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America’s Favorite National Pastime: Loving Soccer

The debate about whether soccer has “made it” in America is one that has been going on for decades. Since hosting the World Cup in 1994, the popularity of the sport in this country has steadily risen year after year. Personally I don’t believe it will ever become the most popular sport in this country. I’d be happy with it giving the NFL a run for its money, but the tidal wave of support that soccer has gotten in this country during the 2014 World Cup has been a joy to see. The thing that strikes me as being a big difference from this World Cup compared to others though has been the interest from casual fans outside of Team USA.

Typically, like the Olympics, you’ll get the people that will tune in to just our country’s matches and then be done with it. But things are different this year. People are watching and following these games every single day. It’s obviously helped that this has been hands down one of the most entertaining group stages in years, but it’s still worth mentioning that, for the most part, people have been generally excited by nearly every game of this World Cup.

But it’s not just the viewing numbers, the social media interactions or the packed bars that are leading me to proclaim that soccer is really making an impact in this country this year. If you’ve scrolled through Twitter or various news sites during the World Cup, you’ve probably been unfortunate enough to see something that truly confirms that soccer is making people sit up and take notice. I’m talking about the American political blogospheres all-out assault on soccer that has taken place throughout this World Cup. Now, as a soccer fan, I’m used to the crotchety old sports columnist talking about how soccer is bad because it’s boring, there isn’t enough scoring, you can’t even use your hands, etc. We’re at a point where pretty much everybody knows that those are just cheap column inches used to pander to a now ever dwindling section of the sports world that is vehemently against soccer.

When will the people who sit behind their cushy desks vomit words about how awful our political system is and how our country is going to hell in a hand basket on a regular basis sit up and take notice? Now you’ve made it. After forcing myself to read through several of these pieces, I’ve loosened the noose I had thrown around my ceiling fan for a second and decided that it’s time to hit back. There are a few recurring themes that I’ve noticed through a lot of these articles and I will get to them below, but it should be noted that these people know absolutely nothing about sports. They’re casual fans at best and really only pop up when their target audience has something to say about whatever sport is going on at the moment. When a sport that nobody cares about gets political bloggers to sit up and take notice, that’s when that sport has truly made it to the big time. So let’s go ahead and see how soccer is going to put America on the fast track to becoming big in the USA!

“Soccer is a team sport, there is no individualism [in soccer] and this is bad”

I remember when I was but a wee lad, just starting to play baseball and basketball, and the one thing that I was told is that those sports are “team” sports. That is a narrative that is still played out today throughout every single major sport in the United States. I was told that everything we did was for the good of the team and we were to work as a collective unit to achieve greatness. Apparently I’ve been misled my entire life. DAMN YOU FATHER, YOU LIED TO ME!

In all seriousness though, that is the perfect statement made by someone who has never actually played a sport. In baseball, for example, yes when you step to the plate it is essentially a one on one battle. It is the pitcher vs. the hitter. And whoever wins is determined on whether the batter has been gotten out or not. But if you’ve ever watched a baseball game, you see that batters often make sacrifices for the good of the team. That’s why there are terms like “sac fly” or “sac bunt.” Are we to believe that sacrificing ones individual glory for the good of the team is no longer a good thing? Conversely, if baseball is such an individual sport, then why are their 9 men on the field behind the pitcher? Surely such a bastion of Americana would reflect our true nature and have it just be a pitcher vs. a hitter, having the pitcher do all of the fielding. Why does the pitcher need 8 other guys behind him? Is he so LAZY that he needs the help of others to help achieve his goals? He’s probably a democrat. Why hasn’t this ever been addressed before?

The analysis of soccer not having individualism is spot on though. When a player runs up to take a penalty, he has 11 other men running up with him and they all kick the ball at the same time. The same goes for free kicks. I say we strike all of Andrea Pirlo’s free kick goals from the record as the entire team kicked the ball at the exact same time as he did. Death to team sports.

“Soccer is foreign and is therefore bad for America”

As a person who comes from a foreign lineage, I agree with this statement completely. All foreign things are bad. A list of other foreign things that are bad:

• Mexican Food
• Honda Cars
• Samsung Products
• Oil
• Thongs (modern thongs were introduced by an Austrian. THE MORE YOU KNOW)
• Poutine
• Ichiro Suzuki
• Adriana Lima
• Ted Cruz (ok, this one really is bad)

“…Liked soccer and you’re no better than him if you like soccer”

Bad people don’t like American sports. It’s our nation’s best way of telling whether or not they truly are a bad person. From dictators to drug lords, all bad people in this world love soccer. It’s not like Timothy McVeigh was a raised as a Buffalo Bills fan or Fidel Castro is a massive baseball fan or Kim Jong-Un is a basketball lover or anything. Those are two wholesome all American sports that only good god fearing people are fans of. True Americans would never have anything to do with anything associated with Pablo Escobar.

“There is no individual humiliation in soccer and that is something that is required of a true sport”

Are. You. F******. Kidding. Me.

If I continue doing this, my head is going to explode. Liking soccer isn’t going to turn the United States into some communist utopia. The Taliban won’t win and Russia won’t invade (hopefully!). It’s a god damn sport. It’s not a reflection on the ills of our society, it’s people in this country giving soccer an honest to goodness chance and liking it, which is all soccer fans have been asking for all along. Is it for everyone? Absolutely not. The same people who are “force feeding” or “guilting” you into liking soccer are akin to the people who force feed other people who don’t like the NFL, but that’s American so we’re just gonna go ahead and skim over that. We’re at the stage where people who know nothing about this sport are writing derogatory articles about it. We’ve finally made it soccer fans.

*Kicks chair*

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  1. ipilesk

    July 9, 2014 at 3:57 am

    Ann Coulter is usually wrong about every single thing, but I will admit – she is right about one thing: soccer is horrible and un-American. To its core.

    Oh, and this drubbing of soccer in the political press that’s happening right now? IT HAPPENS EVERY FOUR YEARS, MORGAN! You total dumbass. Soccer hasn’t made it in this country. It never has and it never will. DEAL WITH IT, you soccer-loving losers! LOL!

  2. Mikael

    July 9, 2014 at 3:33 am

    Not that I get why anyone should really care what this woman is saying. But it is really quite amazing to write an entire article and not get a single thing right. She even has her own unique and equally mistaken interpretation of the term “soccer mom” (English is not my first language, but I guess she has it confused with “helicopter parent”?).

  3. Bo

    June 27, 2014 at 8:52 pm

    I have to say, as a “conservative” person myself, everything she’s said is disgusting and totally ignorant. From my years of talking to people, most young “conservative” and “center/moderate” people are the ones that love soccer and play it or at least even if they don’t follow it as closely as I do are very excited and enjoying this world cup. Most of the people that I’ve met that don’t like soccer are older people that don’t understand because they never grew up with it or surprisingly “liberal” type people who push American football and baseball. All she’s after is attention, which is kinda sad. Best thing to do is to not give her or other people against the sport or world cup any attention.

    p.s.I kinda like the metric system.haha;D

  4. rkujay

    June 27, 2014 at 10:40 am

    I became a footy fan in 1959. I long ago stopped being an apologist or an evangelist. However, I just had a moment of introspection when I read someone’s remarks concerning diving and feigning injury. I hadn’t thought of it much lately,and it occurred to me that those things might be difficult to explain to a novice. I guess that I have just come to accept that some people dive, others fake injury, and still others endeavor to get opponents carded. I’ve heard and never accepted the ‘cultural differences’ argument. Cheating is cheating. I can’t explain it to those who don’t know the game. I certainly do not accept it myself. Noble causes FIFA has in Respect and Say no to racism. Now LET’S ACT LIKE MEN AND STOP CHEATING.

    • insert name here

      June 27, 2014 at 11:46 am

      Football reflects all aspects of society. Its all about getting a edge on your opponent and doing anything you can to survive. A lot of these players come from abject poverty and will do anything to succeed. I hate to say it but cheating is part of the football and will never be totally wiped out. Its part of the drama and the narrative. Also cheating is in every sport, not just football. Even sports like snooker players fix matches, Rugby players have used fake blood, American football players have used steroids & even petroleum jelly, cyclists used whatever they can inject into themselves, cricket people damage the ball, etc and so on and so forth. The list is endless.. Sport is a reflection of life and people are unpredictable and flawed. You wont stop cheating. Its more obvious & regular in football but its in every sport. The best we can hope for is that video technology is brought in to punish those who have clearly cheated. The sooner they do this the better.

  5. Martin J.

    June 27, 2014 at 10:07 am

    There’s no such thing as bad publicity. The more the anti-soccer crowd roars the better.

    The fact that anyone cares to talk about soccer means it is relevant.

    Finally, she is a “Faux News” analyst. Enough said.

    • yespage

      June 27, 2014 at 12:18 pm

      She is just trying to ruffle feathers. She is a troll just trying to get attention so she can sell her next book. It is pathetic.

      Probably should send Suarez after her.

  6. gillyrosh

    June 27, 2014 at 9:31 am

    I am just amazed that people still pay attention to Ann Coulter.

    • Flyvanescence

      June 27, 2014 at 9:46 am

      Agreed. Or any of the political right or left extremists. Troublemakers the lot of them.

      • yespage

        June 27, 2014 at 12:17 pm

        Yeah, though you’ll have a hard time finding extremists in the left publishing best sellers or having columns in papers.

  7. Bergkamp_10

    June 27, 2014 at 9:17 am

    Soccer is a tidal wave in USA and it cannot be stopped. Not by these old school bloggers that can spew all their hatred where the sun don’t shine. I love how soccer fever is taking over USA and young Lionel Messi brewing somewhere. Go USA!

    • ipilesk

      July 9, 2014 at 3:55 am

      Oh yes. A tidal wave. Why, the total fandom of soccer in the United States probably increased from the 300 people there were before….all the way to 400! LOL! What a tidal wave, eh? Suck it, you soccer-loving loser! Football, basketball, baseball, and hockey OWN YOU.

  8. Mark Williamson

    June 27, 2014 at 7:06 am

    This makes me very happy. I never tried to shove the game down peoples throats that did not watch it, but got tired of defending myself because I did. That is history, I have had more than a few people come to me the last two weeks, n0n-fans, that have told me, “I get it, I get it!!. It is fun and exciting to watch.” Hallelujah, my favorite sport has arrived.

  9. john marzan

    June 27, 2014 at 12:20 am

    classy post from world soccer talk.

  10. insert name here

    June 26, 2014 at 11:35 pm

    ahh theyre just scared.. Soccer will become the number one sport in America. Its only a matter of time. Its the Godzilla of sports. Its unstoppable. Its an amazing sport and once the young people get the bug (and theyve got it now) then it will take over. It might take another 10/20+ years but it will eventually take over. I know people will disagree with me about that and thats fine but in my opinion its only a matter of time. I am glad to see this positive reaction to this World Cup and I am also glad to see these fearful reactions to it too. Be afraid, be very afraid.. Its heeeeereeeeeee !!!!(:

    • ipilesk

      July 9, 2014 at 3:59 am

      Oh sure it will. People like you were saying this, too, 4 years ago. And 4 years before that. And 4 years before that. And a decade before that. And another decade before that. On and on through the years, you soccer-loving douchebags say that soccer will become the #1 sport in this country! And every year, you end up being pathetically wrong! LOL! And you always will be! ROFL!

    • Me

      July 9, 2014 at 9:00 am

      Soccer? Yawn. It’s well placed in fifth position in a 4-sport race (NFL,NBA,MLB,NHL..Soccer). Once the World Cup is finished, it will go back to being an afterthought. It’s widely considered to be a children’s game. It may gain some ground, but the NFL is king, and will remain so.

  11. TamaraH71

    June 26, 2014 at 11:07 pm

    Welcome to America, Football! LOL

    She needs to be ‘Suarez’d’.

  12. Ivan

    June 26, 2014 at 9:57 pm

    Coulter is the worst thing to happen to mankind since Satan?

    World would be such a better place once this creature is dead, no disrespect or anything.

    Do you think Satan would want to come anywhere this Monster?

    USA, bring on Belgium!

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