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Why I’m a fan of the FIFA series — and how it helped my love of soccer (football)

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FA Cup 3rd Round: Aston Villa v Manchester United Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

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It’s hard to believe that the FIFA series is just a few months younger than I am, and as I get more introspective, I realize how much FIFA has grown and improved right alongside me.

I was born into a soccer family and thrown feet first into the sport as soon as I could walk. My father played soccer in college and coached me from pee wee until high school, but never really understood soccer fandom in my early years. The 1998 World Cup, while I was still too young to really understand what was going on, was the first real taste of watching soccer on TV that I got.

It was also the year that my dad bought FIFA ‘98 for the PC

I was hooked.

I spent hours playing the “indoor soccer” game mode with Liverpool because has a 6-year old American soccer fan indoor soccer is way cooler, and Liverpool’s jerseys were rad. After FIFA 98, I bought nearly every version that the franchise released. FIFA 2003 for Gamecube was a massive upgrade in my eyes, mainly because it was the first time I played the game with a controller. And 2003 was also the time where I finally became a soccer fan. Growing up in Philadelphia, there still was no MLS presence in my hometown so I was a fan without a team. A rebel without a cause.

I got a pink-and-black Juventus jersey that summer, an Arsenal training top some time after that, and a DeMarcus Beasley USA t-shirt when I got to middle school. I was born to a soccer-loving father, but FIFA allowed me to reach soccer fanaticism faster. I made connections with players in the game that I wouldn’t have seen on TV at the time. I’d instantly find a way to acquire Diego Forlán on my team, no matter the cost.

The FIFA franchise has made me and so many others pro soccer fans.

There’s even data that backs it up:

EA Sports FIFA

FIFA Ultimate Team, The Journey, Manager Mode, and Pro Clubs are things that FIFA provides that enhance my experience as a soccer fan. As the FIFA franchise continues to grow and evolve, so does my fanaticism for the beautiful game.

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