Explaining the World Cup

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Four summers ago, the city of New York opened back up at two every morning to watch soccer games in cities four time zones away. I made a bet with the busboy where I ate breakfast and won; I made bets with a friend in Germany and lost. He called after the game, the German, proud like a favorite uncle, to explain how team USA had played better than anyone had a right to expect. Almost, he said, respectably well. I pretended to be flattered, but as an American it’s my fate to never really care about the American soccer team: not indifferent, but also unable in any World Cup year to name more than a single player.

Trinidad and Tobago v. Bahrain

A sea of red from the match against Bahrain that that secured Trinidad and Tobago’s World Cup berth last November [C*POP, via Caribbean Free Radio]

This year Trinidad and Tobago made the tournament, according to the BBC favored to win at 1000 to 1. The “Soca Warriors,” they’re called, from a Trinidadian dance. The evening the warriors qualified, podcaster Georgia Popplewell recorded noise on the street in Trinidad that she describes as “blaring car horns, rhythm sections, stream of consciousness, slightly distorted audio and the sounds of a country in the throes of ecstasy.”

So for Trinidad and Tobago it’s a pretty big deal.

We want to know how soccer can explain each nation that loves it. We’ve taken as our guide the excellent but unfortunately titled The Thinking Fan’s Guide to the World Cup, which breaks down what the sport means, team by team. To the Brazilians and the Germans it’s a birthright; to England it’s a reliable Mets-style heartache. To Trinidad and Tobago: a miracle.

What is it for you? Did you marry into a soccer nation? Were you born in one? What was your best World Cup summer?

Martin Wagner

Washington DC-based reporter, Bayerischer Rundfunk

Laura Silber

Co-author, Yugoslavia: Death of a Nation

Director of Public Affairs, Open Society Institute

Vlada Novakovic

Editor, B92 Sport

Stacy-Marie Ishmael

Trinidad and Tobago blogger, AOL sports World Cup Soccer Blog

Student, London School of Economics

Robert Kellner

Correspondent, West Deutsche Rundfunk

Extra Credit Reading

Laura Smith-Spark, Anyone seen a Trinidad and Tobago shirt?, BBC Sport, May 6, 2006

Warrior Nation Blog, Trinidad and Tobago “Soca Warriors” Support Club

Viva Muqtada, Riverbend, May 31, 2006

The Soccer Shout Podcast

Play Magazine: World Cup 2006, New York Times

Don’t Tread, a music video starring USA midfielder Clint “Deuce” Dempsey

10:35

[If Germany wins] We will celebrate the night, and the next day we will look around ourselves and say, did we offend anybody? Sorry for winning, do we have to apologize somewhere?

Martin Wagner

12:50

…It’s a game, and we hope to be the best and we might be the best, and that’s it. It’s a game. We didn’t start a war, we just won a game.

Martin Wagner

29:45

The other reason for optimism was that the Serbian national team looked like a good unit of players, they did have some kind of winning spirit and they liked to play for each other. They had some sort of togetherness, and this is what Serbian football traditionally likes. We are considered to be European Brazilians.

Vlada Novakovick

30:20

This side, that Serbia has now, is more like a German [team]. They fight, they’re very hard to beat… The main idea is that togetherness has been brought back to the national team and that is what people’s hopes are being built upon.

Vlada Novakovick

31:20

[Togetherness] would be a good cure, not only when we’re talking about Serbia, but when we’re talking about all former Yugoslavia republics… I think that if nobody did learn anything from the past 15 years then this is a bit of a hopeless region.

Vlada Novakovick

36:00

…a younger generation, the people who are playing right now, came of age at the time when we didn’t remember what the heyday of cricket was all about. For us football had always been what you get on TV, what you play in backyards… it was the sport we identified with most immediately.

Stacy-Marie Ishmael

44:30

I’m extremely excited [for Trinidad playing England]. Is it going to be a historical clash? No, it really isn’t. Football was never a response to colonialism. We’re playing football to prove that we’re good enough to be recognized on the international stage. As a footballing country we’re ready to take on one of the best teams in the world.

Stacy-Marie Ishmael

48:50

Today one of our biggest tabloids printed the text of our national anthem. I think that there are very few countries–America, Britain or France–where you would have to print out the national anthem because everybody knows it by heart.

Robert Kellner

50:00

Germans are seen as a brooding, introspective people. I think everyone is looking forward to having a four-week party. The sunshine has just come in time, it’s a weekend, it’s a friday evening, everybody wants to have a good time, and let’s hope that happens.

Robert Kellner

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  • ergarcia

    The growth of soccer in the US has really been evident in the time that I’ve watched the World Cup. In 1990, the games were shown (in English) broken up by commercials–this time, they’ll be on ESPN/2 and ABC, all in high definition, and with some deal of hype beforehand…of course, there’s always Univision, where I started watching the tournament.

    I was in the student center at UCLA on my lunch break at work when the

    game ended, and I was the only non-Persian in the room. Westwood is the cultural center of the largest Iranian population outside of Iran, and UCLA has many Persian students. These are the sons and daughters of the upper- and middle-class Iranians that fled when the Shah was disposed, and are the ideological enemies of the Islamic government. But when the game ended, they were reduced to tears in joy at seeing their country win what in theory was a meaningless game in the World Cup. I was swept up in the emotion–it’s the best sporting experience I’ve ever had. At that point, I wasn’t a huge soccer fan–I only paid attention during the World Cup. Since then, I’ve become a soccer fanatic–the US might not be known for its large soccer fan base, but it’s there, and it’s significant, made up of all races and ethnicities.

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  • http://www.radioopensource.org/user/sidewalker sidewalker

    If you want to read a sampling of The Thinking Fan’s Guide to the World Cup, try this link.

    http://www.thinkingfan.co.uk/

  • http://www.rockisland.com/~pmcrae/index.html peggysue

    “Buddhism is their philosophy. Soccer is their religion.”

    The film The Cupby Bhutanese director (and Buddhist lama) Khyentse Norbu is a delightful humorous true story about Tibetan refugee boys in a monastery in the Himalayan foothills across the Indian border from Tibet who are crazy about soccer and must go to great lengths to watch the World Cup.

    http://www.the-cup.com/frameset.html

  • http://grahamlampa.org Graham Lampa

    I am an American living in Germany, and it is astounding to see how much emphasis is put on their hosting of the “Weltmeisterschaft” here starting in a week. Everything has become “soccerized”–all commercials and promotions from banks to happy meals simply *must* have some tie-in with the World Cup. It’s actually quite annoying and Germans are having enough of it. What really has the Germans fed up is that Budweiser was granted exclusive rights to sell beer in the World Cup stadiums during games even though their beer in no way follows the 500-year-old German “Reinheitsgebot”, or purity law, which dictates that only certain ingredients–water, barley, and hops–in the production of beer. It’s a liquid understandably linked to the German sense of self and identity, and to have Budweiser serving it amounts to a national insult for a people who often feel they have little they can be proud of.

    Another alarming thing that is occurring right now in my town is a scandal brewing over racial conflicts between young ethnic Germans and immigrants. The local soccer fan club, of which my roommate is a member and leader, has been accused of harboring young neo-Nazis that are implicated in an attack on Turkish teenagers in a neighboring town. What’s not reported, however, is that the same group of soccer fans was attacked by Turks at their soccer club one evening last week, with one young German girl being seriously wounded by a makeshift weapon. Because of the German experience in the Holocaust and their collective national guilt, it seems only Germans can be considered troublemakers and instigators in violent conflicts, which is very, very far from the truth.

    The police are concerned that this is a sign of rising local soccer hooliganism, which is in my eyes very much an overreaction. They are linking these fights (by the way, I was also attacked by a group of foreigners while with a group of friends unrelated to the soccer fan club) to threats against the World Cup matches and general civil unrest. Just like the advertising campaigns that all involve the World Cup in some way, these fights are also thought to somehow be related.

    I don’t care about soccer, personally, and will only be marginally rooting for the German and American national teams. But I do care about Germany’s psyche, and its national sense of self and identity is riding on a successful, peaceful, and, yes, entertaining World Cup 2006.

  • Marlin

    With globalization, the internet, and the first generation of US soccer players coming of age, the game is here to stay in America. We’ve just begun America’s soccer century. Where was baseball in 1906? I am one of the thousands of kids that grew up on a suburban soccer field in the eighties and nineties, and I am only the tip of the iceberg. My father played college football, but I played college soccer. What will happen when I and others like me have kids and pass on our love of the game? There is a cultural revolution at hand, it’s building quietly, and every four years the world cup marks its steady, even rapid, progress. If US soccer were a stock, there might be nothing better to buy and hold for the next thirty years.

  • http://www.widescreenglory.com DevanJedi

    In India, where 1 billion people have the game of cricket on their minds all the time, the most followed sporting event outside of cricket is the Football World Cup. This is especially interesting because most parts of the country do not have a decent local team and the Indian international team does not measure up to even its not-so-strong neighbors. There is no prospect of rooting for their own team, yet the event is followed uniformly throughout the country.

  • http://incadenza.typepad.com/soccer_thoughts/ Evan

    Marlin–you’re right about soccer now being passed down to the next generation, but it’s been in America for over 100 years, and has consistently been popular in certain areas–Kearny, NJ and St. Louis are two well-known examples and have produced many American players. There’s a history of soccer in the US and Canada that isn’t ignored, but just not known by many people.

    Graham–I’m pretty sure an agreement was reached, so Bit (Bitburger) will be sold alongside Bud (I’m sure you know, Budweiser cannot be sold as Budweiser over there, because of the dispute with Budvar).

  • Brendan

    Yay Bitburger! Bitte ein Bit!

    Ok, back to soccer.

  • thomas

    In American, soccer has been about as cool as conservation. The governor of Montana on the Global Warming episode last night mentioned the first thing that must happen in America to get people conserving is to make it cool. In America, your degree of cool is the all important measuring stick. In 2004, I would hear people say, George Bush seems much “cooler” than Kerry. It seems cooler to blog than work for the NY Times. When Al Gore was a politician, he was dorky. Now he’s a filmmaker and cool.

    The popularity of American soccer has suffered from a tragic lack of cool. Think the motley team we fielded in the 1994 World Cup, when soccer breached our nation’s mainstream consciousness. Think Alexi Lalas. Even today, our national team seems without personality. Think our most heralded star, Landon Donovan. Soccer has been dismissed by sports writers as a glorified ultimate frisbee for years. No one in America has ever grasped the elements of the game that make it the most loved game in the global village.

  • thomas

    Brendan thanks for the link to The Thinking Man’s Guide to the World Cup I hadn’t heard of the book before.

    I came across the June National Geographic feature- “The Beautiful Game: Why Soccer Rules the World.” http://www7.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/0606/feature1/index.html – which gives excerpts from the Thinking Man’s Guide.

  • jhd

    I would also recomend Franklin Foer’s “How Soccer Explains the World.”

    I hope soccer never gets too cool in America, coolness brings along some ugly side effects like self important prima donnas and such. We’re still enjoying a gold-tinged period where beautiful play is celebrated but players can walk the streets and nobody throws batteries at the guy taking a corner kick.

    I’m a suburban-bred white guy who liked playing soccer and happened to see the Wide World of Sports presentation of the ’66 final when I was five. I pretty much remember history by world cups. “Oh yeah, that happened the year after Maradona scored that goal in Mexico.” I couldn’t sleep the night before our first game in 2002, I kept having nightmares about all the Americans being fat and slow. John O’Brien’s 3rd minute goal early the next morning will always be a special memory.

    America’s big contribution to world footbal, though, is women’s soccer. There is a tremendous amount of sex wrapped up in the game, and I think it’s great that we’re the ones who’ve made it ok for women to enjoy it too.

  • http://trinidadtobago.worldcupblog.org stacy-marie ishmael

    I think I’ve read every book about football written in the past 15 years – including Foer’s, and I’m ploughing my way through the Thinking Fan’s Guide. (This does not bode well for my exam on the 8th of June…)

    The piece on T&T in the TFG is extremely well written, and suprisingly insightful given that the author, Cressida Leyshon, isn’t even Trinbagonian. It takes the T&T-as-historical-underdog angle; the writing is beautiful and the references – from Naipaul to a quote from Kelvin Jack – are many and always apposite.

    Still – there’s so much more to T&T when viewed through the football lens. Consider race relations – everyone has been talking about Chris Birchall, the sole white player on the team, and English by birth. Race relations in Trinidad (and Tobago) are complicated, and that is reflected in our sports. All of our top swimmers are white; all of our top track and field specialists are black. None of our footballers are of East Indian descent. Hmm…

    One could speak at length about the politicisation of and corruption in the administration of our football as a reflection of the wider problems of accountability in government and business; about the marginalisation of women’s football as an extension of the parochialism that still characterises our society; about our lack of a proper youth program to groom the next generation of Yorkes and Latapys as evidence of our persistent short-termism.

    Football is life lived 90 minutes at a time.

  • fabkebab

    I have lived in Texas for 10 years after growing up in England -

    I am a big fan of the sport, and for me the world cup is where the sport combines with national identity, resulting in a fun international party-

    Being in america for the world cup is almost like being in a neutral country – By and large the only people interested are other foreighners, typically from other countries, but momentarily drawn together as fellow supporters- French, Mexican, Trinidadians – we are all part of the same patchwork quilt for a few weeks

    If I was in england for a world cup, I am not sure that I would get that same international friendliness, since there is such a strong bias towards the “home team”- So in a sense its a fun place to be for the “greatest show on turf”

    My one vague dread about the world cup (present and future) is that the USA will actually win the thing, and the general population wont care in the slightest- America is a very good sporting nation – competing at the highest level in all sorts of sports, well known and fringe alike- having seen the friendlies though, its not going to be this year!!

  • thomas

    Jere Longman has an insightful article about an emerging style in the US game.

  • fabkebab

    Morality:God given – 318 replies

    The world cup – 15 replies

    Go anywhere else in the world and these numbers would be reversed!! :)

  • MoonMan2

    I would watch the World Cup if the game wasn’t so g__ d___ boring. Soccer is just such a snooze. I can’t get into it, no matter how much I like Bono and the U2 ads on ESPN plugging the series. If there was a real football cup (American Football) then I’d watch. I’d attend.

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/wallatov mr.dana

    I do not think that America will ever love the world game and that is OK. In fact, it probably for the best. Let the world engage in unity and sport together with America on the sideline. I do not see any problem with that scenario, if that is what America wants.

    In reference to the MoonMan2 comment above, there will never be an American football world cup because there are not enough overweight people outside America for the sport to develop. American football requires a large pool of relativly obese people, football requires the oppoiste as well as being a simple game that is universily understood. Football almost transcends language and has united the world. It is fitting that America is left out. I would like to see any American football player play 90 minutes without any subsitions…. impossible.

  • Marlin

    fabkebab: Where is this conversation located geographically?

    jhd: Do you really think that soccer in America would ever involve fans throwing batteries at the players on the field? Does this happen in the NFL? I would argue that US soccer already has its fair share of prima donnas—Clint Mathis is a prime example. What sport doesn’t involve ego drama? It takes a lot of confidence to play a sport on an elite level and, naturally, some people in sport take their self-confidence too far. Regardless of what the effects of coolness are, US soccer could definately use a heavy shot of cool in the arm.

    Also, what exactly do you mean when you relate that “there is a tremendous amount of sex wrapped up in the game” to women playing soccer? US women’s soccer is definately something to be proud of, but it’s a testament to Title IX and advancements in women’s rights in the 20th century.

    If America as a whole began to truly appreciate soccer’s nuances, it might start to become a better global citizen.

    I believe that soccer is the only truly global language. It is one thing that all of us can have in common. People everywhere can relate and communicate through the simple act of playing this game. And that, to me, is the most beautiful aspect of the joga bonita.

    And now, I plug a great US soccer blog titled, Reckless Abandon (my own I confess).

  • Marlin

    Moon2Moon:

    I missed your post while I was writing my last one.

    It’s comments like yours that truly endear America with the rest of the world, and soccer lovers in America. Are you threatened by people who love soccer? What incites such strong language?

    I grew up playing soccer in a place (America) where parents told me I was wasting my time playing “a communist sport.” Yet, most soccer lovers like myself don’t actively and evangelically try to hate other sports.

    Like racist bigots in America, I’d like to think that these types of comments are slowly dying out.

  • fabkebab

    Marlin -

    For me, this “conversation” is centred around Boston (because of where the show is broadcast from) , but more generally it is a product of liberal america

    Dont get me wrong, I enjoy the show, but the topics generally focus on american issues, and leave me with the overall impression that that the contributors (on this board) are generally left-leaning americans- I hope I have explained my comment :)

  • http://www.mediacodex.com wvan

    Football is made up of smaller parts like politics, history, love, psychology, religion, culture etc… Football is the only way to see eternity in a temporal setting.

  • MoonMan2

    Whoa… hold the flames. It’s just my opinion.

    I wish that I could get in on the love … but the game is just inheritly boring to me. Like I said, if they were playing a World Cup of Football or baseball, or basketball I could dig it. But not soccer. I really got into the World Baseball Classic (Japan won), and the 2004 Summer Games (Argentina won).

    MARLIN: I am not threatened by soccer. I just find it credibly boring and I revel not in the series but in how the world is captivated by it.

    You’d like to see comments like mine die out? don’t you think that’s just going a bit far? … sort of like some sort of socialist dictator demanding that everyone worship the state or one god. I thought this site is about “open” and not closed…

    It’s laughable that you equate the U.S.A.’s overall lack of interest in soccer to the country’s standing in the world. Do you think our opinion of soccer had a hand in the Iraq invasion? (It actually did… as the stories of Saddam’s sons torturing the Iraqi soccer team was one of the ‘arguments’ circulated before the battles started).

    We like different things. Is that why the world hates us? No, it’s because our imperial acting elected officials, constant black ops and toppling of dicators (that we used to support), and the constant double standard of who we help and who we don’t.

    I am sorry that you were told that as a child. I too heard all about “Communist Kickball.” Parenrts should encourage our children to play whatever they feel like playing. Not corner them into this or that because of opinion or anything else.

    >>

    MR. DANA: Those comments reveal your simple-minded foolishness.

    “American football player play 90 minutes without any subsitions…. impossible.”

    That’s plain funny. Take any NFL reciever, tailback, running back, corner back, half back, safety or any other of the non-blocking positions and those guys could easily run around a field all day without substitution. That really is what soccer is all about anyhow, isn’t it?

    How about David Beckham playing linebacker? That would be a funny one…

    And your idea of pools of obese people just shows how very little you understand or comprehend about football.

    You try to bash a game that is the an actual direct relative of soccer. It’s darwinianism at its greatest … soccer evolved into rugby… then rugby gave us football (in its separate Canadian and American forms).

  • thomas

    Wow. I left for a couple of days and the convo really got heated. Thankfully the soccer vs. football debate is not so intense in the rest of the world!

    Tonight is the eve of the World Cup. Tomorrow and over the first week of the World Cup much of the world will stop and send prayers, luck, and cheers towards Germany.

    In the sporting world there is no event quite like the World Cup. Tonight the world is giddy in the way college basketball fans get giddy on the first friday of March Madness. There are the hopes of whole nations riding on the next month, not just Duke alums or south-side Chicagoans. Bruce Arena, the US coach, mentioned the other day that in America we have a hard time conceiving the importance of the World Cup tournament because in our American games when New England beats St. Louis, we dub them World Champions.

    This is Ghana’s first World Cup and their not just playing for their nation but along with the Ivory Coast Africa. It’s the Czech Republic’s first since splitting with Slovakia. These nations don’t get a chance to enter the global conversation often. With six pure games and some cheeky goals they have a chance to beat us all. And believe that the party and the passion on the island of Tinidad and Tobago is spilling into the sea.

    On the eve of the 1982 World Cup in Spain, Maria Vargas Llosa wrote “a goal is an orgasm by which a player, a team, a stadium, a country, all of humanity suddenly discharges its vital energy.”

    I can’t wait to watch the orgy and listen to Open Source distill for us a thinking man’s version the world’s choice in sport.

  • http://incadenza.typepad.com/soccer_thoughts/ Evan

    There’s something about the “thinking fan’s” perspective that irritates me. Far be it from me to say that there can’t be any intellectual satisfaction derived from sport, but it shouldn’t be required in order to enjoy watching a sport, either. Anyone that called themselves a “thinking fan” would not be welcome at my viewing party.

    Weiland and Wilsey’s book is a welcome contribution to the soccer literature, and I’m sure it was intended as an introduction to Americans perhaps not familiar with the game, but some of the essays in the book are tangential at best, and there are some errors, particularly in Wilsey’s introduction.

  • http://incadenza.typepad.com/soccer_thoughts/ Evan

    Oh, and if we’re promoting blogs:

    Soccer Thoughts, my blog.

  • tenrec87

    I didnt catch the title or author of the book about cricket that chris mentioned in passing. can anyone tell me what it was?

  • http://www.caribbeanfreeradio.com/blog georgiap

    tenrec87, it was “Beyond a Boundary”, by CLR James.

  • http://trinidadtobago.worldcupblog.org stacy-marie ishmael

    Hi Tenrec, it’s CLR James – Beyond a Boundary. Quality.

  • http://www.caribbeanfreeradio.com/blog georgiap

    And Stacy-Marie Ishmael did not get a chance to mention that she’s the granddaughter of a Trinidad & Tobago football Hall of Famer called John “Bull” Sutherland.

  • http://trinidadtobago.worldcupblog.org stacy-marie ishmael

    I did however, say that Dwight Yorke is 37. He’s 34. Oops.

  • http://www.radioopensource.org Chris

    The book was, and gloriously is: “Beyond a Boundary,” by C. L. R. James (1901-1989), one of the giants of anti-colonial and post-colonial literature. James wrote many other terrific books, most famously in the 1930′s: “Black Jacobins,” about Toussaint L’Ouverture, the George Washington of Haiti who was James’ model of the leadership Africa would need to get independence. But late in life he wrote his autobiography and his masterpiece in the form of a memoir of his besotted love, as a child in Trinidad, of the best things that ever came out of England: (1) cricket and (2) the Victorian novel, most especially Thackeray’s “Vanity Fair,” which he had almost memorized as a teenager. I agree with many James readers in the Caribbean who think of him as “the good V. S. Naipaul.” He was a proud black pan-African anti-imperialist spirit with an equally generous enthusiasm for the geniuses of European and American literature, including the prophetic Melville. Find lots more about C. L. R. James on the web, starting here and here.

  • tenrec87

    Thanks. Sounds like I need to read this guy.

  • http://trinidadtobago.worldcupblog.org stacy-marie ishmael

    Wow, when I said Dwight Yorke helped Man U win the Treble in 1993, I meant 1999. Good lord. Must get some sleep!

    Tenrec – you definitely need to read it. See if you can track down his “Letters from London” as well.

    With that, au revoir.

  • http://www.caribbeanfreeradio.com/blog georgiap

    Tenrec, and everybody else, here’s the link for “Letters from London” – http://www.meppublishers.com/books/index.php?pid=1001&isbn=976-95057-4-9

    Highly recommended.

  • babu

    Never thought I’d say this on a soccer blog, but some of us OpenSource regulars have been talking — sporadically — about a book club or reading event. C.L.R. James seems like a great place to start.

    Anyone else?

  • darwhin

    soccer? who cares, seriously. americans play soccer, americans even love soccer sure. almost all of us play it in grade school during recess or during physical ed. but this doesn’t really translate to us wanting to watch it. and no, no one told us it was a communist sport:P we were kids, we wouldn’t even think of such a thing. it was just a game like any other, like softball, dodge ball, hand ball etc.

    and would it be such a good thing for the us to watch soccer? we already watch too much sports one could argue. the good of becoming soccer fans is debateble. we certainly don’t need more fat bums glued to the tv watching yet another sport. we’ve already learned from the other sports that watching generally doesn’t lead to fitness:P

    and is mixing rabid nationalism/politics+the insane loyalty of sports fans + a bit of racism a good thing? i think its best to stay out of that kind of toxic stew. the us would be hurt no matter what it did if we cared about the world cup. hated if we won, hated if we lost.. its a no win situation. best to leave it as is.

  • http://incadenza.typepad.com/soccer_thoughts/ Evan

    It’s not about needing to watch soccer for all Americans, it’s about trying to understand why the U.S. has been so isolationist in its taste for sports. The differences with Britain and empire and sports are interesting.

    But as much as the irrational soccer haters might detest it (I’ve never understood why Frank DeFord, Jim Rome, and other sports media figures who are, to varying degrees, intelligent find the need to spend so much time heaping abuse upon a sport that they profess to dislike), the game is growing in America–and it’s not a recent import. Soccer has been in America just as long as our major sports, baseball excepting of course. Soccer and football grew together in America.

    So darwhin, you say best for Americans to leave soccer alone, but that’s not possible because as long as soccer has been here, there have been Americans that love soccer. You might not, but let us have our fun.

  • darwhin

    well the thing is there doesn’t seem to be any risk of soccer becoming mainstream anytime soon, no matter how many “love it”. as said, loving to play it in school and such doesn’t translate into soccer fans. you can have all the fun you want, but it doesn’t change reality, or allow you to change reality.

    we are just big enough to support our own sports competition. its probably simple as that, no need to add complications.

    we also invented our own sports, or atleast evolved our version from others. basketball i know we totally invented, baseball and football are probably evolved from stuff from england like cricket.

    i just think theres too much sports obsession in general to worry about yet another sport.

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  • http://vclosets.com mr. closets

    I was traveling around Europe last summer during the World Cup and gained a new appreciation for the game. When an important game began the excitement in the air was palpable no matter where we went. We stood outside sidewalk bars and cafes on many occasions trying to get a glimps of the game on TV. mr. closets

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