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Soccer Tips for New Fans

Like any sport, soccer is confusing to watch if you never played it yourself or you didn’t grow up watching it. Here are a few things you can do to learn more about the game.

1. Read about the basics. Here are a few sites you should visit to learn more about the game:
SportSpectator Fan’s Guide to Soccer: Our 10-minute guide to soccer basics.
Wikipedia Soccer Write-up: Good wiki community write-up on soccer.
-1b. Consider buying one or several of the following books:
Soccer for Dummies
The Complete Idiot's Guide to Soccer

2. Watch televised games. The commentary makes the game much easier to follow and will help you pick up the lingo. Commentators use the language and provide analysis that will help you learn. Watching games live at the stadium or on the field is a slower learning process. Soccer runs throughout the year on cable television. MLS runs April-November. You can also follow the men's or women's national team by checking out the national team schedule.

3. Pick a team and follow its progress. Games are much more fun to watch when you have “your team” and you know the players, record, etc. Major League Soccer (MLS) is the men's professional league. Visit the MLS site to learn more about the 12 MLS teams or visit US Soccer to read about the national team. Local newspapers will also provide good coverage of local teams (usually high school, college, and pro.).

4. Watch a game with a player (current or former). At a tournament, there is plenty of time to watch games with coaches or players. Watch a competitor's game while you have a break. Also, at high school games, there are usually multiple levels (frosh soph, j.v., varsity) that play on the same day. Come early or stay late and watch the game with someone who can answer your questions.