One of the things that I always thought was funny about football was the fact that it seems to be a sport second, and a community first. Sure, we love seeing mind-bending goals, silky assists and effervescent dribbling, but football is so much more than those tangible things.
Growing up in East London, football was everything. Football was trading Merlin stickers on the playground at school, it was the topic of discussion at all hours of the day, it was the sport of choice at recess and in gym class everyday, it was hours of wasted time on the Playstation playing PES with friends. It may sound cliché, and it is, but you don't simply watch soccer. You live and breathe it. It only gets more intense when the international competitions come around.
Sadly, when I returned to the majestic peaks of Colorado in my teens, that passion for the beautiful game was almost nonexistent. Now, 15 years later, I'm pleased to say that the tide has turned. Americans now watch the Premier League, La Liga and Liga MX with all the passion and enthusiasm that I grew up with in England.
It is because of this that I am overjoyed to work for The18, as their aim to build a community of soccer in the United States matches the one nestled in my own heart. I hope my angry diatribes about England's perpetual ability to disappoint, Manchester United's departure from their values and why the hell people still have faith in Jack Wilshere can help add a little colour to the beautiful communal palette of football here at The18.
Contact James Hansen at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @J_Hansen_89