Why We Struggle With Soccer In The USA
If you are looking for a soccer-hater rant, this is not your article. USA Soccer has been wildly entertaining this year, from the coach, to Donovan getting snubbed to the qualifying and finally to the last couple of matches which were excellent. Along the way we picked up more knowledge about the game that captures our attention every four years. There have been some instances that illustrate why we struggle with embracing this sport they way we do with basketball, baseball and football. [insert clown here citing Nielsen ratings].
While we look forward with great anticipation to the second round, we will attempt to break down some of the idiosyncrasies that make it difficult for many Americans to be a fanatic.
- It’s Confusing – So there is the World Cup, then another league, supposedly the best league, in England called The Premier League. Then there is that other league that the Galaxy is in with Landon Donovon – right? So there are many championships and the best players don’t always compete in the same league, at the same time. OK got it – Soccer, bad weather, worse food, mary fucking poppins – Soccer.
- Our Players, Our Coach – Wasn’t Landon Donovan suppose to be the best player in the U.S.? He has scored the most World Cup goals of anyone, ever. He is only 32 years old and he was CUT by our coach Jurgen Klinsmann, who used to coach the German national team, do we have that right? Jurgen didn’t want our all time World Cup goal scorer on the team? That’s (almost) worse than putting Christian Laettner on The Dream Team ahead of Isiah Thomas … and James Worthy quite frankly.
- Flopping – Its so hard to have respect for these athletes that are in unbelievable shape, running constantly for 90+ minutes in extreme heat … when they trip over daisies on the pitch. Now you might say that happens in the NBA too, and you would be right. BUT, flopping did not exist in the NBA until foreign players started playing in The Association. In fact, it was pretty much invented by non other than Vlade Divac, the King Of The Flop.
- Bonus Time – Really? We are suppose to be fans of a sport that has a subjective ending? This not something that we are used to, putting the end of the game in the officials and timekeepers hand. So if that last shot from Portugal went wide it was pretty much accepted that that would have been the end of the game. But, why wouldn’t it end while the player was dribbling? In the NBA people pull up from half court, down 1 point because they know time will expire if they don’t shoot. Not in soccer, you can dribble right down to the goal and pretty much finish the play before they whistle Game Over. This is perhaps the most troublesome aspect of futbol that we as Americans struggle with.
OK .. now the good stuff
- Its CROOKED ! – Google FIFA Fixed and you will get 24M results. The president of FIFA, Sepp Blatter (yep, we couldn’t make up that name) is about as legitimate a president as Ghana’s Kwesi Nyantakyi, who was caught on film (recently) offering his team to play in fixed games for $200,000. But perhaps his finest move was delivering $3M to the players last night, by armored convoy! Awesome! No wire transfer, no Swiss bank accounts – Straight cash homey! Nonetheless, adds to the strangeness that is soccer, but also to the appeal.
- Biting Is Common – Soccer’s Cannibal Gets Four Month Ban For Biting – This is the third time Suarez has been banned for biting an opponent after similar incidents with Ajax in the Dutch league and Liverpool. He was given a 10-match ban by the Premier League for biting Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic toward the end of the 2012-13 season. R U Kidding?!? Why aren’t his own teammates taking him out!?
- Ties Are Good – This is another difficult one for us to wrap our minds around. Its perfectly OK for a game to end in a tie – hell, in fact its considered Great in many instances. We don’t have sports like this, even the NHL has taken steps to avoid ties. NOBODY has illustrated the importance of having a winner better than NFL Player, Coach and Most Rugged Male – Herm Edwards. (Click to see video)
All of that said – the 2014 FIFA World Cup has been wildly entertaining both on and off the pitch. Congratulations to Team USA for battling for three awesome matches against worthy opponents AND not flopping once!
Thanks For Reading !