Act Like a True Euro Soccer Fan During the ICC
The International Champions Cup is coming to the Rose Bowl, Soldier Field, and stadiums in eight other cities throughout the U.S. this summer—and it's bringing with it some of the top Euro soccer clubs. Stateside fans have a rare opportunity to see some of the world’s best players ignite the pitch without the hassle of mailing themselves overseas, but they have an even rarer opportunity to rub elbows with each team’s most zealous European fans. Here are some easy ways to demonstrate an authentically continental love of the game:
Picking Your Team
Start by pinpointing the league and team that suits your temperament, as well as the player names you should be shouting during the match:
Premier League (England)
Famous for its lightning-quick style of play, the Premier League rewards brawn, speed, and quick passes.
- Teams in the ICC: Chelsea, Liverpool, Leicester City
- Players to Watch: Jordan Henderson (Liverpool); Jamie Vardy (Leicester City); pick a player, any player (Chelsea)
La Liga (Spain)
La Liga is a magnet for the sport’s most technically gifted players, who imbue the game with an unparalleled sense of style. Win, lose, or draw, the results are beautiful to behold.
- Teams in the ICC: Real Madrid, Barcelona
- Players to Watch: Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid); Lionel Messi (Barcelona)
Can’t decide between Premier League and La Liga? Bundesliga splits the difference between intensely physical play and dynamic flair.
- Team in the ICC: Bayern Munich
- Players to Watch: Douglas Costa, Thomas Muller
Serie A (Italy)
Serie A’s mix of perpetual powerhouses (Juventus, AC Milan) and less consistent regional clubs adds a fun element of unpredictability to its league play.
- Teams in the ICC: AC Milan, Inter Milan
- Players to Watch: Goalie Gianluigi Donnarumma (AC Milan); Mauro Icardi (Inter Milan)
Ligue 1 (France)
Much like Serie A, Ligue 1 offers an unpredictable mix of skill levels, but it also boasts an abundance of individual superstars from all over the world.
- Team in the ICC: Paris Saint-Germain
- Player to Watch: Javier Pastore
Before the Game
- Gear Up (But Prepare to Commit): Jerseys and scarves. The two must-wears for any true Euro soccer fan. Before you buy either, however, make sure you’re ready to lock in. Being a fan of a soccer team is more than a fashion statement. When you buy a Real Madrid jersey, you’ll be seen as a traitor if you accessorize with a Bayern Munich scarf.
- Know Your Rivals: Just as important as knowing your team is knowing the teams you’re supposed to dislike. If you’re a Liverpool fan, for example, hating Manchester United should be part of your life as a supporter: something you do at the game, in between bites of breakfast, and before you go to bed.
During the Game
- Sit Where You Can See the Action...: The higher up you are, the more of the field you’ll see. Seating near the sidelines still offers decent sightlines, but you’ll miss out on the best view of a bending cross or a defender’s route to a ball or a goalie entertaining himself with finger puppets during downfield play.
- ….But Never Actually Sit: Typically, the most vocal, loyal fans—some are designated as official supporters by their clubs—congregate directly behind one of the goals. One of these die-hards’ unspoken rules is that you stand up for the entire game.
- Join in the Chants and Songs: Tune into any Euro soccer game, and you’re likely to hear the crowd chanting and singing. Sometimes, these are adaptations of popular songs or patterned chants you can pick up after a verse. Other chants, however, have roots as historic folk songs or even prayers, so you might need to do some research on the lyrics beforehand.
After the Game
- Eat “Local”: Every country has its own preferred game day eats, so seek one that matches your team loyalties. If you back a U.K. team, track down a pub that makes a mean meat pie. German? Beer and brats, naturlich. Spanish fans, snack on a bag of sunflower seeds and some calimocho (pour some cheap red wine into a Coca-Cola) during the match, then grab some tapas afterward.
- Channel Your Passion into a Local Club: Just because the ICC ends doesn’t mean your newfound fandom has to. Soccer, like all passions, needs to be nourished if it’s to grow. So transfer that feeling into a local MLS, NASL, or USL club and make the matches a weekend ritual. Do that and you’ll fit in with soccer die-hards anywhere you go.