Eight Entertaining Underground Soccer Teams to Follow
Following last year's list of nine underground teams to watch, I bring the list back with eight new teams you need to follow. From entertaining amateur players to professional coaches revolutionizing the sport from behind the scenes, here are eight underground soccer teams to watch this season.
Al-Ahli - Saudi Pro League
No, this is not Cristiano Ronaldo's team, that's Al Nassr. Tsk tsk, please do better.
This team is all vibes. With Allan Saint-Maximin on one wing, Riyad Mahrez on the other, Roberto Firmino down the middle, and Franck Kessie dictating the play behind it all, Al-Ahli is the most entertaining team in the Saudi Pro League and Asia. I could flood this article with clips of some outrageous moments they've put together like Saint-Maximin juggling the ball mid-game for absolutely no reason, but I'll give you just one. Follow the team on social media so you see those clips when they do happen.
Brighton Hove Albion - English Premier League
Brighton was on the list last season, but hear me out. They have had a new coach since then, Roberto De Zerbi, who might be even more radical than Graham Potter. With his utilization of the box midfield spreading like wildfire through the sport, some incredibly dynamic free-flowing play, and attacking stars like Kaoru Mitoma, Solly March, and Julio Enciso, this team is an absolute must-watch in a manner different from last season.
Brown University Women's Soccer - NCAA D1 Soccer
Led by Brittany Raphino, one of the best young strikers in soccer, and head coach Kia McNeill, firmly among the very best in college soccer, Brown is an absolute must-watch this season. They play quickly, get numbers forward, and spread the width to dynamic 1-on-1 dribblers like Sheyenne Allen, who create plenty of opportunities for Raphino and Ava Seelenfreund. And when they lose the ball, they counter-press with some of the best teams in the sport. Whether you are a fan of college soccer or not, this is a team to make time to watch.
Fluminense - Brazilian Serie A
Fluminense and Fernando Diniz are a team worth your time. Diniz utilizes a form of soccer known as relationism, the antithesis of the positional play popularized all over Europe by coaches like Pep Guardiola. Relationism is different because it does not require players to occupy certain positions with specific attacking duties. Instead, it gives players complete freedom to roam to multiple areas, forming organic relationships to solve whatever dilemma the opposing team brings. It is fun to watch and a welcome break from the rigid, analytically heavy playing styles that have taken over mainstream soccer where every team essentially uses variations of the same tactic. You must tune in to the next Fluminense game to see what I mean.
Inter Miami - MLS
I will not waste your time with a detailed write-up for Inter Miami. Messi is there, Busquets is there, Jordi Alba is there, plus some exciting young talent, all making Inter Miami a highly entertaining team. Chances are you have already tuned in.
Newcastle - English Premier League
This team is the most rock-and-roll there is in the sport right now. If you are bored of the Manchester Citys of the world, who maintain long spells of possession that can sometimes feel boring, Newcastle is your team to watch. Eddie Howe has built an extremely athletic team that is well organized, sets up high-level pressing traps, and will explode for goals in transition. Not to mention one of the best home support in all of sports. And with technical magicians like Alexander Isak, Bruno Guimaraes, Joelinton, Kieran Trippier, and Miguel Almiron, this team is a must-watch from week to week.
St. Louis City SC - MLS
They might be a new expansion team, but this team is already among the best in the MLS. Watching a St. Louis City SC game is an incredible experience filled with transitions and open play. Think 2015/16 Leicester, with Jamie Vardy making non-stop runs in behind and players like Mahrez on the wing, putting on a 1-on-1 clinic. In STLSC, you have the team that leads the MLS in goals with 49 while simultaneously standing at rock bottom of the MLS possession stats. It is an elite dynamic Bradley Carnell has cooked up, leading to widely entertaining games like their most recent, a 6-3 goal bonanza with Austin FC.
Wrexham FC - English League Two
You may keep up with Wrexham on a surface level, but I recommend watching the games. This team does not believe in defending, leading to some outrageous circumstances. They have played just four league games this season, and here are three of those final score lines: 3-5, 4-2, 5-5.