We can now all get back to our normal lives now that the FIFA World Cup is over. Internet speeds will resume back to normal since no one will need to be streaming from work, not that anyone was doing that.
And I have determined that to get the most reaction out of my Facebook friends, all I need to do is either post something in support of soccer OR wear a pink shirt while eating cake.
All kidding aside, there are some “issues” that I have in my understanding of soccer. I will admit that I was a casual fan until about 4 years ago when the kids started playing at the select level, so maybe these are known to others and I am just missing the boat. Some of these, in my opinion, make it tough for casual American sports fans to convert over.
- It is suppose to be a game of possession. Which like American football and to some extent basketball are keys to the game. If football, you will win the majority of the games that you control time of possession. Minus an Oregon at the college level, if you control clock, you control the game. But in soccer, the goalie punts the ball past mid field, with not guarantee that your team will retain possession. Yes it can lead to a great scoring opportunity, but the risk/reward seems low. If possession is key why wouldn’t the goalie just pass or throw it to a player on their team to maintain possession.
- Here in the US, we are use to dominating our sport while allowing players from other countries play the sport here where the money is. Basketball is mostly Americans, with overseas stars coming here to play. Baseball is played here and some Latin American and Japanese players coming in to play. Football, no comment. Even Hockey, a sport created in Canada, plays the majority of its games in the US. You have to go back to 1993 since a Canadian team won their sport. Point being that the money in those sports is here in the US. For soccer it is elsewhere, primarily over seas. Americans struggle with that whether they want to admit that or not.
- There are currently great players in the game: Ronaldo, Messi, Neyamr, Van Persie to name a few. But just because you have a star on the team, it does not guarantee success. Germany shut down Messi and completely limited his scoring chances. The Netherlands did the same thing in the semi’s. If someone shut down LeBron the world would freak out that it was the greatest achievement of all time OR like in the case of MJ, the rules would be changed to prevent a “star” from being shut down again.
- Soccer is a game dominated by Defense, with precision scoring when the opportunity arises. A 1-0 World Cup Title game is called boring by an outsider, yet Matt Garza pitching a 1-0 complete game in July with nothing on the line is called “Brilliant” and Garza is “the Man”.
It will still take a long time for soccer to become really popular in the US. There is no doubt in my mind. There will be pockets and hotbeds of talent, like other sports. But the World Cup will be like the Olympics here in the US – exciting for a stretch as it occurs and then interest will wane.
In the mean time I will support my kids play soccer because they love playing and I love watching them play.