I have been an avid soccer fan ever since my father took me to my first game. But my Major League Soccer love affair has been slower to bloom. Here is my story.
I have been an avid soccer fan ever since my father took me to my first game, a 1-0 Swansea City win against Mansfield Town in October 2004. I was hooked.
I became obsessed. I came to know every player, every fact and every statistic. Thierry Henry became my favourite player, naturally, and I took every opportunity to enjoy a match.
However, my relationship with Major League Soccer (MLS) has been a slow burn. I have close family who relocated to Sugar Land, Texas in 2005, the same year in which the Houston Dynamo moved from San Jose. Although I was sent Dynamo merchandise – most notably a signed Stuart Holden bobblehead – I hardly kept up-to-date with the club’s activity.
The first time that I remember experiencing an MLS ‘event’ was David Beckham’s arrival in Los Angeles. The media circus surrounding that move didn’t change much in terms of my support for the Dynamo or my interest in MLS, but it certainly put MLS on the map.
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Things only began to change for me after I started my American Studies degree at university. As part of my education, I get to spend my third year of study in the United States. Naturally, one of the first things that I did at the beginning of the application process was delve into the world of American soccer. Soccer has played a massive part in my life, and I knew that it would play a central role in my American experience.
There was no question as to who I would support, but I immediately learned everything that I could about the Dynamo and MLS. My curiosity and my desire to learn led me to ‘The Movement’. Once again, I was hooked.
Here was a developing league, with a unique supporter culture and a unique story. It was new and exciting. The perfect obsession for my year abroad, and beyond.
Ironically, FC Dallas – the Dynamo’s arch-rivals – are my host university’s ‘local’ side. I may make a spontaneous trip to Frisco during my time abroad, but there is no doubt as to where my MLS allegiance lies.