Monday, June 14, 2010

The American Right Hates Soccer? News To Me!

Another reason I loathe National Public Radio.
In this piece partnered with The Nation magazine, a writer explains to readers that American conservatives hate soccer.
The writer, Dave Zirin, cites radio and television talker Glenn Beck and radio talker and former Watergate felon G. Gordon Liddy and their comments regarding soccer and The World Cup.
The FIFA World Cup is being played in South Africa from now until July 11. It is played every four years since 1930. And yes, the United States pretty much sucks in this competition.
Mr. Zirin actually makes one good point and one meaningless point.
Soccer is one of if not the most popular youth sport in the United States. There is AYSO and it has been popular to my knowledge since the 1980s.
The problem is that soccer is not really on the radar in high schools, less at the college level and until the formation of Major League Soccer, was not existent after the failure that was the North American Soccer League.
Thus, it has never really developed the same way that baseball, basketball, football and ice hockey has in the United States and for that matter Canada.
But Mr. Zirin cites something that I have heard since the days of the NASL.
That immigrants are making soccer more popular in the United States than ever before.
That may be true. But, there is no real evidence to back that claim up.
What may be correct is that many of those that played AYSO soccer growing up are becoming fans of soccer thanks to Major League Soccer, which has done a much better job promoting soccer than the old NASL.
The way that it was formed and has expanded has been much more realistic than the old NASL. For one, MLS has been able to get smaller, soccer-only stadiums built throughout the league. Few teams play in huge stadiums. But there are a few, and they do tarp off many seats so the stadium does not look empty.
One other fact is that there have been few if any American soccer superstars. That plays into the reality of the sport failing to gain the status of the four major league sports mentioned earlier.
Now your humble blogger grew up going to see the old Los Angeles Aztecs at the Rose Bowl. Followed the Los Angeles Skyhawks of the old American Soccer League. There is a lot to like about soccer.
But, the reality is that since it is not in the top four sports, not to mention college variations of the top four sports, it suffers.
But, for Mr. Zirin to cite Glenn Beck and G. Gordon Liddy as what conservatives in the United States think about soccer is insipid.
It shows the shallowness of The Nation and National Public Radio.
Most people I know, conservative and liberal, have at least a little interest of the World Cup and who wins. But, there is no one group that hates soccer or loves it more than any other.
Ace over at the Ace of Spades has an epic take on the real reason soccer just has not made it here in the United States the same way as the rest of the world. He also cites why liberals and the left embrace soccer. However, do they also support the violent sub-culture that soccer brings out? The nationalism? And yes, racism by fans in many nations?
I am an American, conservative and I like soccer. It has its moments, but it is not the same as watching something like say the just concluded Stanley Cup in ice hockey. Or the NBA playoffs currently going on. Or the Super Bowl. Or the World Series.
Until that happens, soccer will be way down on the sports priorities of most Americans. And not because of silly comments from Glenn Beck and G. Gordon Liddy.
Watch the World Cup and enjoy!

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