March 7th, 2008

Footie Love: When Did It Start For You?

image: DBFO

It’s Friday, there’s news to report, but none that we can be arsed enough to bring ourselves to discuss (John Carew and Alesha.…we should care as she’s rather cute, and he was voted one of Norway’s hottest guys by Elle magazine, but… meh), Posh’s Vogue cover (she looks nice, but we thought the Elle US cover was spunkier), and so on. We will try to pull ourselves together, but it’s not looking good.

In the meantime, here’s a query dear readers: What first got you hooked on football?  When did you become a fan?  Did it start with a moment, ie a shirtless one, or has it been lifelong?

Before you answer, these are questions meant to be considered whilst nibbling on a chocolate eclair, sipping champs and gazing at your Xabi screensaver as you plan your weekend’s pulling ensemble. Please prepare properly before responding.

imageFYI, our love for the pain and pleasures of the beautiful game hit full stride watching the England/Argentina agony of 1998 (Michael Owen’s golden goal, curtain-haired Becks getting sent off, the freaking penalties); a year later, we crashed a party in London and the sight of Posh ‘n Becks up close and personal, (in their infamous matching Gucci leather outfits) and then-sizzler Ryan Giggs, (who was standing alone amongst the celebs, decked out in a great suit) started a fire under our borrowed Choos.

Oh yes, our obsession with footie and frivolity began to take full, stalked-out shape during those wondrous years of leather and drama and leather-filled drama. What started it for you?

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101 Responses to “Footie Love: When Did It Start For You?”

  1. Kim says:

    My love affair with football began predictably in 1994 during the World Cup in the USA.  When Diana Ross completely missed that penalty kick in the opening ceremonies- I was completely traumatized. 

    I shrieked to my mother that she should have to go back and try again, and she just said, “That’s not how soccer is played, pumpkin.“  I decided to make it my life’s work to find out how the game is actually played, and that’s how I ended up writing about football (and other sports) for a living.

    I had my first insane crush on a footballer in 1998 when Michael Owen began turning heads on the world stage.  My love for Becks started slowly, and grew over the years, so now I just look at him with mild lust and puppyish devotion.

  2. MrsJamieRedknapp says:

    I’m a little bit quick off the mark, but I wanted to share these pics for Upper Torso Monday.…
    Something for everyone, I think.…&searchTerm=david beckham&pageOffset=12
    Yummy.…&searchTerm=xabi alonso&pageOffset=5
    For MrsXabi – you can pay me later. <img src="; width="19" height="19" alt="smile" style="border:0;" />…&searchTerm=xabi alonso&pageOffset=13

    Enjoy girls. x

  3. Eveline says:

    For me it started quite simple. My parents are football addicts. I used to play myself when I was younger. One time, I was on a certain age I began to discover the male race when I saw John Arne Riise taking his shirt off during a celebration. Hooked for life, simple as that.

  4. freddiegirl says:

    Er…Rusty…that’s ok you don’t have to root for the US if you don’t want to.  My point was that quite a few of us will root for an International team due to the love a baller…like Swedish Malin rooting for Spain because of her love of Fernando Torres or my American self rooting for Sweden (as I will be doing again this summer) because of Freddie Ljungberg.

    I do always hope for the US to do well in WCs though..if only because the sport will be more respected/recognized/acknowledged when the US finally does well in a World Cup.

  5. freddiegirl says:

    LOL, Malin…that’s ok.  Fern is pretty cute; I don’t blame you at all…:)

    Trust me…I get it…your wonderful captain steps on the pitch and I don’t see anyone else…I lubs my Fred…he’s so beautiful that he makes hair seem like an afterthought…..

    However, I am realistic about Sweden’s chances for the Euro Cup…after they go out I’ll actually be cheering for Spain as the US and Argentina aren’t allowed to play…..smilesmile

  6. Rusty says:

    ‘scuse me, not Russia, Lithuania. Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania. My sister’s the one who did the family tree project. 10 years ago.

  7. Rusty says:

    freddiegirl, I cannot and will not root for the U.S. As for my background, I could cheer for Ukraine (I try but not really), Belarus (I wouldn’t kick Alexander Hleb out of bed for eating crackers) and Russia (not on my life).

    And completely changing the subject, the term “puta” could totally describe one of my favorite footballers if it had a masculine equivalent.

  8. Freddiegirl: Yes I’m Swedish, but although we do have a great team, I simply can’t resist the spanish beauty of Fernando. Even if he totally lacks the hispanic black-hair-and-brown-eyes appearance that could turn any woman on, he’s Perfect in my eyes. smile

    God, I struggled hard with myself when we…Er,SPAIN were playing Sweden, but in the end, I rooted for La selecci

  9. freddiegirl says:

    I already posted my story about how my Arsenal/Ljungberg love came about but it’s funny how many of us will root for another country in the World and Euro Cups just for love of a baller.  I had to giggle at Malin’s Fernando love…You are in/from Sweden yes?  While the Spanish team are talentend and lust-worthy, (Iker Casillas, anyone?) you abandoned Sweden, not to mention Freddie…to root for Spain????  That’s ok, I’m American…as well as half Argentinean and who did I root for in the WC?  Sweden….:D:D:D:D:D:D:D   All for love of the Fred. Although in the final I did root for France as I have massive respect for Zidane and Thierry at the time was still a Gunner…:)

  10. LFCgal says:

    can i just add that for the first time I shuddered when your homepage came up – the source: Ratboy

    it’s not a pretty picture, made me feel slightly sick, why do this to me kickette? :(

  11. LFCgal says:

    ‘And in the last decade I’ve never heard him curse again. ‘

    Sorry to disappoint you brandy, but he got sent off for Real Madrid after calling another player ‘hijo de puta’ (son of a female dog) smile

    I have a Xabi screensaver! It’s a close up of Xabi’s back from that blessed picture of him and Cesc (who has mysteriously disappeared from the picture – can’t believe I ever liked him, he looks like Fernando Alonso and is all nose, sorry Cesc lusters wink) which kickette posted.

    Can I request something dear kickette? I feel an urging for a Torres picspam – I know it’s tough work, but will you oblige? After all, he is the man of the moment wink

    TFO – I’m sorry to hear of your manure allegience, apart from the 2 FA Cup successes in the 80s, supporting them must have been hard, with Liverpool so overhwelmingly superior, in that decade – 6 league titles, 2 FA cups, 4 League cups (in a row, ahem) and 2 European Cups, the one won in 81 part of 3 Paisley won in 9 years…little disappointing that Fergie’s only won 1 in 22 years isn’t it smile

    …and I shall stop there, sorry couldn’t resist a teensy dig :D

    anyhoo, it all started for me because of my brother who was a mad Liverpool fan, wasn’t too interested til about 2002, then suddenly it all kicked off and I’ve never looked back since…used to cry when Liverpool lost, still do sometimes red face. Xabi awakened me to the fitness of footballers wink

  12. lose that girl says:


    Nice to see another Hargreaves luster here!

  13. Yosie says:

    I never really had a choice really. since i was a baby (1986 to be exact)my dad would sit me on his lap when he was watching the footy at the age of 1 i could tell you the manchester united starting line-up and its been eternal love since, its something that i cant imagine my life without cause i never had a life pre-football.

  14. LoveLamps says:

    BTW Gigi – mid 30s girl and proud here.  To all of the young ladis on the board – May you never outgrow the love for the beautiful game!

  15. kaya says:

    I’m pretty sure Brandy was referring to her father never cursing again, not Beckham. And hijo de puta is roughly translatable to the english equivalent of SOB, but it’s true that the spanish version is considered more offensive than the english…
    It is nice reading the stories here and remembering my own feelings… even if they weren’t from the same side wink (eg watching the spanish fans in 06 holding the “adios zidane” signs crying =))
    With the whole world in on it, football really is the beautiful game from the skills and the athletes to the fans and the traditions. And yeah, football (soccer) boys are totally rad.

  16. LoveLamps says:

    2002 was the year and Chelsea was the team.  I was stuck in a horrible marriage (proud to say it’s over now and I am very happily divorced) and seeking escapism at every turn.  I had just gotten DirecTv and become exposed to the sport from across the pond via the old Fox World Sports now Fox Soccer Channel.  In my job, I work with people from all over the world and at the time, I just happened to be working with quite a few Brits.  In talking with one, I explained I was just getting into footie and asked him for suggestions on a team.  He suggested Chelsea and his rationale was that they are a London team with a good coach (then Ranieri) and a long history.  I tuned into a game, saw Frank Lampard’s thighs and have been in love with the beautiful game ever since.

    In 2004 when I finally got divorced and was new to a new place, I signed up for a soccer league.  I’d never played before and have absolutely no atheletic ability, but found fun and friends and the love continues to grow today!

  17. jax says:

    TFO Thankfully I’ve moved on from Kev but have learned to love the game aswell as the players so some good came out of it !

    Nowadays I can’t help having a soft spot (read lust) for Owen Hargreaves and assorted others but feel slightly icky about it considering I’m probably old enough to be their mother. Ironically my name is Mrs Robinson…..

  18. Anamarija says:

    For me it was World Cup 98,wow when I think of it now it seams like a lifetime ago,I was a kid,naive,full of illusions and dreams and…I found out that dreams can come true…that’s when I fell in love with football;when seeing the croatian national team make it to the third place.I think that was THE moment I lost my heart to the game.Then i became a fan of Real and when I know think of my team with Raul,Figo,Zidane,Becks…wow…I must admit I didn’t follow the games for a long time,but watching my team in Champions Leaggue this year and seeing them lose against Roma broke my heart.There I things in your life that come and go,but some stay for a lifetime,like football.It will always be the lovestory of my life <img src="; width="19" height="19" alt="grin" style="border:0;" />And I am already looking forward to everything that is coming
    DUDU I just LOOOOve you:-)

  19. thee_gerrards says:

    well i’ve always luved the bootiful game but i got into the players wen i saw steve’s little family and also like a bit b4 lexie was born i jus luvvd it i luvd how cute his kids were i lud how glam alex was i jus luvd evryfin bout it i guess

  20. StevieG says:

    sorry bout tht i mean inspiration*

  21. StevieG says:

    for me it was lifelong and also i’ve supported liverpool all my life and liverpool always made things more interesting and also stevie Gs inpiration

  22. haishin says:


  23. ches says:

    Shina: Nakata – what eye candy huh? :D

  24. The Fourth Official says:

    Girls, a round of supportive applause for Jax.  <nods in understanding sympathy>  I’ve made my share of shameful confessions here at Kickette.  I have seen old photos of KK, and I get the whole ‘70s vibe (been there, did the disco), but just please assure me that you aren’t still hot for Kevin Keegan?  Please?

  25. jax says:

    So glad that his topic came up so I can finally confess the guilty secret i’ve kept for so long – I know you are the only ones who will understand.

    I fell in love with Kevin Keegan when he played for Liverpool and he came to train at the English Army camp in Moenchengladbach, Germany where my dad was stationed in the 70’s. I loooooved his tight curly permed hair.

    There I’ve confessed and I feel much better…..

  26. Ally says:

    I found a bootleg of a game on the Madison Square Garden Channel, and loved it – research on the internet led me to discover a man called Roy Keane. I made an effort, as much as I could, to catch as many games as I could – watching Liverpool, Aston Villa, Spurs, Arsenal, and my first game, Manchester United 1 – 0 Chelsea. Six months later, the World Cup came around and I fell in love with the football of a man called Cristiano Ronaldo. Manchester United pulled me in and never let me go, and the rest, as they say, is history. <img src="; width="19" height="19" alt="wink" style="border:0;" />

  27. cheryl bites says:

    I played from the age of six, usually with boys as I am from the wilds of Central Texas and when I was growing up "soccer" was still considered a communist sport. I am not kidding, either

  28. Kelly says:

    As an American, I was always an elitist thinker believing that American football was the only football game to be watched.

    It wasn't until 2 years ago when I was studying abroad in Rome that I got a dose of reality: the US is probably the only country in the world that doesn't watch soccer/football.

    I lived above a pizzeria in Trastevere and luckily for me, the pizza shop was owned by someone connected with the AS Roma team. After months of convincing, I begrudgingly attended a game between Lazio and Roma at Stadio Olimpico. The cannons and fireworks every time someone scored knocked me off my feet. The spirit of the fans, the players and the game itself had me hooked. That game beat any and all aspects of American football including my favorite pastime of tailgating.

    Mid-game I had an epiphany: those Italian players were hot! Then I started googling and stumbled upon other hot players. Spanish ones, English ones, Brazilian ones OH MY! Since then, I try to stay in the know with the sport although I do not actually catch many games. I have to hit the bars (now living in NYC) to catch matches at awkward times of the day but I do put in the effort every now and then to watch any of the big four English teams.

    I just stumbled upon Kickette in December through my sports blog reading (MachoChip and With Leather) and it’s been difficult to keep up with you girls!

    On a different note, I am attempting to get to my first English game in April if my travel schedule permits. I'm visiting a college friend now living in Chelsea and we are trying desperately to make something work!

  29. cheryl bites says:

    LFCgal: unless I’m much mistaken, “puta” does not mean “female dog”…

    And Malin: haaaa! Poor Fernando doesn’t look overwhelmingly delighted about holding that baby. XD

  30. Whoa, So now is the time to confess that at first, my football love was based on looks.

    When I started high school I got a friend who was, and of course, still is, a very, VERY passionate Arsenal fan. (Not with her on that one though…) And most of all, Cesc. She played football herself so her love for him was half skill and half look I would say. When World Cup 06 started, she followed his every step on the TV. And, since he played for Spain, she followed them too. I, on the other hand, was most uninterested.

    Until one day att school, when my best friend tried to convince another one of our friends to give up her Barca/Deco love and convert to Fernando Torres, who she also found very hot. And of course, an excellent striker with killer pace. Giving up on the Barca lover, who simply refused, she turned to me.

    I was still not interested, but the same evening it was time for Spain to play Ukraine. I had nothing to do and was quite bored, so I sat down and decided to see what all the fuss was about. (Both the game, and this widely heard of Fernando Torres) The National Anthem of Spain was playing, and the screen showed that wonderful moment when all the players are standing with their arms on each other and listening (or singing) their anthem. The camera wandered from player to player…

    And suddenly, there he was. And I was just dumbstruck. I had never, ever seen anyone like him. He was so very beautiful I could hardly breath. After that I simply couldn’t leave the sofa. And then they played, and scored, and I was jumping with exitement, cheering, screaming for the entire 90 minute match. I loved it. I harrassed my friend with numerous text messages such as “Tell me all about him! Who is he?“ and “Whoa, did you SEE that? He tricked them all!“ She was very pleased that I was finally a football fan. I’ve been ever since, although I must admit that I mostly support Fernando, as a typical fangirl. I simply can’t help myself, I convert to a 13-year-old whenever he shows on the pitch.

    However, one can’t deny the lush appearance of Cristiano. Nothing compared to Fernando of course, but still. <img src="; width="19" height="19" alt="wink" style="border:0;" />

  31. Drea says:

    Definitely Beckham. No question about it. Plus the hype around him before WC 02.

  32. The Fourth Official says:

    Carly, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry for poor Rio!  Just a weird flukey game, where we wasted a lot of chances to score, and the better team on the day won, and that’s what the Cup is all about.  I thought Sol Campbell was simply outstanding. 

    Mrs. X – bring on the upper torsos!!  Though, personally, I’m a butt admirer, a good set of pecs runs a close second.  smile

  33. carly says:

    TFO – tell me about it! That first game was craaazy. I’ll never forget Rio’s expression after the penalty. He looked like he couldn’t believe what had just happened. Neither could I!

  34. MrsXabiAlonso says:

    Wow, Malin that is quite a pic spam.  But I must say I am really feeling the Torres love.  Think it might have something to do with him scoring so freeley lately smile

    Very good day in the FA Cup, I’m glad that not one of the ‘big clubs’ will be winning it this season.  I’m personally going for Pompy!!!

    Upper torso mondays?? Christ it’s lucky I have no life, off to start the hunt now!!

  35. The Fourth Official says:

    “TFO – I’m sorry to hear of your manure allegience, apart from the 2 FA Cup successes in the 80s, supporting them must have been hard, with Liverpool so overhwelmingly superior, in that decade . . .“

    Thanks for the sympathy, LFCgal.  On the bright side, at least it hasn’t been three decades since my team was overwhelmingly superior. 

    And funnily enough, it’s never been hard not to be a Liverpool supporter. 

    Malin, I appreciate the Torres pics.  A very very beautiful boy. 

    What an exciting, dramatic FA Cup round today! This is what the FA Cup is all about, eh? The stuff of dreams *and* nightmares for true fans of the game!  Even if it won’t be ours this year, I really do love the FA Cup.  Congratulations to Portsmouth and Barnsley supporters.

  36. Since I have no life whatsoever, I decided to make the Torres picspam happen:

    One of the first moments:…

    Hot and sandy on the beach:…

    All sweaty:…

    He hasn’t always had the horrible hairstyle:…

    For all of those who believes that he would make a great father to you children:…

    He’s amazingly hot when celebrating his goals:…

    I simply enjoyed this one <img src="; width="19" height="19" alt="smile" style="border:0;" /> :….

    That smile makes me melt every time:…


    Well, ahem, this was also rather enjoyable <img src="; width="19" height="19" alt="smile" style="border:0;" />:…


    Hope you enjoyed it. Lol. <img src="; width="19" height="19" alt="smile" style="border:0;" />

  37. Sarah says:

    For me, it started in the ‘02 World Cup, when I was 13.  Brian McBride and his goal against Portugal…*sigh*.  Soon after that we got digital cable at my house and I discovered the amazingness that is Fox Soccer Channel, and the rest is history.  It’s been hot shirtless men with accents from that moment on. <img src="; width="19" height="19" alt="smile" style="border:0;" />

  38. c9 says:

    Boy you really must have been busy yesterday MrsXabi. Thanks for the great pics, I really appreciate the Michael Owen love there <img src="; width="19" height="19" alt="cheese" style="border:0;" />

    Remember “Upper Torso Mondays”  <img src="; width="19" height="19" alt="wink" style="border:0;" />

  39. I might have gone a little bit over the top there. But whatever, it was well used time. smile

  40. Shina says:

    Hey, this is my very first comment for Kickette!!
    This thread interests me so much… So now here I am!! <img src="; width="19" height="19" alt="tongue wink" style="border:0;" />

    I think I’m starting to love football since the 2002 WC; but haven’t really got all crazy about it. Back in that time I really love to watch Hidetoshi Nakata and Zinedine Zidane played, I stayed up all night just to watch every single game they played!!

    But it was just a short-term love! In about two years later, after so much ‘begging’ and ‘crying’, my parents finally put up tv cable and the very first time I watch CHELSEA FC plays, i immediately fall in love!! And the very first sight of John Terry also amaze me. In my opinion, he is a very dedicated person and has so much integrity to the team.

    Not to mention good-looking too!! (too bad he’s taken!! XD )

    So yeah, I’m new to this incredible world of football, but hey! I’m 16, I still have many time to catch up!!

    Forgive the bad grammar!! English is not my native languange, and like I’ve told you before, I’m 16, so I’m still learning..

  41. MrsXabiAlonso says:

    My first crush was Owen when I was about 10!! And I thought I had a chance of marrying him one day, Oh such stupidness.
    I really started watching and understanding football in about 2003/2004 and since then I havn’t looked back.  I can’t imagine my life without it, when people say they don’t like football all I can do is look at them with a very blank stare and go huh?! I just don’t understand how you can’t.

    Thank you soooo much c9 for the yummy Xabi pic’s, ooohh I do love that man.
    I’m a little late seeing as it’s saturday now but I don’t suppose you will complain.
    Sooo here’s my Fitness Friday piccy’s…..…………  Oohh he just soo yummy <img src="; width="19" height="19" alt="smile" style="border:0;" />…

    Ok I think that’s enough to get you through the rest of the weekend.  Enjoy my Fitness Friday (even though it’s saturday) <img src="; width="19" height="19" alt="smile" style="border:0;" />

  42. FT9FTW says:

    ROFLMAO @ Malin because my story is quite similar to yours.<img src="; width="19" height="19" alt="wink" style="border:0;" />

    My dad was never a superb athlete, but he sure loved watching sports on TV. My earliest memories of soccer was Brazil winning the world cup back in ‘94. Of course, growing up here in the America, I thought it was ludicrous how there were so many people going bonkers over a soccer trophy.

    Fast forward 12 summers later and I find myself watching Spain vs. Tunisia. Little did I know that THAT was the game that was going to change the rest of my life. LOL. I’ve never really fancied freckled blondes, but Fernando Torres changed all of that. His goal celebration was the cutest thing and I fell in love with his smooth skills. Then I spotted David Villa and Xabi Alonso and so now heart and soul belong to La Selecci

  43. April says:

    It started a bit before the 2006 World Cup. I was cheering for my boys (USA). I started crying when we got eliminated. Lol.

  44. LFCgal: Did I hear someone say “Torres picspam”?

    Well if Kickette doesn’t do it I could easily do it myself. <img src="; width="19" height="19" alt="smile" style="border:0;" />

    I’m on my waaaay…

    Oh the securitything certainly knows how to describe such things as Torres picspams: “art65”)

  45. LFCgal says:

    actually, I lied, Owen was my first ‘baller crush but I’ve tried to bury that memory because he broke my heart when he deserted us <img src="; width="19" height="19" alt="long face" style="border:0;" />

  46. Becca x says:

    Well my love for football only started a few years back. Being only 14, i obviously never had that appeal for footballers when i was young. I would say my love for footballers started in 2005 and my first football love was (and still is) Frank Lampard. I started to like footabllers more when i started secondary school in 2005 and we used to have little convosations in our class about the fittest footballers, And alan smith, frank lampard and joe cole were always among the list! So for me, thats were it all started. And now ill never look back. I cant go a day without thinking about a footballer. <img src="; width="19" height="19" alt="smile" style="border:0;" />

  47. cheryl bites says:

    When did you become a fan?  Did it start with a moment, ie a shirtless one,

    Pardon? There is no reason why footballing epiphanies have to involve the loss of a shirt. For me, actually, it started with a long coat…

  48. The Fourth Official says:

    Oh, this is a nice thread.  Hmmmm.  Trying to remember how it started for me, but it was definitely the very early 1980s, because I had a crush on Mark Hughes, who was sensational (many younger fans today see him as a manager only, but he was a simply awesome forward).  I spent a summer when I was in grad school taking care of an elderly English gentleman who was a Man United follower, and he would tell me lots of stories about the old footballers and the Babes. And I just got hooked.

    Being a Canadian woman, and having a huge family that is very involved in semi-pro and professional hockey,  I certainly stood out as somewhat strange. (Nothing changes really!)  No cable networks then, of course, and only occasionally would a Canadian television network broadcast a match, so it was a matter of finding a pub that had a satellite dish.  Fortunately, there is a big ex-pat community in my city and lots of English-style pubs where the customers follow football and rugby pretty closely.  No internet, of course, so I had to buy English newspapers and magazines (which were very expensive here) to try to follow the football stories (usually a week after they broke).

    Being a fan thousands of miles from Old Trafford certainly got easier with the advent of cable networks and the internet.  <img src="; width="19" height="19" alt="smile" style="border:0;" />

  49. Pavi says:

    I think my love for football started back during the 2002 WC but it became an official obsession after the 2006 WC.  Growing up in the US with an Indian family meant that I was never exposed to football as a kid since my family either watched football (American) or cricket.  But during the 2002 WC I would stay up all night to watch the England matches since they were on in the middle of the night. 

    Then during my junior year of college I studied abroad in London and my entire dorm room was plastered with pictures of Michael Owen (so I guess he’s my first football love). 

    But I really fell in love with football after watching the 2006 WC and seeing Steven Gerrard play, and that’s when I became a Liverpool fan and I haven’t looked back since.  And I can’t forget to mention that I also fell in love with Luca Toni after the 2006 WC too.

    So even though I’m a newbie to the football love…it’s true love.

  50. hitzelle says:

    haha~ this is a nice thread..
    my footie love began… mmmm…i think with brazil and the world cup >___< heeeh, we watch alot of football, my family and i, and so then when i was 6, i fell in love with liverpool ^^[the treble season just had me hoooked], then real madrid..then it just grewwww =D
    [im 14 too btw =p]

  51. Jenna says:

    Eh, I can tell you where my footy love did not begin: Gary Neville. Thank you for putting me off my hot cocoa.

    I played from the age of six, usually with boys as I am from the wilds of Central Texas and when I was growing up “soccer” was still considered a communist sport. I am not kidding, either—my Physics teacher who doubled as the basketball coach, of course—called me Red Commie. It has less to do with my love of Liverpool and more to do with preconceived notions of what he thought football was: A subversive movement to make America Communist.

    Go figure.

    Anyhoo, I’ve always loved the game. Cute boys were a just a very nice bonus. Very, very nice. <img src="; width="19" height="19" alt="smile" style="border:0;" /> Earliest admiration of a footy players *assets* (as it were)—the hot cocoa is telling me to come clean and admit my Dino Baggio crush (such a lovely mullet, he had—those Italians know how to grow them), but I’m sure there were some earlier ones where I wasn’t focusing so much on the face.

  52. Rusty says:

    I typed this huge long post then closed the firefox window!!

    I actually played soccer, in the position of dandelion-picking back, as a child, but I first started paying attention to it while watching France in their home World Cup. I am a recovering Manchester United fan, I am anti-Scouse-wannabe (as in, I HATE the local Liverpool fans because they once threw something at me when I got tired of the Steven Gerrard song,) and I am the World War II-era anomaly who follows England, France and Germany.

    I still like Zinedine Zidane after his headbutt. I like Alan Smith *because* I think he’s awful. I like Michael Ballack because…well, I started to like him because his last name is funny when you have the sense of humor of a 12-year-old boy, but he’s actually a great football player. (I like Kaka too because his name is funny and he’s supposedly an even better football player.) I’m trying to like Cristiano Ronaldo, but I still can’t.

    I’ve been “almost over Becks” for a year, and I’m bitter because he didn’t play for the Galaxy against the Revolution last year. I’ve been a fan of his since 1998 and I still haven’t seen him play in person.

    keyword: turn16, which my sense of humor still hasn’t done.

  53. Elise says:

    TFO, I almost posted that pic, too, but I have to be honest…I didn’t because I’m a bit disappointed by the relative smallness of the package.  I had greater expectations I think.  He is definitely one of the most beautiful men alive, but the package…maybe the pants were just too tight…yeah, yeah, that’s it..the pants were too tight, holding it all in.  I can feel much better about that.  Or is it just me?  Have I spent too much time looking at excessively large packages that I am now warped in my expectations? LOL Seriously.  And of course, any ‘package’ pics which may help me answer this question are very welcome!  <img src="; width="19" height="19" alt="tongue wink" style="border:0;" />

  54. freddiegirl says:

    I’ve always liked ‘soccer’ as it’s called here in the States as I played as a child…when I was a teenager I had to choose between that and gymnastics and it was gymnastics that was going to get me a scholarship so……  I always supported the US women’s national team and watched my first WC in ‘98.

    But….it wasn’t until 2002 during my first trip to London that I fell in love with club football…or any of the players.  A good friend took me to see the Arsenal/Chelsea FA Cup final as he had an extra ticket.  That’s when I saw a beautiful, punky looking fellow with a fabby red fauxhawk speed by a rather largish defender I now know to be John Terry, stumble, right himself and then score one over the keeper.  I fell in love with both him and his team that day.  Arsenal are my team and Freddie Ljungberg, although he no longer plays for them will always be my first and only true ‘football’ love.

  55. ches says:

    1998 World Cup – Michael Owen. raspberry

    But I only started watching the Premier League regularly after the 2006 World Cup. Mainly because of a gorgeous Portuguese who now plays in red. wink

  56. mimi says:

    PLONK! …. that was the sound of me fainting – looking at all those totti, the hottie pics. Whataman. Why haven’t I thought about him for so long?
    By the way, did you know that he published a book with jokes being told about him being kinda stupid? Proceeds went to charity. Hot, rich and generous. Droool.

  57. arnique says:

    Arsenal vs Villareal second leg in the Champions League, I think. After that I found myself randomly watching football matches on TV. Then suddenly it was Arsenal Arsenal Arsenal. I was halfway through obsession before I even realised I’d started.

  58. The Fourth Official says:

    Gigi, were you not paying attention during the “how old are you, TFO?“ discussion the other day?  I’m 49.  That’s *really* smarmy.  So, you are just fine. 

    Now, I *have* to go. . . . <running late, fixing makeup, getting dressed>

  59. Meriam says:

    TFO – I got your reference but I guessed that everyone must think that I’m such a horny kid anyway <img src="; width="19" height="19" alt="tongue rolleye" style="border:0;" />

    I really shouldn’t think about these men the way I do, it can’t be normal…

  60. The Fourth Official says:

    By the way, girls, no one got my “small or not so small” reference.  You disappoint me, all of you. <img src="; width="19" height="19" alt="wink" style="border:0;" />

    Got to go – catch you all next week.

  61. Gigi says:

    Is anyone else here in there, ahem, later 30’s?

    TFO, words escape me over that photo of Totti. <img src="; width="19" height="19" alt="red face" style="border:0;" />

  62. The Fourth Official says:

    A reporter for The Independent tries to get to the bottom of the shirt rule:…

    Gigi:  sharing the Neville love.  Can’t be a moment too soon before our Captain returns.

    Treble:  DON’T JINX IT.

  63. cheryl bites says:

    Also, does anyone else not think Elise's picture of Totti looks a little like Ryan Stiles from Whose Line Is It Anyway?
    Just wondering

  64. Meriam says:

    Why exactly does that rule about removing the shirt exist? Is there actually a valid reason or is it just FIFA trying to ruin our lives?

    Also, does anyone else not think Elise’s picture of Totti looks a little like Ryan Stiles from Whose Line Is It Anyway?
    Just wondering…

    Oh and Becca and Cate, I’m only 16 – you’re not alone :D

  65. Gigi says:

    Kickette, I must thank you for putting up a photo of my cute and rather absent captain, Mr. Neville.  I must admit that at first glance, I thought that maybe, just maybe, he was back, and then I saw who was standing next to him, looked at the kit and the absence of a frown on his face, and realised that it was an old photo, and my dreams were dashed.  He will return.  He must return.  Not that I don’t love me some Giggs and Rio taking his place, but the rightful wearer of the captain’s band is Gary.

    Being the proud daughter of an Argentine, it is in my blood.  I grew up watching the beautiful game at many a backyard barbeque, with my normally well behaved father and his friends screaming, cursing and jumping for joy when our beloved Albicelestes scored a goal, even the infamous “Mano de Dios.“  Right or wrong, the goal was counted, and we eventually went on to win the cup.  As all of you know, there are many unfair decisions that the referees make, or don’t make, for that matter, and someone is almost always left disappointed.  Perfect example, World Cup 2006 when Germany defeated us by injuring our goalkeeper and having him leave the pitch.  Klose should have been carded as far as I was concerned, but didn’t even get a caution, if memory serves me well.  Was so upset that I almost cancelled my trip to Germanyt and sold my ticket to the final.  Glad that I didn’t, because my ancesters, the Italians, went on to defeat(ha ha) Germany in the semis, and win the title.

    Not quite sure when I became a Red Devil, but one day I just did, and I never looked back.  TFO and K312, I hope that it is our year to win the Treble again.  Come on United!!!!

    One last thing.  I must admit that the lure of the game has a teeny weeny bit to do with the astounding beauty that sooo many of the boys have.  Or is it that they are beautiful to me because they play the only game in the world that matters?

  66. RedGirl says:

    I got the footie love as a really little girl, my first memory is from the game that Boca Juniors (my team) lost against Newell’s Old Boys (a team from Rosario, the city where I live). I was 4 or 5 and I remember telling my grandma (a Newell’s supporter) to leave the house because she came just to laugh at us. Of course the love grew a lot more for the World Cup 1998.

    And my passion for Liverpool started when I started to watch the Premier League back in 2005. Now I can’t spend a day without going to the site looking for news or watching some videos and I can’t wait to see them on the weekends. I really enjoy the games and I suffer if Rafa makes a wrong choice… but I know I can’t help it, I’m very passionate about my club and my lads.

  67. kaya says:

    Totti sure is a looker… but I’m sorry, those I-talians make me laugh. What *is* that unitard thing he’s wearing?
    I say we petition FIFA to reinstate jersey removing celebrations… and encourage removal of the shorts if they want to go for that, too.

  68. brandy says:

    Thank you, oh thank you for all the Totti links – that man is GORGEOUS!

  69. Gigi says:

    TFO, I got it.  Just trying not to be SUCH a smarmy old broad, lusting after all these hot, young things, when the median age here seems to be somewhere around 17.  Aaahhhhh…. Totti.  And Gary….  And Rio….  And Gattuso….  And Heinze….  And Thierry….  And the list could go on and on and on….

  70. c9 says:

    Geez, TFO what are you trying to do?????
    Are you trying to give my friend and I a heart attack?!?  <img src="; width="19" height="19" alt="big surprise" style="border:0;" />
    Totti, so beautiful from any angle (seeing stars, and salivating on keyboard).

  71. c9 says:

    TFO, I also love that picture! Thanks for the Totti love everyone, of course it was more focused for “Fitness Fridays”  <img src="; width="19" height="19" alt="wink" style="border:0;" />

  72. The Fourth Official says:

    One more of my favourite Totti shots: just his face, but the face of a warrior.

  73. The Fourth Official says:

    My small (or not so small) contribution to the Hotti Totti love:…

  74. Elise says:

    It’s really only been a few years for me- since John and Frank signed for Chelsea, though that was just coincidence.  I had never thought too much of the game, but one day I flicked on the tv and Chelsea were playing Arsenal at Stamford Bridge.  I started watching, thinking ‘okay, what’s so great about this crap?‘  It was the start of the game.  90 minutes later I was still sitting there watching, heart still pounding, nails chewed off, quite interested in finding out just who this John Terry person was and why he was suddenly all I could think about!  I’ve been obsessed with football (and obviously JT) ever since.  Just seeing a Chelsea blue jersey makes my heart happy!  But I’ll watch anybody really- doesn’t matter the team, because I love the game. Makes me angry it took me so long to get it!  I love the stories of people who have been fans for ages, through ups and downs and all that.  That’s shared history and it’s awesome.  I have a friend who was born and lived in London most of his life (he lives down in Bristol now) and has been an Arsenal fan for 30 years (yes, and he’s *still* my friend!  LOL We share a common bond of hatred for Tottenham, and try not to speak to each other for a few days after Chelsea and Arsenal play!)

    I am loving all this Totti attention, too.  Here’s my contribution:…

  75. klyn312 says:

    No Kaya, I too hold that grudge… how could FIFA betray us like that? tragic!

  76. brandy says:

    LOL Kaya – I grew up and now live behind the Orange Curtain too! Year of ‘94 <img src="; width="19" height="19" alt="wink" style="border:0;" />

    I never saw the tv show either but it was out when I lived in Paris and everyone thought I was crazy for leaving such a perfect place lol… After 7 years away, I’ve come back to find it EXTREMELY different from when I left it. Thank goodness I did leave it for a while, or else I never would have discovered the beautiful game <img src="; width="19" height="19" alt="smile" style="border:0;" />

    And I’m with you, I think a petition should be drawn up to get rid of that no-shirts-off celebration rule! It’s AWFUL!

  77. kaya says:

    I’m a bit ashamed to say I grew up playing soccer and had not a clue that grown men played the sport. I blame it on the Orange Curtain.
    There’s this place in California where I come from called Orange County. Apparently there’s even a tv show that supposedly takes place there (I hope it hasn’t been exported as it sounded terrible). It’s a kind of BS portrayal of the place as now it’s a pretty diverse area, but back when I was going to primary and high school (I graduated HS in 93), it was *not*. I was in my freshman year of college when the World Cup came to the US and I was baffled. Unfortunatey, I couldn’t find any of my US boys attractive… possibly due in part to the uniform.
    I think besides the masses of people travelling from so far to see the games, the eye-popping experience for me was the aftermath of the US defeat of Colombia. I knew it (the own goal) was a big deal, but when I heard what happened to Escobar, it really sunk in that the world is a very different place than the U.S. alone.
    It wasn’t until I moved up to San Francisco in 1998 that I really found considerable groups of ex-pats (and the financial wherewithal to travel outside the US).
    For me, it’s always been about the world cup. It’s kind of hard for me to follow the leagues because I don’t have cable (I hate tv besides football), but that doesn’t stop me from trying. Thank god for the internet. And hi-def cable/sattelite.
    Am I the only one who still holds a grudge against FIFA for making it a yellow card violation for a player to celebrate a goal by taking off his jersey?

  78. Anja says:

    My first boyfriend was a goalkeeper for his local team and he was talking about football all the time. Then, one day, he made me watch “that stupid game”. It was 2001/2002 Champions league final and as you can imagine, all the atmosphere, the crowd, Zizou’s goal and everything I saw – totally enchanted me… And here I am, not with that guy anymore, not supporting Real Madrid, but still obsessed! And oops, every other guy I dated in my life, was a baller, so… Yeah, I love football.

  79. Kaya says:

    Oh no!!! They *did* export “The OC”?!?!?
    Dear overseas Kickettes, please accept my apologies.
    I could add that I split my university time between UC San Diego and UC Irvine. I was in my last year of school during the 1998 World Cup and one of my most difficult memories was the US losing to Iran. Irvine has the largest expatriat persian community in *I think* the world, and I thus had and have quite a few persian friends.
    Watching the US vs Iran game with some of my good persian friends turned out to be an odd challenge for both of us!
    God I can’t wait til 2010…

  80. Sarah x says:

    My Love For Footballers Started a Few Years Back.. I Can Remember Quite Clearly, I Was At My Nans and MY Cousin Was Trying To Explain To Me Who All The Chelsea Players Were, I Supposed I Just Got Drawn To Them, Frank Lampard, Joe Cole And John Terry Were My Fave And Still Are To Day raspberry
    How Cute? Right.. raspberry

  81. Becca x says:

    Cate, How Old Are you Btw? Lol Just Thought Id Ask. I Feel Really New To This Whole Thing Too, Im only 14 red face . But I Love A bit Of Football smile Lol. Im Finding Alot Of Manchester United Fans On This Website But Im Chelsea Through And Through.

  82. Lil' says:

    and my love of the game started at the same moment,  I believe,
    depending on how Marseilles played as it is MY team

  83. Lil' says:

    i think it all started for me with the world cup in France, as I am French and my first crush was on Michael Owen, I loved him and still do actually…

    and i guess i was also in love with the whole French team especially Henry and Tezeguet except Emmanuel Petit, never liked long hair on men
    Since then it has never stopped …
    I was almost eleven
    ten years already

  84. mimi says:

    yeahh… Totti (thanks for the pic). Forgot about my “Italian phase”. Love Totti. Loads. Annoyed my Italian ex-boyfriend with it. Good times.

  85. c9 says:

    The adrenaline rush, the scream of GGGOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLLLL, the looks you get from all the cute football boys!!!! I played community football since I was 9 and still participate in the occasional adult coed league community games. That’s where it all started….the Brazilian teams, Hamm, Baggio, Figo, Pele, you name it all of them were an inspiration for me.

    Although career took over my ambition to become a professional woman footballer (haha), my passion for the sport has never died. It has somewhat been rekindled by the likes of none other than Cristiano, Fabio, Freddie, Becks and many others!

    And a little off topic, here are the “Friday Fitness” pics, ENJOY <img src="; width="19" height="19" alt="wink" style="border:0;" />

    This one’s for you MrsXabi-…

    Oh and just one more for ‘ya-…

    Come on Totti, a little more to the left-…

    My superman-…

    • pissed says:

      Please stop hotlinking images from other people’s photobuckets. Re-upload those images to your OWN computer, re-host them on your OWN server before posting.

  86. linz says:

    i agree…i like this thread too—its fun to figure out when our obsessions started, haha

    i started watching hardcore football in 2006 with the world cup…i watched here and there whatever game Beckham was playing before the Cup, cuz he’s just david beckham.  But after watching the World Cup and routing for England i noticed hotties on the team: Frank Lampard, John Terry, Joe Cole, Michael Owen, even Steven Gerrard’s not bad to look at.
    Beckham came to America and I realized my family has the Fox Soccer Channel, so i became addicted to watching games and noticed a preview for a match with Chelsea and went online and saw that a lot of the players I liked on England’s squad played for Chelsea, so my love started there and has been with them ever since….pretty shallow for liking the team for that reason, but it works for me, haha

  87. mimi says:

    Well, my love for football came in different waves – we are currently on the peak of wave three with no end in sight. The following will contain some quite embarrasing confessions – so I do feel like I deserved that glass of red wine right next to me.

    Phase One: late 80s (I think) – I had a massive but secret girl crush on German footballer Pierre Litbarski. He was cool, gave fun interviews and had the worst bow legs you can imaging. I think he played for K

  88. Sara says:

    My love of the game started with that incredible 1999 Champions League win for Man Utd.

    My love of the ‘ballers started with the wonderful fight between Olof Mellberg and Freddie Ljungberg at the 2002 World Cup. A seminal sexy footballing moment for me!!  <img src="; width="19" height="19" alt="wink" style="border:0;" />

  89. lose that girl says:

    I love the personal stories here!

    For me, it would have started around 1993. I’m Canadian but with English/Scottish heritage so all things British are common place in my family. My love for the beautiful game came out of that…it just seemed natural to add to my love of UK bands, actors, tv programs, magazines that I’d adopt a football team too. Manchester United were the only team for me. My friend was a huge Cantona fan and I followed suit drooling over Giggs and Lee Sharpe (remember him?). We both joined the local supporters’ club and watched from afar.

    In 1993, I went on my first trip to the UK and got to see my first REAL live soccer game on British soil. Unfortunately, it was Derby County vs. Notts County but it was awesome nonetheless.

    A year later, I went back with my friend and this time, we had tix for the Man Utd. vs. QPR season opener at OT. Our seats were only 5 rows from the pitch and Cantona was suspended but we still got great pix of him as he stood just over from where we were seated. It was such an amazing experience to tour the stadium, shop in the Mega Store and wear our kit around Manchester for the week.

    Despite having visited the UK in the double digits, I haven’t been back for another match at OT, but am planning on going with my Brit husband who conveniently is also a Man Utd fan!  <img src="; width="19" height="19" alt="grin" style="border:0;" />

    And he doesn’t even mind that I’m obsessed with Owen Hargreaves —now that’s love! (Joe Cole…now, that one he’s not as cool about because of his Chelsea affiliation)

  90. Meriam says:

    It has to be the FA Cup in 2005 (I think) which Liverpool won. Just the excitement and the passion was addictive.
    After that I topped watching for a little while, but then come the WC in 2006, i made sure I watched every single game and after that, if there is no football I feel like my week has been awful!

    And as for supporting Mancheer United, I only did it to annoy my Dad because he hated them, but then Ronaldo came to Old Trafford, and I’ve never looked back since…

    Not to say that if he ever leaves I would no longer supportUtd, he was just the reason, now I am in love with them.

  91. carly says:

    Cheryl Bites :D ha!

    For me it was back in 1994, I was a child. It wasn’t about the shirts or the lack of them, it was something much more profound – the actual GAME!

    I started watching my local team avidly. I must admit that there was a Russian player that I really liked <img src="; width="19" height="19" alt="wink" style="border:0;" /> Who knew that would only be the beginning of a life-long disease?? (by that I mean the football crave)

  92. lose that girl says:

    Forgot to add…

    *love* the photo of Gary and Becks btw!

    Even the G’Nev looks to be oggling David!

    Love Gary Neville <sigh>

  93. cheryl bites says:

    Cut me some slack, I’m from Leeds D: Growing up, I thought football was all about vile English scum who set ice-cream vans on fire. I was dead surprised in the mid-Noughties when I suddenly noticed all these classy Europeans had moved in.

  94. brandy says:

    OOOOO! I LOVE this thread!

    How funny Kickette – it happened for me the same year, even the same moment as you! My mom had just married an Englishman and as my family is Italian-American, we had decided to root for Italy by way of putting a basil plant and a bag of spaghetti on an alter by the TV to counter his wearing of England kits of yore <img src="; width="19" height="19" alt="smile" style="border:0;" /> He would bring home fish and chips when England played <img src="; width="19" height="19" alt="smile" style="border:0;" /> I’ll never forget when Becks got sent off he said *the f word* and walked out. And now he is the posh kind of English man from a diplomatic family/boarding school etc and had NEVER been heard to curse EVER. But he did that day. And in the last decade I’ve never heard him curse again.

    That’s where I fell in love with the game and all that it encompasses. The passion, the obsession, the pride, the heartbreak – all of it! Ever since I have been a die hard. I was sambaing in the streets of Paris when Brasil won with all the other Brazilians, went crazy in the streets of Rome when they won, have been in Barcelona when my Real was playing Barca… there is nothing like it <img src="; width="19" height="19" alt="smile" style="border:0;" /> It truly is the beautiful game!

    He still hasn’t forgiven him lol. I have moved on, but again, I am more partial to the beauty of Becks Beauty than he is <img src="; width="19" height="19" alt="wink" style="border:0;" />

  95. steph says:

    Vintage Beckham has got nothing on Beckham in Emporio Armani pants. For me football got interesting when Rebecca Loos sold her David sex stories, the last World Cup – Zidane is one sexy French beast that I’d happily tame, and when I first logged onto kickette!

  96. klyn312 says:

    don’t worry Cate..I may be a “grown woman” but , at most times, mentally, I’m still 18.. hahaha.

  97. Cate says:

    Wow, reading all these, I realize I’m the youngster of the group. I started following World Cup 06, and I was rooting for Germany, because the cute boy loved football.

    Two years later and I talk to him and realize I know more about it than he does.

    Gets under your skin and ignites a passion. It’s kept me hooked.

  98. klyn312 says:

    WOW!! haven’t really though about this in .. i dunno,ever.  I suppose my story is a bit different as a born yank…  as a young girl[soccer] was an anti-sport to me, played only by privileged girls in the far suburbs (I grew up in a big city) and Latino boys.  But as i got older(pre teen-ish) and traveled, without parental supervision, outside my neighborhood more i stumbled upon a wonderful patch of park here called “Cricket hill” where loads of Latino families would gather every weekend to cook out, socialize and play football, loads and loads of football at the bottom of the hill- my city has a large Latino population and as you all know, it is the Latin Americas that bring football into light in the states… anyways, I fell in love with the fervor and passion of the Cricket hill games…
    segway to part two.. growing up as a teen(late 80’s) I was always a part of a watered down stateside version of a social sub-culture(e.g. punk, mod etc..) that originated in the UK…so here in conceives my transition to English football… Once I discovered that, forget it- it was all over, I was hooked. There is nothing in the world like it, Nothing…
    My wierd obsession with “Madchester” and the Hacienda scene in my later teenage years gave me natural pre-disposition to support City… but alas, after watching a derby match, I could not help but deflect to the “enemy” side… I have never experienced anything as amazing as Man United on the pitch (okay I’m only talkin in the way of football here tongue wink ) …The heart of the players, The tough yet understanding ways of Fergie, the great achievements and dedication to their youth program and recruiting from with in, the all around brotherhood of the team …blah blah blah…god I’m a sappy one eh?
    now here I am a grown woman, married, professional, own my own home etc… getting up at 4 Am on Sat mornings to get my dose of adrenaline that goes by the name Of MUFC.

    Awww, who am i kidding, I just watch the game to see those cute little buns of Cr’s dance around the pitch..(joking)

    wow , that was weird to write down and read… it seems so bizarrely personal- I’m feeling all vulnerable now.. haha, no seriously, be gentle girls. oh oh

  99. aja says:

    i would say that as a jamaican-american 14 year old circa world cup 98, my first mega footballer crush was on deon burton.  i am pretty sure i still have a poster i picked up in jamaica around that time…i thought he was just about perfect then.