Hello. I am an American.

As much as I am an American, I know next to nothing about football. In fact, if I may say so, I find it a touch boring. I don't believe I've ever made it through an entire college football game without napping.

Furthermore, my wife, with whom I watch terrible things, hates the sport with a passion. This makes watching 150% less pleasant. I have to really want to watch the game, college or NFL, to use up valuable basketball-watching capital. In many cases, the desire just isn't there.

In contrast, I quite enjoy watching soccer. I played soccer as a kid and in high school. The fluidity and grace of the game appeals to me. Also, most matches are done in short order relative to college football games. When the World Cup comes along, I become engrossed. This also means I actually know a few of the players, but lack the history or knowledge for why they are where they are.

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A few weeks ago, I turned on some random MLS soccer game and my wife actually said, "Now this I could get behind." We watched for a bit, then, it was time for Keeping Up with the Kardashians and, well, that just took precedent.

I have always thought that it would be fun to follow European soccer, but have never been able to get started. Certainly, I worry that this will turn into a Bill Simmons, "Oh look I have a European soccer team!" and then I will ignore it for years on end. However, I would like to at least try.

So, I'm asking for feedback here, specifically:

  • Is there a good idiots' guide to European soccer that I could read?
  • How do the leagues work? I've never understood why certain teams play each other and why other teams don't.
  • I see there are some playoffs going on now. That looks fun. Start watching now or wait until next season? How are the playoffs structured? How does relegation work? When does the season start?
  • How did you manage to pick your favorite teams? I've only followed one team, my alma mater, since college. I have no other professional allegiances. It's always struck me as odd how people decide to choose to follow. I imagine there are some good stories/reasons why you are fans of the teams that you are.
  • When are good days to watch? I gather than NBC has good coverage, but do they play every day like baseball or only on certain days like football?

I would genuinely like to watch and grow a fandom - it sounds like a blast - but there's so much to learn and so much time to be lazy and not learn: where do I begin?