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Meet the New Guy: Tommy Leinenweber

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Get to know our new contributor, who has gained a great appreciation of “the beautiful game.”

Tommy and former Manchester United player Quinton Fortune.

My love for soccer does not come from any real experience playing or coaching, but just from the fact that I am a huge fan of the sport. And I am here to write for The Mane Land because I want to produce something tangible and cohesive out of my love for the game.

As long as I can remember, sports have always been my biggest passion and interest. From when I was four years old and reading the box scores of games in the newspaper trying to decipher what it all meant, to being in attendance at this year’s World Series Game 7, seeing my Cubs break their 108-year championship drought, nothing has brought the excitement, joy, ecstasy, and pain like sports have.

I follow and love plenty of sports, but none of them compare to soccer. But it has not always been that way. When I was younger, the sports I was most invested in were baseball and college football. I would watch the World Cup every four years with deep intent, but never followed soccer outside of that. That was, until a few years ago when NBC bought the rights to show English Premier League matches.

I would casually watch matches on weekend mornings waiting to get my (American) football fix on for the rest of the day. And slowly but surely I finally came to realize that soccer (not to beat a dead horse) truly is “the beautiful game.” My love for soccer quickly outpaced my love for any other sport, which is saying something, seeing as I followed and loved these other sports for nearly 20 years.

However, there was just one problem with following the Premier League. By noon on weekends, all the matches were finished. And since there are, at most, 10 matches a weekend, in which case you can really only watch three or four due to many matches being on at the same time, it was not enough to satisfy my love of the game. So what did I do? Well, I quickly realized that I could enjoy Premier League matches in the mornings, and then watch MLS matches in the afternoon.

My interest and appreciation for my own country’s soccer league has drastically improved over the last couple of years. I now follow MLS very intently. It has been great to see over the last couple of years how America’s interest in soccer has continually grown. I currently live in St. Louis and am very hopeful and excited at the proposition of this city being a part of the next expansion of MLS. St. Louis is a huge soccer town and people here are yearning for an MLS team, and it is starting to look pretty likely that they will get their wish.

I am very excited to be a part of The Mane Land and to have the ability to share my passion of the game with you all. I am very much looking forward to my time here!