Football, futbol, soccer, the beautiful game whatever you decide to call it, is an emerging culture that can catch you offside if you are not prepared. Even though it does lack its popularity in North America, what many of you may have never guessed is that it is in fact the most popular sport in the world! However even here at home, it has become a growing topic of discussion especially when the World Cup and UEFA games are taking over all major bars and restaurants. For those of you who don’t know what the EPL is, it stands for the English Premier League and is arguably like what the NBA is to basketball, for soccer. So whether you’re playing FIFA with your boys, or meeting your boyfriend’s friends, or even just going to a party and you are stuck in a soccer frenzy, don’t panic – stick to these rules and it will break down the ins and outs for you to get by without seeming clueless.
- PICK A TEAM TO SUPPORT
Unlike the NHL and NBA the EPL has relegations. If a team comes in the bottom three they get demoted to a lower league while three new teams get promoted into the Premier League from the lower division. Just like public accounting there are a big four that usually stay at the top of the table and are disputably the top supported teams in the league: Chelsea, Manchester United, Manchester City, and Arsenal. Your easiest bet is choosing one of these four.
- DO A LITTLE RESEARCH
I’m not asking you to do a full report on the team you choose, but focus on knowing the head coaches name, the color of the team’s jerseys, and the team’s top three players (more importantly their goal scorers). Being mindful of these things can ensure that you can chip in your own two cents when your team comes up in a discussion.
- KNOW YOUR RIVALRIES
Rivalries are a massive part of the EPL’s authenticity and history. They are more commonly referred to as a “Derby”. Every game is important but derby games always have a little more on the line. The tackles a little more ferocious, the crowd is a little more boisterous, and the players and coaches are that much more fired up. Think about the Leafs and Canadiens rivalry and multiply that by 100 for all EPL derbies. The bottom line is you need to know your teams rival and make sure you’re ready to throw around some clever banter when those two teams face off.
- FORGET THE HOCKEY TALK
Soccer terminology is one of those things you’ll never fully pick up unless you play the game or watch it religiously. Here are some common terms that I hear on a daily basis that you should avoid and beside it is the alternative:
- Dump it—Pass it
- He’s got wheels—He’s got pace or speed
- Top cheese—Top corner or the upright
- Rip it!—Screamer/Golazo
- Dropkick it—Boot it
- Shutout—Clean Sheet
- Dangle/Deke him—Dribble him
- 1-0—1- nil
- Guard him—Mark him
If you’re feeling confident try bringing these phrases into your repertoire:
- Get stuck in
- Set piece
- Football pitch
- Football kit
With these four main topics and rules I am confident you will be able to fool someone into believing you actually watch the EPL. The funny thing is I bet a lot of you will start watching the beautiful game and more importantly share and show off your newly found knowledge with your friends.