Life can be difficult if you’re a soccer fanatic in America. All too often, your beloved sport is eclipsed by football, basketball, or baseball. You also have to deal with faux fans who deign to jump on the bandwagon whenever the World Cup rolls around. Worst of all, it can take some incredible feats of scheming to simply watch a match. But before you abandon ship and decamp to France or Argentina (or whatever soccer friendly nation you prefer), we urge you to first look into signing up for ESPN+.
Launched back in April, ESPN+ is a direct-to-consumer subscription streaming service. For a mere $5 a month or $50 per year (after a free 7-day trial), you can have access to the best sports content available. This includes live MLB and NHL games, boxing and UFC matches, Grand Slam tennis, European Champions Rugby, CFL football, a slew of college sports and more. As an added bonus, subscribers have the ability to pause and rewind live games as well as watch full game replays on demand.
Beyond actual competitions, you can also enjoy award-winning shows like 30 for 30 and original programming such as Draft Academy and JayhawkTV. There’s even premium content from beloved journalists like Mel Kiper and Keith Law. And fear not; ads are limited on this service. Best of all, you can stream in HD on all of your favorite devices: iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Android (phone, tablet, and TV), Chromecast, Fire TV and Tablet, Xbox One, Playstation 4, and Roku Players and TV.
Okay, we know the aforementioned details sound great. But you want the soccer specifics. So here’s a quick breakdown of all the leagues and matches to which ESPN+ subscribers are privy:
Major League Soccer is the premiere professional league for America and Canada. And thanks to an exclusive deal, ESPN+ now carries the entire MLS Live out-of-market schedule. This gives subscribers access to over 250 games. Though regular season play ended in October, playoffs have begun and the competition is fierce. Defending champs Toronto FC have been eliminated. However, fan favorites like the Seattle Sounders, Atlanta United, and New York Red Bulls are still in contention. You won’t want to miss them battling it out.
We should also note that you’re in luck if you are a massive Chicago Fire fan. That’s because the streaming service is now the team’s local-market home. So if you hope to catch 23 hot, hot Fire matches next year, you’ll want to sign up for ESPN+.
Love domestic soccer and need more than MLS can deliver? Well then it’s a good thing for you that ESPN+ also covers the United Soccer League (USL) to the tune of roughly 450 matches a season. Individuals smart enough to subscribe were able to watch Louisville City FC take on Phoenix Rising FC for the USL Championship. Led by Golden Boot winner Cameron Lancaster, Louisville successfully defended its title. Will they be able to 3-peat in 2019? Only time (and subscribers) will tell.
If you’re more of an international soccer fan, you’ll be delighted to learn that you can easily use ESPN+ to catch a whopping 200 English Football League matches as well. That translates to an average of four games per week from Sky Bet Championship Playoffs, League 1 and League 2. You’ll also have access to six monthly matches from the EFL Cup along with 16 matches per month throughout the EFL 2018-19 season. In other words, you can watch heavy hitters (or footers as the case may be) like Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool, and Arsenal.
Prefer your soccer to have a little more continental flavor? Not a problem! ESPN+ is set to stream over 100 live matches from the newly created UEFA Nations League tournament. The tourney was designed to replace friendly games with competitive play. Teams from all 55 of EUFA’s member associations compete for promotion or to avoid regulation. Most importantly, they’re all gunning to become the next UEFA Nations League champions. Upcoming contests include Greece vs Finland, Hungary vs Estonia, Croatia vs Spain, and Italy vs Portugal.
We realize there’s a chance that all those UEFA games will leave you hungering for more European play. And so did ESPN. That’s probably why a few months ago, the network signed an exclusive, multi-year deal to begin streaming Italy’s Serie A league. From August through May, you can enjoy an average of 9 matches a week (or over 340 matches per season). This is all the more exciting when you consider that the Serie A is home to historic clubs like AC Milan and AS Roma. It also includes Juventus FC, with whom Cristiano Ronaldo recently made his debut. And considering the fact that Serie A teams have won 12 European Cup titles, you know you’re bound to catch some epic games.
Certainly the sheer number of available games is astounding. But ESPN+ isn’t content to just rest on its league play laurels. The service also shows a handful of friendlies from both national teams and international clubs. Finally, it’s the new home for ESPN FC — a daily soccer news program hosted by Dan Thomas that offers information, highlights, and analysis from around the globe.
By now you should be pretty confident that ESPN+ will satisfy all your soccer needs. So what are you waiting for? Strap on your leisure shin guards, kick back, and start streaming.
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