Over the last few weeks I’ve written and talked about soccer more than any other sport. If I were a teenage girl, I would be crushing on it hard. Soccer would be my Edward and my Jacob, and I would be a relatively bland brunette with sub-par acting skills. However, I am not a teenage girl, and soccer cannot morph into a werewolf.
Still, it’s hard to put into words how much I’ve enjoyed the World Cup, especially the games the States were involved in. The end result of this World Cup run is most certainly a disappointment, but I’ve never been this emotionally involved in the sport since I was playing Dee Dee’s Dairy soccer as a goaltender and recorded a shutout on the red team. This “being a soccer fan” thing is a lot of fun, and I’m really glad things have accelerated like this over the past few weeks.
Since the United States was eliminated from the Round of 16 on Saturday, we’ve seen some pretty strong pieces recapping their World Cup run. Nick Mendola, Chris, and Nick all did a really nice job discussing the different angles of being a soccer fan, especially an American soccer fan. I would most certainly consider those three real soccer fans, and it was a lot of fun watching the World Cup with them. I really think that sense of community was a big reason I had so much fun.
With the Round of 16 over and the games themselves winding down, the sad truth that the World Cup is ending very soon. For the most part the end of the last World Cup meant the end of my soccer viewing, but what I liked about the three pieces I mentioned above is that they all have a great sense of hope attached to them. A hope for U.S. Soccer, but also for soccer fans as a whole.
I think it’s that hope that made bowing out against Ghana okay in some ways. Just because Donovan and Dempsey aren’t wearing the white or blue shirts doesn’t mean they stop playing for four years. Now is the time where I can really start loving soccer by watching the EPL, following other leagues and starting to understand what it’s all about. Maybe I’ll even catch an MLS or USMNT game live, or finally make it to an FC Buffalo game.
There will always be people who think soccer looks like this:
There will always be soccer haters but there are just as many hockey haters out there, if not more. No matter how much “progress” is made with fans and good press, you will never convince everyone your sport is worth watching. However, over the last few weeks I’ve been convinced, and I know I’m not alone. Chris already has an EPL team picked out, and Rich is one more hour on YouTube from picking Liverpool.
Looks like I’ve got some research to do.