I’ve been a soccer fan since 1998, but really started following the sport around 2002, after I had graduated and moved on from my basketball days. I’ve tried for a long time to figure out why Americans haven’t really accepted the sport. Different people list all sorts of reasons…
1. “There isn’t enough scoring!” – Okay, well then how did you watch that football game that ended 14-7 (which is the soccer equivalent of a 2-1 match, which is the average)? In soccer, scoring actually MEANS something; that’s why the players freak out like the Nintendo 64 kid at Christmas.
2. “It’s not an AMERICAN sport!” – That’s fine. I’m guessing you’re also the type who drives a Chevrolet, Ford, or Dodge and deals with them breaking down, drinking gas, and generally making your driving time miserable. Get a Toyota or Honda.
3. “The players fake injuries all the time!” – Well, now you actually have a valid argument, but I’m going to enlighten you on the subject.
I’ve noticed something about “divers,” as they’re called. They are USUALLY Central/South-American, Italian, or Portuguese. The worst offenders? Every Mexican player, every Argentine, Christiano Ronaldo in the 2006 World Cup, and yes, even the beloved Brazilian team appears to love taking dives, grabbing their shins/knees, and getting stretchered off, only to return in 2 minutes at full-speed, waving to the crowd.
Sure, divers come in all shapes, sizes, and nationalities, but why don’t you see it as much from English players? The Germans are pretty rock solid too, to say nothing of the Scottish teams. And yes, even America seems to produce players that would rather stand up and still try to score rather than theatrically fall down on their face in a disgusting attempt to win a penalty.
Central and South Americans are the absolute worst about diving. The Mexican team flops all over the field for the entire 90:00. It’s not just disgusting, but it’s a discredit to the sport. If an American player so much as grazes their arm hair, they fall to the ground as if they’d just take a bullet to the thigh, screaming in mock-agony as their rabid fans boo the American player, who was sooooo brutal. Then the ref, not seeing the whole thing, gives the American a yellow card and yet another viewer somewhere in the States says, “THAT’S why I can’t watch this sport!”
The latest offender: Brazilian goalkeeper Dida. Except he didn’t take a dive in an altercation with a player, but rather a Celtic fan who stormed the pitch to taunt him after Celtic went up 2-1 in their Champion’s League match. Check the story out here.
Probably no one who reads this blog even cares about soccer, so you probably haven’t even made it this far down the post. After all, it’s a foreign sport, right?
Give it a chance. Pleeeease.