Today, as the rest of the nation was gearing up for the NCAA National Championship Men’s Basketball game, I was watching the Manchester Derby (pronounced in the UK as dar-bee) Football Match (soccer) – Manchester United versus cross-town rival Manchester City. The English Premier League (EPL) has seen United as its champion twelve times since 1992; while finishing in second or third place in the years they did not win it. City on the other hand has experienced a less glorious history. The tides have changed of late and last season City won the League, leaving United in second place. Last year’s match, United leading the league by 15 points and United defeating City already this season, all set the stage for a big match. Rooting for City, I was pleased with a 0-0 halftime score and the second half of the match provided much entertainment. City scored, then United, then City, then City was able to defend the last breath efforts of United. With the win Manchester City took home some points and closed the gap between first and second in the EPL. Since only seven games remain, it is most likely that United will be crowned but hopefully today’s game will get more people to pay attention.
Those of you who have young soccer players in your life – get them watching as much soccer as possible. Our nation lacks the enthusiasm for the game and therefore struggles in international play. Youth programs (academies) are growing the knowledge and skill of our young players; as soccer is the world’s game, I would like to see this country be better at it. If you do not like soccer, that is fine – if you don’t understand it though, learn before forming an opinion (that goes with most things).