Be honest, you don’t want the USA to become too good at football

Ollie Irish

30th, June 2009


I’m in two minds about the very real possibility of the US of A becoming a major force in world football in the next decade. This summer’s Confed Cup has shown that America has the potential to compete with the likes of Brazil and Spain, and although I still think they have no chance to win next year’s World Cup, I guess they could realistically reach the quarter finals, maybe even the last four (unlikely, I know).

Part of me thinks it’s great that the game is growing in the world’s biggest market, but I suppose there’s a selfish part of me that likes the fact that there is a major sport that America can’t say it’s the best at. Yanks (I say that with some affection, honestly), you can keep your baseball and basketball, and that other form of football in which you hardly even use your feet; just don’t mess with the beautiful game. We don’t want quarters or time-outs, thank you very much. And we don’t want the World Cup to become the World Series. Irrational concerns maybe, but you never know what might happen if the major American TV networks get hold of the game.
Do you want the USA to become a genuine world power, or are you happy to see them scratch around in the second tier of the international game? Vote below or leave a comment…

Posted in International football, MLS

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  1. Ala says:

    If the USA actually cared about ‘SUPER MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCERBALL WORLD SERIES’ they’d probably have a pretty good squad, judging from the size of the country.

  2. Hootie says:

    I’m interested to see what happens with ESPN’s coverage of the Premiership when it begins next season in the UK. If there’s anyone in the world that knows how to milk every dollar and drip of integrity out of what they’re covering, it’s ESPN/Disney.

  3. USA win the world cup – That’s my worst nightmare, lots of Yanks banging on about soccer – No thanks

  4. Spenser says:

    as an american, hardcore, footy fan, i would love to see this happen. can you really think it could any more commercialized just if Americans actually like it? i mean, i’m sitting here at my job in fort worth, texas with a Liverpool Football Club Steven Gerrard jersey on, and i’m damn proud to wear it. I bleed the red. But I’m also a Yank, and I’m proud of my country for doing so well and beating Spain and giving Brazil a good fight

  5. EricTheGreen says:

    If your biggest worry is of legions of “ugly american” sports fans going looney right to your face, save your angst. “Good” doesn’t necessarily imply “popular” here. The national team could indeed become a world-class power and most sports fans wouldn’t even notice–the big three of baseball, basketball and (American) football long ago achieved iconic status here. They won’t be displaced easily.
    And, with me at least, that’s fine. I’m quite happy with my fellow supporters and don’t feel the need to share the love with several million others.
    Nice effort this past week by the U.S. team. Still depend too much on luck rather than making a result happen, but hopefully they’ll get cracking on changing that.

  6. jeneria says:

    Seriously, Americans can’t possibly commercialize the sport any more than it’s be commercialized. Try and blame us for the Beckham debacle, but we know who was responsible for him and the lad culture and the chav culture.
    Most Yanks won’t even notice if the USMNT does anything. There’s too many fascinating sports like racing cars in circles and shooting paintballs at one another and never ending poker tourneys.

  7. Eighmee says:

    i don’t think any soccer fan has ANYTHING to worry about.
    the only way to change an americans viewpoint of soccer is to take them to a real game…at a real stadium. not a little mini match..but an all around stadium packed with other die-hard fans…
    trust me..its the only way to get them to see what the game is really about.
    90% of the americans that don’t enjoy soccer…think soccer isn’t even a sport.
    but its those americans that can’t run for 90 minutes straight.
    i’d be fully content to stay one of the only ones in my “inner social circle” that enjoys soccer.

  8. Cali4Fulham says:

    Being a footie fan and in America is like being in a really cool secret society. Most of us are pretty well educated (because a lot of the people who are actually fans picked up the game as a kid in the suburbs and played all the way through high school or college) but I can honestly count on 1 hand the amount of times I’ve seen another person in a USMNT jersey on the street (and I live in NY). Like so many of my fellow American’s have said, even if the US does become a world power, you’ll have nothing to worry about until the blue collar, beer swilling, American Football fans become enamoured with the game (which will probably never happen because they generally don’t appreciate things like good off the ball movements and defensive positions and forms).
    I would start to be worried though about the skills in general… there is a grass roots movement around our cities that is starting to pull our inter city youth into the beautiful game. If nothing else, the Beckham fiasco in MLS showed a whole generation of kids that you can make more money in soccer then you can in Baseball or Football or Basketball… Be on the look out in about 15 years, I feel like the US will be very good but still the majority of the people in our country won’t care a lick.

  9. kaya says:

    I kinda agree with what Cali4Fulham said, though I honestly don’t know how well edumuhcated the guys who apply body paint are. I guess I like football precisely because it’s not something we dominate… I guess I like being the underdog. And the fact that so few here people understand the enjoyment of seeing the character each country’s game and fans bring to the sport makes it that much more fun.
    I think we’re a long way off from the US media market trying to add time outs for more commercials. However, if the US ever *really* got interested in football and the MLS went big time, I sincerely worry I would be nauseated at looking back at the money now being spent by Manchester, Real, Chelski, etc. as the “good old days”.
    Anyway, in my ideal world, the US would be good, but not too good. And the public would only be interested enough to support a good, but not too good, professional league.

  10. Jason says:

    I think you’re overstating the whole timeout/advertising fears. As demonstrated in the last few weeks, it’s still hard for most American sports fans and writers to wrap their heads around the WNBA putting sponsors on their jerseys, even though it’s been going on in other countries (and NASCAR) for decades. Also, the MLS started out with no extra time and shootouts so there was a winner in every match, but have moved closer to the normal type of league play with conferences and playoffs being the only holdovers.

  11. Ashley says:

    As an proud Englishman who went to USA 94 and hung out with US footy fans in France 98 I would like to add that the coolest, funniest and most intelligent Americans I have ever met are soccer fans. they are a real credit to their country. I always hope the US does well in international tournaments for their sake.

  12. chrissmari says:


  13. shay says:

    I, as an American, would love to see the US national team do well at the World Cup. I don’t think it will change the view of most americans that soccer is “boring”. They just don’t know what they are missing!

  14. 30f says:

    Cashley –
    Us ‘Merikuns will stop calling ourselves ‘yanks’ when you British/Englandish/Queen-on-your-money types stop claiming that US sports are more commercialized than how it works on your side of the Atlantic.
    No major US sports league has their whole FREAKING league named after a corporation (Barclays) or the names of sponsors directly on the uniforms (Emirates, Samsung, etc) in giant letters. Let’s agree that we both ‘enjoy’ slightly different types of commercialization.
    No one (that I know) over here wants soccer to be more like American sports. I understand why you folks are nervous about ESPN broadcasting games – but is ESPN all that different than Sky/Murdoch? Seems like worrying about what color pants the Devil will wear when he comes to pay a visit.
    Soccer will never be as ‘big’ as the other major sports here. But it doesn’t have to be. Aussies LOVE swimming, but the US is just as good at that. The States don’t give a rats ass about cycling, but have had as many great cyclists in the last decades as Belgium.
    I will be long dead before the US wins the World Cup (if that ever happens). An African nation will win it before the US does, in my opinion. But within the next decades ‘we’ will be a solid contender in the range just below the top 4-7 nations.

  15. Murfmensch says:

    An important point.
    If the US becomes a more powerful player, it will lobby alongside Asia and Africa for a more equitable organization of tournaments. This will be a refreshing thing.
    Africa does very well in every World Cup given the artificially low rankings and the low number of slots.
    Surely the bottom three Euro qualifiers this year ought to need to play a North American, African, or Asian team in order to get in.

  16. K says:

    I bet all those people who do want the USA to become ‘good’ at football are Americans. Stick to baseball, we don’t like you lot.

  17. cjrulezhard says:

    If we actually get good at football, I hope that we at least learn the game. I had to listen to the ignorant ass US announcers call Sergio Ramos “Fernando Torres” for 90 mins during each Spain game in the Confed Cup. They also sounded confused about what offsides ment.
    Clint Dempsey rules.

  18. machine goooner funk says:

    as an american fan i agree with a lot of the other posters. being an educated football fan in this country is like knowing an awesome secret and when you find a fellow fan who actually enjoys and understands the game it’s truly a cool experience to actually talk face to face with someone about one of your favorite sports instead of trading posts with people on the internet. i’m a gooner, have been since was 12 and visited london with my family and attended a game. with the advent of the internet i can follow them as fervently as a supporter in north london can. im just as passionate about the arsenal as i am about the heat or the dolphins if not more. as for our nat’l team becoming successful i definitely want it to happen, if anything to make up for all the arrogance and elitism that is shoved down my throat by other int’l teams’ fans. however, america is a bandwagon/trend following country (like how the red sox winning the world series in 2004 while providing their true long suffering fans the pay off they waited so long for also have now made them almsot as hated as the yankees b/c of all the new “die hard” fans who even true red sox fans can’t stand) and i don’t want these uneducated troglydytes jumping into the fray b/c we’ve become good because they never suffered through the humiliation of WC ’98. they ignored the triumphs over portugal (with figo coming off winning the ballon d’or and a budding ronaldo) and mexcio plus the heartbreak of playing germany nose to nose only to lose in the quarters of 2002. they didn’t have to suffer bruce arena’s arrogance that the success in 2002 would carry over to 2006 and mismanaged a game against the czechs by not deploying a good enough strategy to neutralize rosicky, we actually showed heart against italy and were the only team to take a point from them only to watch michael essien single handedly destroy us a few days later b/c again arena underestimated our opponent and thought we’d walk over ghana. these people didnt watch the 2007 gold cup and our thrilling comeback win over mexico in that tournament. i’m just saying that at present being a usmnt fan in this country is like knowing about an exclusive, swanky nightclub that your scared will become popular and swarmed with gate crashers. plus if the rednecks and xenophobes see the success and jump on the bandwagon it’d be just another excuse for their over the top jingoistic behavior that causes so many acoross the planet to hate us.

  19. Dont mess with Texas says:

    Wow look at all the bashing of Americans by the Euro trash! European football definitely needs a touch up from the USA for example instant replay and obviously cheerleaders! Now go fix your chiclet teeth all you Euro trash American hating silly nannies and remember your countries will always take cue from the United States :)

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