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Why I work so hard to support RSL from across the pond

The world isn't as small as we think...

MLS: New York City FC at Real Salt Lake Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

I'm going to quote myself to get the formalities out of the way here:

I became an RSL fan in 2010 when I played popular video game Football Manager and RSL offered me a job deep into the 2014 season. I won the MLS Cup and US Open Cup twice with them and the CONCACAF in the last season before I went to West Ham in the EPL. My affinity for the team meant that I instantly started supporting them and have done ever since.

I didn't know a lot about the league, but I knew of players I had signed on the game, and one such player was a now older Taylor Twellman, recently released from LA Galaxy. I signed him to my squad and his partnership with a computer generated player called Andrew Parker and support from DP Alexander Hleb brought RSL the only double we got.

That's from one of my older pieces but the story is the same. It's why I hated Chivas USA so irrationally, they were the only team I consistently couldn't beat. It's why I put so much faith in the system MLS has for drafting players and trading players, it made turning a team down on it's luck possible. Hell it's why I'm still pulling for guys like Jack MacInerney because they became superstars in my little world.

It was easy to love my little RSL because it was at my fingertips each time I played the game. To love our Real Salt Lake was much harder because I live in the UK and at that time, it was still the "retirement league". There were no games shown on TV and finding any news on TV that didn't related to David Beckham was nearly impossible.

So I had to visit MLS every day to find the news. I knew about the league, knew the rules and knew the teams but not the players. I spent a few weeks learning who the player were, why people were do excited about Darlington Nagbe, what expansion was and who was due to join the league. I know the old site was bad but I spent so much time on it that I knew my way around it without too much thinking.

The YouTube highlights were a godsend to me and it's made my life harder that the videos aren't available in the UK. I have to find interesting ways around that now but I would look forward to coming downstairs on a Sunday morning and sitting with my sons while feeding my daughter and watching a 5/6 minute video of RSL winning (or shout at us losing). It because a little routine I fell in love with quickly.

So a year passed and I still wanted to follow RSL and I took it a step further. I got an RSL shirt and hat for Christmas, I began to watch for early games and stream them online so I could watch full games for the first time and it just spurred me on. My ESPN subscription in 2013 was so I could watch MLS games and then when Sky Sports signed a deal I was over the moon (although less than impressed they continued to favour LA, NYCFC and SKC with coverage) and spent most of my weekends sat with my brother watching whatever games were on.

I still have to stay up to watch games these days and I still have to work hard to keep myself on the cutting edge of news. I often can get left out of the discussion due to the timezone difference (cue world’s smallest violin) but I honestly wouldn't have it any other way. I love Real Salt Lake, it's why I'm here today. Better or worse I care so much I just want to talk and the crew here and every reader has been kind enough to have me. It doesn't really matter to me how hard it gets to find Real Salt Lake games though, I'll keep following the team. Hell, I've managed to convince most of my friends to support a team (my friend James has been to several Toronto games while visiting his partner) and even my brother started supporting New England (because he's a dirty glory supporter of the Patriots and the second favourite son).

Maybe one day I'll be able to walk into that stadium and get to sing that song...