Live good lives football fans, because when you pass on to the next realm you want to go to soccer heaven, where everyone sings along together and enjoys watching their team. The alternative is soccer hell, where you’ll be forced to watch the sport you love forever, surrounded by some of the most annoying fans in the world.
The good news is that there are no racists, misogynists or homophobes here—they’re all enduring torment in a separate section of Hades. But remember to wear breathable fabrics, so at least you’ll have some respite from the searing heat as you spend eternity with the following cast of characters.
Does he really enjoy soccer … or does he just like that it’s not quite mainstream yet? Best way to check: does he claim to support an obscure team but can’t name a single player? And do his glasses even have lenses in them?
Sample quote: “I like my coffee gegenpressed.”
Solution: Slash the tires of his old-timey bicycle, then run away.
This guy’s only topic of conversation is why Ronaldo is better than Messi, or vice versa. His favorite match is the Ballon d’Or awards ceremony.
Sample quote: “If you measure it by goals scored, multiplied by assists, divided by number of trophies the other one has won … ”
Solution: Quick, change the subject—Pelé or Maradona?
He’ll talk a lot of theory, because that makes him sound smart. And he’ll use a lot of Italian words, because they sound fancy. But very little of his rehearsed monologue will have anything to do with what’s actually happening on the field.
Sample quote: “The thing about playing a double-pivot regista system is … “
Solution: Bash him on the head with his own copy of Inverting the Pyramid, tiny Post-it notes and all, then go back to watching the game.
This guy never played professional soccer. He’s possibly never played soccer at all. But he has watched an awful lot of games on TV while drinking beer. And he loves to shout at the screen and tell some of the best players and coaches in the world what they’re doing wrong.
Sample quote: “What are you doing? You’re useless [best midfielder in the world] ... you haven’t got a clue [multiple-times Champions League winning manager] ... I could have scored from there [league’s top scorer]!”
Solution: Challenge him to a juggle-off, loser stays quiet forever.
The American who refuses to watch any MLS. It’s Premier League and Champions League only for this guy, plus two Clasicos a season—you know, for variety. Oh, and he lives within 20 minutes drive of an MLS stadium.
Sample quote: “Why would I watch that retirement league when I can watch the most exciting league in the world? I won’t even consider watching until MLS gets promotion and relegation.”
Solution: Pretend you don’t speak English.
This guy refuses to watch any soccer from Europe because MLS is as good or better than anything those overpaid fools can offer. And if you dare to suggest otherwise then prepare yourself for a 45-minute lecture about the virtues of parity.
Sample quote: “Why would I watch Leo Messi when I can watch Dillon Serna every single week? Anyway, LA Galaxy would challenge for the Premier League.”
Solution: Hack into his laptop and cancel his MLS Live subscription.
Singing with a crowd of fans is fun. Singing on your own is demented. And annoying.
Sample quote: “[Team Name], [Team Name], [Team Name]” x 1,000,000.
Solution: Earplugs or distance.
Anything that happens in a professional game just happens to remind this guy of the best years of his life, when his varsity team (and he was only a sophomore but he was so good they had to make him a starter) went to the state championship game.
Sample quote: “Coach was an asshole but we loved him. And this one time … ”
Solution: Show him a picture of Uncle Rico from Napoleon Dynamite.
Ooh, strong tackle, but is it a foul? It all depends on what color jersey the tackling player is wearing, because this fellow lacks any sense of objective reality.
Sample quote #1: (If player plays for team this guys supports) “It was all ball!”
Sample quote #2: (If player plays for other team) “Send him off!”
Solution: Deep breaths, count to 10.
He’s confused watching the game with open mic night, and spends the entire 90 minutes making not-so-wisecracks about the players.
Sample Quote: Insert anything that involves comparing Wayne Rooney to an animated ogre or pointing the prominence of Zlatan’s nasal area.
Solution: Heckle him.
Will turn on his own team if they’re not 2-0 inside 20 minutes. ALWAYS wants the coach fired, unless the team wins two in a row, at which point the coach should be handed a contract for life.
Sample quote: “[Coach Name] out!”
Solution: Herbal tea?
Like Stephen Colbert’s eponymous character, this guys favors truthiness over factual accuracy, and loves to shout his misconceptions loud so everyone can hear.
Sample quote: “You can’t play the ball on the ground ref!”
Solution: Download the Laws of the Game PDF to his iPhone.
You’re sure this guy’s offspring is a perfectly serviceable U-9s left midfielder, but you’re not a Barcelona scout and you’re not interested in a state by state breakdown of youth soccer passing completion percentages.
Sample quote: “Jonathan is trying to make select next season so we should probably talk about that for the next 45 minutes.”
Solution: Two words: Freddy Adu.