My passion for everything sports began at the age of 8 when I attended my first NBA basketball game, and saw a victory by my hometown Phoenix Suns. From then on, I have had a passion for watching, writing about, and studying the history of just about any sport you can name. In addition to association football, I avidly follow American football, NASCAR, and baseball currently. I also follow basketball and hockey, but not quite as much as I used to. Hey, there are only so many hours in the day.
While I have always had an interest in soccer/association football, and even played a few years of it in my youth, my passion for the sport is one that came a bit later in life. Now, if you lived in America in the 1990’s you know that unless the World Cup was on, you weren’t going to see any soccer. It wasn’t until 1998 of course that the MLS even came to be, and at that time it was not the greatest product out there.
My Passion For "The Beautiful Game"
I first found my passion for “The Beautiful Game” during the 2006 World Cup. I ended up following Team France very carefully throughout their second place run, and was particularly enamored with two players, Zinedine Zidane, and Thierry Henry. Zidane of course retired from playing, while I followed Henry to Arsenal, and would try to watch him play whenever possible. I still found it difficult though, because there were a lot of things I didn’t understand. Things like why is Arsenal playing some team from another country on a Tuesday. As an American soccer fan you live on a bit of an island if you don’t have people around to explain to you what the Champions League is.
It wasn’t until around 2013 when I first met Arran that I actually knew anyone who had lived in England before. During the 2014 World Cup I undoubtedly wore poor Arran out with hundreds of questions like, “if the English League is the best, and Messi is the best, why doesn’t Messi play in the English League?”. With each passing World Cup, my passion for the game would grow a bit, but I would always find it difficult to keep up with things in those four years in between.
Phoenix Rising FC Comes To Town
Over the past few years a few things have happened that have made following the sport as an American a bit easier. Especially, in my hometown of Phoenix, Arizona, the arrival of the USL Phoenix Rising that I was finally able to experience the sport on a professional level in person. By last season, Arran and I were attending games on a regular basis, and of course I was wearing him out with questions again during the 2018 World Cup.
It was during that World Cup in 2018 that I made a few decisions. The first decision that I made was that I was not going to let my passion for the sport fade in between World Cups anymore. I made a commitment that I wanted to learn and understand everything there was to know about the sport. In other words, I didn’t want to just watch Arsenal games, or even just the Premier League anymore. I decided that I wanted to watch every team in England play!
My Inspiration For Creating The Show
The second thing that I decided was that I wanted to start a show, and I wanted that show to be everyone’s friend that would explain soccer to them. In other words, I knew that there were other serious sports fans like myself, who had a passion for the game of footie, but just didn’t quite know where to start with it. After much coercion, my Brother From Down Under, Arran Airs agreed to do the show with me. Along the way we have met 2 great friends Matt Robards and Darren Woodhead who have joined our team as well. This is in addition to the dozens of other great folks who are too numerous to name that we can now call friends, who we have met through the show. We have also had a chance to talk with and interview some amazing folks including players, managers, announcers, writers, and even Accrington Stanley owner Andy Holt.
Perhaps, most notably, along this journey I have found a passion for a “my true club” and place of belonging, and just could not even put into words how much Accrington Stanley and the community means to me, and us as a show. I also could not be more proud than to have founded the Official Accrington Stanley Supporters Club of North America with the help of not only my Across The Pitch teammates, but also Edward Cunningham and Mike Paolella (who is a great guy even if he hates Arsenal).
As we wrap up the last few weeks of the English Football season, we look forward to even bigger and better things next season. We are also looking forward to a great summer with the Women’s World Cup, Gold Cup, and of course our home town Phoenix Rising (who I am now a season ticket member, and member of the Red Fury supporters group). Thanks everyone who has supported us so far, and we appreciate each and every one of you more than I can put into words.
Favorite Clubs - Accrington Stanley F.C., Phoenix Rising FC, Arsenal F.C., Loughborough Dynamo F.C., Minnesota United FC