Soccer, or football in Europe, is a serious social and cultural connector. Fans paint their faces in country flag colors, wear uniforms, and take over bars or each other’s homes by the masses. The best memories I have of watching soccer are those surrounded by family and friends. During games, you can catch fans chanting, screaming, laughing, crying, and occasionally get upset with the referees. But what unites them is their love for the game – a small symbol of national pride. In Holland, you’ll see a sea of orange adorn the street. Fans take it as seriously as Americans enjoy their basketball, football, hockey, or baseball.
June 8 kicked off the 2012 UEFA European Football Championship – or Euro 2012. This year, Poland and Ukraine are hosting nations. Sixteen teams will battle it out for the cup, but my favorites will always be The Netherlands (we lost the game against Denmark, sadly) and Poland (tied 1-1 against Greece).
Soccer’s popularity unfortunately has also subjected it to hooliganism and negativity. This year, there was even news of racism towards some of the players.