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My friend John and I started a soccer podcast. It is called The Casual Soccer Podcast. I haven’t told John yet this, but I am beginning to suspect, based on certain details (John was at the 1999 Women’s World Cup Soccer Final; John once began training to be a soccer referee) that John is not, in fact, a Casual Soccer Fan. But I definitely am, and that chasm of knowledge and experience between us creates what I think is a great dynamic.

Also, part of this podcast is about challenging the way we define who is a “real” fan and who is not. (Spoiler alert: There is no such thing as a “real” fan. If you like something and identity as a fan, then you are a fan. So, if John identifies as a Casual Soccer Fan, then who am I to say he isn’t?… Or maybe we’re not self-defining ourselves as casual soccer fans, but rather the podcast as casual. I should really talk to John about this…)

So far, we have mostly discussed this Most Exciting Men’s World Cup Ever, which is most exciting, John has listened to me work through some of my issues surrounding internalized fan gatekeeping, and sometimes John’s dogs have barked in the background. Listen as I try to figure out which team to root for based both on the colonizer/colonized geopolitical divide, which team seems to love each other the most, and some very intense binge-watching of Fox’s “Phenoms” documentary series. Listen as John tries to juggle his love of soccer with a truly-unfortunate-for-watching-soccer-being-played-in-Russia West Coast residence, tells us all about his love for Nottingham Forest, and ponders whether or not he should see Harry Styles in concert (he should).

Mostly, this podcast gives me an excuse to talk to John, who is one of my favorites and, before beginning this podcast, told me: Please let me know if I am, at any point, mansplaining. What more could you want from a co-host/friend?

Here is my favorite episode so far: