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England v U.S.: Why Brits Hate U.S. Soccer Fans

beckham england England v U.S.: Why Brits Hate U.S. Soccer Fans

Earlier this morning, in the build-up to today’s England against United States friendly at Wembley (live on ESPN Classic beginning at 3pm ET), I wrote about why Americans hate English soccer supporters. To be fair, there are a lot reasons why Brits hate U.S. soccer supporters as well, which are revealed below:

  1. Soccer fans in the USA continuously brag how U.S. soccer has improved both on the national and club levels, but when the United States faces tough opposition, the national squad and club teams fail to live up to expectations. Recent examples include the 2006 World Cup, 2007 Copa America and SuperLiga.The last time the U.S. soccer team impressed people and pundits internationally was during the 2002 World Cup when the side beat Portugal and unfairly lost to Germany 1-0 in the quarterfinals. But that was six long years ago!
  2. When U.S. soccer fans call Brits and Anglophiles “Euro Snobs,” those same U.S. soccer fans are in fact being snobbish themselves.
  3. George Gillett and Tom Hicks. Enough said.
  4. Alexi Lalas — because of the stupid things he says.
  5. Americans who insist on getting into preposterous debates about how Major League Soccer teams would rank in England and how some of the teams would do well in the Premier League. It’s preposterous because it’s all guesswork. Judging how a MLS team does in a friendly against English opposition and then equating that to how the American side would compete in England is ridiculous. Wake me up when a game between an American club side and an English side means something, when both teams are playing for a win or a trophy. Otherwise, it’s a waste of time.

While this afternoon’s friendly between the United States and England has little meaning on the international level, a lot of pride is at stake. If England loses, their fans will chalk it up to a meaningless friendly. If England wins, their fans will drag the U.S. supporters through the mud and laugh about how they still reign supreme. Most importantly for the U.S. is that they give a good performance at Wembley where they can earn the accolades of the watching press, media and the public at large. It’s more important than ever for the U.S. to put in a performance that’ll make their supporters proud.

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About Christopher Harris

Founder and publisher of World Soccer Talk, Christopher Harris is the managing editor of the site. He has been interviewed by The New York Times, The Guardian and several other publications. Plus he has made appearances on NPR, BBC World, CBC, BBC Five Live, talkSPORT and beIN SPORT. Harris, who has lived in Florida since 1984, has supported Swansea City since 1979. He's also an expert on soccer in South Florida, and got engaged during half-time of a MLS game. Harris launched EPL Talk in 2005, which was rebranded as World Soccer Talk in 2013.
View all posts by Christopher Harris →

26 Responses to England v U.S.: Why Brits Hate U.S. Soccer Fans

  1. Paul Bestall says:

    I have to laugh at the hatred that is directed toward Hicks and Gillette and the other foreign owners. Randy Lerner, regardless of his nationality has so far been a fantastic chairman and good on him.
    British football is littered with the damage done to clubs by local businessmen, who have stripped clubs to the bare bones. Yet, people are terrified about foreign ownership above everything else and somehow paper over the horrific history of some British clubs destroyed by British chairman.

    Ask fans of Doncaster, who’s chairman tried to burn the ground down, Oxford United who ended up almost ruined after Robert Maxwell had finished with them, Bradford City, who ended up £36 million in debt after 2 years in the Premeirship but the owner wasn’t owed a penny, Scarborough, Blackpool, Norwich City, Carlisle United,Luton Town, York City, Leeds United, Swindon Town. the list goes on.
    Liverpool fans all want DIC to own the club. I suggest they find out just what “businesses” DIC likes to invest in.

  2. Doug says:

    Yeah, other than lose the final – to arguably the best team in this hemisphere in Pachuca – MLS teams were absolutely terrible in SuperLiga. Please.

    And yeah, all we did in 2006 was be the only team NOT to lose to the world champs. The fact that a talented team didn’t play up to its expectations is nothing new. How about those Frenchies in 2002?

    While the USSF and MLS is a long ways from being the FA and the EPL, it is nothing more than a great example of English arrogance to ignore the growth and success that the US and its club teams have enjoyed since 1990.

    This is nothing new – England has looked down its nose at the rest of the world for generations, and not just about soccer. The only difference is, once again, the Americans won’t just sulk away and be quiet.

    And it may not happen today. Probably won’t (Nate Jaqua?). But the US will be more than just competitive with the mighty English soon enough. (Unfortunately, then the American bandwagoners will probably jump on and be just as arrogant…. ugh.)

  3. stephan says:

    First off, we don’t hate you, just stop calling football “soccer”, its FOOTBALL, we use our feet to kick the ball, thats why the rest of the world calls football, but you Americans have to call it soccer, why? because of your game called football, where the only time you kick the ball is for field goals, punts and kickoffs? Also we are ENGLISH not “Brits”.

    most of the reasons you have stated are completely untrue.

    Id also like to refer to this statement;

    “While this afternoon’s friendly between the United States and England has little meaning on the international level, a lot of pride is at stake. If England loses, their fans will chalk it up to a meaningless friendly…”

    This is not true, no offense but do some research on English fans before you write your report, if England lose, we wont “chalk it up” to a meaningless friendly, it will be down to Capello, alot is at stake over this game for the English, Capello needs to prove himself that he can do the job. But then again i doubt you guys even know who Fabio Capello is?

    Seriously, do some research before writing.

    And Doug, i love the way you presume The English are like this, seriously, how many English people have you come across, or is it all what you see on tv or read on the internet…tshh, This, for example…

    “This is nothing new – England has looked down its nose at the rest of the world for generations, and not just about soccer…”

    You sound like the typical naive, arrogant American that would make people from Europe, not just England look down on YOU. The fact is, the English like the idea of FOOTBALL being played at a higher and higher level in america, it makes it more exciting to watch, lets players from the Americas develop their game of football and hopefully integrate the skills produced in the MLS into the european game. I, no doubt as does most English people, believe that in a few more years, if the US keeps progressing the way they do, they will become one of the worlds best, If Americans can see past there own ignorance. And i for one cannot wait to see what greatness can come out of America.

  4. T says:

    “This is not true, no offense but do some research on English fans before you write your report, if England lose, we wont “chalk it up” to a meaningless friendly, it will be down to Capello, alot is at stake over this game for the English, Capello needs to prove himself that he can do the job.”

    Ahh but of course! I don’t know how the Gaffer left this point out! A lot of the English are HORRIBLE the way they treat their national team coaches.

    Salem witch trials, anyone? ;-)

    “The fact is, the English like the idea of FOOTBALL being played at a higher and higher level in america, it makes it more exciting to watch, lets players from the Americas develop their game of football and hopefully integrate the skills produced in the MLS into the european game. I, no doubt as does most English people, believe that in a few more years, if the US keeps progressing the way they do, they will become one of the worlds best, If Americans can see past there own ignorance. And i for one cannot wait to see what greatness can come out of America.”

    Thank you; that’s what I’m talking about. I’m American but I can see this attitude coming from England more and more. *thumbs up*

  5. jm says:

    Stephan,

    I am struggling to understand your brief tirade against the use of “soccer.” Surely the fact that a name “fits” its subject matter is not a tenable view! Nobody has seriously pursued that since Plato in the Cratylus!

    Certainly “football” is intuitively descriptive in a way that “soccer” is not. Since, however, the criterion for word selection is its value in communication, and not how it fits its referent, this intuitive descriptiveness is not the final word. And indeed, for communicative value, “soccer” is a necessity in the States. As is well documented, football (of the ‘soccer’ variety) is not nearly as popular as American football in the United States. In the common parlance of Americans, “football” refers to American football.

    If one wishes to communicate effectively, “soccer” is the natural choice. If I am discussing the game with fellow fans, I will use the term “football.” If I am discussing it with other Americans or in a context where the distinction is salient, I switch my usage to “soccer.” Both refer to the same game – but in the American context, one is ambiguous and the other is not. Why should we choose to use an ambiguous term when a non-ambiguous term is readily available?

  6. stephan says:

    Thanks T for your support, reading back now what i said, i sound very angry…. Sorry about that, i should have worded it differently!

    And jm i certainly see your point, i was trying to dumb it down to a typical Englishman’s point of view, Referring back to The Gaffers reasons in why the English may be slightly more hospitable towards Americans when it comes to football talk. As pathetic as it is, a small minority may feel that soccer is not the right name for the game, being that when football was first invented, it was named, football. Many people feel as a result, the name soccer is branded as an Americanized term for a game that was always originally called football by pretty much every other nation (except you aussies ;) ), so why change it?

    Its a very petty argument, but one that seems to never end. At the end of the day, its just the same game, same ball and same rules.

    I was just trying to shed some light on the whole reason Americans feel neglect from their English counterparts!
    ;)

  7. todd says:

    I’m with Stephan on this. I am an american and I cannot stand that some jackasses decided to call the game of the NFL “football”. I don’t like calling real football soccer, but over here you have to. . Football/Soccer over here is thoroughly overshadowed by “american football” and will never be as big here as the NFL is. What sucks is that people get offended over here when I mention football, and I am usually quickly corrected to call it soccer. If I were British I would be just as annoyed by this, if not more, since the beautiful game was born there.

  8. Kevino says:

    Down the Rebels! Up the British!

    oops sorry folks meant to post that to my War of Independence/ American Revolution blog on Memorial Day.

  9. Shawn Rowland says:

    It is great to be able to have this dialogue in this day and age. I can get online and watch my MLS, or watch EPL on SKY, go down to a friendly between my home Columbus Crew and Aston Villa, Chelsea, or whoever is coming over this year. It is awesome! Yet, we are still people and people will have disagreements. I was born and raised in America. My family has been here since the 1760′s. My family is also vastly English and alot of “English culture” has been passed down my line and I have grown quite fond of my English heritage because of this. I am a huge Steeler’s fan, Penguin’s fan, and I love Rugby as well…but NOTHING will ever capture my sported heart like FOOTBALL. I am an American and I say FOOTBALL. I never say soccer unless I have to explain that I am talking about “world football” or say specifically “Major League Soccer”. What did that one guy say? Down with the Rebels and up with the British? What about a Saxon Rebel? Raise the White Dragon and play some Football!

  10. Jack says:

    todd,

    “I’m with Stephan on this. I am an american and I cannot stand that some jackasses decided to call the game of the NFL “football”.”

    I don’t know if you’re aware of this, but countries develop vocabularies seperatly from each other. I’m pretty sure that “some jackass” didn’t just decide, “Hey, I’m gonna invent this game and call it ‘football’ even though those damn Englishmen already call their own game football! They’re ‘effin pussies! Screw them!” Usually, and especially before the days of the internet, different dialects (or vernaculars, if you will) would develop because of the relative isolation between an colony and it’s mother country. The French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, and Romanian languages exist because they were all colonized by Rome but were so far away from the central Latin-speaking base that the Latin morphed into something totally different. In fact, before the age of the internet, one of the first authors of the American dictionary predicted that in 100 years Engliah English and American English would be mutually unintelligible. Maybe a bit hasty of him, but he has a point. Words change meaning.

    Hence why you could go from England to Canada to the US to Australia, ask a random person from each country if they want to play football, and participate in a different game. Hence: the Austrailian national team is known as the Socceroos, not the “Footballoos” (how lame would that be?). Or why a French-Canadian calls the CFL “le football” and association football “le soccer.”

    The point being: it wasn’t just “some jackass” who decided to do it. It’s just how language works. Look it up.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Football_%28word%29

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historical_linguistics

  11. todd says:

    Jack,

    So your telling me that the word football is relevant to the game that is american football? It clearly is not, that is my point. It has nothing to do with vernacular, it has everything to do with some jackasses calling it football when it has pretty much nothing to do with a ball and feet(outside of punts, kick-offs, and field goals). When american football was created they could have called it anything they wanted. You can spare me the history lesson.

  12. jm says:

    Todd,

    You are also pushing a “goodness of fit” argument for why it should be called “football” across all linguistic contexts. For your position to be plausible, that needs an argument! Even if names do have descriptive content, that does not mean that the descriptive content has to be compositionally determined by its parts. And even worse, your claim seems to be that if it is not so determined, then the name should not be used for that subject!

    Further, there is a distinction between what terms we ought to use when dubbing something, versus what terms we ought to use once they have been introduced into the lexicon of a given public language. Even if you are right that it was “wrong” (linguistically speaking?) to term American football “football” (which I disagree with, but let us grant you the assumption), that does not mean that people are wrong to respect that usage in the current context.

    Finally, note that rugby and association football both shared the name “football” in the early days of both sports. Since American football traces back its etymology to rugby when it was often deemed “football,” the use of the term is not terribly surprising. Indeed, this casts further doubt on the notion that names are assigned to their referents purely or even primarily on the basis of how their descriptive content matches up with their referents!

  13. todd says:

    just a by the way, im todd who has posted here for a very long time as dkptiger…and the todd writing above is not me. just to clear that up

  14. todd says:

    It’s an opinion. I know the history behind the use of the word football, and I will concede that it is no suprise that the American version of the game took the name “football”. I understand your argument, and it is a good argument. This does nothing to change my view that football to me means eleven men on a pitch using their feet to move a ball around, not throwing a ball around. You like the word soccer and I don’t, let’s leave it at that.

  15. jm says:

    “This does nothing to change my view that football to me means eleven men on a pitch using their feet to move a ball around, not throwing a ball around. You like the word soccer and I don’t, let’s leave it at that.”

    A perfectly fine compromise for me! In fact, I use both terms, but all I really want to claim is that in certain contexts, the term soccer is not only acceptable but expedient.

  16. todd says:

    One question JM, are you british or american.

  17. jm says:

    I am an American.

  18. Here’s the funny thing about the word ‘Soccer’…

    The English invented it!

    Yes, toward the end of the 19th century, when the game of ‘rugby’ was given the affectionate nickname, ‘Rugger’, the game of ‘football’ – shortened from ‘Association Football’ (FA) – was so called, ‘Soccer’, a play on the word, ‘Assoc.’ which is the abbreviation for ‘Association Football’.

    End of.

    Check out my website…

    Right on,

    Scotty

  19. frankie says:

    the chicago fire could beat the english national team and you know its the truth.further more manu might might finish 3rd in america

  20. Robert C. Cowden says:

    I think that while the American futbol system is disorganized compared to England. We in fact have alot of good players who go undiscoverd are waste their careers playing college ball. On average I believe that American players have better touch and control on the ball than English players. I am a Colorodo Rapids fan but I am also a big fan of La Liga, the Argentine league, and the Mexican league. I think the EPL is overrated but is interesting to watch and hopefully see upsets against the big four. The frustrating thing in MLS is that the league is completly diffrent every year. I have been to a few matches where in the summer the MLS has broughten tems up from Mexico for friendlies. I look forward to seeing more of those. Have a happy boxing day

  21. ed allen says:

    The word “soccer” was coined in Oxford in the 19th century

  22. Exeter City says:

    The saying ‘Sod the rest of the World” was coined by me when I hear FIFA and Uefa come out with stupid comments about England and its fans.
    I just hope one day that we win (England) a major trophy and thousands of Englishmen/women/children can celebrate in a foreign city flicking the V’s to Sepp Blatter and his cronies. How good would that be huh?

    Have it

  23. Lorenzo says:

    You guys talking about Calcio?

    Ah.. the English called it Soccer until 1950 when the US beat them in the World Cup 1-0

    They were so embarrassed they changed the name hoping nobody would notice.

  24. Charlie Pearce says:

    All the people who angrily claim that the name football comes from using the foot to KICK the ball are sadly ignorant of history.

    Before the advent of organised leagues etc., football described a game played ON foot where the object was to get a “ball” of some description past/into/through a “goal”. Rules were different wherever these games of football were played, but they were all enjoyed by a lusty mob wrestling over a ball rather than kicking it.

    Later, the English public schools introduced football, some, with limited playing areas, allowing the ball to be kicked along the ground. In the 19th Century, as ex-schoolboys wanted to continue playing at university, the lack of common rules was a problem, so various bodies tried to formalise the rules. A faction at Cambridge came up with rules for a type of football that involved kicking the ball, others influenced by Rugby School preferred their handling version of football. Both were simply called “football” by their followers, which is why we still have rugby clubs called “Leicester Football Club”, “Harlequin Football Club” etc., the 1908 Olympics has “Football (Association)” and “Football (Rugby)”, and the forerunners of the British Lions toured the Antipodes under the name “British Isles Football Team”.

    As such, it was “Football” with an oval ball that was introduced to Australia, New Zealand, the USA and Canada – East Coast Australians changed their allegiance to rugby league 100 years ago, New Zealanders stuck with rugby union, and the rest invented their own versions of the game, which is why “football” means something different to all of them, and not the same thing as it does to Europeans.

  25. anthony says:

    basicly football is the word most of the world uses and so thats what it is FOOTBALL….oh and http://www.artistsharbour.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=144 FOOTBALL has been played in this form for centuries and it was called FOOTBALL back then so it shall be called football today

  26. Leo the American says:

    Some History for you FAGS ( and i dont mean ciggarettes)

    The date of October 26th 1863 is to soccer what March 4th 1787 is to the United States. It’s the day that several soccer clubs all around England gathered up in London and formed The Football Association, the first soccer organization up to that date

    The reason I compared this date to the day the United States Constitution was adopted because the Football Association organized the game into a sportive “constitution” called the Laws of Football. The term “soccer” appeared shortly after, being an abbreviation from “Football Association” (from assoc.) and although not as heavily used as soccer, it was a short, light form to describe the phenomenon.

    Reportedly, the man who stands at the origin of the word soccer is Charles Wreford Brown, an Oxford student who always preferred shortened versions of words, such as brekkers for breakfast, or rugger for rugby.

    Soccer gained popularity in the United States later than in the rest of Europe and since the Americans already had a use for the world “football” in understanding the sport of American Football, a middle option was tried on in between 1945 and 1975, when the organization that controlled soccer in the USA was called the “United States Soccer Football Association”.

    Besides being long, the name was still confusing so after 1974 it simply adopted the name of “United States Soccer Federation” and the word “soccer” would define the sport in the US area ever since.

    It’s often mistakenly thought that the United States are the only country that uses the term soccer for what is traditionally known as football in Europe, Asia and other parts of the World. However, the new name was adopted by other countries, specifically those that associated football to a different sport prior to soccer being popular. Such countries include Australia, Canada, New Zealand and some parts of Ireland.

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