Thursday, August 26, 2010

THESE are the Champions!

Are you a typical American who doesn't follow soccer, but every four years gets wrapped up in the world cup? Well then, I HAVE THE THING FOR YOU!

Meet Champions League.

Today is the annual Champions League group draw and its every bit as exciting as the World Cup group draw! And I'm not joking here folks, they're both riveting. I'm not exactly sure the lure of hollowed out ping pong balls is but it's real.

Champions League is like soccer with benefits! It takes the top teams from all of Europe's club leagues and pits them against each other in a winner take all cage match. ... Okay, not exactly, but kind of.

Here's why its genius, and here's why you should be watching:

1. Only the top teams play each other. No bottom barrel "boring" soccer teams here. We're talking cream of the crop here people; if you're a newbie why come in at some bottom level? get to know the best, watch the sport played at its highest level and maybe more people will appreciate it.
2. Its a bracket. Us Americans, we LOVE our brackets and play offs! Champions league is set up nearly identical to the World Cup. A round robin group stage, top two teams advance and get bracketed in the knock out stages. Of course, Champions league has to be difficult and throw in the home-home and aggregate scoring, but we'll get to that when we need to. And it all ends in one, winner take all game.
3. No vuvuzelas. Novice soccer fans tuned into the World Cup and wondered if that noise is at every soccer game. Guess what peeps, its not.
4. It surprises you! Champions league is not crammed into a four week whirlwind. No, its spread out over months. Groups stages start half way through September and the championship game isn't until May 28th. While that might take away from the intensity for some, I argue that the added gift of waking up one morning and realizing Champions League is on that day is one of God's small gifts.
5. The Champions League theme and lead in music, sponsored by Heinekin is simply awe inspiring.

So if the World Cup got you thinking of maybe giving soccer a try in your life, I suggest you start with Champions League. The draw is today at noon, which I'm sure I'll post "results" of here, and groups stage begins September 14th. Mark your calendar people, its going to be a great Champions League season.

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