Soccer star, Heath Pearce, has demonstrated his skills on teams from the U.S. to Europe. And now, the KickTV host will give you some first-hand, player insight into the beautiful game in this six-part series.
I don’t know all of you, your interests, or your hobbies and you very well might not know who I am but, I will go ahead and assume that if you are reading this, you enjoy soccer on some level. With many Scandinavian leagues wrapping up (title races), MLS heading towards play-offs and European leagues and tournaments back in full swing, allow me to be your guide on what marquee moments you should pay attention to between now and early December.
First and foremost, let’s talk Major League Soccer. The MLS play-off chase is hitting full stride and with only a few match weeks left in the regular season, the play-off race is heating up. All 20 teams are still mathematically in the race so make sure you tune in to the next month of regional, FOX and ESPN coverage as the 12 play-off teams start to take shape. My match to watch for MLS is obviously the MLS Cup. What makes this MLS Cup special though, is that it will air on December 10th, which is a SATURDAY NIGHT, on FOX (Like… real FOX, like… “SIMPSONS” FOX). This is a huge moment for the league and its growth and having their marquee event on a Saturday night on primetime television is massive, SO DON’T MISS IT!
Over in Europe we’ve got a quite a few exciting matches over the next few months but first let’s talk about a European league that IS nearing the end of their campaign. The Swedish “Allsvenskan” league is seeing a two-way race shape up between current Champions Norrkoping and Swedish giants, Malmo. November 6th will mark the final match day of the season and the league uses a single table structure, so wherever those teams end up on the final day, is how they’ll finish the season. NO PLAYOFFS. Norrkoping and Malmo will play each other on 10/16 with the winner of that match, likely carrying the momentum to win the league. Because this is the “Worlds Game” there are never a shortage of exciting derbies, rivalries and meaningful games.
In Spain, the “El Classico” rivalry between arguably the world’s two biggest clubs, Barcelona and Real Madrid takes place on December 4th so mark that in your calendar NOW. On the 29th of October you get the opportunity to watch Gonzalo Higuain and his new club, Juventus (that loves him), host his former club, Napoli (that hates him). This match will have plenty of action ranging from fan fights/protests and plenty of rough challenges on the pitch. It’s a match you HAVE to see. If you can’t wait until December to see Barcelona play a big match, you can catch Barcelona taking on former head coach, Pep Guardiola, and his Manchester City squad in the Champions League on October 19th and November 1st. This will be a true test to see whether Pep is the best coach in the world, or if he’s always just had the best players.
Just a few days after those matches you can catch the “North London Derby” which is one of my favorites and is a local and historic rival between Tottenham Hotspurs and Arsenal Football Club. I once went to one of these with Arsenal legend, Thierry Henry, and while we were watching the game from his box, the whole stadium started chanting his name, it was epic and the intensity of the match is always phenomenal. And finally on November 19th Dortmund will host Bayern Munich which has been one of the better rivalries over the last five years and features two of Europe’s top 10 teams.
These are just a few of the big matches happening in Europe this fall and while I am SURE there are more big worth talking about, this should at least give you a few calendar dates to focus and get a light fix, an appetizer if you will. Oh, and if you didn’t know, the best part about most of these rivalries in Europe is that there’s usually political, religious and historical significances dating back a century or more, which helps make the game day experience, even if from your couch, more exciting.
Additional Tune In’s
And for you readers out there that are the soccer purists that refuse to watch “big teams” or “big leagues”, you CAN catch Minnesota United taking on NY Cosmos at home on October 29th and/or you can catch USL Championship on October 23rd which I predict will be between RBNYII and Sacramento Republic because both teams are in top form and because I’m completely biased. Enjoy the seasons!