By Hardgamer 235 Comments
Notice: This was updated and rewritten on July 7th, 2011. On paragraph 8, I used Very few information based from Another article. Yeah, it means what you think it means, but not even that close. I watched small portions of some of the previous World Cup matches recently. I would add: Soccer just looks strange. But internationally, It really is Football.
If there's a standard concern among any retiring player, it's how the game will remember them. Even the elite sometimes wonder if they'll be remembered at all, triumphs in their time reduced to relatively mundane memories years removed and ultimately stored away. It happens in all sports, but the collective memory of American soccer has always been fragile and fragmented. We exist in a soccer culture that can forget entire leagues, much less the members of the teams that played in them. No American soccer fan needs to have the lack of coherency explained. Multiple leagues and structures end up unfocused, the stories susceptible to the kind of gradual erosion that leaves them too linear and often times suspect. Attempts at reconstruction end up impressive only to the true believers, with the rest of the audience wondering exactly why we're supposed to care. It's a fair point. Clubs fade along with their players. Remember the Wings, the Quicksilvers, the Foxes, the Roughnecks? Sure, there was that game ... but the structure for the story is lacking. Instead, we get an amalgam that turns a story into, at best, a myth and, at worst, a fabrication.
Yep, I remember ... Only it wasn't that season, much less that day, and you got the city wrong. There is so much to remember. So many clubs, players, tournaments. The players themselves might have an almost encyclopedic recall that borders on scary, but the rest of us usually have more of a sense of scene if anything. Even that gets easily confused. Repository thinking has its own fans and limitations, putting what we can fairly categorize as trivia before the story. That can reap a kind of dismissive acknowledgment from fans as well as those within the game.
Sure, we all recognize American soccer has tradition. But it's a new day where the past isn't going to help us figure out global sponsorship markets, stadium construction, and the contemporary transfer system. At least that's what those actively forming the future of American pro soccer occasionally deign to tell us. In many ways, it's a fair point. Induction ceremonies have become feel good events that capsulate eras in the experiences of a handful of players, the elite of the elite. By default, that's an exercise in marginalizing. Even slightly removed, and the broader story becomes more about getting at the main, and hopefully short, point. The museum exhibit ideal of history. Our game moves on. Pay tacit acknowledgment to the past but work to press forward towards a promotional future. One that doesn't necessarily need a historical foundation for legitimacy. Tradition can be built. We've seen just that repeated multiple times. Carting it over wholesale with the International Soccer League in the early '60s, through the regenerative efforts the North American Soccer League used every third or fourth season, and up to Major League Soccer, which set all of that aside over a decade ago. In the end, tradition only really matters as a profit motive.
Nobody should reasonably argue that profit margin shouldn't be at the heart of the American professional game. Soccer clubs aren't civic trusts, existing for the good of the community and funded through that mentality. To some, neither are Hall of Fames nor museums outside of those with endowments paying operating costs. The North American Soccer League setup shop in 40 markets. Add in the Major Indoor Soccer League, and that number increases to just about any city of size you can name. All stories, all connecting a group of fans to the tradition that creates contemporary American soccer. Few if any of them offer enough monetary justification for telling their stories. So we move to what story we're interested in hearing. If it's the highlight-reel version of American soccer history, we have that in a building off an interstate in New York. If it's the struggle of American professional soccer clubs and players trying to make it work, tied to place and fans, then there's an alternative history of attempted markets, overlooked teams, and the stories that don't necessarily include the usual names.
In a world of adults there's no sense in pretending that right intention will or even should win the day. But before we let entire leagues pass on with a limited memorial and good intentions, it might be worth considering real preservation. We have the history of a game that has set up shop everywhere from the biggest stadiums in the country, to some of the most obscure arenas, always trying to find its place. We also have a National Soccer Hall of Fame pressured to show a profit rather than what should be a clear mandate on behalf of the clubs and players that have gone before: serve as the permanent and supported home of the full history of American soccer. It's time professional soccer allows the Hall to do that job.
Americans know that our Obama-voting suburban elite deliberately has replaced American-style football in its own schools with multicultural, politically correct, non-violent soccer. The replacement of football by soccer is a metonymy for the community of fashion’s rejection of “hard, isolate, stoic” traditional American culture in favor of a less decidedly masculine internationalist alternative. New Canaan and Brookline are saying to the rest of America: “We don’t want to be provincial ruffians like you. We want to be Italian or Brazilian.”
Finally, Soccer games are accompanied by what Dan Nosowitz aptly describes as the “grating, stab-your-ears-with-a-pencil drone of the vuvuzela,” an obnoxious plastic horn which was apparently first adopted by the Zulus of South Africa to replace their dreaded iklwa Soccer as it is known to Americans, is the worlds most popular sport! It is played by millions in every country around the world. The World Cups in 2006 and 2010 had an estimated average of 700+ million viewers not including people inside and outside the stadium. The two biggest leagues (English Premier League and Italian Serie A) have more fans than the NFL, MLB, NHL, NBA or any other American professional sports league. The fans are amazing (I mean they riot for the most pointless games, yet in the US you have to win a World Series to riot). Games have near 100,000 people at them, every one sings songs, drinks, celebrates, and cheers on their favorite club. Every one I know that has traveled to Europe and gone to a match has become a soccer fan because of the atmosphere at a game. Yet why do Americans still consider it a "sissy" sport?
Professional Soccer players or as Americans insist on calling them "Foot fairies" have a skill and athletic ability that most people can only dream of. Last year's World Cup took place in South Africa from June 11th through July 11th. The United States actually had a good team that year unlike the team they had back in the 2006 FIFA World Cup. Yet no body seems to care. Is this because the MLS has been a huge failure? Or are people in America too stubborn to realize that this sport is truly a great sport! Sorry Americans but your version of Football is only watched by 1 country, REAL FOOTBALL is watched in every country in the world! Think about the amazing accomplishments the U.S Soccer team has done historically and recently. They've reached Third in the inaugural 1930 World Cup, They've won 4 CONCACAF Gold Cups (Recently in 2007), They've even reached fourth in a Copa America once. Want more? They've won a Silver and a Bronze medal in the 1904 St. Louis Summer Olympic Games, they've reached the Quarterfinals of the 2002 FIFA World Cup, They've beaten the #1 team in the world Spain back in 2009, and finished Runner-ups in the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup only losing to Brazil. Still want more? They've reached 4th in the FIFA World Rankings in April of 2006, They've beaten former World Cup Winners Argentina, Brazil, Germany, and Uruguay, and lets not forget that stunning win over England back in the 1950 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
Now, Nobody does not acknowledge this, but they should know that our National Soccer Team in not a complete failure at all. The only reason why Americans think Soccer is a "Girly" Sport is because they're used to watching 250'lb Men tackling each other just for a Ball that looks like a cone or watching a Hoops Superstar making a 360 degree Slam Dunk on a 7-Footer. I don't blame them. When I was a little boy I used to play Soccer with other kids but by the time we've turned to teenagers We think of Football, Partying, and Beautiful Cheerleaders. In that perspective Teenagers can't play Football and Soccer at the same time. Think of me for example; I like playing Soccer and watch Soccer games but by the time I was 10, I started to become more interested in Basketball than Soccer. In the end I chose Basketball over Soccer in my first year of High School. It was a tough decision for me, but I still love and watch the beautiful game of Soccer today. Perhaps most of you out there think that Soccer is just boring and unexciting, but mark my words, there will be a time in which Soccer will be one of the top sports in the U.S. Now I want to hear your answer and opinion on this question: Does any one know why soccer cannot be accepted in the United States?