make WWAY your homepage  Become a fan on facebook  Follow us on twitter  Receive RSS Newsfeeds  MEMBERS: Register | Login

USA goes back to not caring about soccer

That collective yawn you heard this morning was the vast majority of the United States waking up on a Sunday and not caring about the World Cup any more. Sorry, soccer fans. I know you love your "beautiful game," and that's fine, but it's time to face facts that despite what the non-American announcer would have had us believe during yesterday's loss to Ghana, Americans will never in this lifetime be overwhelmingly in love with soccer. Yes, a lot of people followed the games the last couple of weeks. I even kept an eye on it. But with the USA out, most of those same people will now return to their normally scheduled entertainment and recreation.

Frankly, I get tired of soccer supporters trying to base claims of waxing American interest on early-morning crowds in bars for a few days every four years. It's like the delusional hockey executives who thought a love for NASCAR and college football would justify moving the NHL south. What those hockey execs have found, and what soccer fans need to realize, is that while the sport does have a loyal base, it lacks broad appeal.

If you like soccer, please do not take offense to the fact that most of us in this country don't. It's just that I'm sick of hearing that the sport is on the cusp of being as big here as it is in other parts of the world. It's just not. And that's OK. Look, I love baseball and football as much as anybody, but those are very American games with relatively little international appeal. That's not to say that people in other countries don't like the sports. They do. Baseball is huge in Latin America and Asia. Not soccer huge, perhaps, but huge. Football, as we know it here in the USA, is a uniquely American thing. Yes, the NFL has a global following, but the sport is played almost exclusively in the US and Canada, and even the Canadians play a different version. And that's OK.

The American soccer faithful likes to point to all the kids that play soccer as an example of its appeal. But they fail to realize, or perhaps to admit, that those numbers are fueled by why they claim the game is so beautiful: anyone can play it. Yes, soccer is beautiful in that all you need is a ball and some space to play. And that's why little kids are herded on to soccer fields around the country every weekend. Other than some shin guards, there is no special equipment. It's a cheap and easy game to pick up. But the fact that relatively few of those millions of kids inevitably continue to follow the sport shows its lack of appeal in this country. And that's OK.

I think the fact that everyone can play soccer is also a reason why Americans find it so uninteresting. Obviously it takes incredible talent to play the sport well, let alone well enough to make it to the World Cup, and few of us could ever do with a soccer ball what the world class players do. But watching a game, you can see that at its base level, it's not that hard: One ball, one big field, two big goals, kick. That's it. Apparently the only other rules are not getting behind the last defender without the ball and writhing on the ground for at least 30 seconds if an opposing player touches you at all. Most of us look at soccer and don't see the incredible complexity we see in other sports. That may make it "beautiful," but to many of us, it makes it uninteresting. Like soccer, basketball requires moving through and over a defense to get the ball in the goal. The difference is that a basketball goal is ten feet high and just 18 inches in diameter. The game is also played on a much smaller surface meaning less space to maneuver. Football requires far more physical force and specialized ability. Hockey, which like lacrosse is essentially the same thing as soccer, also requires more force and the added skill of skating on ice. Even soccer players, though fit and skilled beyond belief, look like regular people. They are not the towering giants of basketball. They are not the behemoths of the gridiron. They are not the brutes of hockey who spit out broken teeth in the middle of a game like baseball players spit out... well, spit.

Speaking of baseball, soccer fans often like to defend their sport by disparaging America's national pastime. And that's OK. They refute claims that soccer is slow and low-scoring by arguing the sport has more action than the pastoral pace of baseball. I disagree. In baseball there is the possibility of action, perhaps even scoring, on every single play. That's not the case in soccer. A free kick in your defensive end will not result in a goal. Plus, baseball has that aspect of unattainable skill. Can you throw a curveball or hit a 99 mph fastball? Can you even comprehend how someone can? Me neither.

Again, if you like soccer, I have no beef with you. I like hockey, while many people do not. I could tell you for hours why the Stanley Cup Playoffs are one of the more incredible spectacles of sport that everyone should enjoy (my mother-in-law even found that out this year), but I won't bore you with my argument, because I don't think many of you will buy it. I just ask you also refrain from getting up on your soapbox. You will never convince the vast majority of Americans that soccer is the greatest sport and the World Cup the greatest sporting event. Yes, I understand that 204 teams started their quest for the ugliest trophy in sports (another knock against soccer) two years ago and the US was one of the last 16 standing. That's great. It really is. It is a testament to incredible training, talent and play. But for all your arguments for soccer and the World Cup as an American staple, I'll offer one last argument for why your argument will never be convincing in this country: All those kids in youth leagues? They play soccer games, which may end in a tie, on soccer fields. The rest of the world plays football matches, which may end in draws, on football pitches. We don't even care enough to learn the lingo.

By: Kevin Wuzzardo

Thank You Kevin

I am just happy people like Kevin Wuzzardo do not like soccer. True soccer fans love the sport and if people like Kevin ever started liking it then they would want to change it.

I don't like basketball at all and I would change tons of rules for it if I could.

For American football I would take away all the helmets and pads and make them play like Aussie Rules Football (now that is a real sport!!!!!).

Baseball-a great game to sit back on the couch, grab a few beers and relax to (probably one of the few games that do not need any changes).

Golf is a nice sport to watch especially when I need an afternoon nap.

Nascar would be a lot better if they were allowed to drive their cars at speeds of 250 mph or more but I understand that keeping drivers alive is much more important than speed (even though it is called a race).

Hockey is a cool sport (pun intended) to watch but I would not want to play it, just wished the guys would play as hard during the season as they do in the playoffs.

So I guess the point I am making is that each of us like different things and we should just leave each other's sports alone and for that matter- leave each other alone.

I have to agree that in my

I have to agree that in my lifetime soccer will not be a major sport in the United States. However, while it is not the "sport of the future" in this country, it is a sport with a future. Changing demographics are making it so. I can cite certain high schools in Football mad Texas, that have no football team, but do have a soccer team. And this is driven purely by an ever increasing Hispanic population. Just as the Irish turned Rounders into Baseball in this country, Hispanics are bringing soccer to the forefront. Who knows, maybe we will eventually Americanize it into something different?

Also, I have to respond to your comment about Baseball not being boring. In what other sport can you go to the stadium and see people reading in the stands? That's how slow and boring it is. You may like Baseball, and that's OK. But exciting it is not.

Kevin's Fact Check

Made me LMAO!!! Loved it and I really DID laugh out loud!!! Thanks, Kevin!

Heres

a novel idea...instead of sitting on your collective lazy rear ends...how about forget about watching stupid sports on TV...get out and do some actual sports YOURSELF...total waste of time to me to sit in the house and watch silliness on TV..

This is why I watch WECT.

This is why I watch WECT.

Soccer is not an "easy"

Soccer is not an "easy" sport. Just kicking the ball...come on...that's like saying football is just about throwing the ball real far hoping someone can get it on your team. They are one of the only sports that you're not protected against getting the mess kicked out of you in the legs, face. haev you been kicked before with cleats, have you taken a soccer ball kicked full force in the face/head/body? They did stats on kicking, and a soccer ball is kicked harder than a baseball is thrown, may be softer, but guess what, it can still break your nose, give you a concussion, etc.

Hopefully, as usual, the women will hold it down next year for the world cup

Actually, there's more to it

From what I've seen, you have to be an AMAZING actor too. Seems like they are always tripping themselves and over reacting to falling. Like a bunch of divas in uniform out there.

Wrong sport

You must be talking about the NBA, not soccer.

Don't forget the almighty dollar

Kevin, you are an idiot if you actually believe everything you wrote. I figure half of your diatribe was to get soccer fans upset, which you did.

Soccer is a great sport, but I won't ask you to like it or understand it. Frankly we are better off without the ignorant. But what I will say is that until there is real money in proffessional soccer, you will never see kids progress for long term in it. Soccer is a means to get out of the ghettos and barrios of the world. In the US it is primarily Football and basketball that dominate that space. If soccer can compete on the salary level, our youth will stay on playing into college and proffessional ranks. At the moment that is not happening, maybe it will, maybe it won't time will tell. But I will agree with another post, compared to when the US hosted the last world cup and now, a heck of lot more people are interested and are watching. Which makes me for one happy.

Waiting for soccer to pay big?

Don't hold your breath. You saw the "$ucce$$" of bringing Beckham to LA.

The simple fact is that between NFL, MLB, NHL, NBA, PGA, Lacrosse and the various motor sports, soccer is interesting to you and about six other guys. Youth leagues try to get kids interested in soccer as part of their Euro-effeminate Socialist brotherhood of man brainwashing, but as soon as their testosterone levels rise in puberty they rapidly forget about soccer.

Of course, that may change with 850,000,000 illegal aliens crossing our southern border every fifteen minutes. "Me gusto futbol!"

850,000 every 15 minutes, really?

Not sure if you are straight out of the stereotypical ignorant southern right wing factory. but rather than respond to everything that was wrong about what you said, let's talk numbers.

850,000 illegals every 15 minutes, that means, 3.4 million an hour, 81.6 million per day and over 300 million every 4 days. So let's keep it in perspective as there the US population is roughly 300 million. so before you start spouting any more propoganda, please at least take the 1 minute to make sure your drivel is partially credible.

You're an idiot

Kevin,

1) You really think the "lingo" has any parallel to whether or not Americans like Soccer or not? You thinking this clearly shows me that you haven't done your homework. All across the world, soccer loving countries use different terms for field, pitch, flankers, wingers ext. It's really just preference.

2) Sure, soccer may look easy. So does golf. But the creativity, teamwork, stamina, and skill all combined in soccer are un-paralleled with any other sport. That's what makes it beautiful. Not the fact that anyone can play it, which isn't true at all.

3) If you don't think soccer is growing drastically in this country, then you are ignoring the facts. Seattle Sounders have more season ticket holders than the Mariners. So does Toronto. Philly almost does too. And this is in a Soccer league that is maybe the 7th best league in world going up against a baseball league that is at the top. Imagine how people would embrace it if people were watching the best soccer in the world.

4) I think you are scared of what's to come with soccer. You realize it is growing. Fast. And you don't like that the average sports fan here is starting to embrace it. For some reason or another, it scares you. Probally because you don't understand it ( I know what you're thinking....AND NO, you don't understand it). That is why you result to bash it, hate it, and try to tell everyone that it is boring, dumb, un-entertaining, ext.

5) I'm not telling you to like soccer. I'm just saying frankly that you're pretty dumb and a horrible reporter. You fail to look at facts. And eventually, sooner rather than later , you'll be in the vast minority of people who find soccer to be boring. I promise.

Fact check

Here are some facts: The second-year Seattle Sounders did sell a record number of season tickets this season to the tune of about 32,000. That's impressive. Folks in Seattle must like soccer. Of course, Seattle takes pride for not being like the rest of the country, so... For comparison's sake, the most expensive season ticket package for the Sounders was $1,570 (or $1,360 for renewing season ticket holders) for 18 matches. The Sounders require a $50 deposit for 2011 season tickets. The top level season tickets for the Mariners ran $3,240 for 81 games and required a deposit of $500.

But the facts are not on your side in Philadelphia. The first-year Union sold out their season tickets (capped at 12,000), which topped out at $1,100 for the 17-match slate including 15 matches at their new, 18,500-seat stadium after the first two at the Philadelphia Eagles' Lincoln Financial Field. By comparison, three weeks before opening day, the Phillies had sold 28,500 full and partial season tickets and announced they would cap the total available to 28,750. At the time of the announcement, they had just two 17-game packages (comparable to the Union's full season plan) left. The Phillies had also sold more than three million tickets for the season by that point and have sold out every home game for almost a year. Last season their attendance was more than 100 percent of capacity in a stadium about 2.5 times the size of the Union's.

Due to its long season, baseball has never filled its stadiums with season ticket holders. Few people can make the time or financial commitment to full season tickets for baseball, especially in this day of partial season ticket plans that are far more convenient and affordable, and especially for a team like the Mariners that hasn't seen the postseason in nearly a decade. So your comparison on ticket sales is like comparing apples and Buicks.

I won't even address Toronto because the Blue Jays haven't had a strong following in more than a decade and it's Canada, not the USA. And that's like comparing, well... Canada and the USA. And I was talking about soccer in the USA.

In general MLS teams can probably hope to emulate basketball and hockey as far as season ticket sales as a percentage of overall sales, but over a much shorter (less than half) season. At best, the league can hope to emulate football, where many if not most teams have a waiting list (By the way, as of last fall, I am #20,308 on the Eagles season ticket waiting list), but on a much smaller scale. The Sounders play in the same stadium as the Seattle Seahawks (who have a season ticket waiting list), but at half the capacity. In a longer season, it's easier to fill fewer seats. That's why many baseball teams have opened new stadiums with fewer seats. The nicer facility combined with a decrease in the supply of tickets helps create greater demand. It's the same reason a team like the Union wants its own much smaller stadium instead of playing in the oversized home of the Eagles.

So again, I never said you shouldn't like soccer. You clearly don't like some sports that I do, and that's OK. I said I don't like it and that most Americans don't. And I didn't say soccer is easy. At the top levels it's certainly not. I said it looks easy, which hurts the American interest level. So far, you've not proven me wrong on either point.

As for being "scared of what's to come," I'm not sure what that means, unless the nation is going to be invaded by a horde of vuvazela-tooting soccer hooligans. But until that happens, I'm fairly confident that I'll still be in the majority on this one.

Baseball...

Baseball, all the way! We are in AMERICA people!

USA Soccer

Kevin, I've been waiting for the inevitable "why soccer will never make it in the United States" commentary since yesterday's USA loss in the World Cup.

And while your interesting post is several cuts above the usual brainless soccer-bashing in this country, at the end of the day, it all comes down to what it usually comes down to for Americans: "I don't like soccer and you can't make me."

Which is why, as a Southern-born fan of the sport for 35 years, I no longer even try to convince people otherwise. People just have the right to be wrong. And, as you say, that's OK.

But I couldn't let some of your arguments pass without comment:

I wouldn't think that the fact that you don't have to be 7 feet tall or weigh 250 pounds (see basketball and football) to excel in a sport would be a reason to dislike it. (See baseball for the American example of this.)

People who look at soccer and don't see complexity, miss it because they don't know what they're looking at. And that's not meant as an insult -- nobody's born knowing how to watch an NFL or an NBA game either. Sports fans learn that from someone or they pick it up on their own. Americans just haven't had --or haven't taken advantage of -- any opportunities to do that.

I think much of Americans' resistance to soccer is cultural -- which is what I hate the most about our loss yesterday. "We're the most powerful and richest nation in the world and we lost to -- Ghana? Where's that?"

I suspect that, despite what you say, Americans might embrace soccer and the World Cup more fully if we were threats to win the title every four years. Americans love winners in pretty much anything -- round of 16 losers not so much.

And then there are the other usual arguments -- the game's played by all those foreigners, there isn't any scoring. (That objection is amusing to me when you think about all those NBA teams that struggle to break 80 points in 48 minutes of basketball with a 24-second clock. Where are the indignant columns about THAT?)

Your contention that soccer fans disparage baseball to defend their sport is puzzling. I've never heard any soccer fan do that. But there are plenty of examples from other sports of plays which probably won't result in a score -- a football running play up the middle from a team's own 1-yard line, a 75-foot shot in basketball. And I don't hear anybody using these examples to say football and basketball are lousy games.

Finally, I was interested in your references to hockey in your post because of my own personal experience. I'm a hockey fan myself, despite the fact that I grew up in South Carolina during a time when you couldn't even get NHL scores in the paper or on the local sports news. Later in life, I found myself having to cover the sport for a newspaper -- I had to write a story about the first game I ever saw in person. So I learned about it by watching it on TV and reading about it. I learned the lingo, as you say, and how to make sense of what I was seeing.

As I said earlier, I'm no longer trying to convert anyone, but I am a little tired of the "I'm ignorant about soccer and I'm proud of it" mentality.

On a totally different note, I'm familiar with your station from having watched it while living at North Myrtle Beach a long, long time ago. Whatever became of a guy named Gene Motley, who I used to enjoy watching on the sports news there?

Baseball not boring?

Ok. I am on the train with some of the argument but some of your reasoning is nonsensical and specious. I do not think soccer will ever be as big here as American football or basketball. I love football but hate basketball. Yes, the people who claim soccer is on the cusp of being as big as those other sports are idiots. What I can't stand is people who have this issue with what coverage soccer gets during the World Cup. Don't like soccer. Fine. Don't watch. However, the World Cup is huge and more of us are going to watch it Han most of the variety of otherwise pointless
sportsmin the Olympics. So, for one month evrything four years you don't get to watch every regular season baseball game. Life sucks. Get a helmet.

Which brings me to your nonsensical argument about baseball. If you like American football and hate soccer because it's boring... Ok. I see your point. If you love baseball but hate soccer because it's boring, you're an idiot.. Your reasoning about baseball always being on the cusp of something and that not being true of soccer shows just how little you know of the sport. And soccer players not being exceptional athletes. Again with the ignorance. No other sport do playersh have to run as much with almost no substitutions... And to mention baseball in the same article with that point. Two words: Steve Balboni. Fat guys who can't run don't play soccer.

I like soccer for the opposite reason people like basketball etc. They is so much scoring in basketball that each score is meaningless until the end. One goal can mean everything in soccer.

I understand where you are

I understand where you are coming from. I have lived in the US for 12 years. I returned to the US 12 months ago. And although I would agree that soccer is not near the 4 major internal Sports, there has been a vast improvement in the interest in soccer. I wouldn't be surprised if soccer becomes the 5 th major sport in the us in 12 years.