Why Soccer is an American Sport

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USA-soccer-ball

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Soccer, contrary to the opinions of Ann Coulter, is an American sport. To be sure, it did not originate in America, but the world’s most popular sport exemplifies just what it means to be American.

Soccer is a game of constant effort, there’s no room to take breaks. Your starting eleven plays two forty-five minute halves, and is only allowed three substitutions. Just like in America, you get your chance to start based on merit. Your team lives or dies on its starting eleven more often than not, and once you’ve used your three strikes (substitutes) you’re out. Injuries thereafter reduce your ability to compete.

Therefore, in the 2006 World Cup, when Brian McBride was elbowed in the head to the point it was cut open, he didn’t get taken out of the game, he went got his three stitches, and came back on. Clint Dempsey, “Captain America” played nearly the entirety of this year’s World Cup with a broken nose. This is all very contrary to Ms. Coulter’s claim that soccer is not a sport because there is no serious threat of injury. Soccer is not a sport of unlimited mulligans and substitutions, and the game requires the same sort of constant effort and perseverance through pain as succeeding in the free market does. There are no TV timeouts or air conditioners on the sideline in the world of capitalism, unlike in American football which Ms. Coulter has extoled the supposed virtues of.

Soccer requires a level of independent thought not seen in any other sport. The lack of stoppages in play means that once the coach sends the team out on the field, they’re on their own until halftime. There are no timeouts, the coach can’t draw up the next play, and each and every player must by necessity be a freethinking individual. It is hard to imagine a more American approach to a sport.

Ms. Coulter tells us any sport where the US can advance by failing to “win” two of its three games is not a very good sport. Of course, she missed two separate rounds of qualifying over the previous three years. In soccer, like in all sports, and in the world at large, success comes down to how well you do relative to the rest of the field. Weeks 16 and 17 of the NFL regular season are always full of wild speculations.

“If this team wins and these two teams lose they’ll make the playoffs, but if this other team wins or draws then they’ll be staying at home.”

American professional sports leagues made all this further complicated by the advancement of Wild Card teams, also known as teams incapable of winning their division. American professional sports leagues can come down to having teams with losing records make the playoffs. In the NHL, all you need to qualify is a pulse. In the four major professional sports in the US, any wild card team has the potential to advance to the league championship. The league champion setup of most soccer leagues around the world is such that there are no playoffs, and therefor the best team in the regular season is the champion of the league. There is no way, for example, the 2006 Cardinals and their 83 wins should be winning the World Series. And who can forget the 7-9, 2010 Seahawks, who hosted and beat the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints in the first round of the playoffs?

Soccer is a game of success on merit, perseverance, free thought, constant hard work where the best team wins the title at the end of the year, and as the most played sport in the world, it is a melting pot of culture. These are American qualities, and that is why soccer is an American sport.