It's on. Beginning today, soccer fans across the globe turn their collective eyes to France as the highly-anticipated European Cup finally kicks off. Simultaneously, in a separate tournament, the USA national team is battling in the prestigious Copa America tournament.
Will you be watching?
It is well known that Portland, Oregon feasts gluttonously on soccer, and has long since earned the nickname "Soccer City" as a result. Pride for the Portland Timbers flows through the veins of the city, and Timbers fans are undeniably the loudest and most committed in the country. However, Portland still lags behind global cities in support for international events. The time has come for Portland residents to prove their true passion for soccer by extending that raucous energy extend into international tournaments as well.
Are you not feeling especially passionate about these tournaments? Here's my advice: pick a team, or multiple teams, and throw yourself into the culture of becoming a genuine supporter. After all, it is the culture of being a soccer fan that makes the experience so unique and so fun compared to other sports. I personally have a foreign background as a first generation French immigrant, and my heart is forever in Paris at the Parc des Princes. However, I also ravenously support the USA team in tournaments. Two teams. Two continents. Too much fun.
It is truly okay to support multiple teams in international soccer events (I promise!), especially when that support amplifies your overall interest and enjoyment.
That is the essence of soccer. It ties together people and generations. A genuine soccer fan can travel anywhere in the world and converse with people of any nationality and age, in any language, about the exploits of Pelé and Maradona. Through soccer, there are suddenly no more borders or barriers in the world - just the amazing skills, the screaming stadiums, the eternal moments, and the beautiful game.
If you are like me, you are always seeking the perfect soccer-friendly location to enjoy a match, regardless of who you support. Here are my favorite soccer bars in Portland, and please do not hesitate to add to my list through your comments below:
1739 SE Hawthorne Blvd., Portland, OR 97214
The Horse Brass
4534 SE Belmont St., Portland, OR 97215
Kells Irish Restaurant
112 SW 2nd Ave, Portland, OR 97204
Café Umbria (When Italy is playing)
303 NW 12th Ave, Portland, OR 97209
"A football team is like a beautiful woman.
When you do not tell her, she forgets she is beautiful."
"In his life, a man can change wives,
political parties or religions but
he cannot change his favourite soccer team."
-Eduardo Hughes Galeano