How to Make Soccer Appeal to Yanks

I like soccer. I appreciate the artistry and athleticism, and I don’t mind

the low scores. But whenever the World Cup rolls around, the amazing news hits the airwaves, paper mills, and servers that we Americans just don’t get excited about the thing.

Americans send their kids to soccer practice, but watch baseball when they get home. One soccer dad, when asked whether he’d watch the World Cup, apparently asked, “are any American teams playing?” Yikes.

They say that the main reasons given for the apathy are: soccer is boring, and no one ever scores. Of course, these are people who would call a three hour 1-0 baseball game a “pitcher’s duel.”

Or who’d watch cars drive around a track half a million times.

To me, any sport can be interesting when properly understood. For example, a lot of the cool stuff in baseball happens between pitches. Defensive positions are shifted due to the runner’s speed, or ability to hit long. Did the pitcher brush back this batter when they played in Detroit? The guy on first has stolen 15 bases this year, better keep an eye on him. Etc.

If you don’t understand any of that, then baseball is pretty boring. I’d think that the same thing goes for practically any sport. But that’s not good enough to change the mood in the U.S. because most Americans don’t want to learn soccer enough to love it. So I have a better idea.

As usual, the solution lies in deceiving the American people.

What we do is, we tell people that the players are getting scored for great moves, great passes, shots on goal (whether they go in or not), and great saves. Make a bad pass, and it’s possible that you’ll have points deducted.

As in boxing, we don’t actually hear the judges’ scores until the end of the match. The key is to tell people that an actual goal is worth 1 point, while a great pass is only worth a tenth of a point. I can see it now:

This game is so exciting! Brazil has scored a goal, but Ronaldo just totally got faked out, so Sweden is coming back strong. Whoa! Did you see that perfect pass! Nice! Go SWEDEN!

All that fancy POINT-INDUCING footwork just wasn’t enough to overcome the 1 point goal. But man was it close.

Which is how I watch it anyway.

One Response to How to Make Soccer Appeal to Yanks

  1. Anonymous February 27, 2007 at 2:31 am #


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