Americans now love soccer!!

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Nah, not really.

I was thinking about this today, following America’s heartbreaking—yet deserved—2-1 loss to Ghana.

At the conclusion of such events, commentators near and far ineviatbly talk about how this team will be remembered; how soccer will catch fire in the U.S.; how Landon Donovan and Tim Howard and Co. have changed things forever.

Nope.

Truth be told, soccer is soccer. Starting tomorrow, the American ratings for the World Cup will plummet. Absolutely plummet, to WNBA-esque levels. I can’t speak for all of my fellow citizens, but a good number of us watched the World Cup not because of a new love of soccer, but because—for one of the rare times—the U.S. was an underdog in a sporting endeavor … and it felt really, really cool. Used to be that way in Olympic basketball—until we killed it with pros. Used to be that way in Olympic hockey—until we killed it with pros, too. Sure, our soccer players are professionals; some very high-level ones. But, on a whole, America’s soccer players don’t measure up to those in Brazil or England or Spain. Hence, the feelings of anticipation and excitement and wonder.

Man, it was a great run.

8 thoughts on “Americans now love soccer!!”

  1. Tried to get into it. Joined a World Cup pool and watched as much as I could.And in the end I decided…. it just isn’t that compelling a product. Maybe I’m an ugly American but our football,basketball and,yes even baseball,are far more interesting and entertaining. The matches,especially in the group round when teams are playing for ties,are boring.Sorry rest of the world, our sports kick your ass.

  2. It’s compelling in an “Olympic” manner…but most people in the USA won’t give a shit about soccer until 2014.

  3. I love watching the World Cup but won’t watch another soccer match until the next World Cup game. My brother however loves the international leagues and I believe him when he predicts -Next World Cup for USA will be same as this year. In 8 years we will be favored. Our under 17 team is loaded. America then will catch on and watch the Cup every 4 years with much passion. That’s it though. Lacrosse has a better future if you ask me!

  4. Sez Mr. Pearlman:

    ” Starting tomorrow, the American ratings for the World Cup will plummet. Absolutely plummet, to WNBA-esque levels.”

    Careful there with the assumptions. As for the comment just above that American’s don’t care, that’s simply not true. They may not care much for MSL on a level approaching any of the major domenstic sports, but they care a lot about soccer. They follow foreign teams, online and on cable, where the games begin at 6 to 10 am on weekends and at 2 in the afternoons during the week.

    Google has a cool feature called Google Insights. It tracks the total number of web searches by category relative to all the web searches done on the net. It lets you search topics according to several variables.

    Google began compiling the data in 2004. I ran a search on the number of football, soccer, baseball and basketball team searches from 2004 to the present in the United States and the numbers break down as follows:

    Football 36
    Soccer 17
    Baseball 19
    Basketball 21

    Football is king, but when you get beyond it there’s not a whole lot of difference between the next three sports. (I ran hockey too, but it doesn’t even get to 1%.)

    Fans here care — a lot — about Man United, Barca, Real Madrid, Arsenal and Chelsea, among others. And those same fans won’t tune out the World Cup just cause the U.S. team got bumped today.

  5. Actually, most observers consider Olympic hockey to be the pinnacle of the sport – it’s like an All-Star tournament in which the players actually care about the result. From an American point of view, we’re still big underdogs compared to Canada, Sweden, and Russia. Team USA hasn’t won gold since 1980.

  6. Slight disagreement–even before the Dream Team came in, the US were never underdogs in Olympic basketball. The last two tourneys the collegians played in were 1984 and 1988. In ’84 they were as big a favorite as they were in 1992 with the Dream Team, and Jordan, Ewing et al won huge. In ’88 they were slightly less obvious favorites, but when they lost to Russia it was considered a stunning upset. Had the desired effect from the USOC and NBA standpoint, though–they rammed the provision allowing the pros to play soon after.

  7. It’s nice to see the US getting interested and involved in World Cup Soccer, but you are right nobody is going to give a damn after this loss. It’s weird too since every kid is on a soccer team at school now, we have MLS but it just never catches on like it has in Europe. If you ever been “across the pond” and experience it at the pubs it’s not salary caps and sponsors, it’s just a good ol rowdy time.

    You know why people like it now?? Two words – drink specials. Any excuse to hit a bar for $2 Buds and 10cent wings IMHO.

  8. I have to say soccer is better than any American sport. I think its pretty clear as all the world plays soccer and only we take football and basketball really serious.

    I think soccer will grow and grow until its is the number 1 sport back home.

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