Every 4 years you can travel the world from your living room. No, not the Olympics, but the other huge sporting event in the world, the World Cup- both men and women's. For us Americans, football is not soccer. But while we are celebrating touchdowns the rest of the world is yelling Goooooal!
This month is the Women's World Cup. Citizens of the world will set their eyes on France and watch the best of the best play the beautiful game. It’s true we as Americans don’t like the speed of the game nor are we comfortable with 0-0 ties. And aren’t boots something that cowboys wear and isn’t a pitch something thrown in baseball? But what I can tell you is that the American women are really good at soccer and will be worth a watch.
But, with an open mind, you can love the game (at least this summer) and see the world’s culture from your local watering hole or even your own couch. Full disclosure, we at To Travel and Teach (Stacey and Ryan), are actually HUGE soccer fans, we even visit soccer stadiums when we travel!
But first, here are some game basics: You have 11 players on each side. Essentially, they are trying to get the most goals before time runs out. Countries that qualified to play, are randomly selected into brackets or groups. With each team playing each other twice, eeking out winners in each group to narrow it down to the winner. Soccer games are low scoring, which can seem boring. But trust us there is nothing better than watching nervously as your team makes a run towards the goal over and over again and then finally scoring! It is really exciting.
Bonus Soccer Tidbits
- Club vs. national teams: A club team is a professional team, the national team is the country they play for. Like you could play for the LA Lakers basketball team, but play for the US team during the Olympics.
- Scores: Ties happen and each team gets a point
- Manager: coach
- Boots: cleats
- Pitch: field
- Time: There are two 45 minute halves. Also, the time counts forward not backward like we are used to.
4 Easy Steps to enjoy the World Cup
Step 1: Pick a Country*
*We should always default to the US, but it is always good to have a power house backup.
Check out the link for FIFA for the countries competing, then pick your favorite. Color? Favorite Vacation Destination or mascot? Doesn’t matter, pick one and go for it.
Step 2: The Schedule
Here is the tricky part, World Cups are played in significantly different time zones. But this is what makes it fun! We have gotten up at 4 am to catch a game, it adds to the excitement and makes you feel like part of the world. Find out when your new favorite team is playing, set your DVR or go watch it out with other fans. We know that here in the DFW metroplex some establishments will be opening early to give the fans what they want. @U90FW
Step 3: Buy a Shirt
We have a divided house this year (okay every year) Ryan goes for Germany and I am an Italy fan. But when situations like the last men's World Cup 2018 for example, the US men's team didn't make it, and the Italians were out, so I was going to go for the Netherlands, oh that's right they didn't make it either, so that year I went French. I do own, US, Netherlands, German and Italian soccer shirts...
Step 4: Support Support Support!!
(VIVA LA FRANCE!!!) (DEUTSCHLAND!!!)
This is where it gets really fun, make special cocktails hailing your teams as the victor, the patriot shot was a favorite in 2014 when the US was gunning for the title, they may not be in it, but we can bring it back!
I have found that you may not know anything about the country you are rooting for, but all of a sudden the love of the game inspires you to book a trip to see where your national team practices, or the home stadium of your new favorite players team.
So while we here in the US normally have to wait until Fall for football, give the other football a chance. It really is cool to be a part of a world event, like the Super Bowl, but for a whole month!
Check out our Get to know your world with the World Cup geography activity, it may just inspire the little ones to be the next best footballer, or at the very least where they want to go for their next vacation, which we can help with too.