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Re: “Why Does America Hate Soccer

This article is silly. 1. Soccer works on TV in Europe...Obviously someone's found a way to make it work. 2. World Cup after World Cup our teams embarrass themselves? Are you aware in 2002, we beat Portugal and Mexico, taking us all the way to the quarter finals--a game against Germany in which a handball in front of the goal (that went uncalled) prevented the Americans from pulling even with the Germans? We were an attentive referee away from a World Cup semi-final against a South Korean team we had already tied. And are you aware that our U-20 team reached the quarters of the world cup this year, falling in extra time? We were one of the most talented teams there. Funny that you said, "until we start beating teams like England and Brazil..." since we did beat Brazil...2-1. It wasn't luck, either--we outplayed them for long stretches, although it was a fairly even game. It's ridiculous to say we suck. We are consistantly rated in the top 20 by FIFA, reaching as high as #4. With the 200+ teams rated by FIFA versus the 119 in the NCAA Division I, what you're saying is the equivalent of calling Virginia Tech a bad team because they haven't won a National Championship. The only time our first team has truly been outclassed in recent years was at the 2006 World Cup versus the Czechs. We had a bad game, losing 3-0. Then, the very next game, we came out and outplayed the eventual champions Italy, with fewer men, I might add. Are we as good as Brazil or Argentina or Italy? No. But we can hold our own with the big boys and, if we continue getting our strong crops of youth players, we will be counted among those big boys within the next 20 years (if not sooner). 3. MLS on par with English League Two? Here are some recent friendly and SuperLiga results: Chicago Fire 1-1 Celtic (Scottish Prem.) DC United 1-0 Club America (Mexican 1st) FC Dallas 1-1 Chivas (Mexican 1st) FC Dallas 1-1 Pachuca (Mexican 1st, Champions) Houston 1-0 Club America LA 2-1 Pachuca LA 0-1 Chelsea (English Prem.) MLS All-Stars 2-0 Celtic Real Salt Lake 2-0 Everton (English Prem) Real Salt Lake 1-1 Boca Juniors (Argentine First) Do these results mean we're an elite league? Of course not. We were playing teams in their pre-seasons. But these are respectable results against quality competition. We weren't embarrassed--we held our own. In fact, I think most, if not all of our teams could avoid relegation in the English League Championship (that's the league right below the Prem). 4. (And most importantly) YOU'RE MISSING THE POINT OF BEING A SOCCER FAN. The quality of play in the Premiership and Serie A is obviously better than the quality in MLS, but it doesn't really matter. Look at Rapid Wien, a successful club in the weak Austrian league with a strong group of supporters. Do you think they have to convince themselves their team is as good as Chelsea or Milan to watch them play each week? They support their team because it's THEIR team--there is pride involved. While you're right that soccer is a beautiful, complex game with many nuances, what really makes the sport great is the deep connection between the fans and their team. MLS could be the worst league in the world. USA could be the worst team in the world. But the true fans can still passionately support their team. Perhaps the casual soccer fan hasn't grasped this yet, but as our country slowly becomes more soccer savvy (compare now to 20 years ago...we're obviously headed in that direction...no one would bother writing an article on soccer's growth in popularity in 1987), support for our teams will grow, and results will follow. You have to admit, there's some appeal (even to Americans) to sports that aren't all about money and results. Just look at college football--even Nebraska sells out Memorial Stadium every week during a losing season. Soccer may never be as popular as football or baseball, but it is coming to America whether you're willing admit it or not.

0 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Michael on 08/01/2007 at 7:26 PM

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