1. The Scene Is Full
If you want to watch some sports here, we’ve got sports.
Soccer isn’t coming in to a void; people aren’t clamoring for it here. If you want to watch sports, there’s a major sport or two during every season. You can watch at least two of the big four- Baseball, Football, Basketball or Hockey- in any given week you picked.
You want to be obscure? Ultimate Frisbee (shudder) is around, as is Lacrosse. My alma matter had a Quidditch team, and we’re about one Jaden Smith moment away from Calvin Ball taking a serious moment in the sun.
So where’s the room for soccer? Football has the weekly passion, Baseball has the historic gravitas and consistency, and Basketball is just fun as all get-out. Not to mention that….
2. Hockey Is Next In Line.
If we’re talking about under-appreciated graceful and efficiently-played sports popular outside of America, Hockey gets first dibs.
Hockey has never been huge in America, but it’s big enough to make the first rung of major sports here. But there’s room for growth and it’s similar enough to soccer to make the latter seem stupid.
Lets compare the two: Hockey has more American history and in-roads. Additionally, it’s soccer on death-blades, on ice, and fighting is encouraged. Injuries are played through, not faked.
You want to see soccer? Add some grit to your ambition. Watch hockey. It’s here, it’s real, and again; death blades on ice.
3. We Play It (Poorly) As Kids.
This is the pivotal, forgotten and unfair but true reason that soccer is ignored in American culture.
It’s not because the sport isn’t beautiful or serious. It’s that we dismiss it as a distraction, simplified, for suburban children to be dragged to.
Unfair? Projecting? Maybe. But maybe I’m on to something. Soccer, after all, was the simplest sport to be taken to as a child. It wasn’t as dangerous as football or as complicated as baseball. My parents let me kick a ball around. We ate oranges after. Everyone got a trophy.
That mandatory participation and trophy culture has often been snidely referenced as millennial entitlement, a barometer of our spoiled lives- even though we never asked for trophies, never expected them until they came, ready made to be swaddled and displayed- and a sign of our moral decay. But it’s also worth examining as an exclamation point placed on soccer, a piece of punctuation meant to end a journey and experience and mark it aside as childish.
I played soccer from ages 6-10. I have eight trophies in my childhood closet. I’m a master of the game, no? And with that, I shut soccer to the back of my psyche, the sport forever colored by mandatory mini-vans and lackluster jogs in borrowed cleats.
It may be unfair, but it’s a cultural commonality. And it strikes against soccer here.
4. There’s Already Soccer.
If you don’t like this article, and you’re some weirdo who wants to watch soccer, I have some surprising news for you: there’s world class soccer anywhere else in the world.
There are real teams, storied teams with histories and talent and story-lines demanding attention why not watch those teams? Why not watch the actual best teams, with the actual best players instead of settling for some light, lazy local imitation.
We in live in a global web, interconnected, with access for all. Are you really going to watch a Seattle team over Real Madrid?
If Americans really want to watch soccer, they’ll watch the soccer that’s already out there, performing at globally renown quality before deferring to the local team.