I’ve been obsessed with Euro2008 at present! I’ve watched nearly every game, treasured nearly every shot, and punched my furniture at the botched shots by my favorite teams. Yet I know that I am one of the few on this side of the pond who enjoys the sport. Why is that? Why do people in America generally not care for soccer? It’s far more exciting than American “football” and baseball, and contains far superior atheletes, yet it remains a so-so sport to most U.S. sport-aholic males. How about some Soccer Love?


30 Comments

  1. Amen! I would shout, “Allez es Bleus!,” but my favorite was snuffed out too early…

  2. who are you tipping in the semi’s?

    how about that guus hiddink… he makes bad countries look good!!

    south korea 2002 world cup
    australia* 2006 world cup
    russia 2008 euro

    *i’m australian

  3. David,

    Soccer smells.

    1. Not enough scoring. So much effort is wasted on plays that amount to nothing, it’s sorta like watching governmental bureaucracy in action.

    2. Too much flopping. Let’s face it… soccer players are fakers. As a guy raised watching University of Michigan football and Red Wings hockey, I don’t have a lot of sympathy for the pansy pretend injuries soccer athletes can’t seem to avoid.

    3. Too few Cinderellas. March Madness, the Wild Card team, Bowl Games… these all tend to include a good number of teams that seemingly shouldn’t be there, but somehow put together a string of amazing victories. That’s very rare in soccer.

    4. Not enough use of hands. God gave them to us for a reason- they’re the most deft part of our entire body. You’d think we could design sports that actually use that part… oh wait, we have a ton of those!

    5. Too few buzzer beaters. One of the most exciting things in sports is the buzzer beating shot, the touchdown with time expiring, the walk-off home run… the best you’ll get in soccer is a tie, or a broken tie, somewhere near the end.

    6. Zero ties to the national character. Baseball is ingrained in our history, and a father teaching his boy how to play ball is an old and beloved image. Soccer- not so much.

    7. Soccer may have superior runners, but don’t tell me a guy is a superior athlete when he doesn’t use his hands for anything but pushing other players and holding his ankle when he’s crying about a fake injury.

    8. “Treasured nearly every shot”? Seriously? Even the 75% that miss the goal entirely?

    9. Ending by penalty shot is a really, REALLY cheesy way to determine the victor.

    10. The lack of equipment is totally boring.

    I will give you one thing. Soccer has the best celebrations. But I can watch a highlight reel on YouTube for that… and tune into the Tigers, Red Wings, or Spartans for the real athletic action.

    p.s. If all soccer suddenly stopped using a soccer ball and switched to playing Ultimate Frisbee, I’d watch. Even when they fall down crying after getting hit by the disc.

    Ben Bartletts last blog post..Fun notes and pictures.

  4. I feel sad for you Ben Bartlett…and since your comments reveal all your foolishness I won’t even respond to them!

  5. I am sorry Ben, that you need the constant, ridiculous scoring of basketball (where defense means little these days) to keep you entertained.

    I am also sorry that you think Baseball is more exciting than soccer, with its absurdly slow pace.

    I am sorry you need the national history of a sport in order to find it interesting, you’re so cultured.

    I am sorry that you think only sports played with hands are worthwhile…guess our handicap friends are just out of luck! Furthermore it takes a lot more skill to play without your hands than with them…so if you don’t like watching skilled athletes then I feel sad for you!

  6. Well, actually I generally agree with you about basketall. I like college bball, but that’s about it. The NBA has the sorriest defense, worst officiating, and silliest culture of any sport going at the moment.

    However, I cannot deny my undying love for football and especially baseball. No other sport has the fury and yet chess-like strategy of football, and no game has the beauty and tradition and joy of baseball.

    Ben Bartletts last blog post..Fun notes and pictures.

  7. The Catholic Church has been around longer than Protestants, but I’m willing to bet you still appreciate Protestant tradition more.

    Baseball’s structure lends itself to great stories and legends. There’s really nothing in other sports to equate with the Babe, or the Say Hey Kid, or a no-hitter, or Lou Gehrig’s farewell speech. It’s simply a more poetic sport, and poetry and history make for powerful tradition.

    Ben Bartletts last blog post..Fun notes and pictures.

  8. Now, I am not actually an American, and I am actually rather anti-“soccer” – at least I thought so before the Euro started. You see, before the Euro, what I was mainly exposed to very poor examples of soccer.

    Now I can honestly say that playing good soccer is truly an art..! If you saw the kicks that van der Vaart and Kuyt scored with, you’d feel the same way; I’m sure. Yep, you’re right, I was going “Hup Holland” for a couple weeks there (and I’m not even Dutch!!)…

    I’m not sure how much soccer you guys play in school, but here it’s quite a lot. Personally, I can say I’m among the worst football-players I’ve met, but that is only because I haven’t been going to practices 2-5 days a week, the last 10 years, like some (actually most) of my friends have.

    Anyway.. “..There’s really nothing in other sports to equate with the Babe, or the Say Hey Kid, or a no-hitter, or Lou Gehrig’s farewell speech. It’s simply a more poetic sport, and poetry and history make for powerful tradition.”

    So.. How about Maradona’s amazing achievements? How about his team mate Pele? To pick a more recent one, how about David Beckham? I mean, you cannot have lived in a European nation during the last 10 years without knowing who he is.. Or even Ronaldinho?
    Not bad for someone who couldn’t care less about soccer up until a couple weeks ago, eh? :)

  9. Thanks Kristy…I couldn’t have said it better myself!

    I bet more people in the world care about Pele than about the “Babe,” Ben Bartlett!

  10. More people in the world care about a lot of things I don’t appreciate.

    Baseball is like an old, beautiful cathedral… just because most of the world meets in huts doesn’t mean we can’t love the majesty of the cathedral.

    I’m not saying soccer doesn’t have famous people- just that it doesn’t have the same stories and drama. The Babe wasn’t just a good player- he was a legend, the source of myths and yarns, an inspiration and an American icon. We don’t just remember that he played well- we remember when he pointed to the outfield, and then hit a home run in the exact direction he pointed. We don’t remember that Lou Gehrig hit a lot- we remember that he considered himself, “the luckiest man on the face of the earth.” We don’t just know Jackie Robinson was a great athlete- we remember that he was a watershed for the interaction between race and sports.

    Like I say, soccer is definitely a world-wide sport, but baseball is more intricately tied up in the national character.

    Plus, I can’t stand the boredom of 0-0 ties ended by shootouts.

    We have songs about, “where have you gone, Joe Dimaggio?” and, “Willie, Mickey and the Duke.” When we trade cards as kids, they’re usually baseball. And we even name our hotdogs after the location of our national pasttime.

    Um, but yeah, Pele was a good player. So were Maradonna and Beckham. But how much do you know about their lives? Without googling them, I mean.

    Ben Bartletts last blog post..Fun notes and pictures.

  11. We have songs about

    there is no more famous song than “You’ll never walk alone” – the Liverpool theme song.

    Um, but yeah, Pele was a good player. So were Maradonna and Beckham. But how much do you know about their lives? Without googling them, I mean.

    the USA really is living in a vacuum!!! i don’t know all the details of Pele’s life – but the generation above me certainly do!! Maradona is one of the most famous drug takers the world has seen!!! Beckham – his star may still be rising in the USA – but he sells papers, magazines, soccer shirts, aftershave and just about everything else!! Internationally – people know more about David Beckham and Posh Spice than they do about Brad and Angie!!

    but… enjoy baseball while you can – and get ready for the game they play in heaven

    Dave Mierss last blog post..Don’t steal God’s Glory #4

  12. I suppose I can’t compete with drugs and aftershave.

    And the point on the World Series is well made. They do need a different name (largely, I may note, because the sport of baseball is increasing in popularity overseas!).

    That said, I still haven’t seen soccer become almost legendary and mythological the way baseball has.

    Even if it has, though, I still can’t stand to sit through an entire soccer game. And soccer players are still fakers, which hockey fans (I’m from Michigan) truly despise.

    Ben Bartletts last blog post..Fun notes and pictures.

  13. The fact that YOU haven’t seen soccer become legendary and mythological says pretty much everything about this conversation. You’re just stuck in your own little world of baseball obsession Ben! Soccer is extremely legendary, mythological, and I find it far more poetic than baseball!

    As to Soccer players faking it…I’ll grant you there are flops (just like in any sport). But these dudes go out there in no padding and helmets and take a beating. Even if it looks fake to you taking a spill at those speeds over some dudes ankle hurts!

  14. I agree David!! Actually, I’m pretty sure not a lot of my countrymen (or people in other European nations) actually know who Babe was(/is??). For people outside N. America.. Well… Baseball (or American Football for that reason) isn’t “mythological”, “poetic” or even “legendary”. (Actually, you guys should probably be aware that anything American is met with a great deal of skepticism over here.. Will not get into that discussion here though!)

    Now, as for faking… Now, like I said earlier on, a large amount of my friends play soccer. Now, at any given time, between 3-4 and 20-25 people in my year (around 100 people) will have soccer (or skiing/snowboarding injuries, though not many, and mainly in winter) injuries.. Then, take into consideration that not everyone actually play.
    However, you’re right though, it is easier to fake injuries when you’re not wearing 10 layers of protection! It’s also easier to actually GET hurt, though..!

    To be honest with you, I used to think I couldn’t make it through a whole game either.. (Just like 4-5 hours of cross-country skiing is too much.) However, if you’d seen for instance Holland-Russia (and, for extra excitement, you were actually supporting one of the teams), I guarantee you, you would NOT have found it boring.. So much energy, so much action, so many dangerous situations.. So… Not boring!

  15. Oh this actually reminds me of a funny story I once heard from a very famous Argentinian preacher.. One of many about Maradona.

    Anyway, he was traveling in one of the Arabian countries, and the conversation between the officers checking his passport at the airport went something like this: “Argentina? ARGENTINA! Maradona, Maradona! *stamp, stamp* :)
    That just proves that soccer, internationally, is much larger than baseball of American Football could ever be.. Show me the Middle-Eastern police officer who would clear your passport simply because you come from the same nation as the “Babe”! (Or Canadian, for that matter…. ;-))

    “Kristy”s last blog post..(Untitled)

  16. Well, I’m not arguing that the Europeans need to like baseball. I’m just saying that it’s so tied to the American character (after all, most Americans DO know who Babe Ruth was -see The Sandlot- but don’t know who Maradonna was).

    So it doesn’t bother me for the Brits to like soccer, I just don’t like being told that I should like watching flop-filled 0-0 ties.

    And no, soccer does not have flopping “just like any other sport.” Soccer players are notorious for being the worst floppers and fakers of any type of athlete in any sport.

    On another note, though, I have to admit that Rugby is pretty awesome. But even then, I prefer the strategy of football.

    Ben Bartletts last blog post..Fun notes and pictures.

Comments are now closed for this article.