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Our country’s participation in World Cup was exciting. Soccer is a good game, although I admit I don’t know much about it.  But one thing I don’t understand.

Why do sports writers and TV commentators and bloggers keep proselytizing about soccer? After the US got eliminated, I read in the NY Times how we lost but our participation was a victory for soccer in general. I read lots of stuff like that. And the implication seemed to be that we as a nation are remiss for not going gaga about soccer. That it is our collective failure that soccer is not as important here as in the rest of the world. Again, I am not putting down soccer, but I am putting down the soccer do-gooders who seem to think we have an obligation to like soccer more than we do.

I mean, why should we embrace soccer if we don’t want to? We have other sports. We have American football and baseball etc. Will augmenting our intertest in soccer make us a better nation, more moral, more caring, more sophisticated? I don’t think so.

It seems to me this is about money. Soccer leagues make a lot of money. There is money to be made in the US — a lot more money than soccer makes now. Fine. Let soccer try. And good luck. But, me, I’m mostly going to forget about soccer until the next World Cup. Does that make me a bad person, a shallow person? I hope not.

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26 Comments

  1. J Canseco

    Everything in pro sports is about money. Everything. Sadly, painting it in any other light is delusional.

    That said, it is a good thing that Americans can learn to appreciate a game that is so internationally loved. It lessens our distance from the rest of the world.

    July 2nd, 2014 9:27 am

  2. Brady

    I don’t think it’s about money. I think it’s about the fact that America may be the only country in the world where soccer isn’t one of the 2 or 3 most popular sports; that suggests that we haven’t been as open minded about the sport, or else we would love it, too.

    Far too much of our country agrees with Ann Coulter on this issue: soccer is a “weak” sport that doesn’t teach kids to be tough, or to be better than other people. This argument is preposterous, of course, but far too many people believe it. I grew up in a hippie-dippie liberal town, and I had little league baseball coaches when I was 5 or 6 tell me I needed to quit playing soccer and start playing football if I wanted to learn how to be a man.

    So I don’t think it’s true that we just don’t like soccer as much as the rest of the world. I think those who are open-minded to it generally love it.

    July 2nd, 2014 9:47 am

  3. J Canseco

    Ann Coulter doesn’t actually believe anything besides the fact that spouting inflammatory nonsense is a great way to make a living.

    July 2nd, 2014 10:01 am

  4. Gary

    World Cup football is a good view because it is the sport at an elite level, with a true “World Champion.” The examples of athletic marvel are everywhere, just look at Tim Howard.
    It is a sport that can leave you gassed at the end.

    I am not familiar with American pro football, but the English, Spanish and Germans play a pretty good brand that is worth recording on the DVR.

    Like baseball, who some complain as being too slow, football can be unattractive to the casual viewer. You either get it or you don’t.

    July 2nd, 2014 10:24 am

  5. Mark M

    I think it’s a conversation on provincialism. The world is absorbed by this sport on the whole. And we are largely oblivious to it.

    Our best athletes play football, baseball and basketball, perhaps hockey too. So we’ll mostly be an also ran in soccer. I don’t have a problem with that but I have enjoyed the game my whole life, playing and viewing overseas leagues. MLS is tough to take seriously.

    And your money suggestion? Of course, always.

    July 2nd, 2014 10:34 am

  6. Jack Orion

    Hard to slip in Cialis ads during a match, so NFL has little to worry about. Americans like sports with breaks so they can eat and urinate. It’s a beautiful game, it’s a nonstop game.

    I’ll save you a seat at the Real Madrid/Inter Milan match in Berkeley.

    July 2nd, 2014 10:40 am

  7. mendozaline

    Andy Borowitz has it all figured out:

    BRUSSELS (The Borowitz Report)—A ten-year European plan to gradually phase out American football in the United States and replace it with soccer is “very much on track,” a spokesman for the European Union confirmed today.

    The E.U. spokesman, Alf-Jergen Holmboe, said the replacement of American football with soccer was the third in a three-step plan to transform the U.S. into a European country.

    “The first two steps were electing a socialist President and instituting national health care,” he said. “Once soccer replaces football, our work will be done.”

    Holmboe said that the E.U. could take no credit for the legalization of gay marriage in the United States, but called it “a very welcome development.” He added, “Once a country has socialism, national health care, and gay marriage, soccer is usually next.”

    The spokesman offered no timetable for eliminating baseball, but indicated that it was “in the works.”

    http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/borowitzreport/2014/06/plan-to-replace-american-football-with-soccer-on-track-says-europe.html

    July 2nd, 2014 10:43 am

  8. Brett

    Any sport where you cannot use your hands is hard for me to watch. However, I did get quite excited during the World Cup. I wasn’t so much about the match I was watching, but the fact that it was our nation against another. Kind of like the feel you got when the 1980 US Hocky Team won gold. I will watch the world cup again, but I am sure not going to rush to Stubhub to purchase some San Jose Earthquake tickets.

    July 2nd, 2014 10:43 am

  9. Streetglide

    It’s NOT a beautiful game. It is a game for cheaters, whiners and fakers, divers a bunch of pansy asses playing a girl’s game.

    Non-stop action? Half the time the majority the is standing around while a couple guys from opposing teams kick the ball to each other.

    The stands are deafening and the drunken slobs in them are the only violence. Soccer sucks and the only reason it is popular is because it can be played in third-world dumps like Brazil with one ball and a patch of dirt.

    Stay away from soccer Lowell. It will lower your IQ and encourage a bad attitude…

    http://www.soccersucks.net/

    July 2nd, 2014 12:14 pm

  10. Dr Feelgood

    Why should we embrace soccer if…?
    -
    We shouldn’t, of course, no more than we shouldn’t embrace any other sport, if that is our mind to.
    Likely, those of us who are ambivalent about soccer, are so for this reason; we were not born into a soccer “society”, we were born into a baseball, basketball, football, etc, society.
    -
    The older generation adheres to the old standard- “that’s what appeals to us and that is our right”. We have every right to that stance. To us, soccer is a boring foreign language film.
    -
    The younger generation is born into a different set of circumstances. Their movie is an international hit. They are coming up in youth soccer leagues. Some high schools have soccer programs. Most colleges have soccer teams. Most all immigrants have soccer in their blood, and no inbred love of American football.
    -
    The sports palette is much different today that in say, 1950- 1990. Soccer is here, it is growing, and when the entertainment industry networks get serious about promoting it, we will all get pulled in, as we were all pulled into everything else (we watch golf, for chissake’). It is inevitable. Who didn’t get just a little rush due to the US in the round of 16, an almost taking down the Belgians. That was HUGE. Don’t discount the magnitude of that game.
    -
    The NFL is trying to export football internationally. They may succeed. Put your money down on this bet; which happens first?: American football proliferates internationally, or, soccer becomes more popular in the US than Golf, NASCAR, and Tennis. My money is on soccer.

    July 2nd, 2014 1:57 pm

  11. Steve the cat rescuer

    I lived in Europe for eight years, watched and enjoyed soccer regularly, primarily because it was the only televised sport besides skiing worth watching. Soccer is played at a very high level in Europe and South America, not so in the U.S. As others have stated, most of our best athletes gravitate to other sports. I haven’t followed soccer since returning to the U.S. unless it’s the World Cup.

    Interesting that Klinsmann was ripped in many quarters for leaving Landon Donovan off the squad. Donovan is very soft and Klinsmann was intent on fielding a team of tough-minded players, which he did. The fact that they advanced as far as they did with lesser skilled players proved their grit and validated his not selecting Donovan. Donovan may be a star in the vastly inferior MLS, but he was exposed and an utter failure in Europe.

    July 2nd, 2014 2:28 pm

  12. Dennis

    I once went to look at a new Mercedes that had just come out. I didn’t want it right then and there but would want it in about 3 or 4 months. The salesman insisted I could have it made to order and it would be ready in 3 to 4 months. I told him I didn’t want to order it, but would be back in 3 to 4 months and buy whatever he had on the lot at that time, assuming I liked it. He, having been born and raised in Germany said to me, “that is the trouble with you Americans. You have no patience.” I told him he was right and not to forget it because a lack of patience is what made this country great.

    Soccer will never take here. It is an unbearable length of nonstop frustration.

    I would also suggest that football would not be as successful here, hell it wouldn’t be tolerated, if red zone scoring had the same success rate as soccer scoring. What is like 1 in 20? Can you imagine? We, as a collective culture, do not have patience for that.

    Oh, and one final thought: of course, it is about money. Name me a pro of anything who does not get paid for their service. As soon as you get paid it becomes about money.

    July 2nd, 2014 3:04 pm

  13. Steve the cat rescuer

    Gee Streetglide, at first I thought you were describing your experiences at a Niners or Giants game.

    July 2nd, 2014 5:39 pm

  14. Streetglide

    Nope…I have six cats, two from Tokyo, rest dumpster losers who needed a home. How many do you have Stever?

    July 2nd, 2014 8:13 pm

  15. Steve the cat rescuer

    At the moment only one, and the assorted neighborhood menagerie who visit my backyard from time to time. My cat is a very slow and picky eater due to serious gastrointestinal issues requiring a complicated and expensive diet, which restricts my ability to add an additional companion or two. If I happen to find a cat with similar dietary needs I’ll take him in. In the meantime I’m hoping to start a sanctuary for senior and special needs cats if I can find the right and affordable piece of property.

    July 3rd, 2014 11:50 am

  16. Jim Bancroft

    Steve, I’ve heard the same criticisms regarding Donovan as you have. I’d never heard of him before 2010 and never thought twice about him, so could you elaborate on why he’s considered ‘soft’? Does he flop around on the ground a lot? Or, is he an A-Rod sort, interested in his brand and image more than actually playing?

    As for the proselytizing sports announcers, I agree with Lowell 100%. I’m sick of hearing about soccer as the Next Big Thing, something that’s been banged into our heads since before the 1994 World Cup. Enough with these 1-0 ‘blowouts’!

    July 3rd, 2014 3:20 pm

  17. Paul

    Lowell I agree with you completely. Some people feel that it shows America’s superiority complex and isolationism when we don’t go gaga about soccer, especially these world events.

    I think the simple truth is that historically there are 3 or 4 other sports that have dominated American sports interests, most or all of them home-grown sports. Do any British talking heads complain that the Brits are stuffy for not liking Baseball or American Football? I highly doubt it, same can be said for most foreign countries, they have minimal interest in US sports. In fact in some cases you could criticize foreigners for going gaga over American sports, say they are trying to copy Americans or be cool to act like an American, and they can get criticized at home for it.

    I’d say it’s probably unfair to make judgements about people either way. People only love sports because they have a passion for it, and that’s not something you can manufacture or force on people. When i was a boy I played all the sports in school including soccer, but because Baseball/Basketball/Football were the traditional American professional sports, that is what I loved. I can’t change this….and my kids will be the same….

    July 3rd, 2014 3:23 pm

  18. Ben

    it isn’t about money at all. it’s just that for some reason U.S. soccer fans, in a well intentioned bid to get others to like it as much as they do, have adopted a really annoying, condescending, door-to-door-religion-salesman-like way of trying to convince us.

    and streetglide, why can’t you just not like a sport… you know, live and let live? you don’t like basketball. great. don’t watch it. but you go on these rants (like an angry, suddenly articulate Stan) like the game should be wiped off the face of the earth. and now soccer. oy.

    July 4th, 2014 10:06 am

  19. Steve the cat rescuer

    Jim,

    More the latter – flopping is endemic to soccer. Many articles have been written about Donovan’s prima doña persona, especially when it comes to situations where he isn’t regarded as the de facto star (e.g., his stints in European leagues), which seem to be confirmed by his sour grapes comments about the American team and Klinsmann now that we’ve been eliminated (albeit by a far superior team). Perhaps there were some personal reasons for Klinsmann’s decision not to include Donovan, but in the last few years Donovan’s commitment has been questioned by many in soccer’s inner sanctum. Donovan wouldn’t be on any of the remaining eight teams. Klinsmann has an eye on the future; teams that relied on old stars (Italy, Spain, England) were all eliminated in the first round.

    July 4th, 2014 10:31 am

  20. Streetglide

    Ben, I’m just sick of the comments above about how American football is for old men with soft weenies.Same reason as I hate about 90 percent of the bicycle riders I see on the streets I despise soccer and the whole culture surrounding it… bunch of self-absorbed wankers.

    July 4th, 2014 1:33 pm

  21. Streetglide

    Ben Part II: And… Ben-san, Lowell knows I write with a lot of tongue-in-cheek. I enjoy adding a little mustard to it, ya know? It’s all good, and you might check the link in my first post. Those guys are pretty funny…

    July 4th, 2014 1:37 pm

  22. B-Rad

    Here’s the sum total of my knowledge about soccer.

    10 or 15 or 20 years ago the U.S. women won the World Cup or Olympics or
    something and one of them got a bra endorsement and I was very happy
    for them and for our country.

    Apparently the soccer play-by-play guys wish that I and 300,000,000 more
    Americans would follow soccer, I believe primarily so that they would make
    more money.

    It would be difficult for someone to be less interested in soccer than I am,
    but good news soccer play-by-play guys, I know more about soccer than I
    know about 95.74% of the other 951 sports topendsports.com lists as the
    world’s sports. Be glad you’re not doing Camel Racing, Muggle, Jorkyball,
    or Composite Rules Shinty-hurling or many others.

    July 4th, 2014 3:55 pm

  23. kg

    Idk…the San Jose Earthquakes sure saw the World Cup as a time to exploit their new stadium next to the San Jose Airport, via KPIX. Y’all come on out to our spankin new soccer stadium down here in the South Bay, & buy some season tickets, we are right off South Highway 101!

    July 4th, 2014 11:20 pm

  24. Johnc

    I find soccer boring. The information exchange about cats is far more entertaining .

    July 5th, 2014 1:31 am

  25. Streetglide

    What Johnc said…

    July 5th, 2014 2:28 pm

  26. Albert Park

    I’m a good ol’ American boy who loves all the good ol’ American sports: Football, baseball, basketball, hockey, etc. But about 20 years ago I started watching the English Premier League soccer on TV and got hooked on that too! It’s great entertainment; the European brand of soccer is much better than our Major League Soccer, and the British announcers are much better than the American blabbermouths. If you don’t like it that’s OK, but don’t knock those of us who do; we have one more sports entertainment option than you do!

    July 5th, 2014 11:28 pm

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