European Soccer for Americans

The Champions League Final is this Saturday. If you’re from anywhere other than America, there’s a good chance you know exactly what that is. It is the most viewed sporting event of the year with more than 300 million people expected to watch. The Champions League is basically a yearly tournament of the best European soccer teams – teams that don’t get to play each other otherwise. Me being American, I only learned this in recent years. I found European soccer quite confusing, so let me see if I can explain it here to my fellow countrymen. I probably still don’t know all the ins and outs, but if you want to have a quick lesson in Euro Soccer, this is a good start. If you are European, this will come across as “bloody obvious”, so feel free to go read something more useful on the internet. Euro Soccer is confusing and hard to follow. Not the game itself, but the leagues and tournaments and schedules that make up a full year of soccer. Americans are used to city-based teams playing a regular season – as in “all baseball teams play 162 games starting in April and ending in October”. At the end of this regular season, it’s time for the post-season. Here, the teams with the best regular season record will be able to compete in what we call “Playoffs”. This is in effect a little tournament, and the 2 winners from the Playoffs go on to compete in the “Final” which will be either another little “best of 7” tournament, or a Super Bowl. A winner is declared and we can...