Why American’s Don’t Care About Soccer (and never will)

I remember the good ol’ days when I played soccer on the streets of my home town in Ivano-Frankivsk. We didn’t have fields, just concrete and we didn’t have an official ball, just a plastic one that we could kick hard and kick far. I then played in the United States on a club team and they called the missile, because I would run for the ball and it didn’t matter who had it, I would get it or knock over who ever had it. Running after it involved long leaps in the air and violent collisions with the ground. We ran, we fell and we kept running. 

As anyone knows, this is not the way it is in professional soccer. People run, people fall and then they grimace and pretend to be hurt. They get angry at each other, they try to knock each other down and then pretend like they didn’t do it. It is blue balls for anyone who wants to fight. It is a game of cheats and fakers and the team that is the fastest, the strongest and the best cheater, wins. It is the game of the unsaid rules and of winning by breaking the rules the most made most famously by Maradonna and his Hand of God. 

 This mentality is completely foreign to American culture. We hate seeing the spectacle. America is a place where cheating is despised, where there is a saying that “excuses are like assholes, everyone has one” and where persevering and pretending like you’re not hurt is far more prized than pretending like you’re hurt just to see the other team loose a player. We prefer sports where you are allowed to hit or run into someone, like baseball, hockey, basketball, football and even MMA. You will never see anyone pretending to like each other, or to be hurt as you do in soccer. And this is why the American public doesn’t care for it. 

This is why America will never be good at soccer, this is why we created our own sports so that we don’t need to compete with anyone else. We have the World Series and Super Bowl and Stanley Cup, and aside from the Canadians (our 51st state) no one shows up because no one else is invited. This is why we do not judge our performance in the world championships such as Basketball or Hockey. Instead, we have our own championships where we recognize the players and the cities. We are isolationists and we are happy for it. This serves a dual purpose, it keeps us feeling good because winning feels good and it prevents us feeling bad because loosing feels bad. We are the best in the world and if we are not, we don’t have to see it. This is why we love to ignore soccer, because we prefer to ignore our sucking in something we’re not good at because it is far better to celebrate that which we are good at. 

So let us take a look at American sports in a bit more detail. They are not sports per-se, they are entertainment game. You cannot sit and drink and socialize during soccer. You have to be glued to the game or you may miss that one goal. It is a game of ups and downs and constant concentration. American sports on the other hand are made for drinking and socializing. There is little action through most of it and many breaks to take a drink and talk. They have set moments of quick action when you can turn to the game, look and drink. They are high scoring so that they are more fun. That’s just the nature of Americans, we don’t like being frustrated and we don’t like not having fun.

One last thing to add about soccer and American sports. You rarely see Americans rioting after a loss after a regular game. This is because we watch the people on the field take out their aggression and vicariously, we do too. After a game, we are not angry or tense the way after a long match soccer fans are. We let our athletes be the thugs who commit crimes, we just watch them and go home and drink a few more brews while the rest of the world succumbs to enraged soccer fans.

Soccer is the funny sport that represents our planet. Eleven men chasing a ball, trying to prevent the other from putting it into a goal while crying and cheating the entire time. Maybe that is why Americans are so different from the rest of the planet, maybe this is why it has done so well in those areas where the most important thing is to just suck it up and have fun. 

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