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Why Soccer Blows

I’ve always loved how, whenever it’s time for the World Cup to come around again, that the homegrown apologists feel the need to bemoan the lack of interest Americans have in the world’s most popular sport. It’s almost as if they’re embarrassed that we don’t appreciate something the rest of the world seems to enjoy so much.

Before I get to why soccer blows, I’d like to answer some accusations by the soccer myrmidons…

  • Americans hate soccer because it’s considered Eurocentric…While I’ve heard a few people bash soccer for this reason, I don’t think it’s a legitimate criticism of most anti-soccer-ites. Americans are very accepting of foreign ideas, products, etc., as long as they’re considered interesting, useful, or beneficial to some degree, none of which soccer is. Most people consider rock music to be American but most of the really popular artists in that genre over the years have been from England. Strike one.
  • Americans hate soccer because the score isn’t high enough…That isn’t completely accurate. While a low scoring game can be very interesting in many ways, it gets kind of monotonous after awhile. I’m a huge baseball fan and I love to watch a well pitched game. However, I don’t want to see a 1-0 or 2-1 game every time out. There’s something to be said for variety. Strike two.
  • The rest of the world likes it, why shouldn’t Americans?…This is perhaps the most uttered smear against us supposed drooling, knuckle-dragging, mouth-breathing  neanderthals. “Why, if the rest of the world is intelligent enough to understand soccer, why can’t Americans understand it?” Let’s get this straight…We who do not find soccer all that interesting understand the game. We just don’t find it that terribly exciting to watch. Oh…I forgot one thing. The above phrase is usually uttered along with some kind of slam against rednecks, a feigned southern accent, and a token reference to some kind of cheap domestic brew being held by the ignorant American while they simultaneously spit their chewing tobacco and pontificate upon the finer points of southern culture. Strike three…(we in America consider that to be an out).

Without further ado, I present to you my intolerant yet well-thought-out views on why soccer blows…

  • Lack of meaningful action…While the game has its moments, it’s by and large played horizontally. Though that’s not boring in and of itself, the monotony can be mind numbingly boring. This horizontal play is occasionally interrupted by brief spurts of vertical ineptitude. Yes, there is the token breakaway blitz down the field but, for the most part, the east-west action is way too dominant.
  • The mystery of the game clock…Similar to playing Clue, the only one who knows the official time of the game is the referee. Why? The coaches of the two teams can keep track but even then, they often have to check their time with the referee to make sure they are close to being in sync. Do us all a favor and get an official timekeeper. It’s not that difficult.
  • Extra time???…So not only is the referee the only person in the entire stadium who really knows what time it is but he can also arbitrarily tack on whatever amount of time he feels like. The fans aren’t torqued up enough on cheep beer? Well, just add another ten or fifteen minutes until the hooligans are in full riot mode.
  • Cards…If I want to see cards on television, I’ll watch something a poker tournament on ESPN (and I’ll rant about how that’s not a sport and shouldn’t be on ESPN, either, but I digress…). How about moving into the 21st century and just mic the ref? Refs are able to speak, right?
  • Tie it up…There’s nothing more anticlimactic then watching a good game and, yes, even the occasional interesting soccer match, only to have it end in a tie half the time. How about if the game ends in a tie in regulation (or whenever it is the referee decides the thing is over), they just follow the example of their fans and duke it out at midfield. Then whatever team has the last player standing wins. Not only that but then the players will have something more in common with their fans.
  • Wussy athletes…I’m not disputing that most soccer players are well-conditioned athletes. They flat-out are. However, I’m beginning to think that, in order to play soccer, a man must relinquish his man card and go into death throes after any remotely painful injury. Honestly, I think pro basketball players are even bigger babies but come on…Suck it up and play the game, for heaven’s sake. I’ve seen girls on my daughter’s softball team take bigger hits than these “guys” and still get up and finish the game, all without carrying on like they just had their leg amputated. Oh, and don’t give me that bullcrap about how soccer players run 4277.6 miles every match. There’s just as much standing around and doing nothing by the average soccer player as I see in an NBA game. Anyway, I think soccer players should have to watch that footage of NFL QB Joe Theismann’s leg snapping like a pretzel before every game. Then maybe they can learn a lesson on what real pain is.
  • Jerseys of a different color…What’s so special about the goalie that he has to stand out from everyone else on his team? Perhaps they should wear something much more appropriate like, say, a Snuggie.
  • Don’t get your hands dirty…Why is it, again, that the goalie is the only privileged player when it comes to the use of hands during the match?
  • Hooligan…There’s a reason why this term is now most often used to describe someone who engages in some not-so-nice behavior following a soccer match.

For those of you who’ve made it this far, I don’t really hate soccer. It was okay to play when I was in high school but that doesn’t make it fun to watch. I’m a big baseball fan but I don’t expect everyone else to find it interesting, nor does it bother me if someone hates it, makes fun of it, etc. I just find it really fun to tweak the soccer snobs every now and then.

By the way, basketball is a faster-growing sport than soccer, so deal with it!

With tongue planted firmly in cheek…


3 Responses

  1. I agree with your points. The fake injuries and stalling is something that US Sports execs took care of a long time ago in our major sports–the teams that try it are penalized heavily.

  2. Right on man! Took me awhile to stumble on to this little gem. Went to a high school, girls soccer game this fall. Noblesville vs. Zionsville. My cousins daughter plays for Zionsville so I finally decided to see a game first hand. While it was more interesting than watching on t.v., it was still a struggle to enjoy. What’s more, it seemed (to my novice eye) that Noblesville outplayed Z-Town the whole game yet lost 2 to 1. Noblesville was constantly hammering kicks at Z.’s goal and just barely missing. Zionsville mounted an offensive attack maybe 3 times the entire game. On two of their attempts, there was contact by the defense, with the Z-V girl collapsing like she’d been hit by a truck. Penalties were called, and to my amazement, they placed the ball right in front of the goal for “penalty kicks.” It was like tee ball when I was a kid. They “scored” their 2 points on these freebies will getting their butts kicked the whole game! I’ll never understand this game and it will never hold any interest for me. Yes, it does indeed blow!!

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