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The World Cup – An American Perspective

Who doesn’t have World Cup fever? After all, the sport of soccer is played by more than twenty million people in 140 countries, with an estimated viewing audience of 3.5 billion fans.

The World Cup offers you stars like Lionel Messi of Argentina, Neymar of Brazil, and Cristiano Renaldo of Portugal. Packed venues with crazy fans, painted faces, and waving flags. And Cinderella stories of David vs Goliath, Morocco vs Belgium, and Costa Rica vs Japan.

Call me at 6am so I can head down to the local pub no matter what time zone, ask me to throw on my favorite Juventus FC jersey, tell me paint my face, grab my cowbell, and prepare for the excitement of it all and I will…

…turn off my phone and go back to bed – I’m an American.

In the United States, the number one sport in the country is football, only recently having past baseball which sits at number two. The third most popular sport in the country is basketball. Soccer is listed at number four, but pickleball enthusiasts may argue with even that.

Maybe it’s because celebrating a 0-0 tie doesn’t do much for me. Or maybe it’s because in a sport filled with Brazil’s Pele, Germany’s Franz Beckenbauer, and Argentina’s Diego Maradona – the greatest American soccer player is still Landon Donovan.

World Cup hating – American style.

• Let’s start with the host country of Qatar. The country won the bid to host the 2022 World Cup back in 2010 in a selection filled with accusations of bribery and corruption. The host country is a walking human rights violation with its treatment of migrant workers. And Qatar’s position on LGBTQ issues is disgraceful. Besides – it makes Americans very uncomfortable to not have a Q followed by a U!

TOPSHOT – United States’ forward Megan Rapinoe celebrates scoring her team’s first goal during the France 2019 Women’s World Cup quarter-final football match between France and United States, on June 28, 2019, at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE / AFP) (Photo credit should read FRANCK FIFE/AFP via Getty Images)

• Qatar – where it is okay to Bend It Like Beckham, but not Relationship Like Rapinoe.

• Soccer is often referred to as futbol, confusing many of us with the sport of American football. They may sound similar, but in American football TEAMS ACTUALLY SCORE!! – Well, unless you have Russell Wilson at quarterback.

• Between the host team of Qatar and a team representing Saudi Arabia – there’s more sportswashing at this World Cup than jersey washing.

• Soccer – where a 1-0 lead is considered insurmountable.

• There are five players on the USA roster that were born outside of the United States including Antonee Robinson (England), Sergino Dest (Netherlands), and Jesus Ferreira (Colombia). Forget the yellow cards and the red cards – we could probably use more green cards if we want to improve the roster.

• Soccer – where goals are so rare, you get a hundred-million-dollar contract if you can make a few.

• The Royal Prince of Saudi Arabia rewarded team members by giving them each a Rolls Royce after defeating Argentina in the first game of the World Cup. Which was way better than being dismembered and being driven around in the trunk of a Rolls Royce if they had lost.

• Soccer – where despite no one scoring in 90 minutes of play, you insist on adding injury time so no one can score for another ten minutes.

• The rules at the World Cup are pretty clear. You cannot use your hands, and according to FIFA, they would prefer it if you didn’t use your mouth either.

• Soccer – less scoring than a band geek in high school.

• The World Cup – where OneLove is not an armband, but rather the final score of most soccer endings.

• Soccer – less scoring than a married man on a weekday.

• And I’ve heard way too many stories about old, washed-up soccer players ending up fat, drunk, and passed out in a bar somewhere – assuming that their LA Galaxy match has ended.

• Soccer – where sports movies are never made because Denzel Washington doesn’t want to star in Remember the 0-0 Tie.

• If the US Team showed up in the controversial OneLove armbands in support of the LGBTQ community vs Iran – would they call it the Iran-Contro affair?

• It was wrong of the US Soccer Federation to remove the central image of Iran’s flag in social media posts – but what are they going to do? Call the Moral Police on them?

• Soccer – where too many players and offsides calls are implemented to keep scoreless games – more scoreless.

• The World Cup – where it takes three years to qualify, four years to play a game, and forever to score a goal.

• Soccer – where man buns outnumber goal scoring 10 to 1.

Images via latimes.com, npr.com, apnews.com, thetimes.com, ghanasoccernet.com

Alan Tapley The Athletic Supporter

Alan Tapley is an educator, author, and blogger who has lived just outside of Boulder for the last twenty years.  His published work includes two novels, two children’s books, a series of cartoons in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, and multiple sports related articles. His love for family and the state of Colorado is only matched by one thing, his passion for sports.  The first baseball game he ever attended was at Wrigley Field, before there were lights.  At the final Bronco game at the old Mile High, he allegedly cut out a piece of his seat in the South stands.  But regardless of being here for the Avalanche’s last Stanley Cup, the Rockies only World Series appearance, and all the Broncos’ Super Bowl Victories, his wife never fails to remind him that he wasn’t at the University of Colorado in 1990, like she was.  The year the Buffs football team won the National Championship

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