Monday, July 18, 2011


This isn’t going to make me very popular, but I’m going to say it any way.
I see a silver lining in the U.S. team loss to Japan in the Women’s World Cup final, and it is this. Maybe now all the clamor about soccer becoming a big deal in the United States will go back into hibernation.
I’ve been hearing the claim that the rest of the world’s favorite sport is going to overtake football, basketball, and baseball on our shores for at least 30, no, make that 40, years now, and it hasn’t happened despite repeated attempts by vocal soccer devotees to make it so.
Back in the 1970s, Kyle Rote Jr. -- remember him? -- was going take soccer to the top in the U.S. Pele’s arrival in the U.S. about the same time was supposed to do it, too.
In later years it was David Beckham.
How did all that work out?
I’ll answer that. It didn’t, at least not the way soccer backers wished.
It’s not going to happen in my lifetime, and it’s not going to happen in yours. It likely never will unless the bickering between players and owners of pro franchises in football, basketball, and baseball (hockey doesn’t count here) finally disgusts U.S. fans to the point they give them up, leaving soccer to pick up the remains of professional sports.
Now, I hasten to add here that I didn’t want the U.S. women to lose to Japan. No, I preferred they win.
But I didn’t care enough to watch any of the games, unless it happened to be on one of the TVs at my local watering hole.
I did see a couple of the decisive penalty kicks in the U.S. loss to Japan when I was picking up some food for takeout, but I left before the result was final. (Speaking of penalty kicks, I can’t think of a worse way to determine a winner in overtime in any sport than soccer’s penalty kicks procedure.)
Yes, TV ratings were good, and that’s fine. I hope you enjoyed the telecast.
But probably half the guys were waiting to see if any of the women ripped off her shirt the way Brandi Chastain did a few years ago. (Not sure why that was such a big deal; women wear less than that, if they wear anything at all, on the beach down this way.)
Most of the rest of the audience now will go back to ignoring soccer pretty much the way they do when ESPN or some network isn’t pumping it up like a Super Bowl or something.
Before you hang me, though, I will acknowledge this about soccer. It’s a great game to introduct kids to team sports with. But as my youngest said when he turned 8 after playing a couple years of soccer, “Dad, I want to play football now.”

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