Chances are good someone is going to force you to watch a World Cup match in June and July whether you want to or not. So when that time comes, here are six ways you can sound like you know what you're talking about.
1. Know what a cap is.
U.S goalkeeper Tim Howard just got his 100th cap. Cobi Jones is the most capped player in U.S. soccer history with 164. Egypt's Ahmed Hassan has the most caps of any international soccer player in history with 184.
One problem. You have no idea what a cap is.
Before FIFA required teams to wear matching shirts, they wore hats. Each time you appeared in a match for your country, you got a cap. Once technology stepped in and teams wore uniforms, they still called the honor of playing an international match "earning a cap."
2. Hold it (for stoppage time).
Soccer games are 90 minutes … except they aren't. The clock never stops during the game, so if someone dives, scores, or does anything else to stop the game, the clock continues running. When the game hits 90 minutes, the referee adds on any time that was lost due to stoppages in the game, so don't make a run for the bathroom until you're sure the game is over. Otherwise you run the risk of missing someone randomly head butt someone else.
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3. Know what offside is, and know it isn't complicated.
Soccer fans hate when their buddy who spends 11 months out of the year talking to them about the maturation of the read option in the NFL and the superiority of a west coast offense spends one month in June complaining about how he doesn't understand the very basic concept of offside. Soccer fans also hate it when you call offside, "OFFSIDES." There's no "s' at the end, there never was, and never will be, so stop using it.
A player is in offside if he is behind the second-to-last defender when the ball is played to him
4. Don't complain about penalty kicks.
Look, soccer fans don't like penalty kicks either. But when you are only allowed three subs and players are running an average of eight miles per game, at some point it has to stop. So until someone comes up with a better idea, we get penalty kicks. At least isn't an MLS shootout from the '90s.
Which reminds me …
5. If you're going to hate on MLS, at least say the name right.
Many people enjoy ripping on Major League Soccer. Aside from the fact the U.S. starting lineup against Ghana will feature at least three current MLS players if not more, there are multiple reasons we should all be jumping on the MLS bandwagon.
But I'm not here to dissuade you from spewing scorn on America's league. I'm here to correct your phrasing. It isn't "the MLS."
Example: "I hate the MLS because there is no relegation system." Would you watch it if there was? "No, but I just hate the MLS."
You're saying "The Major League Soccer." That's like saying, "The Major League Baseball." Don't say either.
6. It doesn't hurt to casually throw some soccer speak around.
We could tell you how to talk soccer, or we could let our friend Ray Hudson show you. Talk like Ray and be loved forever.