If you are like me, you may get up early in the mornings on the weekend, turn on NBC Sports Network or Peacock (what a horrible name for a streaming service btw), and watch the English Premier League. We call it soccer, they call it football. Whatever, it’s all the same.
Looking around the A10 twitter-sphere, I’ve noticed many of our fellow fans are also watchers of the EPL. What is great about being an American watching the EPL is that you can pick whatever team you want to become a fan of and the reason really doesn’t matter at all. You could be like me and be an Arsenal fan because you always randomly got them when picking teams playing FIFA on XBOX. You could like Wolves because it’s a badass name and logo. You could have seen a team play at some point in your life here in the states or across the pond and decided to become a supporter. Whatever that reason is, you are hooked and now a member of the A10-Premier League twitter community.
Because of this, I sat down and tried to pair a team from the Premier League with a team in the A10. Reasons vary, but I think I nailed it. Let’s get to it.
Davidson Wildcats – Leicester City FC
This one came to me so quick and makes a lot of sense. If you don’t know about the story of Leicester City, back in 2016, this small club won the Premier League title, which has worse odds than the Cleveland Browns to win the Super Bowl that year. It was an amazing sports story. They remind me of Davidson a bit. Both are smallish schools/clubs with recent success after one amazing run in a tournament, plus both teams have kept up their status by staying up near the top or the top half of their respective leagues. Leicester City had their run in to the EPL title; Davidson had their run of their own back in the 2008 NCAA Tournament. Along with that, everyone knows of Davidson’s star Steph Curry. Leicester has a star of their own in Jamie Vardy, who won the golden boot in the EPL in 2019-2020 for scoring the most goals in the league. Vardy has a total of 118 goals in the EPL, so yeah, the guy can score, just like Steph. Not to mention, Leicester’s mascot is the Foxes, which is as close as it gets to a Wildcat.
Dayton Flyers – Manchester City
This seems to fit too well. Man City have won the Premier League titles in the past 5 years, thee of the last four to be exact, including the most recent season. They have had some of the most iconic and fun players to watch in the PL over the past decade, including Kevin De Bruyne, Raheem Sterling, Ruben Dias, and Sergio Ramos. This team is very efficient and has one of the best coaches in the PL in Pep Guardiola, who just won coach of the year this season. They are the main powerhouse in the PL right now, and Dayton sees itself as one of the main powerhouses in the A10, especially in the Archie Miller era and in 2020 with Anthony Grant and Obi Toppin. And both stadiums are very nice as well.
Duquesne Dukes – Everton FC
Duquesne is always that team that finishes middle of the conference, always have one or two star players (Michael Hughes and Marcus Weathers), but always seem to lack players to build around them or lose to players that they shouldn’t. Enter Everton, who also have that one or two star players, which for Everton is Richarlson, a brilliant striker in his own right. Both Everton and Duquesne share interesting nicknames, those being the Toffees and Dukes, respectively. Finally, both these teams have or are going to be opening up brand new stadiums/arenas. We’ve seen the beauty of Duquesne’s Cooper Fieldhouse. Everton will be opening a new stadium of their own in the near future. Check out Bramley-Moore Dock here, the future home to Everton FC.
Fordham Rams – Brighton & Hove Albion FC
Probably the worst team to routinely just miss the relegation line in the PL, Brighton & Hove Albion (also know as just Brighton) are Fordham’s team. Brighton has only been promoted in the PL since the 2017-18 season, and it is hard to know when the year is that they will get relegated again. They do play in a very nice stadium in Amex Stadium. Honestly, their most notable player is Danny Welbeck, who has played for Man U and Arsenal in his early years. Yves Bissouma is a fun player as well.
George Mason Patriots – Leeds FC
Leeds is a newcomer to the PL this year after a 18 year absence. In their first year back, Leeds finished 9th in the league! Elland Road, where Leeds plays, is a great stadium as well. Mason fans will like Leeds because both teams have exciting young, talented players with a promising young coach. Both clubs have a lot of excitement in their programs for the first time in years, and it will be fun to see them in action in the upcoming season. Notable players for Leeds include Rodrigo, Raphinha, and Patrick Bamford. They also have a lot of players on this year’s Euro teams.
George Washington Colonials – Newcastle United
Once a top half of the table club in the 2000s, including a few top 4 finishes to qualify for the champions league, Newcastle has rescinded a bit back in the Premier League tiers, kind of like our beloved DC Colonials since winning the A10 in 2005. Newcastle has some notable players such as goalie Martin Debravka, Joelinton, and Andy Carroll. They play in St. James’ Park, which is a tough place to play especially for a team that is not a big 6 club like Newcastle. The other part about Newcastle is that the have the Mayhem that matches GW’s identity. How you might ask? Newcastle was the featured club in the 2005 movie “Goal! The Dream Begins”. This movie absolutely rocks and definitely brings the Mayhem that is needed to be in the same sentence as George Washington University. Also, Newcastle is known as the Magpies. While we don’t know what that is, their fans love to be shirtless, which is what a certain few members of George’s Army like to do in Foggy Bottom. Go figure, right?
La Salle Explorers – Crystal Palace FC
La Salle, here’s your team – Crystal Palace. This squad does play in the big city of London, just like La Salle in Philly. Unlike their successful London counterparts of Arsenal, Chelsea, and Tottenham, Crystal Palace does not see that much success in the Premier League, but does just well enough to where they are not relegated to the Championship (that’s a league lower than the Premier League, it’s not a good thing). For how bad they have been the past two seasons, Crystal has some awesome players that they can’t seem to build around, such as Wilfred Zaha, Christian Benteke and Michy Batshuayi, to name a few. They also seem to beat a few teams they shouldn’t every season, something La Salle has recently figured out how to do.
Massachusetts Minutemen – West Ham United
Soooo I needed to find the best A10 team that would fit with West Hams Tradition of singing the infamous “Bubbles” song. Maybe because I can picture Reindeer kid blowing bubbles in the Mullins Center? Maybe it’s because both West Ham and UMass share the same color? But anyway, if you don’ t know that tradition, check it out here. It’s one of the best traditions in the PL. Anyway, West Ham is another London club who had some smashing success this past season after a bad year and almost getting relegated. They are always a middle of the pack team, similar to UMass. They also have a nice, fairly large stadium just like UMass as well. West Ham’s most notable player is Michail Antonio, who is a beast and one of my favorite players in the PL. UMass always seems to have that one guy that is just that dude, like Tre Mitchell, Chaz Williams, and Luwane Pipkins.
Rhode Island Rams – Southhampton FC
Southhampton, also known as the Saints, play right by the water, kind of like Kingston in a way. The way Southhampton reminds me of Rhody is because both teams in recent years have had one really awesome player on their teams, with the Rams having Fatts Russell and Southhampton being Danny Ings. If you have not seen the highlights of Danny Ings, check it out here. Ings is a bad bad man, just like our man Fatts. Although both Southhampton and Rhode Island have had struggles this past season, both clubs are looking up in their upcoming seasons.
Richmond Spiders – Tottenham Hotspur
Also known as Spurs and also reside in London, Tottenham is one of the big 6 clubs in the PL. Richmond and Spurs have both seen success being one of the top teams in their leagues in recent years, and both expect to be up there again next season. Spurs have a really nice brand, new stadium. The Robbins Center isn’t new, but it always looks very well kept. Spurs’ best player is Harry Kane, and honestly just looks like a Richmond alum. The one big reason that both these teams fit with each other besides these clubs being fairly routinely successful is a big one…neither has won a league title.
St. Bonaventure Bonnies – Liverpool FC
The Bonnies have been always known to be solid all around in their game, very well-coached and doing all the little things right while not having many weaknesses in their game. Enter Liverpool, who is equally as dominant on both offense and defense. Whether you need a goal from the likes of Mo Salah or Sadio Mane, or need a key defensive stop from Trent Alexander-Arnold, Liverpool is your team. Along with that, Liverpool has one of the best coaches in Europe in Jurgen Klopp, who turned the Reds around to winning the Champions League and EPL crown. Both Liverpool and St. Bonaventure have recently won their first outright league titles, which fits nicely. Also, both teams play in the cold, dark northern part of the country. Nice touch, Lil Bona X.
Saint Joseph’s Hawks – Arsenal FC
Saint Joe’s fans will enjoy being Gunners except of recent where Arsenal have not been to their normal selves of being one of the top 4 teams in the Premier League. Both of these teams have success in the early 2000s with both Arsenal and Saint Joe’s having undefeated regular seasons in the 2003-2004 season. Also, before Arsenal moved to their new home at The Emirates Stadium, they played in one of the most beloved stadiums in the league named Highbury. It was a quaint, smallish stadium that was a great atmosphere for a soccer game. Reminds me of Hagan Arena a bit. Just like Saint Joe’s having a great longtime coach in Phil Martelli, Arsenal also had a great coach for 20 years in Arsene Wenger, who led the Gunners to 3 PL titles in his tenure. Arsenal has probably the best player in the PL of all time in Thierry Henry, reminding me of Hawk’s famous player Jameer Nelson, who is one of the A10 all time greats. Although both teams are in a rebuilding era, they are both regarded as highly respected clubs in their respected leagues.
Saint Louis Billikens – Chelsea FC
Billiken fans would like Chelsea, the Pride of London. They both share the dominant color of Royal Blue. Other than that, both these teams pride themselves of defense to wear down their opponents. SLU has enjoyed success being a consistently top team in the A10, winning the A10 tourney in 2019 and having regular season titles in 2012 and 2013. Chelsea has had their share of winning EPL titles, most recently in 2016. Both of their stadiums have similar character as well, being large but big enough to be a hostile environment for opponents. Notable players are Timo Werner, Kai Havertz, and American favorite Christian Pulisic.
VCU Rams – Manchester United
Both villains of the conference it seems, Manchester United and VCU seem to go hand in hand. VCU fans will be happy with this stadium named Old Trafford, which holds the largest capacity in the PL and one of the toughest places to play for opposing teams. There’s a Rothstein joke in there somewhere. Man U has also had some great players in the past few seasons with goal scorer Bruno Fernandes and goalkeeper David De Gea, one of the best goalkeepers in the world. Man U is always near the top of the PL, and is always a top-4 club in the league every year. Their main rivals are Chelsea and Manchester City, which fit with the Billikens and Flyers. Man U also has the most PL titles at 13.
Well, there you go. Love it, hate it, it doesn’t matter. Myself and a few other A10 twitter peeps talk Premier League soccer or just soccer in general on the innerwebs. If you needed a team to root for, either choose one or take the one that I gave your team. I’m an Arsenal fan myself, so come cheer on the Gunners with me if you dare. It’s not a great life right now as an Arsenal fan.