Probably the main reason I don't follow soccer as a professional sport is that watching it on TV cannot even begin to capture the excitement and thrill of a live, professional-level soccer game. You doubt it? Look at the insane levels of soccer dedication in Europe and South America. Heck, people have been trampled to death in riots that have followed soccer games.
By comparison, American and Canadian fans - yes, even those crazy Habs fans in Montréal, setting fire to their own city - are downright mild.
This commercial is awesome, and demonstrates exactly what I'm talking about.
The Chicago Fire has been around for several years in Chicago. If you think hockey gets ignored, try being a soccer fan around here. The Fire won their league trophy in 1998 and have also won the U.S. Open Cup four times. I would be willing to bet that if you walked up to the average Chicagoan and asked them to name even one player on the Fire, most of them would first ask you who the Fire are, followed by, "We have a pro soccer team?", which would then make the point of asking for any names redundant. No, I cannot name any players, either.
But the Fire just might be the thing to fill the summer gap for me. It's high-paced, exciting, the athletes are in tremendous shape, and it's just as thrilling as hockey. But played minus the sticks and bladed feet and helmets and protective gear.