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Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2016

Soccor will become popular when it's understood

Wednesday, June 19, 2002

Early Monday, the United States soccer team pulled off an upset for the ages over Mexico in the World Cup.

The last time our squad reached the quarterfinals was the first ever World Cup -- back in 1930.

After the match coach Bruce Arena proclaimed, "It's a great day for U.S. soccer!"

A great day indeed.

Way to go boys! You really did your country proud this time! We should all slap those American flag magnets back on our vehicles and join hands for a quick rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner."

We should, but will we? Probably not.

Sure, I wish the U.S. soccer team well and would rather see them win than lose. Of course I always wish the Olympic bobsled team well and would rather see them take gold over silver or bronze.

But when it comes down to it, do I really care about either sport?


How about you? Were you up watching the U.S. seal the deal at 3 a.m.?

You can use the excuse of work the next morning, but I'm not buying it. If for some reason a Super Bowl between the Rams and Chiefs was played at 1:30 a.m. next year, something tells me you would find the time.

Plain and simple -- most Americans don't watch soccer.

I on the other hand will watch the sport...when you pry the remote from my cold, dead fingers.

We Americans don't like soccer because we like offense, and lots of it. Arena football, baseball's smaller parks and the 3-point line all prove my point.

We want to see points and celebrate. In soccer, scoring is a mistake. Games are supposed to end in a 0-0 tie. Some countries simply refuse to attack, choosing instead to kick every ball out in hopes of a draw.

What you get is a game played in the middle of the field, back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. Somebody shoot towards the net for God's sake!

And you've got those players that barely get touched, then roll around on the ground and act as if they've just been hit by a sledgehammer. Somebody should kick those guys while they're down to really give them something to complain about.

And what's the story with those yellow and red cards? Get a penalty box or something.

Soccer isn't popular in the U.S. like it is around the rest of the world because we don't understand it. It's not the rules -- we understand those. It's simple, kick the ball in the opponents' net more than the opponent kicks the ball in your net.

What we don't understand is how a fan can appreciate 90 minutes of scoreless action in the middle of the field.

Many of you will probably tune in Friday to watch the U.S. take on heavily-favored Germany in the quarters. But will you still watch if the Germans take a 4-0 lead in the first half? Or will you let it slip to one of the stations you randomly switch to during commercials?

Soccer will be popular when the next generation comes of age. Right now more girls and boys play organized soccer than play little league baseball. Or any other sport for that matter.

Just take a look at the numbers participating in Sikeston Youth League Soccer. Most of those kids will probably grow up to respect the sport, and for good reason.

Can the rest of the world be wrong?