I was recently watching English and got into a internet rabbithole, where I stumbled upon the famed English FA Cup, which I inexplicably did not know existed until now. Well, I now know that it is the greatest sporting event ever devised. Have you ever dreamed of being able to lace up your sneakers (cleats) and take on the country's best in the sport you like to play? Well, if you just have a consistent team, you can do just that in soccer's English FA Cup!
The FA Cup is the largest professional knockout tournament in the world, and it is played between all soccer teams in England who play professionally, which consists of over 700 teams annually. This is the 10 professional leagues that make up professional soccer in the country, so the FA Cup is commonly known as the country's championship. There are a few qualifying rounds among the teams ranked outside of the top 124 teams in he country (the top 4 leagues), and there can be some real cinderella stories that come out of these rounds. From there, the matchups are randomly drawn every round. So, you could end up with the situation where basically a team of dads from a small town gets to play the Chicago Bulls, and the Chicago Bulls have to go play at the local gym.
Once I figured out the FA Cup existed, I started to look at some of the matchups to see if there were any crazy lopsided games coming up. Turns out there was one the following weekend - Tottenham (one of the best teams in England) vs Marine AFC (a 8th tier team). It was the largest gap between standings in the FA Cup history, and also was going to be played at Marine's tiny stadium. I knew I had to tune in a few Sunday mornings to watch it. Marine ended up losing in spectacular fashion, 2-0, but it was really fun to watch and root on such an underdog. The FA Cup run, at the end of the day, greatly benefits these smaller clubs as Marine, for example, made $200,000 in donations from supporters all over the world.