Well, the World Cup has started and now our quadrennial fascination with soccer has begun. It will be short-lived as it only lasts a month or so, less if you are only cheering for the team from the USA. But during that time many Americans will cheer for people that we barely know, and get overly emotionally involved with teams from countries we couldn’t identify on a map. Does anyone really know where Algeria or Herzegovina is, I doubt it? We will pretend we know things about groups, stages, and cards that are red, or purple, or something. It will all be a vain effort as the whole ordeal will be over quickly and real sports will be on soon after. In the end it’s not soccer’s fault, We Americans simply hate the sport deep down in our souls. We can pretend we like it every four years but we can only keep up that charade for a few weeks. We can also tolerate it on Saturdays while watching our family and friends play. But if being able to simply tolerate it were the case for loving a thing Jr. High band music, bad theater, and slow-pitch softball would all be mass entertainment venues.
To show just how much Americans hate soccer I give you my body of evidence.
First, we stole the name of sport and applied it to another sport that has very little in common with soccer. But what about the fact that Football has very little to do with your feet? That didn’t matter, we took it, suck it soccer, we hate you. Don’t worry, it won’t be taken back any time soon. If you look at most football players compared to most soccer players, it’s not a fair fight.
Next, let’s start with what we pay professional soccer players. The average MLS salary is $141,903 a year. While that is nothing to sneeze at for kicking a ball around some grass, the average guy bouncing a ball with his hands in the NBA makes $5.15 million a year. If you knock a little piece of leather with a broomstick in the MLB you average $3.31 million. a year. Use a different broomstick to hit a little piece of rubber, NHL, you’ll make $2.4 million. each year. Even the lowest paid major sports athlete, an NFL player, make more that 10 times an MLS player at $1.9 million. every season. We do pay MLS players a little more than podiatrists but slightly less than an average petroleum engineer. The average pro soccer player does make about 40% more than the average WNBA player, but come on, the fact that we are mentioning these two sports in the same sentence indicates the nature of this conversation. The fact that a pro athlete barely makes more than a guy who looks at feet all day reveals our true feelings.
Third, we disrespect the soccer’s vernacular all over the place. Did that football player commit an off-sides penalty? Yes he did. Oh, so he was running in front of the ball (or didn’t yell Uno before trying to score, or whatever off-sides is…)? No, he moved before the ball was snapped. Oh?!?! Alright, I heard that basketball player is really good at goal-tending. Yes, that dummy does it all the time. Wait, that’s good, right? No, every time it happens we give the other team points. Got it, wait, what?!?! Ah, that baseball team just took the pitch. What, who took the pitcher? No, they just took the pitch. That makes no sense, how can a whole team take the pitch? Ummm, not sure. Man, you really don’t get it… You see, this are just a couple of examples of how American sports defame soccer vocabulary.
Lastly, we do give awards for best acting performance, they are just called Oscars instead of World Cups.
So in the end Americans hate soccer, but I’m not sure why. The sport serves the same purpose as every other sport. You get to hang out with your friends, act stupidly, eat and drink terrible stuff, and possible catch something on fire. But we still hate it. I’m not sure that will change, but I’m not too worried because I won’t have to think for four more years. But take heart soccer fans, we still like it more than Rugby, LaCrosse, Cricket, transgender couples swimming, Cornhole, Checkers, Spelling, and a whole host of other sport-like activities.
Cheers mate, let’s foot some footy with our feet on the foot-field.