Why We All Hate Soccer

Why We All Hate Soccer

Currently I’m reading a book by Chuck Klosterman called “Sex, Drugs, And Cocoa Puffs”. I know what you’re thinking and don’t worry, you don’t not have to discredit my logic about the game of soccer because I am not quoting my reasons from this book. But, Chuck dedicates a chapter to the idea that Americans hate soccer. I think his reasoning is valid, but I don’t think he quite grasps the real reason we hate soccer…and he couldn’t know either, he’s not an athlete.

Chuck’s idea as to why we hate soccer
~First off, tons of kids play soccer. In fact it is the No. 1 youth participation sport in the U.S. according to Soccer Industry Council of America (probably really unbiased). On the surface this might make you think that soccer will make a comeback in this country, but that is just nonsense. The reason so many kids play youth soccer is not because they love it, and are really good at it, it’s because kids can completely suck at it and no one really notices. It’s not like baseball where every kid has to bat, and face the embarrassing truth to themselves and all bystands that they have no hand-eye coordinator and look like a dummy missing every ball that blows by them. In basketball with only 5 kids on the court, again, a kid that’s got no game is going to look like a moron when he can’t dribble to save his life and throws the ball away when it hits his hands (not to mention the embarrassment of air balls).

BUT, in soccer, if a kid is awfully unathletic and terrible, he can hit this by simple never touching the ball. It’s a win-win. The kid wins because he gets to be part of a team and feel like one of the gang, and he gets to please his parents by being involved in an extra-curricular, all while hiding the fact that he secretly is a horrible soccer player (which could also be considered a win. So Michael Scott would categorize this situation as a “win-win-win”. It’s the only sport of it’s kind. That sums up Chuck’s theory.

The real reason we hate soccer (My reasoning):
~Normal American athletes suck at it. That’s it.

Think about it: great athletes in this country are defined by being great at one of the following top American sports: Football, Baseball, Basketball. All of these sports are played with heavily hand-eye coordination skills. Sure, there is some foot coordination involved in these sports. Take defense for example (but we don’t hold up these players as high as we do the scorers, let’s be honest). Largely, these sports are based on passing, catching, shooting, hitting, throwing – all hand-eye. These are our great athletes – the men and women who succeed in these skills. We love them, we worship them…then there is soccer.

Soccer makes an idiot of our hand-eye athlete friends. They suck at soccer. If I’m a football player and decide to try out basketball, I will realize, hey – I’m really not bad at this. Same goes with any of these sports, even tennis works like this. But soccer is different. There is no hand-eye coordination in soccer, so all of the athletes we hold to the highest are horrible at it, therefore dismiss it completely.

We’re not raised as a people kicking a ball back and forth with our fathers; we’re raised playing catch with our dads, honing the skills of a future basketball star. We’re almost natural good at these sports due to our culture. Since we naturally suck at soccer, we don’t play it. We’re Americans! We hate being bad at stuff, especially sports.

Me, being a basketball, volleyball, hand-eye coordination nut: I hate soccer. My advice: let’s just get rid of it completely. None of the real athletes in this country are any good at it anyway.

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4 responses to “Why We All Hate Soccer

  1. To Chuck I would say, you know what you need to play soccer? A ball. Maybe some cleats and shin guards, if you’re playing in a league, but all you really need is a ball and maybe two trees or bushes or whatever far enough apart to be a goal. You don’t need a net, or bases, or bats and gloves and helmets and pads… just a ball. Anyone anywhere in the world can play soccer as long as they have a ball. So yeah, every kid can play soccer. It doesn’t matter what sport it is, the kids who aren’t good at it stick out like sore thumbs; the only way to “secretly” be a horrible soccer player is to never leave the bench (and how secretive is that, anyway?). Basically, you’re right, Chuck isn’t an athlete and doesn’t know what he’s talking about here. But no one cares if a kid is good or not. Kids want to have fun, parents don’t want to invest a fortune in a sport the kid might not even like or be good at, so soccer is perfect.

  2. To you, dear Angela, I would say that the reality is that every sport requires a different skill set. With the All-Star game this week and Obama throwing out the first pitch, there was a lot of talk about how throwing a pitch from the rubber to home plate is actually really difficult. We all know that Obama is a decent basketball player, but on Tuesday night we found out that the man has no arm. Skills in one sport don’t necessarily translate to another. Athleticism is the thing that translates, though I agree that certain sports foster hand-eye coordination and have that in common. But soccer is not the anomaly that you paint it to be. I played soccer in high school with girls who were crazy good at soccer as well as basketball and lacrosse — they weren’t just great soccer players, or great basketball players, they were great athletes.

    “None of the real athletes in this country are good at [soccer] anyway” — are you being serious, or is this your way of hating on Americans for the way we worship our athletes? We do, to a very large fault, but I don’t think soccer’s unpopularity in the U.S. has to do with hero worship. There are other cultural factors at play. We love the people who score goals in soccer just like we love the guys who catch touchdowns in football. Those are always the names we talk about and remember — offense sells tickets, defense wins championships, and that applies to every sport across the board. And why would I hate soccer just because my favorite football or basketball player would be bad at it? That makes no sense. Does Tiger Woods hate tennis because he’s not good at it? Of course not. And to say that we in America breed a culture of hand-eye coordination glorification — frankly — sounds ridiculous.

    You named the American Big Three when it comes to sports: football, basketball, and baseball. Why soccer’s international popularity has not translated to the United States continues to be a mystery. If you really want to think about this some more, google it. There are a plethora of opinions out there on the subject, and most of them take culture into consideration, but in a different way than you do. If you’re happy hating soccer for the reasons you’ve stated, that’s your prerogative. But to be honest, I think you’re being cynical and unfair. Some of the very best athletes ever were soccer players. The U.S. Women’s team is ranked #1 in the world. I played soccer, I love soccer; but I also played and love many sports. As many people do.

    I’m not sure what point you were trying to make here. You don’t have to like soccer, but it’s not right to say that America hates it. I hold out hope that America can embrace soccer one day, but until we call it “football” like the rest of the world, we won’t quite fit in, and maybe that’s the most telling point of all.

  3. I’m not going to say a whole lot here, because it will pale in comparison to Ms. Galley’s lengthy and well-thought response. But, I think that the real reason that americans don’t get into soccer is because we have a short attention span. Soccer games are long, and there’s a lot of time where very little really happens. Now, putting the cultural aspects (which have been mentioned at length in other writings, as Beth pointed out) aside, I think that americans also don’t understand how soccer is played. Maybe that is in itself cultural. It’s a pretty complicated game, just like hockey (another very under-appreciated sport in america).

    To the comment “you know what you need to play soccer? A ball,” I would say, American football is the same way. Probably even more so (unless you want to get into field goals). Anyway, I really don’t have much stake in this argument, because I’m not a football fan, or a futbol fan, or a fan of many other sports. Except for table tennis. That game rocks.

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