What Non-US/UK Teams Do You Root For, and Why?

OurF'ingCity

Member
SoSH Member
Apr 22, 2016
8,469
New York City
There have been a bunch of threads here about how posters came to root for teams in the PL or elsewhere in the English system, but I've been trying to get more into other European leagues lately (this may or may not have something to do with the fact that watching Everton these days feels like someone jabbing an ice pick into your eyes for 90 minutes) and so was curious how those who root for non-UK (and non-MLS) teams picked who they root for. Doesn't have to be European - would be interested if anyone here follows teams in Central/South America or elsewhere.

My initial picks (note - I refuse to root for perennial top-of-the-table teams in any league because that seems very boring to me, but I do root for Barca in the Champions League because I studied abroad there):
  1. Atalanta - they have a fun goddess logo, there is a Celtics connection since Steve Pagliuca recently became the majority owner, and they just seem like a fun team all around that develops young talent well and is often involved in high-scoring, exciting games.
  2. Nice - Nice is probably my favorite city in the world, and they are mid-table enough that I don't feel like I'm jumping on a bandwagon. Haven't watched a ton of them yet so not really sure about their style of play. I reserve my right to change this one, especially if someone has a good reason to root for some other French team (other than PSG).
  3. Girona - this is a little risky because they are a relegation threat, but another one of my favorite places in the world is Catalonia. Per the above don't want to root for Barca, at least in La Liga play. I guess I could root for Espanyol, but their team song sucks and Girona's is a banger:
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GAGV3xZ0kgI
 

InstaFace

The Ultimate One
SoSH Member
Sep 27, 2016
23,232
Pittsburgh, PA
Celta de Vigo, something about their play style is real pretty and Iago Aspas is just a joy to watch, he's impetuous and creative in a way that I really like.

I suspect a lot of us are Dortmund fans. I watched way more than my share of Venezia last year (this year not so much).

Outside of the Big 5 leagues, I can't say I've developed much of a rooting preference, just usually root for the underdog, root against PSG and Bayern and Real etc. I will say that the Barnsley / West Brom style of play is fugly and I can't wait for Daryl Dike to be too good to play for them.
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

Found no thrill on Blueberry Hill
SoSH Member
Sep 9, 2008
43,963
AZ
I like to pick a side in the big rivalries. Often it’s based more on stereotypes but I tend to lean more toward what I perceive to be the proletariat than the cheese eaters, even though at this point these are just caricatures anyway. But so Fenerbahce, the Rossineri, and Boca Juniors over River Plate, even though I really can’t say I have a good reason. Madrid and Barca can have each other. Don’t care. Old Firm is tricky, but it’s the hoops for me. But really Hibs over both. Again, can’t give a great reason.
 
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Royal Reader

Member
SoSH Member
Sep 21, 2005
2,342
UK
Are the Rossoneri the proletarian team? I know Inter is the more lefty team.

I follow Schalke 04, for the pre-04 Red Sox vibes, the fact that I despise Dortmund as a football hipster team, and that they're everything a club should be: IE they represent a small place that is an utter shithole (I say this lovingly) where the club is the absolute heartbeat of the place. Bochum is a bigger place, but S04 is a much bigger club.
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

Found no thrill on Blueberry Hill
SoSH Member
Sep 9, 2008
43,963
AZ
Are the Rossoneri the proletarian team? I know Inter is the more lefty team.
That was my perception anyway. Back when I started paying attention it was a few years before Juventus went on its tear and Inter had won a bunch of scudetti in a row and so I guess I perceived Milan as an underdog or something. Plus, when they won the league back, they did it with the Zlatan — I kind of thought that was cool. I didn’t really follow Serie A when he was on Inter. I came in right at the tail end of their run. All about timing I guess.
 

MiracleOfO2704

not AWOL
SoSH Member
Jul 12, 2005
9,685
The Island
I’ve mentioned it in other threads, but I guess I can go into more detail here.

February of 1998, I’m part of a pretty big class doing a short-term exchange trip to our partner city, Neustadt an der Weinstraße. However, my school’s German teacher, who’s coordinating this year’s trip, knows some people in a Munich suburb, so they hosted us for a few days so we can see a big city (Neustadt’s population at the time was about 40k split between six or seven towns that are historically independent but now are essentially amalgamated). First day, no chance for rest, we’re at the end of the traditional walking tour (start at Karlsplatz, walk down Kaufingerstraße to the Frauenkirche and the Neues Rathaus, then climb the Alter Peter and very briefly mention the Hofbräuhaus because half of us are too young to drink even in Germany), and we get given a pair of options: go see a Bundesliga game at the Olympiastadion, or head back to the ‘burbs and call it a day. I opt for the match, TSV 1860 München vs. Bayer Leverkusen. Unlike a Bayern match, the place was only about 1/3 full, but it ended up being just a nuts game. 1860 led 1:0 at halftime, Leverkusen scored with about 30 to go, and then 1860 sub Paul Agostino puts in two in 3 minutes, 3:1 for die Weißblau. And then the floor fell out of the defence. 3 Leverkusen goals in 11 minutes, 3:4.

The match left such an impression that when I came back for Spring Break 2003, I picked up a jersey and had it made up AGOSTINO 18. I have no idea where that jersey is today, but it was fun to wear it and see the confused looks (once in a blue moon, it got confused for an Argentina kit). Of course, it’s been shit sledding since: Werner Lorant was done within a couple more seasons, the Wildmooser family got implicated in some shady dealings, demotion to the 2. Bundesliga, toiling down there while splitting the Allianz with Bayern, eventually having to sell their share of the stadium, demotion to the 3. Bundesliga, coupled with Ismaik fighting with the board over 50+1, sending them down to the Regionalliga Bayern for one year, and stuck spinning their wheels in the 3. Liga for 5 years now. About the only positive is the club returned to its historical home, the Stadion an der Grünwalderstraße, but it also shows a kind of lack of ambition to return to…I mean, I’d take a couple of years in the 2. Liga again. Better than playing Bayern Reserves and Ezgebirge Aue twice a year.
 

OCST

Sunny von Bulow
SoSH Member
Jan 10, 2004
24,974
The 718
The guy who works at the bodega on my block is a Club America fan so I idly follow them.

a good family friend is Ecuadorian. Her club Aucas won the league for the first time in 75 years - she went to the first leg of the finals - that was fun to support vicariously.
 

candylandriots

unkempt
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Mar 30, 2004
12,656
Berlin
I've talked about this here a bunch, but here's the bullet points on Union Berlin:

* In their third year in the top flight of Germany.
* Their entire team's transfer value is less than what Man United paid for Harry Maguire. (Actually, I guess that's not true anymore, but at the beginning of the season, it was like 87 million euros. I'll leave this anyway :)).
* Despite this, they qualified for the Conference League in their second season and Europa in their third (missing Champions League by one point). They're in the knockouts of the Europa League and face Ajax in February.
* Their stadium (Stadion an der alten Försterei - which means stadium at the old forester's place) is magic. It's in the woods. It holds about 23,000 people, and 80% of that is standing. They do intend to increase to 37k, but most of that will be standing as well. When they required stadium improvements years back, when the team was getting promoted from the lower leagues and finances were tight, the team's supporters basically rebuilt the stadium.
* The team's supporters also literally gave blood to save their team from financial peril ("Bleed for Union").
* Now, it's very well-managed. Their current manager, Urs Fischer, is probably the best manager most people have never heard of. The way his teams play make it look like they have 12 men on the pitch.
* They have a great history. They were always the also-rans in the East German league, often because the head of the Stasi supported their rivals, BSC Dynamo. Which led to some questionable outcomes. As a result, Union Berlin, has been associated with the anti-authoritarian/anti-secret police movement of East Berlin. Not all Union supporter fought against the regime, but pretty much all those fighting against the regime were Union Berlin supporters.
* Nina Hagen sings their anthem, and it's also kind of the punk rock team of Germany.
* Beers cost like 4 euros and a bratwurst is 3.50.
* They've had a few good Americans come through. Bobby Wood dominated when they were in the 2. Bundesliga. Jordan Pefok is there now.
* Despite their broadened appeal, it's still very much a local/neigborhood environment. When I go with friends from Köpenick, they're always running into friends and neighbors. And though my German isn't advanced enough to pick up on it, apparently Köpenicker accents prevail at the games.
* Being in the Bundesliga and in Europe is still so unexpected, that everyone really appreciates every minute of their success.
* They were leading the Bundesliga longer than anyone else this year (Dan Duquette would be proud), but fixture congestion led to a few bad results that have pushed them down to fifth. But they still go toe-to-toe with the big boys, having defeated Dortmund and drawing with Bayern so far this year. It seems that they're more likely to lose to a lesser team. Their dropped points to Greuther Fürth last year were the difference in not making the UCL. So they do keep you on your toes.
* Games are easy to watch on ESPN+.
* They team invited members to bring their couches to the stadium to watch Germany in the World Cup final in 2014.
* They're the team most associated with fighting big money influences in German soccer. The supporters protest for 15 silent minutes in every game with RB Leipzig, for example.
* They have some awesome fan displays.
 
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Titans Bastard

has sunil gulati in his sights
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Dec 15, 2002
14,553
I like to watch stuff from the around the world but I have never formed any connection to any club outside the US.
 

HampshireCounty

New Member
Aug 6, 2010
24
I've been following Freiburg a little for, jeez, fifteen years now, for no better reason than that Freiburg is a sister city to Madison, Wisconsin, where I was living at the time. I've gotten the fun parts of the small-club experience from them - a few relegation battles, both successful and unsuccessful, a couple of Europa League runs, some unlikely victories over bigger clubs. And they've been blessedly free of scandal and financial overextension, so I've never really had a reason to regret following them. I guess everyone likes to believe this about their favorite club, but they seem to be connected to the community and committed to running the club well. In that whole fifteen years, I think they've only had two managers.

Now, of course, they had a deep run and a heartbreaking loss in the Pokal last year, and they're second in the Bundesliga halfway through the season. Could they make the CL? What would happen if they did?

(Around the same time, I started following Fiorentina, because Stefan Jovetic was so much fun to watch and it was easy to get their games on ESPN3 or whatever. Is there a more miserable fandom experience out there? Develop an astonishing young player, fail to build a winning team around them, burn all your bridges and sell them to Juventus, flirt with disaster, fire the manager, and start all over. Jovetic at least got sold outside Italy, but since then it's been Cuadrado, Bernadeschi, Chiesa, Vlahovic, and now they're in the disaster phase.)
 

DJnVa

Dorito Dawg
SoSH Member
Dec 16, 2010
54,602
Celtic, for....reasons.

BUNDESLIGA: Dortmund, because I started following Pulisic and stuck with them, so this isn't ong term yet.
SERIE A: Atalanta and I don't know why.
LA LIGA and LIGUE ONE: None
 

tmracht

Member
SoSH Member
Aug 19, 2009
3,194
EPL: Chelsea - Since way back
Lower Leagues English Football: Chesterfield - Managed on Football Manager, and just grew an affinity.
Germany: Cottbus - was one of the first teams I managed on Championship Manager, and just grew an affinity.
TSL - Fenerbahce - Mainly cause I wanted to be a rebel and cheer opposite my dads family who was split between Gala/Besiktas
Italy - Kinda Milan but not really since Calciopoli, was my grandfathers and grandmothers teams on my mom's side
Spain/France/Others - Eh whatever, if there is an American Playing I'll probably catch a stream if I have time.
 

rguilmar

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 16, 2005
2,223
I root for pretty much all La Liga teams not named Real Madrid. That being said, I have a special affection for:

Real Betis- probably the rowdiest set of fans. They demand attacking soccer (even without the wins), have a great rivalry with Sevilla, and possibly the only team whose motto references losing (Manque Pierda which loosely translates to "Even though you lose").
Athletic Bilbao- The Basque-only policy makes them unique, at least in the top five leagues. Even though they can only draw players from a very small population, they have never been relegated.
Real Sociedad- San Sebastian is one of the great places on earth. The team is so well run, with a policy that 80% of their academy comes from their province within the Basque Country (akin to the Red Sox getting 80% of their minor leaguers from Suffolk County).
Girona- I'm Catalan but for personal and family reasons now stay out of the Barcelona-Espanyol debate. So Girona it is.

Beyond that, I appreciate how well run Osasuna is, and the fact that it is in Pamplona, another cool city. Villareal becoming known around the world in a town of about 40,000 people is cool. I have a soft spot for Valencia because I've been to the Mestalla several times. Going down the ladder, Real Oviedo, who has an amazing survival story which led to I believe several SoSH members buying into the club. I get nostalgic for the Super Depor days, so Deportivo la Coruna is on my list as well.

Others that have been mentioned are Freiburg, if only because it seems like a really interesting city. In Italy, Atalanta for sure, going back several years to when they were IMO the most fun team in the world to watch. They led the top five leagues in scoring a couple of times during that stretch. I've developed a soft spot for Napoli over the years too, especially after some heart-wrenching second place finishes to Juve. I want them to win Serie A so badly.
 

67YAZ

Member
SoSH Member
Dec 1, 2000
9,249
PSV - I co-directed an NL-US exchange program for a number of years and became good friends with a PSV diehard. It was a multigenerational love affair in his family. The first match I saw at Philips Stadion blew my mind. Incredible experience. And PSV develops so many great youth players that there’s always a bunch of exciting kids to root for even if the Eredivisie is way too too heavy.

San Donato Tavarnelle - a little more than a decade ago mh brother, father, aunt, and I did some deeper genealogical digging and discovered that my father’s paternal grandfather was from the tiny town of San Donato. Then I started learning a little Italian and practiced by reading about their club, Tavarnelle, which is battling it out in the wild, wild world of Serie C after promotion from Series D last season. 60 clubs split into 3 geographic groups! Only 4 promoted annually and 9 relegated across the entire league! Tavarnelle are only 4 points clear of relegation at the moment. Brutal stuff.
 
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Bozo Texino

still hates Dave Kerpen
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Jul 18, 2005
12,378
Austin, Texas
I caught a game at Athletic Club's old stadium - "La Catedral" - when I was over there as part of an exchange. So when it comes to La Liga, they're my team.

In the Bundesliga - or 2. Bundesliga, more accurately - I like following FC St. Pauli.
 

pedro1918

Member
SoSH Member
Mar 5, 2004
5,206
Map Ref. 41°N 93°W
I don’t really follow them like I follow Liverpool and the PL, but I have my teams I want to win. Celtic in Scotland. In the past in the Bundesliga I have been a casual Dortmund fan but it was really more of an anyone but Bayern stance. I will say I have been sucked up into candy’s Union Berlin wake though. Maybe that will stick a bit more. Similarly I find myself pulling for Atleti for bosox.
 

Dummy Hoy

Angry Pissbum
SoSH Member
Jul 22, 2006
8,399
Falmouth
Try as I might I cannot follow another club in addition to Wednesday...it's like it's just too much work. I'm a dues paying member of Sheffield FC and I check St. Pauli's scores every week but can't give them much more than a perfunctory commitment.

I am the type of fan though that enjoys making a binary decision w/r/t rooting interest, so while I don't follow or support, I do have a subtle preference for some squads.

Germany: Union, Dortmund, Werder Bremen
Italy: Napoli, Bresca, Inter, Livorno
France: Marseille
Spain: Sociedad

I support the NT of Belgium and Scotland more than the US
 

Lukiewerle

New Member
Aug 1, 2006
293
I moved to Milan when I was 13, went to my first match that same year with my family. Milan v Parma. Milan's lineup that day (according to goole):

Sebastiano Rossi
Marcel Desailly
Paolo Maldini
Alessandro Costacurta
Mauro Tassotti
Franco Baresi
Roberto Donadoni
Demetrio Albertini
Brian Laudrup
Daniele Massaro
Marco Simeone

I had no idea who I was watching. At some point a few months later a chance encounter with Marco van Basten outside a cafe led to my first ever autograph. My friends had to convince me he was a famous player for Milan. They were beyond excited, I didn't really care at the time, and the autograph was lost at some point over the years.

All of this is to say I have a soft spot for Milan, although I never truly became a supporter. In fact, I didn't really start obsessively watching soccer outside of the world cup/euros until more than a decade after moving back stateside.
 

PC Drunken Friar

Member
SoSH Member
Sep 12, 2003
14,910
South Boston
I am a football simpleton, and check up on Wrexham often. A couple friends are Belgian, so I watch Man City games (but that is pretty boring.)

For whatever reason I liked Thierry Henry as a kid (literally the only soccer player I cared about) so I have followed Arsenal from afar for a while.
 

ernieshore

Member
SoSH Member
Aug 24, 2006
2,386
The Camel City
FC Koln in Germany and Cercle Brugge in Belgium - simply because I went to matches there while visiting. I can't say I follow them closely, but always look at their scores each week and have some scarves and winter hats of theirs.
 

Vinho Tinto

Member
SoSH Member
Dec 9, 2003
7,129
Auburn, MA
I really didn't have a choice to make Benfica my team; but it's one that means a great deal to me. It connects me to my grandfather (Who attended the first match played at the Estadio Da Luz in 1954) who passed away when I was 9.

It also connects me to my father and brother. When I was going thru the awkward teen years many boys and fathers experience, we always could talk about Benfica and complain about how terrible they were. My brother or father will call me after every league match. They will ask if I had time to watch or listen to any of it (Can't really convince two small kids to sit down and watch a soccer game in a language they don't understand). Whether I did or didn't, we will review why they played great or how the ref did them wrong.

One of my uncles experienced a devastating home fire during the pandemic. No one was hurt, but the house was severely damaged. It took more than a year for repairs to be completed and the house is better than before. When he had us over to celebrate during the holidays, one of the first things he did was show me his remodeled wine cellar - which still features multiple photos of Eusebio, CR7 (He makes a Sporting exception for Ronaldo) and the old Estadio da Luz.

I look forward to taking my kids to the current Estadio da Luz when they are older. Besides seeing a fun game for a couple of hours, they will get a chance to experience a direct connection to my family. Being a sports fan would feel silly if it wasn't for the memories and connections we make.
 

FlexFlexerson

Member
SoSH Member
When it comes to non-uk/us teams, my choices are pretty explicitly political, which means leftist (I mean, if my avatar wasn't a giveaway...)

It was a great way to get into more international leagues for a bit and, as a total neophyte to the sport at one point, at least get a flavor of the game around the world. After a couple years, that's mostly fallen away as I regularly just follow West Ham and my Colorado clubs (rapids and switchbacks) but I still at least check the scores regularly for St. Pauli and Celtic.

Outside of the political angle, I'll watch Chivas when they're on, since a friend in Mexico is a fan and I can't say I watch too many matches but Shaktar Donetsk has a special place in my heart due to Joe Strummer's affection for the club.
 

candylandriots

unkempt
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Mar 30, 2004
12,656
Berlin
EPL: Chelsea - Since way back
Lower Leagues English Football: Chesterfield - Managed on Football Manager, and just grew an affinity.
Germany: Cottbus - was one of the first teams I managed on Championship Manager, and just grew an affinity.
TSL - Fenerbahce - Mainly cause I wanted to be a rebel and cheer opposite my dads family who was split between Gala/Besiktas
Italy - Kinda Milan but not really since Calciopoli, was my grandfathers and grandmothers teams on my mom's side
Spain/France/Others - Eh whatever, if there is an American Playing I'll probably catch a stream if I have time.
My Lichtenberg 47 need some help from Energie Cottbus to stay in the Regionalliga. If Cottbus wins its 2-legged playoff vs Unterhaching, it gets promoted to the 3. Bundesliga, and L47 remains in the Regionalliga. EC losing the Play-off relegates L47.

Congrats to them on the cup win!