07/02/2010 05:27 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

5 Rules for Adopting a New World Cup Team to Root For

With the United States out of the World Cup, I needed to pick a new team to back to get interested in watching the games, cause let's be honest, I don't like soccer enough to just enjoy a random game between two teams I know nothing about. But the question remains who should I root for? I've chosen Spain. Now before you call me a bandwagon jumper. Let me give you a little back story.

Last summer my wife and I took a trip to Barcelona and popped into a souvenir shop to pick out something for our niece and nephews. There were tons of cute shirts hanging around and of course of a lot of Guadi tchotchkes but the vast majority of the shirts were devoted to FC Barcelona, a team which I admit never had heard of before visiting the city. I quickly became aware that this is like going to New York and discovering they have some baseball team called the Yankees. After learning how FC Barcelona had just won The Treble, (ie the whole enchilada in Spanish soccer) I was even more impressed. I asked the store owner who the best player on the team was and he said some guy named Messi. I thought that sounded cool so I bought a pair of jerseys.

Fast forward to the present and I now know that Messi is perhaps that best player in the world and is also from Argentina. That said, I think I can still claim Spain as a legitimate 2nd choice home team. I mean, I'm a diehard Philadelphia sports fan and if someone told me that they were a Phillies fan because they had a great time visiting the Liberty Bell I would be much more inclined to accept that than if they told me they only liked them because they won the National League Pennant two years in a row. Does that make any sense? With that in mind, here are my five rules for acceptable home team adoption once your real home team has been knocked out.

  1. Home team by family extension: Someone in your family is from that place, lives in that place, or you once lived in that place for a time. 1a) Or perhaps you just visited that place once on vacation, met some cool families, and had a great time. (This clause is particularly apt for me.)
  2. Home team by geographic extension: Picking the team that is closest geographically to your home team. (This only works if the team in question is not a direct rival.)
  3. Home team by player extension: A player on the team is from your hometown or went to school in your hometown or owns a sports themed restaurant in your hometown. 3a) You personally know or are connected to a particular player (ie he's you're wife's 2nd cousin once removed).
  4. Home team by eerie coincidence: You have too many strange connections to a certain out-of-town team that it's verging on a paranormal phenomenon. The team could have the same exact colors as your high school team, you have the same first name as the star player, or your wife looks exactly like the star player's wife.
  5. Home team by spite: Say you have some really annoying friend or coworker who is sticking it in your face about their home team kicking butt and how your team stinks. You get a one time "home team by spite" pass to pick a really awesome team that's still in the tournament to start rooting for. It helps to blow one of those vuvuzelas in their face every time your adopted team scores a goal.