Congratulations, women’s soccer fans! We made it! The season has officially begun and we can all breathe a sigh of relief. No longer will we have to go through NWSL withdrawals. No longer will we have to mark down the days on our calendars. No longer will we have to wonder if the schedule will be released. Because it’s here, and there are so many things to look forward to this season. So let’s take a deep dive, and explore five ways we all can make the most out of this season:
- Watch With The Enemy
This season I challenge everyone to go to an away game for the team that you root for. There is something cathartic about going into the lion’s den and holding your own. It builds character as a fan. You have to hold your own, keep your chin up, and still rep your colors regardless of where you are and who is surrounding you. The players appreciate it, and so will you. Now, I know this is not always financially or geographically possible for a lot of fans, so the next best alternative is to watch from home with a supporter of the other team. It’s not equivalent, but will give you some of the same feeling.
- Buy Some Swag
One of the best ways to support your team, and the NWSL, while also getting pumped for this upcoming season, is to buy some new team gear. There are some phenomenal new products out there. Whether it is the latest Seattle Reign jersey, or the fresh Sky Blue FC snapback, there is something out there for every fan. It also automatically helps you pick out your weekend outfits for the next seven months. Win/Win.
The X Kit. pic.twitter.com/xBY7p7qUsj
— Chicago Red Stars (@chiredstarsPR) March 22, 2018
- Invite A Friend
You know what’s great? Watching soccer with a buddy. You know what can be even better? Watching soccer with a friend who isn’t already a fan. That friend will also end up having a kick-ass time being part of the experience. They might come away a die-hard Chicago Red Stars fan and get you fly across the country next season for a game (I may or may not be speaking from experience). In any case, not only does it help grow the women’s soccer fan community, but it also makes you appreciate the game just a little bit more—that non-fan friend will point something out that you’ve taken for granted for years. Don’t be a fan snob. Accept the newbie. Love the newbie. Cherish the newbie.
- Watch A Game With No Stakes
So often we get wrapped up in only watching our favorite team play, or we watch another match to see how it could potentially impact our team’s standing. All that is fine, and generally leads to exciting, edge-of-your-seat moments. But watching a match that you have absolutely no stake in can really bring you back in touch what it is that you love about the game itself—not who you love in it. This leads to more intelligent debates between fans, newfound appreciation for lesser-known players, and a more intense focus on techniques and skill sets. All of that might actually be useful when it comes back around to evaluating your own team and their chances against these opponents in the future. But even if there’s no utility, you can just have some fun with the game itself.
- Shout It Out
Here in America, not everyone is a soccer fan. I get it. But that doesn’t mean we can’t be a loud, vivacious, attractive nuisance of a minority, right? So shout it out. Let the world hear about your love of the game and your team. Talk to people about how much you appreciate Jess Fishlock’s attack, or how great the Utah Royals are going to be this year. My new boss has never watched a soccer match in his life, but after only two months of having me as an employee he sure-as-shit knows who Sam Kerr is. Why? Because I make sure that everyone knows about it when I get excited for this game. Word of mouth is how we help to keep this league and this sport growing—by showing it to the world loudly, and with purpose.
There are plenty of ways that you can go all out this NWSL season. These are just five. But no matter what, make sure you tune in, watch, and share. It’s too good not to.