I’ll let YOU pick the soccer team that I call my own

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Two Tuesdays ago was July 1. And with the first day of a new month came one of the most exciting sports moments that I’ve experienced in a very, very long time.

Partnered with my co-worker Eric Besson and sitting beside a few friends at a local eatery, my group and I sat and watched the United States’ Round of 16 World Cup match with Belgium.

As everyone knows by now, we lost by a goal, falling to the Europeans by a 2-1 count. But it was a complete thrill. Our table sat and ooo’ed and ahh’ed with all of the drama behind every kick.

When the bad guys scored, there was silence. When we got near the box and threatened late in the match, it was a chaotic mass of hope – pure madness.

I won’t pretend like there was a big crowd at the eatery because there was not. It was only my table and two others in the joint, all of us enjoying the match. But despite the small numbers, the excitement was real, and all-in-all, we had a blast. Even in defeat, it was a sporting experience that was new to me – the first time I ever gathered and took time out of my day to enjoy a soccer match.

And now, I want more.

As the Americans made their way out of the World Cup, soccer went back to the backburner for many Americans who are now anxiously awaiting the beginning of the NFL season in the fall.

But I am not one of those people. Sure, I love football just as much as the next guy. But to me, basketball is my favorite sport and the NBA is the king of the sporting landscape.

I have long looked for an alternative sport to enjoy in the fall away from the NFL, which is too commercialized today and has become a lesser game in recent years – a sport of minimal contact thanks to the money-grab concussion lawsuits from greedy ex-players who are looking for a handout after mismanaging their money in their playing careers.

So now, I am going to turn to soccer – a sport that I know very little about, but am learning more and more as every day passes and each World Cup match comes into my line of vision.

So as I make this move, I’ve decided that I will allow my readers to have some power in deciding my future.

Simply put: I need to find a team to call my own now and into the future. See, during the World Cup, the matches that I enjoy are a no-brainer. I will cheer for Team USA 100 percent at all times and then root for other countries that I have ties to in some form or fashion.

But in club soccer, everything goes out the window, because I have no prior allegiances and have no knowledge of history nor who is or isn’t a traditional power. I’m an emotional sports fan. I need to have a rooting interest to get hooked to something. Right now, I don’t have anyone to cheer for, so I simply change the channel when I see soccer on the TV.

So with no idea of the history of soccer, I’ve decided that I will let you decide which soccer team will be my favorite team going forward. Through a combination of Facebook, Twitter and call-in requests, I will let my reading audience pick the club team that I will call my own.

The team with the most votes will win, and I give my vow to root for this team and follow them into the future.

I have a few rules that I ask readers to follow when making their suggestions, but I think they are going to be pretty easy to follow.

First, I don’t want to cheer for a traditional powerhouse. I don’t like the New York Yankees in baseball, and I dislike the Miami Heat in basketball. I don’t want to be a fan of any of the teams that are mainstream. I root for the Dallas Cowboys in the NFL. That’s all of the mainstream attention that I need in my life at this time. Ideally, I’d like a younger team with more potential to succeed in the future. American players are a plus, but are not necessary. Preferably, I’d like a team in the English Premier League, because those teams are on TV pretty frequently, but if it’s another league with American media coverage, I’d be happy as well.

Speaking of American media coverage, my second rule is that I DO NOT want any MLS teams in the list. I mean no disrespect to our national soccer league, but it’s just not something that I’m interested in at this time in our country’s soccer history. We’ve come a long way, but we’re still ways behind everyone else. The league just isn’t quite at a level yet that will make me want to follow it religiously. Maybe in 10 years, but for now, let’s look somewhere else where things are a bit more established.

And my last suggestion is that the team you suggest for me NOT be Manchester United. Of course, that’s because they are a traditional power – a mainstream team followed by thousands of Americans. But the real reason why I don’t want to root for Man U. is because of Marouane Fellaini – the Belgian midfielder with the afro.

The dude just annoys me. I couldn’t root for him. I just couldn’t do it.

But anyone else is fair game, so hit me up on social media and let me know the team that I’ll cheer for in the future.

The sooner, the better. I can’t wait to spend more time with my friends watching some soccer on the big screen.