Soccer: The One Sport Americans Will Not Care About


There are certain things Americans do that make us the butt of jokes across the world. We deep fry everything and dump cheese on it. We drive giant gas-guzzling SUV’s. We watch “Two and a Half Men.” (If the world doesn’t make fun of us for that, they should.)

One of the biggest differences between America and the rest of the world is the view on soccer. In the rest of the world (minus Canada, I would assume) soccer is the biggest and best thing ever. Here in America, though, we could not care less about soccer. There are a lot of people who would rather watch golf than soccer. They don’t understand soccer.

I am ashamed to admit, I am one of those people. I do not understand soccer.

I’ve honestly tried to like soccer. If the rest of the world likes soccer, I really should at least attempt to understand it. Every time I watch, though, all I see are men kicking a ball back and forth, unless I’m watching women’s soccer. Then it is women kicking the ball.

This weekend, in an effort to finally understand the game, I went to see the local Kansas City professional team, Sporting KC, play a game. Or is it a match? I watched them play a thingy of soccer.

My confusion starts even before I get to the game. Sporting KC? What do you call the players? Would you say, “Yeah, Teal Bunbury sure is one of the best Sportings?” Would their mascot be a creature that just sports? Why can’t they be the Kansas City insert-proper-noun-heres? I chalk the name up to trying to sound cool and European, something that Kansas City is not known for.

On the way into the stadium, I was surprised and impressed with the turnout of fans. I walked by tent after tent of tailgaters, all sporting their Sporting jerseys (Maybe that explains the name?). Granted, they were probably just using this event as an excuse to stand outside and drink beer in a parking lot, but there were a fair amount of fans. I grabbed my Teal Bunbury bobblehead at the gate and headed inside.

The biggest pregame confusion came as the starting lineups were announced. Sporting KC had a player named Jeferson. You might think I’m referring to him by his last name, but I’m not. In fact, he had no last name. He had only one name and that was Jeferson. He was like the Cher of soccer, but less known and with a name that was not near as interesting.

The game happened. I wish I could tell you what I watched, but I still don’t know. At some point, a goal was scored. The crowd occasionally booed at something that happened, usually involving a player kicking something other than the ball or a player falling down and playing dead, a possum on a soccer field. People played some drums throughout the game, probably because they were too bored to pay attention to what was happening on the field.

At halftime, I took my leave. I was tired and hot, not to mention confused. Leaving the stadium, I saw the same fans that had been drinking outside before the game still in their lawn chairs, Miller Lites in hand. The biggest fans of the Sportings (I’m calling them that, I don’t care what anyone says) had not even gone into the game, but rather had chosen to stay outside in the summer heat and drink beer.

If these fans can’t even be bothered, why should I have to like soccer? I at least graced the stadium with my presence. I might be a bigger fan than they are.

Someday I might care about soccer. It doesn’t seem likely, but I’ll give it another shot. I fancy myself a worldly scholar of a man. I should develop more of a bohemian lifestyle, expanding my horizons.

Besides, they give away awesome bobbleheads. Seriously, how could I say no to a bobblehead?


22 thoughts on “Soccer: The One Sport Americans Will Not Care About

  1. That’s funny. I was so bummed when my husband discovered soccer. An avid sports fan he watches everything related to sports. I mean everything. I don’t get it, but then I don’t get golf, baseball, basketball, football or even surfing. I wish the rest of the world had kept soccer to themselves. I admire you for not liking soccer.


  2. Let me ‘splain soccer to you… the object of the game, from the audience’s standpoint, is to determine whether the guy on the ground groaning and thrashing in pain is faking or not.

    I have submitted an idea to the world soccer authorities whereby if found out, the fakers would have a yellow streak painted on the backs of their jerseys. Once the yellow completely covers the back of their uniform, they’d get to peek at a black card kept in the referee’s pants and get thrown out of the game untill their mom can was the yellow paint off their shirts. I’d pay to see that!


  3. I understand soccer (after living in Scotland for 6 weeks and Tanzania for 6 years) and can even find enjoyment (like Blogdramedy said…the shorts). I’ve tried playing it, though, and broke a finger and messed up a leg when a very strong and wide player kicked my leg to the other side of the field thinking it was the ball. My big problem with the game is the name “soccer”. I mean look at the spelling. We say “socker” when it should be said “sock-sir”. Who invented the name? The rest of the world calls it “Football”.


  4. I think soccer teams in other countries have cooler names, like Manchester United. At least that helps some – the Sportings? Really?

    I underscore your first paragraph – cheese, deep fried food and SUVs – heck I make fun of us for that. Perhaps if we weren’t so obtunded with cheese and deep-fried food, we’d be able to understand soccer.


  5. To understand and to love the game of soccer (Football), you have to play it. Not just as a new comer but as an amateur at least.

    Scoring is important but fans enjoy more the skills involved in the play. We watch the ball touch, the control, the passing, the run, the defense, the goalkeepers, the head ball…even the fake or dive. Then the strategy, the tactics. Lots of thing that old american dont see.

    You may think that they just kick the ball back and forth, but the Brazilian style is very different than the italian style of playing. Germany dont play like Japan and Egypt different than Sweden.

    And we love it because there is no time-outs, no commercial breaks..

    For a true soccer fans, a score like 2-2 or 3-2 is enough.

    But i know, its hard to love something if you dont understand it.

    Young americans generation understand it but the old not.
    Well, i am very optimistic that team USA will win one day the World Cup.


    • I have played it. It was okay to play, but I still did not care. I feel like I should like it, I have tried to like it, I have listened to why a person would like it. I just don’t.

      Someday, though…


  6. Reblogged this on The Life and Times of Nathan Badley… and commented:

    With the Olympics in full gear, I have watched sports I have never thought I would watch. Water polo. Bicycle sprinting. Competitive hat wearing. Everything that can be considered a sport has been viewed by me.

    In honor of the confusion that the Olympics causes me, I have dug up this classic about the ultimate sport I do not get.


  7. I didn’t like soccer much but being the nacional pastime (I’m Portuguese) I started watching it during the Euro Cup. It’s actually kinda adicting after a while but I stopped watching once I realised that everytime I watched we lost.
    BTW yeah I think they are the Sportings, we have a Sporting team here too. Also I’m following your blog now:)


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