By: Jack Mallery
In 2014, more than three billion people watched the World Cup in Brazil, and 34 million alone tuned in to the final when Germany played Argentina. Soccer is a multi billion dollar enterprise that spans the globe and draws people together from different backgrounds and countries. The English Premier League broadcasts to 614 million homes, and Manchester United reported a yearly revenue of 513 million pounds. Barcelona right winger Lionel Messi makes a 40 million euro salary each year. While soccer encompasses the globe, it affects the lives of many Gunn students in a unique way, and each person has different reasons for supporting their club.
Erik Johansson, a junior, has supported Arsenal Football Club ever since he could remember. “When I lived in England they were the closest team in the premier league to me, so naturally I decided to support them,” Johansson said. Arsenal is currently sitting second in the premier league table; where they finished last season. For years, Arsenal fans have been mocked for their failure to win major trophies such as the Champions League and the Premier League title. Their manager, Arsene Wenger, has been at Arsenal for 20 years, a Premier League record. Since 2005, Arsenal have finished fourth six times, creating the legend of fourth place finishes that mock their fans. “Fourth is a reasonable position, but Wenger hasn’t seemed to adapt over the years,” Johansson said, “Because of his [Wenger’s] past successes he’s deserved the amount of time he’s had, but I don’t know how much longer he should stay.” In addition to watching games to support his team, Johansson buys merchandise such as jerseys. “They are the best team in england, with the best style of football, which is possession-counter attacking,” Johansson said. Johansson supports his team with a fervor only matched for his love of the team’s star striker, Olivier Giroud.
Senior Leo Lindo is a passionate supporter of his fifth-tier English team, York City Football Club. “I first got into watching soccer around 2011 and when I really started getting into it I saw York CIty win the FA trophy final and the playoff final in consecutive weeks and that made me fall for the team,” Lindo said. To support his club, Lindo buys merchandise such as a scarf from the 2012 season that made him fall for the club. Although they are a fifth-tier club, Lindo supports them for their history of upsetting large teams. “I love the history of the club: they knocked out Arsenal from the FA cup with a 3-1 win in 1985 and beat Manchester United at Old Trafford 3-0 in 1995, but those were the glory days,” Lindo said. Lindo looks forward to the time where York City will upset a club like Arsenal again.
Junior Mitch Pi has supported Atletico Madrid for three years now, a team that plays in the top tier of Spanish soccer. Atletico Madrid won the Spanish league in 2014, upsetting Barcelona and Real Madrid on the final match of the season. “Diego Simeone [our manager] is a tactical genius and I really like their style of play and how they develop players over the years,” Pi said. Pi wears his Atletico jersey to school whenever he can to show his support for the team. In addition to watching them in the Champions League final in 2-14 and 2016, Pi enjoys rooting for Atletico during their derby game versus Real Madrid. “Fernando Torres is the best player in the world,” Pi said, “I can’t wait until we win the Champions League with him.”