Discovering the Magic of the BPL

I have enjoyed soccer since I was younger. I played for a few years and was just getting into the sport when the MLS debuted in America in 1996. It was a great time for the sport in the U.S. and has continued to grow since then. I, on the other hand, continued to watch but sparingly.

Other sports continued to gain my attention more and more while my interest in soccer somewhat faded. Sure, I continued to watch the World Cup every four years. I attended a few smaller league games in New Orleans. But my interest in watching the MLS on TV was all but gone. And I didn’t have a clue about the league’s around the world.

But one day I switched to a game between two teams I didn’t know. But I remembered watching Swansea City FC get the win and I decided that I would like to follow that team. I had friends that followed and rooted for teams from around the world and I thought I should try to do the same. I love the game, so why not try to follow it and have a rooting interest.

But still, it took me a while to do that. Actually, it wasn’t until during the 2014 World Cup that I really found enjoyment in watching the game again. I watched as the U.S.A. team made a good run, but I kept watching all of the other games too. I familiarized myself with players from around the world. And then I decided I would follow Swansea City and the rest of the Barclays Premier League this season.

The weekend the season opened me and a friend went to Finn McCool’s Pub, a great soccer bar in New Orleans. This was my first trip there but I loved it. The atmosphere is great. The people are great. And the soccer is plentiful. That day I got to watch Swansea City beat Manchester United to start the season. And that was just the start.

I went to that bar again and another one in Baton Rouge once and got to watch the Swans in a bar filled with other fans. But I also sat back on my sofa and watched Swansea City from the luxury of my home many times. And I really enjoyed watching an exciting game every time.

And this morning I woke up to watch the final game of the season. And while Swansea lost 1-0 to Crystal Palace, the season was still a success. The Swans finished eighth in the league with 56 points. Not bad for a team that was just promoted to the BPL in 2011. They made the country of Wales and their thousands of fans very happy.

And they made me a fan of watching the BPL. I already can’t wait to make our next opening weekend trip to Finn McCool’s and begin watching the next season for the Swans. But I also enjoyed the league overall. Chelsea dominated and won the league this year. Teams were battling until the end to avoid relegation. It is all around excitement. And it’s excitement that I wouldn’t have found without friends and a love of soccer that refuses to fade away despite the popularity of other higher-profile American sports.

And let’s keep it up Swans! You’ll always have this fan down here in South Louisiana. Let’s improve on this already great season. I’ll be ready come August!

Daryl Karpinski Jr.