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Soccer - "The Un- American Activity"

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by Boom_70, Jul 4, 2006.

  1. Boom_70

    Boom_70 Well-Known Member

    Interesting article on soccer in last weeks New Yorker by Jeffery Toobin.  Here are a few excerpsts :

    Soccer fans in America are evangelical in their fevor, yet cultish in their numbers

    In all, the World Cup in 2006 suggested another false dawn for soccer in America. The game the capivates the rest of the world - where it is a source of rapture and revenue remains only a niche product at home.

    Soccer is the Canada of American sports, viewed less with contempt than with indifference.

    On losing to the Czechs:

    "The problem wasn't just a dearth of skills but a lack of mettle.The Americans had more World cup experience but the seemed timid by comparison"

    "The game was an object lesson in what haunts American soccer -- The curse of the mini van"

    "Every kid in the American suburbs owns a pair of shin guards. Soccer accords nicely with baby boom parents notions of sports-- every kid gets to play and there are lots of trophies. They wander away from the game by adolescence. Soccer in America serves mostly as a bridge between Barney and Nintendo.

    " MLS survives largely because of Phil Anschultz - the right wing media mogal" who owns 4 of the 12 teams and is willing to subsidize heavy losses."
  2. Herbert Anchovy

    Herbert Anchovy Active Member

  3. KP

    KP Active Member

    How many players are there on a soccer field at one time? How many players are there on a football field at the same time? Not sure how that solves the every kid gets to play argument.
  4. Boom_70

    Boom_70 Well-Known Member

    I think the observation is apt. basically if a kid can stand on 2 feet they can start playing soccer around age 5. The earliest a kid can start playing football is age 8 if they can handle the physical and mental aspects. That makes up a very small group.

    All kids can play soccer and feel like they are doing something and not feel over matched.
  5. hondo

    hondo Well-Known Member

    Yeah, but that doesn't mean they're any damn good at it.
  6. Blitz

    Blitz Active Member

    Soccer was "accepted" a decade or two ago as a youth sport de jour, taking its place alongside youth football, basketball and baseball/softball.
    It's popularity among American parents was in no true way parallel to the religiousity that others in other parts of the world accept soccer.
    The sport, among American youths, is largely a lily-white entity.
    These American parents who did, and often didn't, play youth sports of their own, are often of the breed who enjoy living vicariously through their kids and the pursuits of the little ones.
    Soccer is all-inclusive.
    It allows the kids to get out and achieve maximum cardio workouts on a routine basis.
    It also gets the little ones "field-time", when many of them would not get that time if they played football, basketball or baseball.
    Kids sports, as we've already discussed on this board, are much more pussified than was the case 20 or 40 years ago.
    Soccer's quality is great at all age levels in most parts of the world.
    In the U.S., it stinks.
  7. Twoback

    Twoback Active Member

    I'm not sure I'd take Jeffrey Toobin as an expert on soccer in America.
  8. Pastor

    Pastor Active Member

  9. 85bears

    85bears Member

    Twoback, maybe he's not, but that's what made the article interesting. It was a good writer taking on this subject from the outside looking in. I thought he did an excellent job with it - observing, explaining, etc. In a general interest magazine, I'd rather read this piece than something by some soccernik who will be able to break down Bruce Arena's roster selection but can't necessarily write about the big picture.

    Toobin's piece was very good. I'm no soccer fan, but I read it in one sitting.
  10. Pastor

    Pastor Active Member

    It would be a nice read if it wasn't completely full of shit.

    Sorry, it just doesn't work. The more things like this are written, the more the author is exposed.
  11. The Big Ragu

    The Big Ragu Moderator Staff Member

    Blitz, The typical youth soccer practice--and game, for that matter--is not a good cardiovascular workout. It's a lot of standing around. Half the kids don't want to be there and they don't exert themselves.

    One reason why soccer became the youth sport de jour is that you can convert any playing field into a soccer field and it's a sport that both boys and girls can play, unlike many others. Adults love it for that reason. Boom was right about what he said about football, although I have experience with this--you can strap pads on 8 year olds and let them bounce off each other, but kids that age aren't really ready to play football.

    As for Toobin's article, I haven't read it yet, but the point he makes in the excerpt is something I have been saying to people for several years now, and it is a much broader issue than a soccer issue. I am in my late 30s. I grew up without a ton of organized activities. When we wanted to play a sport, we'd call around to get enough kids, everyone would hop on their bikes and head over to the field or the court. I can't remember when the first time I heard the word "play date," but I know I was an adult, and I am pretty sure I laughed. Kids nowadays live in a much more sheltered world. It's partially that parents are afraid to leave them out there on their own. But most sports activities for a 13 or 14 year old nowadays are over-organized.

    The second--related--issue is that somewhere in the PC-ification of America, we lost our competitive instinct. This doesn't just apply to sports. Guys I know in their 20s grew up way differently than I did. When I was a kid, you got a trophy if you won. A decade later, EVERYONE was getting a trophy for "participating." The adults became too hyperaware of labeling kids winners and losers. The only problem is that that isn't how life works. Aside from the lessons you learn from losing--how to lose with dignity, how to use it as motivation to improve, etc.--when you hit the job market, the reality is that generally people who are good get ahead, and those who don't carry their weight don't. My last stop before doing what I do now was a magazine job. What I noticed at the company I was working for was that a lot of the entry-level types--the 24 year olds--had no drive. It was like they had been conditioned that you get a trophy just for showing up, not for excelling. The workplace was a shock to many of their systems. I don't mean to label the whole generation, and I actually feel like a crusty old fart typing what I just did, but it was a general observation that I have been talking about for a few years, and I found it interesting that Toobin basically wrote the same thing.
  12. KJIM

    KJIM Well-Known Member

    God, I just had a flash to that King of the Hill episode..."that damn lawyer-ball."
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