The Copa America Centenario is an event where a football fan can indulge both national-team loyalties and club passions. The hosting of the tournament in the United States is providing one passionate Bundesliga devotee a chance to see a favourite player from his beloved FC Bayern München.
Arturo Vidal (and Chile) comes to Foxborough
When Nicolas Oxford is not busy studying entrepreneurship at Babson College or running his own licensing-and-consulting business, he likes to relax by watching his favourite football team in action.
"Well, I don’t actually 'relax,'" says Oxford of time spent watching the Rekordmeister. "Fortunately, they scored a lot of early goals early last season. That helped!"
Oxford was not really disappointed when his home country was not drawn to play at nearby Gillette Stadium, instead embracing the opportunity to catch Bayern's Arturo Vidal in international action.
"Once I saw Chile was playing in Massachusetts, I knew I had to go," explains Oxford of his excitement for Friday’s Group D showdown between Chile and Bolivia. "It was between Brazil and Chile. Because Douglas Costa was out, I had to go with Chile, especially with the other Bundesliga players [Eduardo] Vargas and [Charles] Aranguiz there."
With Chile conducting training sessions on the Babson College campus, Oxford was able to shout encouragement to Vidal on his way to class one day and received a wave in return.
"I can’t even explain how much I love Vidal," says Oxford. "The only thing he wants to do is win. I love that win-at-all-costs mentality. Hopefully, he will give that same effort against Bolivia because it’s a really good opportunity for Chile to get three points."
A Bundesliga fan is born
"We went to Munich, and I got a scarf,” explains Oxford of how he came to be a Bayern fan. "The scarf drew me towards Bayern,” says Oxford with a chuckle. "One day I happened across one of their games on television, so I started watching it. And I just fell in love."
Oxford’s love encompasses both Bayern and the Bundesliga, which he strongly prefers to the English Premier League. Last summer, he took a "soccer-specific tour" of Germany, attending Telekom Cup matches and collecting scarves which he uses to decorate his dorm room. "German soccer is just the best!"
Asked to elaborate, Oxford hits on one of the most-famous aspects of the German game. "It was probably the atmosphere, which you can sense even on TV," says Oxford. "Once you’ve experienced the family feel of the German stadiums, you can’t go back. In the Premier League, you don’t see players getting fans hyped up. In the Bundesliga, you see it all the time."
And his favorite player? "That’s a really tough question," says Oxford. "Overall, it’s probably [Jerome] Boateng. I love Philipp Lahm, but I just think Boateng is everything. He’s very strong, too. In my opinion, there’s no question he’s the best defender in the world."
Oxford’s appreciation for Bayern’s big central defender expands beyond the playing surface."I wouldn’t mind having Boateng as my neighbor, at all! I actually think it’d be pretty awesome. I figure if Boateng is my neighbor, I’ve done something right."