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More on Americans and Soccer

The thing that bothers me most about the Americans-not-accepting-soccer story is the underlying notion that if the majority of Americans have no interest in soccer, then Americans have no interest in soccer. By the same logic, Americans have no interest in reading novels, as survey upon survey shows that the majority of Americans prefer television to reading. I don't know the numbers, but I would venture to guess that the number of Americans reading literary fiction is in the neighborhood of the number of Americans interested in soccer. That would make the novel as fundamentally un-American as soccer. Someone should break the news to Philip Roth. 

The fact of the matter is that the World Cup and soccer do not need to be accepted by Americans, because for many Americans—though arguably not the majority—it has always been around. As evidence, I can offer the fact that the US team was in the semi-finals of the first World Cup in 1930. USA is a founding father, as it were, of World Cup soccer. Beyond history, evidence can be found on the streets and in the parks of, say, Chicago, where on any given weekend you could find armies of people playing soccer entirely unconcerned with what some hard-nosed sportswriter or David Brooks might think about their game.

If dismissing soccer as un-American were not a sure symptom of windbag-ness, I would worry about the majority that not only disregards a minority but perceives it as un-American for being so. It is a fundamentally undemocratic position and thus fundamentally un-American.