“Why has there been soccer on every day for the past month?” says the American viewer in search of baseball, SportsCenter and college football.
“It’s the World Cup I bet!” shouts the seasonal soccer fan that becomes a die-hard when the World Cup comes around every four years.
The football inundating your television screens is the UEFA European Football Championship, better known as the Euros. It can be described as the World Cup’s talented, respectable younger sibling. For one month, the 24 best teams in Europe embark on a journey to hoist the Euro Cup Trophy as champions. It’s football, but not the kind you’re used to on the gridiron.
There’s a noticeable difference in passion and enthusiasm when countries gather to compete against each other. The respect, pride and love each player has for their respective country fuels the competitiveness of Europe’s most prestigious soccer tournament. The Euros give the World Cup a run for its money. Most of the top-tier teams in the World Cup hail from Europe. Put those teams in one tournament and you have a great month of soccer starring the best players in the world. You don’t need to be a fan of the game to appreciate and respect nations striving to be the best club in Europe.
Citizens can forget the troubles plaguing their lives and countries and come together as fans and friends of the beautiful game. As hosts of Euro 2016, that’s exactly what France did after the devastating Paris attacks in November 2015. When terrorism tries to tear a country apart, soccer unifies cities and countries with lasting alliances and rich histories.
Social, political or economic troubles can dampen a country’s spirits, but soccer tournaments like the Euros and World Cup are there to keep morale high. The entertainment value soccer and sports provide are unparalleled. But sometimes it’s not about sport. It’s about pride for your country, the place you call home. The Euros are more than just a tournament, they’re more like home.