Soccer is, by some distance, the most popular team sport on a worldwide scale. In the men’s game, the World Cup of 2022 was watched by hundreds of millions of fans worldwide, while the women’s version of the game is attracting more fans, attention and money with each passing day and is seeing a resultant rise in quality. Sites such as the ones at are allowing fans to place bets on high-profile games such as the Champions League and World Cup, as well as on games from far-flung corners of the world.

Most people, on getting into the game, will choose a team to support, and the most popular teams in the world include the likes of Manchester United, Real Madrid and Internazionale. But it’s an underrated experience to shun the bigger names and instead follow a team with far less profile. While this may lead to people mocking you as a hipster, it actually brings a touch of novelty to the sport, where even years of supporting a successful team like Madrid can feel boring and samey, and the occasional years of crisis that hit big clubs simply feel like more stress than they are worth.

How to choose a less famous team

It’s really up to you. Many kids when they first get interested in the sport pick the first team they see on TV. This is how you end up with kids living in China supporting Nottingham Forest. You can decide who you want to follow purely at random, based on some quirk in their history, or because they play in a country you’ve always wanted to visit. This gives you something extra to do with your time if you end up actually visiting that country. Sure, the hot springs and volcanic landscapes of Iceland are breathtaking, but imagine having all that and watching Vikingur take on Stjarnan at the KR-völlur.

How to follow an obscure team

Here’s where it gets trickier. It’s very easy to catch a Champions League knockout match between two expensively-assembled top-tier sides, but if you’re a committed Nacional Potosi fan and want to tune in to their grudge match against Independiente Petrolero? Not so easy – although some betting sites do carry live streams of Bolivian football as long as you have money in your account and are an active user. Day to day news is not that hard to keep up with – as long as you speak the national language, newspapers tend to carry up-to-date news on their websites. And if you don’t speak it, there’s always Google Translate.

What you learn from following an obscure team

Among other things, you’ll learn how to find online sources which let you watch and listen to a team you may not have knew existed five years ago. They might not have existed five years ago. You may also learn more than you expected of a language you certainly weren’t going to learn at school – because how else will you know if Erdenis Gurishta is going to shake off that pesky injury in time to play in Vllaznia’s big European qualifier? More than anything, you’ll learn that what makes soccer so popular – the twists and turns of a season, the comings and goings of players and the anticipation that builds before a match – exists whether you’re cheering for Inter Milan or Inter Escaldes.


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