What I Hate (Okay, Strongly Dislike) About Soccer (Okay, Fútbol)

Calm down. See, you think you already know where this is going. You’re already riled up because someone is about to say something that’s not glowing about the global game of fútbol. Before I begin, let me preface by saying that I’ve played soccer my entire life. It just may be my favorite sport. But every four years, the World Cup brings a complex blend of bitterness, along with the obvious joy. In the United States, every four years brings the unfulfilled promise that soccer will soon rule the land. Soon, its biggest supporters say, it will eclipse basketball and baseball. Even American football too. Of course, it never does. I mean, how popular is it going to get when just surviving the group stage feels like we’ve won the World Cup final? Now, that’s not my issue with soccer. Actually, I don’t have any issues with soccer. I think the penalty shootout compromises how great the game can be, and I’m frustrated by the diving that takes place throughout the game. But those are minor points. What really gets me is the fans.

I understand the frustration that soccer fans feel in the United States. Especially when things like this are actually published. Purely asinine pseudo-jingoistic journalism at its finest. That’s what that is. All of the so-called journalists in the country who celebrated the US’ elimination from the tournament don’t deserve an audience. That is just Skip Bayless provocation. Sure, the United States went 1-2-1 in the World Cup. We get it: that’s not good enough for you, for the United States. And thus, doesn’t deserve all the attention that it brought. Pieces like that should rile up soccer supporters. 

What is frustrating about soccer, especially in, but not limited to the United States, is the level of pretension that has developed in the past decade or so. True soccer supporters in the country are few and far between. Because of that, they’ve developed some misplaced inferiority-complex, while still proclaiming to be the most superior sport of all. It’s nonsense really. And I don’t mean the part about being the best sport. I mean the attitude developed in soccer fans. Anyone who questions the sport or has an idea for the sport suddenly doesn’t understand the sport, or never played the sport, or doesn’t respect the sport. The Great global game that is fútbol is above criticism. It’s above question. That is what really gets me.

Because soccer is such a global game, any criticism, especially from an American viewpoint, is just some attempt to the Americanize the sport. Yeah, right. It’s all just disrespect of the game and a criticism of the rest of the world. Or something. No, that’s not it. I’m a fervent soccer fan, but watching the World Cup (or more generally, soccer) in the US just isn’t how it should be. It ends up a giant pissing contest between people huddled around a television, trying to prove they are the biggest soccer fan and know the most.

Soccer fans in the United States act like they know something the rest of us (well, I am a soccer fan, but I’m distancing myself from them for now) don’t. They talk about how much the game should grow inside the country, and how it’s destined to be the top sport. Yet, they act offended, even appalled, when someone trying to break into the game offers any piece of insight they don’t like. Like it or not, but part of the appeal to American football is not just the game itself. Nor is it entirely the drinking either. No, part of it, is the experience sitting around with friends and watching the game on TV. No one is arguing over the execution of the left guard’s zone read block, or if the quarterback’s mechanics are the reason for his missed throw. No, that kind of pretension is only in soccer.

Want to grow the game more in the country? Yeah, winning more in the World Cup would help, but that’s all. Those hardcore fans? The ones that know every player in the world’s name because they’ve played so much Fifa on XBox? The ones that cling to the European vocabulary for all things fútbol-related? That seriously say pitch instead of field? Yeah, maybe it’s time they realize that they’re holding back the sport back as much as anyone else in the country.



8 responses

  1. Wow, this was awful. It could have left it at “What really gets me is the fans”

    Everything else was whining without any clear point.

  2. I agree wtih the author. Futbol is becoming a “religion” and you got nothing to argue about it when people are “fervent believer”.

  3. I tend to hate soccer more because it’s so d/mn boring: one and a half hours of running around in the middle of a field, punctuated by about a combined twenty seconds of something happening. For knocking something into a net, give me hockey. For constant alignments and adjustments on a green field, give me gridiron football.

    • Dear Christopher Kelley! In light of the entirety of your statement, the fact that you hate soccer is not surprising at all. First, there is the attack, midfield and defense in football, and very frequent tactical adjustments take place depending on the coaches’ perception of the strengths of their individual teams and how their opponents are playing. Gridiron football and soccer are not the only sports where constant adjustments take place. Even racket sports like tennis, badminton and squash employ lots and lots of adjustments and tactics. Second, just because you do not enjoy a sport, a feeling to which you’re entitled, doesn’t make that sport boring. If you say that you specifically find a sport boring and attribute that feeling to you not understanding the game play and the rules that govern it, then you’re making sense. Hockey is a good sport and it mirrors soccer in its involvement of a field, a ball, a goal and goalkeeper, players running, lots of adjustments, etc. Personally, I think soccer is a great sport with the potential to become one of the more recognized sports in the US. I don’t expect it to supercede the American staples (Gridiron football, baseball and basketball) anytime soon. I can’t help the fact that your mustard seed-size brain can’t seem to comprehend the tactical nature of football. I recommend a lot of soccer therapy to enable you to grow up

  4. … well here is this:
    there is a game called football, where two teams of 11, with hardly any interruption from the outside, have to play it out for 2 x 45 min on quite a large field without using their hands. In all the other sports, there are defence coaches, attack coaches changing a player here and there, just like tuning one of the old TV sets. But in football, you cannot do this.
    Yes, I wish it was more a gentlemen sport like Rugby, and I think, football could really learn from Rugby in that behalf. We will need a video referee for the profession league and professional umpires.
    And here is the new thing. We should not abandon penalty shootouts, but after 90 minutes, there should be the penalty shootout first and then the overtime. What a new dimension of exitement that would bring. The British could then always not use their substitutes during the first 90 minutes, then do poorly in the penalty shootouts (until the day, when they finally master this part), then bring in the substitutes and then play kick and rush for another 30 minutes!

  5. This piece of writing is most certainly one of the worst I have read in a while. It is absolutely pointless. What is your point dude? This is the work of yet another excuse of a writer. Go and learn from the man you so gleefully attempt to provoke. At your current age and at this rate, your writing will never come close to that of the one-and-only Skip Bayless, the eloquent Stephen A. Smith or any other self-respecting journalist out there. What is wrong with journalists being able to express themselves after the US was eliminated from the World Cup? They have feelings and opinions like everyone else, and get paid to write about them. If you’re accusing journalists of being anti-USMNT because you expected them to go through a period of mourning after the exit of your favorite team from the World Cup, then you must be deluded. Many people like you were boastful that the US will crush every opposition and at least make it to the semi-final stage of the World Cup. You did not realize that the football gods had other plans. I am neither a fan of X-Box nor FIFA games, but I categorically think that the people who play them, who know all the players’ names and know the tactics of football know much more than you’ll ever know about footaball, kobe413! In case nobody every taught you about journalistic integrity, a real journalist does not hide behind a pseudonym to spew their senseless crap onto the blogosphere. I, therefore, challenge you to show your real name here and partake of the roasting you so richly deserve…chicken.

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