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(ESPN)   US vs World Soccer/Football Theory   ( divider line
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6767 clicks; posted to Main » on 10 Jun 2002 at 9:12 PM (15 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

92 Comments     (+0 »)

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2002-06-10 09:15:15 PM  
Soccer makes me sleepy
2002-06-10 09:19:20 PM  
I pick football!

oh wait.. what was the question again?
2002-06-10 09:23:08 PM  
Whether you like soccer or not, this guy is a good writer.
2002-06-10 09:24:57 PM  
You forgot "Head the ball."
2002-06-10 09:27:16 PM  
I could see why the Americans don't watch football. Who wants to cheer for the most boring and untalented team in the history of football?
2002-06-10 09:27:47 PM  
I prefer to call it "Keep Away".
2002-06-10 09:28:12 PM  

That's odd, I seem to recall a victory over Portugal, a team that's no slouch.

2002-06-10 09:29:41 PM  
It was a fortunate victory but nonetheless boring. They are like the Carolina Hurricanes or Ringo Starr... Just glad to be there.
2002-06-10 09:32:21 PM  
I'm confused, Cabes. Do you not like the sport of soccer in general or just not the US team?
2002-06-10 09:32:36 PM  
And I can close my tags. Really.
2002-06-10 09:33:27 PM  
i like this guy. anyone got his e-mail address?
2002-06-10 09:33:37 PM  
I love football... This soccer game the Americans play, it's just not that good ;)
2002-06-10 09:33:39 PM  
And what's with that disgusting practice of exchanging shirts after a game?

Who would put on another dude's sweaty funky shirt! ! !

EEEEWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW...... makes me feel sick.

They might as well just french kiss after the game.
2002-06-10 09:34:52 PM  
I kid! I kid! I just wanted to see if anyone in the US would stand up for their team...
2002-06-10 09:35:20 PM  
As long as we don't have to like Cricket then I am all for Soccer doing well here.
2002-06-10 09:37:30 PM  
Center passes to half, passes to center, holds it... holds it... holds it.....


Ahhggg, lets just riot instead!
2002-06-10 09:38:13 PM  
Nice article. The football in the USA-S. Korea game might not have been of the highest quality, but it was an exciting match. USA probably would have beaten any other team but the Koreans, because the officials certainly made a lot of home-ground calls (the penalty, for example). And the US now has a better chance of qualifying for the second round than a lot of the pre-tournament favourites - so fair play to them if they get through and the likes of France or Argentina don't make it.

Having said that, if the US team can't fairly be regarded as a joke these days, the same can't be said for US commentators. I'm sorry, but ESPN appears not to have a clue how to present football on TV - as anybody who has ever seen it done properly (i.e., by the BBC) will know. Who the heck is that guy in the studio who keeps referring to the halves as "stanzas"? Sheesh - even Eric Cantona at his most rhapsodic never talked about the "first stanza" of a game.

Oops! Didn't mean to write so much - it's not like anybody's going to read this.....
2002-06-10 09:39:35 PM  

I constantly have to defend soccer (I'd use football, but I'd confuse people) to my friends and family. It's one of my favorite sports. Not to mention the only one I'm halfway good at. :)
2002-06-10 09:44:56 PM  
Why is your footbal called football when the only players that use their foot are punters and kickers? I've always wanted to know.
2002-06-10 09:46:34 PM  
Beats me. I love that game too, but the name confuses me. Possibly because there's no real good name for it.
2002-06-10 09:48:09 PM  
Interviewer: What I'm getting at, Jimmy, is you seem to have discovered a new concept with a mode in which you dissected the Italian defence, last night.

Buzzard: (pauses for thought) I hit the ball first time and there it was in the back of the net. (smiles and looks round)

Interviewer: Do you think Jarrow will adopt a more defensive posture for the first leg of the next tie in Turkey?

Buzzard: (confidently) I hit the ball first time and there it was in the back of the net.

Interviewer: Yes, yes - but have you any plans for dealing with the free-scoring Turkish forwards?

Buzzard: Well Brian... I'm opening a boutique.
2002-06-10 09:48:40 PM  
OK I guess I'm starting to care about soccer.
Still not sure if I want to actually watch it but I'll start reading the scores - it will help the months go by until it's time for the Packers to open up a can of
whup-ass on the NFL.
2002-06-10 09:48:44 PM  
Heh I think all the sports are "keep away"

you want to be in control so you can gain points
2002-06-10 09:50:04 PM  
lol, i think its funny how the rest of the world hates us because we win all these other sports, when they have just as good of a chance to win as anyone, including us. just practice and shiat, you know? i feel like cheering these guys on now, though, because noone else will, but that first win has really created an insurgence in soccer following in the us, which is pretty cool.
2002-06-10 09:51:04 PM  
I think that if football/soccer ever stood a chance of becoming big in the US, it would have been after the '94 World Cup (which the US hosted).

But no, instead the big story ends up being a guy who lets in an 'own goal' and gets gunned down when he returns to his country, which opened a lot of North American eyes to how seriously some countries take football/soccer.
2002-06-10 09:51:18 PM  
Boring and untalented? America has fielded much worse teams than this one! Us even scoring on Portugal would have been unimaginable just a few world cups ago. Now we actually have a pretty good shot at advancing to the next round.
2002-06-10 09:52:49 PM  
The only part of the article I was peeved at is he didn't mention Clint Mathis' talent. Sure, he looks and acts silly, but he was our (USA!) entire offense against South Korea. And, it was really exciting, considering I always fall asleep while watching soccer games, I actually watched this till about 4 in the morning. The most refreshing thing about it all is that these players are fighting for respect, and really want to win. I'm sick of announcers having to scream and shout and make drama and excitement in basketball, football, etc. when there isn't any there.

The one problem, is that if we ever do become number 1, we'll get all jaded and become like our olympic basketball team. (Our frickin dream team nearly lost 3 times last olympics, i've never seen talent wasted so much)

The guy that wrote this article is a pioneer in my mind! Make him president, long live USA in soccer!
2002-06-10 09:59:56 PM  
The thing about american football is that originally there was no foreward pass. I guess that's why the ball was shaped that way, so it could only be kicked. Many years ago, the only way an offense could advance the ball was by running (or rushing) the ball. The quarter back was then just another player in the backfield, along with the half back and full back. (who knows, there was probably a 3/4 back at one time). It wasn't until the forward pass was invented that the quarterback became known as the guy who throws the ball.

It was Knute Rockney while a STUDENT at Notre Dame who invented the foreward pass. The story goes that he was working a summer job at Ceader Point and would spend his evenings on the beach perfecting the foreward pass.
2002-06-10 10:02:19 PM  
hehe..I watch football on the Spanish channel. I speak not a word of Spanish, but they sound so much more excited about the game than the American commentators, that I watch them anyway (besides it's extremely amusing when they yell "goaaaaaaaaaal" for so long, I wish ESPN commentators would do that).
2002-06-10 10:02:43 PM  
OK, I'll be the first person to tell ya that I basically hate soccer/football/keep away/kickball. However, a US team is a US team, and I must root for them as if it is a genetic defect mandating national pride. Yes, I have stayed up and watched both US matches and the France-Senegal match on the first night, reasons unbeknownst to me. Just one of those things you kind of have to see as a sports fan. I believe that I am one of the only people who saw the Hasim Rahman KO of Lennox Lewis in Africa on TV live. I was also in attendance for the longest college football (and no, I don't mean soccer) game in history last year. Take it from me, if you want to see something amazing in sports live, be prepared to stay awake well into the night, because they all seem to happen well after the local news signs off.

And Sidi , a few World Cups ago, the US team was sitting at home in the midst of a 50 year or so drought, no where close to even seeing Portugal in a World Cup tournament match.
2002-06-10 10:13:45 PM  
Soccer/football is so cool. It seems to be a much more pure sport than basketball or american football. (plus there is only commercials during half time! wee! )
2002-06-10 10:16:14 PM  
Soccer is easily the best and most popular sport in the world, why? It takes speed, power, endurance, and intelligence, something we americans dont understand. Instead we rather see a big guy shove everyone out of his way to put a ball two feet in front of him, or watch steriod enhanced baseball players hit dingers.

Queue simpsons scene:
Maguire - "Do you want to know the horrifying secret, or do you want my to hit a few dingers?"
Other characters - "Dingers!"
"Woooowww!!!!, uhhhhh!!! ooooooo!"
Give me a break, soccer is ten times as exciting as basketball, and especially baseball.
2002-06-10 10:16:18 PM  
Australia calls it soccer, too. At least my Australian buddy calls it soccer. Aussie Rules is football, soccer is soccer.
2002-06-10 10:18:56 PM  
maybe soccer hooligans are actually people who just realized they paid for boring crap.
2002-06-10 10:33:31 PM  
dear euro farkers:

ok. i do know a little soccer, i played it as a youth, i remember the 1986 cup fondly, hugo sanchez's brilliant scissor kick for host mexico, gary lineker's awesome performance in the tournament, a great quarterfinal match between belgium and russia that belgium won 4-3 in extra time, etc.

here's the problems i have with it: first, the goal scoring has dwindled to a horrifically poor level. doesn't it bother worldwide fans even a little that there are less than 10 honest scoring chances in almost any game? 15 years ago, it wasnt that way. i mean, you can call us ignorant, vulgar americans that only like something if theres lots of scoring, but come on.
it would seem to me that men so skilled, the worlds absolute best at football, shouldnt miss the net as much as they do. and i mean, they miss it by 20 and 30 feet regularly. ok, im sure theyre trying to spin the ball and so forth and it gets away from them. fine, they have finesse. but when you miss the net 9 times for every ball you manage to put on the net, i would say you're getting too fancy with it. put it on the net, for gods sake.
and thats a symptom of the basic problem i have with soccer. Ever seen the movie "White Men Can't Jump?" soccer players would rather look good and lose than look bad and win. they're more concerned with style than substance. in US sports, when a player flops and tries to influence the referee, theyre marking themselves as someone who feels they can't win on skill alone. i remember the US team in 94, a few times a US player got tripped or fouled and got right back up. the other teams didnt even know how to react to that. if the US had had any skill, they'd have been able to capitalize on it.
then there's the offside rule! i'm sorry, but i cannot relate any sport where its an accepted defensive tactic to deliberately let your opponent run unchecked (unmarked, pardon me) to your goal behind you, knowing the referee will bail you out and you will not be forced to bother with him. you're even with your man, he makes a move on you, a pass is lofted.. and all you have to do is stop running and wait for the whistle.
and the overtime rules! do you know how exciting sudden-death overtime is? i wish you did. it's the greatest thing in sports. one strike, one play, edge of your seat... but soccer can't have that, because the chance of someone scoring in two 5-min extra times is slim to none. and they can't play more than that becuase everyone's too tired.. and they can only substitute 2 PLAYERS in the whole match. why doesnt FIFA increase substitutions in the extra time, go to sudden death, let the mismatches between fresh and tired legs create scoring chances, and do away with the egregious penalty kicks (which the greatest player in the world FAILED TO PUT ON THE NET in 1994, ruining an otherwise halfway decent US World Cup)? Could it be because all theyre basically interested in is covering their asses and not putting anyone in a position where they have to make tricky decisions that might be wrong? Could it be that FIFA, like most of the teams on the pitch, only want to play it safe at all times? That's what it looks like to most Americans.
2002-06-10 10:36:21 PM  
America should never never never be allowed to play football. Not because, as the author put it, that the rest of the world doesn't want to be beaten at their own game.

How much you want to bet that if America proceeds to the second round, that some moneyed oil magnate will suddenly take interest in the game, seeing a potential money spinner and possible franchise, and buy a European team.

Next thing we know we have Ross Perot threatening FIFA to change the offside rules to America's liking or else he's going to run for FIFA presidency.
2002-06-10 10:41:21 PM  
Americans will ruin the Beautiful Game with their money.

(end of rant)
2002-06-10 10:41:38 PM  
Yeah .. what schmack said.
Davies' earlier articles make a great point about why most countries don't cheer for the US. But before we give him too much credit, remember, he is to blame for 'Millionaire'
2002-06-10 10:44:39 PM  
please, no US billionaire will ever buy Bayern Munich or Juventus. you know why? because old-boy rich guys in America buy sports teams to gain approval and admiration from their old-boy rich cronies. if any of them bought F. C. Barcelona, their boys would give them a) blank stares and b) ridicule.
2002-06-10 10:47:15 PM  
That was a frighteningly pro-U.S. article. Somewhere the horsemen are saddling up.
2002-06-10 10:47:21 PM  
oh, just so people know- the guy who wrote this is from england, and moved over here at 21 or so

Also, i love his point on the irony of american soccer-haters- their best allies in the cause is the rest of the world, who wants nothing to do with a quality US side- soccer is the last bastion of sport that the United States hasn't conquered yet- besides cricket, which is just silly, and rugby, which is replaced by football here
2002-06-10 10:49:21 PM  
i think you need to check your facts before you make comments like that buddy- the highest payed atheletes in the world are soccer players- Zidane is the highest payed athelete in the world
2002-06-10 10:52:29 PM  
I don't want to open up a can of worms but.....

I think Michael Schumacher is the highest paid athlete in the world.
2002-06-10 10:55:18 PM  
2002-06-10 10:59:16 PM  
back away from the hockey puck, tom. ice and chewin tobacca dont mix, neck.
2002-06-10 11:00:13 PM  
hoosier: i think you may be right- i just recall hearing about higher payed soccer players around the time of the ARod story, and reading about Zidane getting something like 55 million a year because his old contract was bought out /and/ he got a ton more from real madrid
2002-06-10 11:04:14 PM  
Soccer's a lot less interesting to people who don't play. That said, people who play mostly love watching it. Best damned sport in the world to me (I happen to hold American Football in an esteemed second). And yes, I'm a stupid American. ;-)

All things considered, though, I think there are many reasons Americans don't watch, and I bet y'all can think of hundreds more, but I would like to say that I'm certain it's more complicated than anything anyone has said so far. I'm sure the rules, or the style, or whatever, all are involved, but there's more to it.

I'm going to go watch some taped games now.
2002-06-10 11:04:29 PM  
2002-06-10 11:06:15 PM  
Schmack - no chew here......... just a pissed off guy from Canada
2002-06-10 11:08:28 PM  
Halfback passes to center,
back to wing,
back to center,
center holds it!
Holds it!!
Holds it!!!
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