leicester and Manchester United. Leeds is it.
Kevin Michael Morin
I could make a great case for you to join me as a fellow Manchester United fan, but in the interest of parity, your best bet is to adopt a franchise not already claimed by another writer. With that in mind, I’d like to introduce you to the Foxes of Leicester. If you’re looking for solid players to latch onto – this squad is littered with them. Jamie Vardy, James Maddison, Harvey Barnes, Kasper Schmeichel – just to name a few.
Back in the day, they had a guy named Kasey Keller as their goalkeeper – you may have heard of him? They had a meteoric rise to the top of the Premier League only a few short years ago, and after an almost equally spectacular fall from grace, they’ve climbed back into the top four. As a stalwart fan, you’ll be guaranteed to sit on the edge of your seat, whether it’s exalting their success, or stressing over their struggles – and isn’t that what being a fan is all about?
The case for the Foxes: The biggest “small club” in the Premier League. A true Cinderella story in 2016. A way to root for a team that seems to find themselves in the thick of title races and playing in Europe every season now, without being one of the vaunted “Top 6” clubs (though I could make an argument those Top 6 need to be shuffled a bit). Their roster is always full of talent that seems poised to be sold to a much larger club for a lot of money, but they play the game as a true team, which cannot be said for many a side. You’d be hard pressed to find a more “likable” club than Leicester City.
Andrew Mark Wilhelm
If you aren’t looking to place your allegiances in my south coast boys, from what I can tell, you’d be making a solid choice in rooting for Leicester. Tons of fun to watch, a couple of great playmakers in Barnes and Maddison to work in combination with Jamie Vardy. And they have the overall roster to compete with the top clubs if you were looking to shy away from the big six.
If Jason is looking to get behind an exciting, top team. He need look no further than the reigning, defending, undisputed Premier League Champions Liverpool. Aside from their recent success in England they also won the Champions League in 2019. They are always a threat to repeat both feats for the foreseeable future. They have a ton of great players to watch. Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane, and the rest of the boys from the Mersey. And you’re gonna love Jurgen Klopp the animated coach on the sidelines. And remember with Liverpool, You’ll Never Walk Alone.
The answer, as painful as it may be for me, is clearly Manchester City. If the impetus for wanting to root for a European club is to maybe root for a winner, you’d be hard pressed to find a more consistent winner than City. NYCFC is an affiliate club of City so that connection already exists, the Zack Steffen connection is deep, and on the women’s side, Rose Lavelle, Sam Mewis, and newly signed Abby Dahlkemper played for the slightly less evil Manchester side. It’s hard to say Pep Guardiola isn’t one of the best in business and does it the right way. It would be easy for me to say follow Pulisic and my preferred Chelsea, but I think the connections are stronger for Man City.
Andrew Mark Wilhelm
I don’t exactly have many flashy reasons why you should root for Southampton. On paper, they seem like a standard mid-table club. And people probably associate us with that recent 9-0 loss. And that other recent 9-0 loss. You know what I saw to that? Fuck 9-0. I’ve been hooked from day one with their up tempo play, the way they show up against the top tier clubs, and their scrappiness despite not having the deepest roster. For now, we have a world class striker in Danny Ings, the best set piece artist going in JWP, and a coach that somehow survived two of the biggest losses in the history of the league and marches right along. Because that’s the Saints. No matter what, we march on.
I have been in love with this team for a decade. Their motto is To Dare Is To Do. They are a proud club with a loyal Jewish fanbase. Fans call themselves the Y word. While it’s hard to get excited about the team with Jose Mourinho at the helm, they have exciting, world class players.
You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t like Heung-min Son, and Harry Kane is easily one of the top three strikers in the world. Combine that with a brand new stadium that is set up for NFL games as well, and who knows? You could plan a trip to London and see Spurs play on one day, and the Steelers play another.
They very briefly had Alex Morgan on loan from Orlando City, though it was likely to help her have an extended preseason. I didn’t let the fact that she was there for a mere couple months stop me from getting a kit with her name on it, though. And the women’s stadium is called The Hive. That’s straight fire.
Kevin Michael Morin
I’m gonna break it down for you. You like the Penguins, you like the Steelers, you like the Pirates. Colors? Black and Gold! I give you Wolves. Wander no further in your search for a team. The Wolverhampton Wanderers are the team for you.
First off, you already have the color scheme in your wardrobe. Secondly, their badge is a freakin wolf! And finally, Wolverhampton is kinda a badass name for a city.
So, Jason, what do you think? More commentary on Leicester than any other. But obviously, these aren’t decisions you can take lightly. Once you make your choice there’s no going back. However, this weekend has some STELLAR matchups for you to follow.
The weekend kicks off with Leicester hosting Liverpool. The team in fourth traveling to the team in third. Liverpool has a lot of injuries at the back, and Jamie Vardy may actually start, coming back from an injury himself.
At 12:30 Eastern on Saturday, Manchester City host Tottenham. While Spurs are in a bit of a downward spiral in the league, they seem to have City’s number as of late. Regardless, this could be as exciting as the 5-4 FA Cup Match Spurs lost to Everton midweek. With Kane, Son, Sterling, and so many other talents across both teams? It will be a thriller.
Southampton host Wolves early on Sunday morning. This one will be a great matchup to watch. If you’re not looking at taking one of the “top six”, these two, as laid out by Ryan and Christian, are solid bets.
Then I want you to watch Leeds walk into the Emirates and smoke Arsenal. Don’t be an Arsenal fan. That’s all I ask of you.
Finally, rounding out our suggestions, Chelsea plays host to Newcastle on Monday. Though that’s in the middle of the work day, so it may be harder to pay attention.
Good luck, my friend! Welcome to the dark side.
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