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Soccer. I admit it; I don’t get it, I don’t care for it, can’t stand to watch it, and don’t understand the rules.
I’m convinced that the only soccer fans in the United States are those who have played soccer at a high level, say high school varsity or above, and their parents who had to haul their families from state to state to watch their kids play, or immigrants who come from places where soccer is king.
There are millions of kids in the United States that play soccer. Most of them are forced into it by their parents at an age when they should be outside playing in the yard, or in ditches, and riding their bikes around the neighborhood rather than playing organized sports..
Why don’t I “get” soccer. First of all, it is the only sport more boring than baseball. 90 minutes (maybe, maybe not) of 20 plus people running back and forth, back and forth and usually one or two chances for fans of a team to cheer.
I get why die-hard soccer fans in Europe are such hooligans. If I was forced to sit in stadiums week after week, watching the sporting equivalent of drying paint, I’d want to get drunk and hit someone too.
Soccer is not a good TV sport. There are no time outs to go to the bathroom. Luckily, the general lack of action allows restroom breaks at any point during the game with little chance of missing anything exciting.
But the most important issue with soccer, specifically World Cup Soccer, is that I think it is crooked. Crooked, fixed, rigged, pre-decided. How else do you explain a game that is supposed to last 90 minutes, and at the end of 90 minutes with the United States leading Portugal 2-1; the game isn’t over. The referee decides that the teams will play some more. No one but the referee knows how much longer the teams will play, only that they will play on. In this case the extra time is coincidentally exactly enough time for Portugal to score and tie up the game.
The rules of World Cup – Law 7 - Duration of the Game - give total discretion to the referee to allow extra time for substitutions, injury to players, wasting time, and any other cause.
How in the world do you tell if time is being wasted during a soccer game? That’s like wasting water by splashing in the ocean.
And it is obvious that any other cause includes the wrong team in the lead at the end of regulation play.
Why is it so hard to have a clock that the referees’ control, like they do in football and basketball; well except the obvious reason – that the games are crooked, and an actual clock would allow fans and teams to know how much time is left and not allow the referees to cook the games?
Louisville has a new professional soccer team. The club is a third tier level team. I hope that fans support the team; however I remember a long list of quasi professional sports teams in basketball, football, arena football, and hockey, that have come and gone from Louisville. I love to see people try new things, and I hate to see them fail, but this team isn’t one I will support, simply because I don’t care for the sport and feel no obligation to help them be successful.
So I’m not a soccer fan; a fact that bothers true soccer fans not one whit. But I think I’m typical of many American sports fans, and we are going to have to be won over before soccer will ever be truly successful in the United States. Some of the World Cup games involving the USA have garnered larger TV audiences than the Stanley Cup and the NBA finals. I admit I’d watch a World Cup game before I’d watch the NBA or hockey, so maybe there is a chance for soccer to blossom to something Americans watch more than during the Olympics and the World Cup.
Mike DiGiuro may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .