For the Love of the Game

Jonathan Skewes
April 12, 2017

Soccer has been a central part of my life for as long as I can remember.  Outside of school, soccer took up a majority of my time.  I spent countless weekends traveling to tournaments in cities like Atlanta, Savannah and Nashville.  While the game is growing in popularity back home, its fervor in the States does not compare to that in Europe.  I made a personal goal to go to as many matches as possible while studying in Paris, and I have been fortunate enough to attend three games this semester.

My first European soccer experience was certainly not planned.  As I’ve already mentioned in a previous post, I went to a Barcelona game on a whim.  Even though soccer is the main sport throughout Europe, ticket prices are much cheaper compared to those of a baseball or basketball game in America.  Therefore, one does not have to break the bank to watch world-renowned teams in person.  A great example is the game I went to in Paris last month.  France hosted Spain in the Stade de France, and my ticket was only 35€.  Part of this had to do with the fact that this game was just a friendly between the two nations.  A friendly is when two teams play each other for practice.  There are no points or a trophy at stake.  While this somewhat diminished the atmosphere, I loved the fact that I could watch the French national team play.  If you have ever attended a professional sporting event, you know the unfamiliar feeling of seeing famous athletes in person.  I always saw players like Griezmann, Pique and David de Gea on T.V., but it was incredible to actually see them in front of me.  I will never forget seeing the countless French flags flying throughout the stadium, and I took one home as a souvenir.

I attended my third soccer game this past weekend in Munich, Germany.  One of my friends from high school currently studies in Munich, and he has season tickets to all of the Bayern Munich games.  Luckily for me, Bayern hosted Borussia Dortmund this past weekend.  Recently, the match between these two clubs has been one of the biggest domestic games in Europe, and it did not disappoint.  Dortmund’s fans are famous throughout Europe for their loyalty and how well they travel, and I witnessed this first-hand in Munich.  Of the three matches I have been to, this game had the best atmosphere.  The Bayern fans were jumping, singing, and waving countless flags.  Every time they finished a chant, the Borussia Dortmund fans had a response.  There is a young American player on Borussia Dortmund’s team named Christian Pulisic.  American soccer pundits see him as the next face of our international team, and I was lucky enough to see him play this past weekend.  Bayern dominated the match, and while this was just another game for most locals, I left the stadium speechless.

Once I learned I would be spending a semester in France, I made it a personal goal to attend as many soccer games as possible.  I have been lucky enough to attend matches in Camp Nou, Stade de France and Allianz Arena.  However, I have not attended a Paris Saint-Germain game, but I purchased a ticket today to their game on April 22nd.  If you are an avid soccer fan, you will find yourself at home in Europe.  The majority of people here love soccer, the tickets are relatively cheap, and there are games to attend almost every week.

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Jonathan Skewes

<p>My name is Jonathan Skewes, and I am an advertising major at Pennsylvania State University. I have studied French for six years, and it is one of my true passions. I also enjoy playing soccer and discovering different cultures and countries.</p>

2017 Spring
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Penn State University
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