JEFF PEARLMAN

Coming October 2022: "The Last Folk Hero: The Life and Myth of Bo Jackson"

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.