Many people look back to the 1980’s as a golden age, but for soccer fans living in the United States, it was a quagmire. Not only that, but it was also a very difficult experience admitting you were a soccer fan in those years.
If you were fortunate, you could probably see five to six live matches on TV each year. Nowaways, it’s not uncommon to see that many in one day.
To me, the eighties were a very hateful time to be a soccer fan. During high school, I often heard the expression that soccer was “for fags.” It was one of those situations where oftentimes it was better to ignore the conversation than try to debate it. After all, when you’re the minority, how do you reply to such a derogatory statement like that?
The problem with soccer in the eighties was just as the sport was making small breakthroughts into being accepted, the hooliganism problem had an extremely negative effect on the sport in the United States. I’m not sure how many Brits realize how Heysel and Hillsborough hurt the growth of the sport in the United States. Not that they would care as the focus would have been on grieving for the lost ones and making dramatic changes in the UK to ensure that similar incidents would never happen again.
In the last few years, I finally feel like I belong as a soccer fan in the United States. No longer am I ridiculed for enjoying soccer. No longer am I accused. Instead, thanks to sites such as this one and many others, I can share my passion and discuss the sport (and league) with like-minded people across the US and around the world.
That said, soccer is still a difficult subject to bring up in social circles in America. For example, this week I’m at an Internet marketing conference in Florida. Anytime I bring up the word “soccer” in conversations (discussing my network of sites), it’s guaranteed to be a conversation stopper. There’s that awkward silence when people don’t know what to say because they have nothing of interest to say about the sport.
Now that you’ve heard from me on this topic, I’d like to hear from you. Click the comments link below and tell me about a time where you were ridiculed for following soccer, and whether you now feel like you belong. The best answer (as judged by me) will receive a free EPL Talk T-Shirt. Deadline ends tomorrow, Wednesday, October 10.