I am unquestionably a football snob. There, I said it! I support my local League One club and dismiss anyone who supports one of England’s big Premier League teams. I’m sick of hearing people say “I know I live in Bromley but my Dad was born in Manchester”. I despise anyone who switches allegiance as their club plummets down the league and I believe unless your team has been relegated (at least twice) then you have nothing to be unhappy about.
I suppose you would think that due to my love for the underdog and unimpressive football, Major League Soccer would suit me down to the ground. Wrong. Whether it is because of the ridiculously over enthusiastic commentary or the complicated league system, I have filed the MLS under the ‘completely ridiculous’ category, until now. After becoming friends with a group of American’s and the odd Canadian I am concerned that my snobbery might be causing me to miss out on something wonderful. Let’s all be honest, how many of us love football for the beautiful passing game that Barcelona play? Not me. Although I appreciate it, I love real Sunday morning football, glaring misses, awful defending and bad decisions. According to my preliminary research the MLS is full of awful defending, finishing and goalkeeping; everything that I love to moan about at 3 o’clock on Saturday. It has become my mission to find out what the MLS has to offer me, your average football fan. I plan to engulf myself in it, document my findings and perhaps even help you appreciate Major League Soccer.
My first job is to find a team to support. As you know I am a big advocate of following your local side. It turns out New York Red Bulls are the closest team to my address in England (just 3372.803 miles away) but hold on. The ‘Red Bulls’ are unquestionably far too good for me to support. Currently in fifth position in the eastern conference and with Thierry Henry up front for them there is no way I would feel at home at the Red Bull Arena. So I had another look. Lying second from bottom in the Eastern conference and a measly 3447.989 miles away from my home address in England are Toronto FC; my new MLS team.
I already feel excited about my new club. If I could compare Toronto with a side in the English Premier League they are probably an unfashionable Swansea or perhaps a Norwich City. Looking through their squad it looks remarkably average; Torsten Frings is without doubt the stand out name. One thing I have learnt about the MLS already is that most teams have one stand out player who used to be excellent, but now are the wrong side of 30, Frings is just that.
I urge anyone reading this to pick your own MLS team and follow them whilst I continue my MLS journey. Fittingly, Toronto FC’s next game is on September 10th away at top the table Columbus Crew. I expect them to lose.