Finally, America’s catching on

After spending the past month in Europe in the buildup to and beginning of the World Cup, I was wondering if everyone back in the States was as excited as I was.

I’ve been a soccer fan since I played peewee when I was 5, watching every World Cup, pulling for the Yanks, and when they eventually lost, just enjoying watching Brazil’s Beautiful Game as they made the final in 1998 and won in ’02. 2006 was like a freaking gut punch when the US lost to Ghana, Brazil lost in the semis, and Italy, my least favorite team, took home the underwhelmingly tiny trophy.

However, watching the game connected to all the modern social media, as Donovan put in the single biggest goal in modern US soccer history (everyone seems to forget when we beat England in 1950. I remember it), seeing literally everyone who was similarly connected react, I know that the US is catching on to probably the greatest spectator sport in the world, short of Slamball.

Why is it the second-greatest spectator sport in the world, you ask? What about football, where the typical 10-second American attention span is maximized? Well, if you hate non-Super Bowl commercials, maybe you noticed something. THERE WEREN’T ANY. That’s right, for 46 glorious second half minutes, we were treated to a breathtaking up-and-down game with each side desperate for a goal (except Algeria near the end), little to no defense, culminating with this.

How does that not give you chills? Not since Michael Phelps at the Olympics has the U.S. had such a unifying sports moment, and even then, swimming’s a crappy spectator sport about 99% of the time. Everyone in the country watching the game either screamed their head off when Donovan put the Jabulani in the net, or doesn’t have a soul/shred of patriotism (looking at you, Williamsburg neighborhood in Brooklyn).

While America took far too long to realize what a freaking awesome sport soccer is, hopefully all the bandwagon fans will join in and stick with it when we face the runner-up from Group D, either Ghana, Germany (please God no), Serbia or Australia (please God yes). Then we probably won’t see a single mention of soccer as the lead in SportsCenter until 2014, but so be it. It’s fun now. U-S-A, U-S-A, U-S-A!

Not the Algeria celebration, but they don't have the photos from that yet. This'll have to do.

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by alan on June 23, 2010 at 11:01 pm

    Though it’s a wonderful game, because of how few goals are scored and the quirks of a bouncing ball, upsets, or at least ties, are frequent. So it’s striking, say in the Premier League, that the cream so often rises to the top. Let’s see if the U.S. can settle a score with Ghana on Saturday.

    Reply

  2. Posted by Holgash on July 1, 2010 at 11:32 am

    The cream so often rises to the top in the Premier league, because there is an unbelievable disparity in talent amongst the teams. The “Big Four” of Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, and Liverpool spend way more money than anyone else and get the best players in the world. It is rare to see those four teams not finish in the top four, and they duke it out to see who finishes in which spot. This is why salary caps and revenue sharing are great. It’s awesome to watch Premier league soccer since those are the best players in the world, just to see what they can do with the ball is great, but unless you’re a fan of Man U, Chelsea, Arsenal, or Liverpool, you will probably not see your team win the Premier league. And that is a terrible thing to have in a sports league, fans who KNOW their team has NO chance.

    Reply

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