What is soccer like in Spain? How do Spaniards live it? What foreigners think about it? The American student Elizabeth Von Keller shares her impressions with us.

Written by Elizabeth Von Keller, Wofford College, South Carolina, USA. Published with the authorization of CIEE Alcalá de Henares, where Elizabeth is completing a course of Study abroad in Alcalá. Visit the blog.

Last weekend, I went to a soccer game at Santiago Bernabeu with Jess, Nancy, and Lindsay. The game was between Real Madrid (my team!) and Villarreal. The stadium was full of people wearing jerseys and scarves supporting their teams. During the game, my brother and I were texting each other about things that were happening during the game and our reactions to the goals. Each night at my house, my family eats dinner together and watches soccer.

The first days of the week there are games for the Copa Real and the final days of the week are games for La Liga, the Spanish soccer league. My family wears Real Madrid clothing and my brother has many Real Madrid jerseys and scarves. In Spain, soccer is more than just a sport; it’s a part of life.

The rivalries are very strong here. When my friend Paige when to a Real Madrid vs. Atlético Madrid game, Atlético Madrid fans yelled at her and her boyfriend because they were wearing Real Madrid clothing. The biggest rivalry in Spain is the rivalry between Real Madrid and Barcelona. Their rivalry is about the game, their different cultures, their towns, and conflicts that occurred during the Spanish Civil War.

I am in a soccer class at the Franklin Institute and we learned that fans support their team for the team, not because of the players or the coach of the team. If there is a problem with the team, people don’t blame their team, but they blame a player, a coach, or the weather, anything but their team.  In Spain, the team you support is as important as your job or your name. Your team is a part of you.

I am an American, a student, a Madridista (Real Madrid Fan).