Out of Bounds: A Beginner's guide to the EPL

The English Premier League, commonly known as the EPL, is perhaps the greatest of the many professional soccer leagues across the world. 20 teams play 38 games over the course of 10 months from August until May. Each team plays one home and one away game against every team. Formed in 1992, the EPL is the top tier of English soccer with three other leagues beneath it: the Football League Championship, League One and League Two. All of the teams in these leagues play at a professional level but there are many, many more leagues beneath League Two. There are actually more than 140 different leagues with more than 7,000 different teams. That’s a lot of soccer.

The way that professional soccer works in England is that the bottom three teams of each league are relegated to the league below it. The top two teams are promoted up to the league above them, with the remaining top four teams having a playoff for the last spot. So in theory, a group of guys could make a club at a bar and just keep getting promoted until they are in the Premier League. It’s never happened and it probably never will, but the thought of it is just exciting.

The entire league is based off of a point system. A team gets three points for a win, one point for a tie and zero points for a loss. The team with the most points at the end of the season is the winner. That’s it. No playoff, no final match––just points. The best team throughout the season is the best team.

Naturally, some teams are going to be toward the bottom of the Premier League each year and those are the ones that will be relegated at the end of the season. Those teams are then sent down to the Championship League, directly below the EPL. Coming up for this season are Leicester City, Burnley and the Queens Park Rangers. Cardiff City, Fulham and Norwich City are being demoted down to the Championship League.

With 38 games to be played in 10 months, a game will pretty much always be on during the weekend. Soccer is not widely broadcast in America, but viewership is increasing. The rise in popularity of Major League Soccer has made the sport as popular as it has ever been in the U.S. With the 2014 FIFA World Cup still fresh in everyone’s minds and with the MLS squads’ quality of play improving rapidly, soccer will only continue to gain popularity in the United States.

The EPL is a great league for a fan to get into and the ties that one creates with a team are eternal. Moods will swing and friendships may even end due to team rivalries, but it’s all worth it to be able to watch some of the highest quality soccer in the world.