15 Jun 2010

Why Americans Don’t Care For Soccer

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REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko
Japan’s Keisuke Honda (2nd R) scores against Cameroon yesterday

Liberal David Zirin says that the American Far Right, e.g. Glenn Beck and G. Gordon Liddy, don’t like soccer because it is a game popular abroad and they are racists and nativists.

Among adults, the sport is also growing because people from Latin America, Africa, and the West Indies have brought their love of the beautiful game to an increasingly multicultural United States. As sports journalist Simon Kuper wrote very adroitly in his book Soccer Against the Enemy, “When we say Americans don’t play soccer we are thinking of the big white people who live in the suburbs. Tens of millions of Hispanic Americans [and other nationalities] do play, and watch and read about soccer.” In other words, Beck rejects soccer because his idealized “real America” – in all its monochromatic glory – rejects it as well. To be clear, I know a lot of folks who can’t stand soccer. It’s simply a matter of taste. But for Beck it’s a lot more than, “Gee. It’s kind of boring.” Instead it’s, “Look out whitey! Felipe Melo’s gonna get your mama!”

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Ace responds with a far superior analysis. Americans don’t follow soccer because:

It is a low scoring game. (And we Americans are into fast and frequent gratification).

Our best athletes play football, baseball, and basketball. Who wants to watch low quality performers?

It requires an investment in time and attention to understand the point of any sport, and Americans are already otherwise fully invested.

And, leftie fashionistas like soccer, so we don’t.

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I watched small portions of some World Cup matches recently. I would add:

Soccer just looks strange. It really is foot ball. Watching people chasing a ball around, using only their feet, is a lot like watching a ball game played by some other species which unfortunately lacks hands and arms. I get an “I’m watching some kind of Special Olympics ballgame” feeling and start looking around for a cup to place my donation in.

Compared to American football, soccer is an exercise in pacifism. They just don’t tackle people. Americans like our own football because we like violence. We like to see people deliberately running into other people, hitting them, and knocking them down. We also like really big muscular guys. Americans would rather watch a bunch of 300+ lb. linemen crushing people than watch a bunch of slender fellows in short pants and high stockings running lithely over the grass.

Ace is right that soccer is also burdened with politics and symbolism. Americans know that our Obama-voting suburban elite deliberately has replaced American-style football in its own schools with multicultural, politically correct, non-violent soccer. The replacement of football by soccer is a metonymy for the community of fashion’s rejection of “hard, isolate, stoic” traditional American culture in favor of a less decidedly masculine internationalist alternative. New Canaan and Brookline are saying to the rest of America: “We don’t want to be provincial ruffians like you. We want to be Italian or Brazilian.”

Finally, soccer games are accompanied by what Dan Nosowitz aptly describes as the “grating, stab-your-ears-with-a-pencil drone of the vuvuzela,” an obnoxious plastic horn which was apparently first adopted by the Zulus of South Africa to replace their dreaded iklwa.


Vuvuzela

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3 Feedbacks on "Why Americans Don’t Care For Soccer"

Thalpy

A number of good reasons have been put forth over the years as to why soccer, the world’s sport, has never caught on in the United States. The weather, too many competing activities, and the time required to play it are a few of the better “good reasons” given for soccer’s failure in US America.

Perhaps the best reason for failure is the inability of the United States to dominate the sport. If US Americans can’t win, we’re not happy.

A number of years ago a British coach came to the United States to participate in a soccer clinic. One of the parents asked him when he thought that US American soccer would be on a par with that of England or Europe. The coach answered by saying, ” All of our children come home from school, put their books away, and often go out in the back yard to kick the soccer ball around. Your children will kick the soccer ball at the brick wall. Our children will kick the soccer ball at the brick wall, but our children will kick the soccer ball at a brick in the brick wall and that’s the difference. He went on to say that when US American children begin kicking the ball at a brick in the wall, they will be on a par with European children.” We’ll have to wait and see.



Guest Column: Time to Step Out of the Dark Ages | Charge The Mound

[…] changes that reflect the technological advancements and that would enhance the game overall. Americans don’t really care about soccer except now when we’re expected to, so I won’t dwell on the absurdity of how FIFA operates in […]



Ian

I find it funny when you say that Americans like ‘fast’ sports and then name American football and baseball. Umm… stopping every 8 seconds? Sooooooo fast. Baseball… only if they are trying to get someone out, not fast at all… Then saying the sport looks weird, ignorance right there. Football looks weird and it looks like apes trying to run in a zone mindlessly destroying their own bodies…



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