Tuesday’s column: Soccer followers can be early eye-openers

The growth of the rich soccer culture in Southern California is continuing, spurred by Facebook and the Internet.

A decade or so ago, when I first began working at the Torrance-based Daily Breeze, I wrote a story about the Orange County Glasgow Rangers Supporters Club that met in Old Torrance (the South Bay was a compromise meeting place for members in OC and LA counties).

At the time, I knew of only one other club-specific group that met at a place accessible to the public, the Los Angeles Celtic Supporters Club.

Both groups, incidentally, watch their games on closed-circuit TV and charge either an annual membership fee and/or per game admission to pay for the service.

But today there are a surprisingly large number of EPL clubs with fan groups who meet weekly at various watering holes to watch games together, with the vast majority available for free on Fox Soccer Channel, ESPN2 or elsewhere.

And that is the subject of today’s column, one I literally could not have written 10 years ago.

I’m not kidding myself that this is a definitive list. So if you’re one of a group of Club America, CD Guadalajara, Barcelona etc., fans who get together on a regular basis locally drop me a line and let me know.

Upcoming events include:

*Olympique de Marseille vs Manchester United in the UEFA Champions League at 11 a.m. Wednesday at Ye Olde Kings Head pub in Santa Monica hosted by the Manchester United Fans of Los Angeles.

On Sunday, the LA Gooners hold their first-ever fundraiser in conjunction with the 8 a.m. Arsenal-Birmingham City Carling Cup final at The Fox and Hounds in Studio City, a raffle (tickets are $5) to raise money for a Los Feliz animal shelter.


Add Barca – A regular blog reader tells me a group called Barcaloco meets regularly at Hollywood’s soccer-friendly Capitol City Bar & Grill, which U.S. fan group the American Outlaws invaded for a couple of games during last year’s World Cup.

The group’s web site doesn’t say how large the group is, but it is apparently officially recognized by Barcelona – and has been since 2001.

Any more out there?

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  • Studs Up

    It would have been interesting to find out what percentage are ex-pats and better yet what percentage are local MLS fans as well. And if not, why not. My guess is very few are and that is a crying shame.

  • http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=129576840419069 Tristan K

    Im a Manchester United fan , Have watched a few MLS games on tv and in person but the atmosphere is not as great unless you are there in person.I think if the sport in the US got more coverage on local channels you would naturally see a spike in interest.

  • Studs Up

    My question to you Tristan, assuming you’re an ex-pat, and others like you is whether your interest in soccer transcends your support for a particular team outside of the US? And if so, what role should you play as a fan of the sport in seeing the pro game here gain the stature of top leagues around the world?