It is that time of the year again when we get to experience all of the lower division soccer glory that this great nation has to offer – the first round of the US Open Cup is upon us! We at Non League America want to make sure you enjoy yourselves during game day. To ensure you optimize your experience we are providing you with a list of Non League America’s Match Day Essentials.
1.] Sunscreen: Not only does sunscreen drastically reduce the risk of developing skin cancer from the sun’s harmful rays it also helps you from looking like a cooked lobster out there. Don’t be a rookie and run the risk of sunburn, there is nothing wrong with a healthy bronze. Beet red does not look good on anybody.
2.] Stadium Seat Cushions: NEWSFLASH – bleachers are not always comfortable, in fact they seldom are. Also, take it from experience, one of the worst places to be on a brisk Spring evening is on a cold metal bleacher seat. Your buns will appreciate this accessory, and you will appreciate this even more if you have ever suffered the pains of a numb ass on game day.
3.] Sunglasses: Sure they may be chic and trendy, but sunglasses are every bit as vital as sunscreen. You are not going to be able to enjoy the marvels on the pitch with burning retinas. Sunglasses are a great way to protect your eyes from a harmful solar glare. These are an absolute must for early morning and evening matches… don’t be a dick and wear them at night – I’m looking at you 1980’s pop star, Corey Hart.
4.] Snacks: Let’s face it – you are going to get hungry, there is no denying it. Why fight science?? Here in the lower leagues you aren’t always going to have the luxury of being catered to. Concession stands are few and far between, and there are certainly not hawkers to supply scrumptious treats. So, it is going to be up to you to ensure you have the proper nutrition needed to go the full 90… you’ve been warned.
5.] Flask (of Whiskey): Now this essential is obvious for readers who are of age to legally procure liquor. Choice of liquor is entirely up to you, but if you have a flask and it is not full of whiskey you will be judge, and harshly (most likely we can still be friends). LASTLY, don’t be dumb and drink and drive. **Just a fun note** I own this flask, but still used a google image for the article anyway.
6.] Funyuns: You are probably thinking to yourself; snacks are already on this list – why do you have a separate section for Funyuns? Please just go away now, you will never get it, and probably never will. Funyuns are not mere snacks, they are the essence of life. (We are not sponsored by Funyuns, but we are open for discussions on the topic.)
7.] Stopwatch: Yup – hate to break it you, but sometimes you might be required to keep track of the time yourself. Of course you can use your smart phone, but nothing meets an old fashioned stop watch. This is your best tool, unless you have found a way to track 45 minutes using the infamous “finger to horizon line trick” courtesy of Boys Scouts of America.
8.] Scarf: Wear it – Wave it – Love it. The scarf in the soccer community is like marching to battle with your nation’s flag. Tell them all who you are and why you came here. You can buy that Official NLA Scarf here.
9.] Water: Ok, so we called Funyuns the essence of life – that was hyperbole. Water quite literally is essence of life and you’d be smart to pick yourself up some before opening kick.
10.] Sweatshirt: Spring days can be warm and sunny, while the night can be a cruel temptress of chilled air and low temperatures. Packing a sweatshirt ahead of time can seriously prolong your ability to be ready from start to finish.
11.] Good Tunes: Consider this a bonus item if you will. Good tunes is quite frankly the most subjective item on this list, and also one that is not technically “essential.” Tunes are a must for any quality road trip. Chris & Bryan suggest any up-tempo punk rock with some intense riffing and a sing along chorus. Steve on the other hand would suggest anything from late 90’s hip hop to Messy Marv & San Quinn.
If you have Spotify you can check out a playlist Bryan has made for our many upcoming road trips: https://play.spotify.com/user/1271781436/playlist/0uiZloKFmCbJlqQR6wcMxP