Hi there folks. As some of you might already know, Dan has asked me to become Anfield Asylum's newest writer, and I'm truly honored. I wanted to go ahead and introduce myself a little bit, and explain how I came to love the club that has captured all our hearts.
Soccer was my first love. I got a soccer ball for my first birthday, and by the end of my first soccer practice in kindergarten, I had become hopelessly addicted to the beautiful game. I played as much as I could as a child, and eventually became addicted to soccer video games as well. That's where my love for Liverpool FC began. One Christmas, my mom gave me FIFA 08. The first thing I did was try out Be A Pro mode. After playing a season for the Kansas City Wizards, I decided to move on to bigger and better things. Liverpool was the highest rated team that offered to sign me, so that's where I went.
Now, before this, I was vaguely aware of the existence of the Premier League, and knew of a couple teams (Manchester United, Arsenal, and Liverpool), but that was pretty much the extent of my knowledge. The first thing I noticed about Liverpool was how much I liked their home kits. That all red kit was so simple, yet so perfect. I never wanted to use the away or 3rd kits. After playing about 5 games, I'd decided I really liked this team, and I hadn't actually even used their players yet because I was just using my pro. It wasn't long before I started a career mode with Liverpool, and that was when the real love affair began.
As soon as I got a chance to play with Gerrard and Torres, Liverpool were always going to be my team. Torres was lightning fast and scored for fun. Gerrard was basically superman. My offense consisted of bombing the ball over the top with Stevie, and letting Torres chase it down and slot it home. I'd never even seen the guys play, but I knew I loved them. Unfortunately, I had no idea how to watch the Premier League at the time, so my fandom remained confined to FIFA for the next few years.
Fast forward to summer 2010. I'm watching Uruguay take on Ghana, still fuming over Ghana knocking the United States out of the World Cup. The game goes to extra time, and in the dying minutes, Luis Suarez does the only thing he can think of to prevent a Ghana goal, and give his country the tiniest chance of surviving the game... he swats a sure goal off the line, knowing a red card is the only possible result. Ghana then misses the ensuing penalty kick, and Suarez is a hero (or villain if you're from Ghana) after Uruguay wins in the shootout. At that moment, Suarez was my hero. He had sacrificed any chance of him playing in the World Cup semi-final by doing whatever he could to make sure his team reached that semi-final. It was a gutsy, genius play that I absolutely adored.
By the following January, I had nearly forgotten about Suarez. Then, a friend of mine, who is also a Liverpool supporter, sent me a text saying Suarez was going to be a Red. I couldn't even contain my excitement, and this was the motivation I needed to start following the team. I kept a close eye on them for the rest of the year, and during that summer, I decided I was going to start finally watching the games.
I watched every game I could that 2011-2012 season. I grew to worship the wizardry of Suarez, and the pinpoint accuracy of a Steven Gerrard pass. I read everything I find about the club and its history. I wanted to know everything I could about the club's legendary players, from King Kenny to Captain Fantastic. I wanted to know about Anfield and the legendary Kop. I wanted to know why people were always saying YNWA and JFT96. I wanted to know what it really meant to be a fan of this club, and by the end of that season, I was a Red through and through. My life has revolved around sports since I was a kid. The St. Louis Blues and Green Bay Packers are very important to me, but there was just something about Liverpool that was different. I didn't just feel like I was a spectator of this team. As cliché and cheesy as it sounds, Liverpool FC became a way of life to me. The Blues and Packers were teams I cared about, but Liverpool was the team I loved.
That summer I went to Boston with 2 friends to watch Liverpool v Roma at Fenway Park. Participating in You'll Never Walk Alone that night in Boston was one of the most moving experiences of my life. In that moment, I felt like I was a part of something truly special. This wasn't just some soccer team. This was Liverpool Football Club. They may have lost that game, but I didn't mind too much. That night, I learned the true meaning of You'll Never Walk Alone.
It would be wrong of me not to mention the large role Anfield Asylum has played in shaping me into the Liverpool fan I am. It was thanks to AA that I was able to learn as much as I did about this team in such a short time. In just one season they made me feel like a Liverpool expert. I couldn't make many GDT's that season because I had to stream most games online, but the GDT's I did participate in made games so much more enjoyable. I was truly saddened by the decline of this blog last season. Not having Anfield Asylum game day threads made games a lot less fun. Not only did I miss talking about the game with others, I missed the sense of community that I'd only ever found here. Needless to say, I was overjoyed with the resurgence of this place this season.
This blog makes being a fan so much more enjoyable, and I wouldn't trade this community for the world. I am truly honored to be given the opportunity to contribute more to Anfield Asylum, and I hope you guys enjoy reading what I have to say as much as I enjoy saying it. Thank you Dan for giving me this chance, and thank you Anfield Asylum readers for making this place possible to begin with.
And remember, You'll Never Walk Alone. I know I sure don't.