Here are 20 important things you should know:
1. Soccer began, some say, when a group of Medieval Brits gathered together around a pig’s bladder to receive endorsements from Nike.
2. Like presidential elections and new episodes of Mad Men, World Cup happens every four years.
3. Except for boxing, it’s the only other sport that allows you to use your head.
4. FIFA stands for “Football: It’s FOOTBALL, Americans.”
5. Each team has 11 players, unless one of them has a day job and can’t get off work.
6. Follow this easy trick to remember the positions on the field. There’s a goalie, then all the others.
7. A game lasts 90 minutes, made up of two 45 minute halves and a bunch of random extra minutes no one ever tells you about.
8. Apparently, even having LeBron James on your team isn’t enough to insure victory.
9. Like we have fantasy football leagues, other countries have fantasy soccer leagues.
(I don’t actually know if this is true, but I’m too lazy to Google it.)
10. Before World Cup, most Americans knew only two famous soccer players: Pele and David Beckham. Now they know nil more.
11. Oh, and Brandi Chastain.
12. In every other part of the world it’s pronounced “SOCK-er.”
13. Imagine I’m writing this with a British accent; It’ll sound way more authoritative.
14. Soccer is basically lacrosse without sticks, or padding, or helmets, or danger.
15. Names to bring up when you’re talking with your daughter’s soccer-playing boyfriend: Jozy Altidore, Tim Howard, Clint Dempsey.
Oh, and Brandi Chastain.
16. Here’s an interesting tidbit about Portugal:
17. Even people in Ghana don’t know where Ghana is.
18. Although you’d never know it by his name, Team USA coach Jürgen Klinsmann is NOT a native-born American.
19. Most referees are sponsored by Hallmark and often show off their latest line of cards during a match.
20. This is the first time in World Cup history that referees will be using a special vanishing spray to mark where players have to stand when a free kick takes place. (Really!)
21. Fuleco, the three-banded Armadillo is the official World Cup mascot. If you think that’s a bit odd, consider the Racing Pierogies during Pittsburgh Pirates games.
22. Soccer is as riveting to watch as a full-blown chess match.
23. When anyone else besides Team USA plays, there’s always a Family Guy re-run somewhere on cable.
24. Like soccer games, this list inexplicably goes on past its stated ending time.