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For the most part, we tend to associate sports cards with the big four American professional sports: baseball, basketball, football and hockey. However, player cards are popular in other sports and leagues around the world as well. With some sports card companies now branching out into mobile markets, there are more and more opportunities to collect, play games, and generally enjoy player cards.
One example is the Barclays Premier League digital playing card game that Topps launched in advance of the 2013-14 EPL season. Again, many of us don’t think first of soccer when we consider sports cards, but the EPL is enormously popular around the world and increasingly so in the United States. Additionally, it’s a league full of exciting star players, which always makes for fun collecting—even when the cards are digital.
This year, Topps has updated its innovative soccer player card app with the release of KICK 15, adding Bundesliga and MLS teams/players to the experience. The app now features over 1,000 total professional players, and it allows users to compete based on points that can be earned by the real world performance of players whose cards are owned (much like a traditional fantasy sports setup). All in all, it’s a pretty unique experience both for sports card collectors and fantasy sports enthusiasts.
If getting into the KICK 15 app and collecting its digital cards sounds like something you’d enjoy, here are a few tips to get you started by way of five of the most exciting EPL players whose cards you should target.
Danny Welbeck (Arsenal)
Welbeck has no statistical achievements of note at this point and is brand new to Arsenal. However, the 23-year-old striker has English national team experience, and it’s not a stretch to say he was brought in to become Arsenal’s best striker since the great Thierry Henry. Welbeck nearly scored in his first appearance with Arsenal against defending EPL champion Manchester City. And as he settles into his role, the goals could start pouring in. The Independent noted that it’s conceivable Welbeck will eventually earn comparisons to great EPL strikers such as Wayne Rooney and Robin Van Persie, though it will take time.
Diego Costa (Chelsea)
This is the man who has Chelsea on track to dominate the 2014-15 EPL. The Spanish striker is new in London this season and has looked to be far and away the deadliest scorer in the league already. Following Chelsea’s easy win over Swansea in week four, Betfair recapped the match. In pointing out that Costa had scored his fifth, sixth, and seventh goals of the season during that fourth game, they noted that in doing so he’d vaulted Chelsea to a position as a clear league favourite. Diego Costa may well be the most fun player to watch this season.
Wayne Rooney (Manchester United)
Manchester United may have gotten off to a slow start this season, but long time goal scorer Wayne Rooney is as much in the spotlight as ever. Rooney isn’t a newcomer like Costa or Welbeck, but he’s still Man U’s main man. He also recently tied Thierry Henry for third place on the EPL’s all-time goal scoring list (at 175). That’s a remarkable feat. Also, with new coach Louis Van Gaal known to favour a strong emphasis on the attack, Rooney could be in for another high scoring season.
Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool)
Sturridge is a league veteran who should be very interesting to watch this season. Liverpool seemed to be on fire for virtually the entire 2013-14 campaign, but a great deal of the goal-scoring load was on departed striker (and now infamous biter) Luis Suarez, who now plays for Barcelona in La Liga. The club did bring in enigmatic Italian star Mario Balotelli to help keep the scoring total up, but the bulk of the offense is expected to come from Sturridge. Watching him fill Suarez’s shoes should be fascinating.
Sergio Aguero (Manchester City)
And finally there’s Sergio Aguero, who according to the Premier League’s website led Manchester City in goals in 2013-14. Man City is particularly interesting because they won the league last season and more or less stood pat when it came to transfer opportunities. Given the significant changes for the other top clubs—new strikers for Chelsea and Arsenal, a shift in focus for Liverpool, a coaching change and new personnel for Man U—it’s a rather bold play for Man City to attempt to win with more or less the same squad it played last year. And in their effort to do so, Aguero will be the man most depended upon.