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    Soccer is the sport of the future in the US - and it always will be.


    Soccer is the sport of the future in the US - and it always will be.

    I heard this joke on David Letterman a couple nights ago - apparently the joke is very old; it must be true.

    Author svaihingen (705121) 10 Jul 14, 22:56
    Interesting. I enjoyed the old newspaper articles.
    #1AuthorHappyWarrior (964133) 10 Jul 14, 23:22
    "At least 80 per cent. Of those taking part in the game in the city and vicinity last Saturday were Americans and not hyphenated ones at that. "

    Hahahaha, 1915.

    It is pretty funny, but I do say that I think it's here to stay. Americans love sports, and just because soccer rises in popularity doesn't mean football or baseball's going anywhere. Frankly, I never understood how Europeans managed to be crazy about just one sport, and not like two or three.

    The think that makes me think it will be permanent is that most people born since the 1970s have played youth soccer, and high school soccer has been making great gains in popularity. People understand the sport at a personal level now.
    #2AuthorMercury3 (877930) 10 Jul 14, 23:25
    I think it's here to stay - People have been saying that for as long as I've been in this country, and longer. I used to cover my college's soccer team for the student newspaper back in the early eighties. During the research I did for one particular article, I remember finding out that soccer was actually much more popular in the US during the twenties and thirties than it might even be today. Of course, back then the media weren't as pervasive and ubiquitous as they are now, and in 1950 few people could follow live games on TV or knew, for instance, that the US beat England at the World Cup games in Brazil, which was particularly shocking to the British.

    Anyway, one inherent problem I see for the future of soccer is that, sure, lots more kids probably play soccer than play football or even baseball, but once they get older and might want to become professional athletes, they go to where the money is, and that's not in soccer. So as long as soccer players don't get paid as much as professional basketball, football or baseball players, soccer may be the most popular sports here every four years, but it won't be those three in-between years.
    #3Author dude (253248) 10 Jul 14, 23:45
    Um ... If they got good enough to play in Europe, surely they would earn some money? MLS may not be where either the money or the top talent is, except for aging stars like Beckham or David Villa, or Pelé for that matter -- but MLS isn't the only place to earn money.

    I wonder if the current most urgent question for US soccer isn't whether to sink a lot of money into trying to improve MLS, which I see as a long uphill battle, or whether to encourage more US players to try to play for European teams. Ideally of course it would be good to try to make progress on both fronts. But I bet European experience would be more likely to get us farther in 2016. Just look at Tim Howard. (But on the other hand, look at DeAndre Yedlin.)

    I too don't see soccer becoming a major sport in the US any time soon. I've been amused at all the media stories this time reviewing media stories from all the past times when every four years the refrain was 'This is finally when US soccer will start to take off.' Plus ça change ...

    But they do seem to be trying to build up the training programs that feed into MLS, like youth programs or the equivalent of minor leagues. That ought to have some effect eventually. Klinsmann seems like he has a plan, and they seem inclined to let him try it.

    Working against that, of course, is the perception of soccer as a niche sport and the trend in broadcasting away from free sports programming. If you have to have cable to watch it, that's not the way to make any sport more popular, it's only a way to target advertising to a smaller group. But that's a problem with the whole 21st-century media landscape -- there's no longer any sense of a common public interest, and no interest in educating the public to appreciate a 'new'(-ish) sport.

    I think it was the Wall Street Journal that had an article about how many countries around the world provide free over-the-air coverage of the World Cup, because they see it as something everyone ought to have access to. But the writer utterly failed to analyze or critique the US's total lack of such coverage (except in Spanish), brushing it off in one sentence as if it didn't matter. If we had a robust FCC that really advocated for consumers, not for advertisers and broadcasters, they could make more public-interest programming more accessible to the public, without subscriptions. But I'm afraid they don't even get why that would be desirable.

    And as you suggest, I don't know if there's really even a steady trend forward in US soccer, or if it comes and goes. Amazing to think that in 1994 we hosted the tournament, or that in 2002 we reached the quarterfinals. (Really?!)

    >>I never understood how Europeans managed to be crazy about just one sport

    I'm not sure they are -- they play golf and tennis, and basketball is growing there like soccer is here. And some of them play obscure sports like handball, or cricket for that matter if you count the UK.

    I never understood why in so much of the world soccer seems to be such a man's game. In the US the women have actually been better than the men, and women make up a lot of the viewing audience, apparently. Women have done well in the Tippspiel (*knock wood*), even if the 'Ohne mich' thread is also almost exclusively female -- go figure.

    Maybe what will really increase interest in soccer (in the 22nd century) will be integrated aka coed teams. Maybe some day the idea of women's leagues will seem as quaint as that of Negro leagues.
    #4Author hm -- us (236141) 11 Jul 14, 07:30
    Maybe what will really increase interest in soccer (in the 22nd century) will be integrated aka coed teams. Maybe some day the idea of women's leagues will seem as quaint as that of Negro leagues.

    How does that make any sense? In team sports where you operate on the cutting edge of what the human body is capable of (i.e. sports like pro soccer), a team is only as strong and fast and capable as its weakest, slowest and least capable member. Introducing even one woman into a top-class professional men's soccer team would reduce its capability dramatically. I mean, you could do it s a matter of principle but I don't think audiences would be or will be very enthusiastic about such a change. People want to see equality in the workplace and other areas of society. In team sports however, they want to see cutting edge performance rather than integration.
    #5Author Himalia (970475) 11 Jul 14, 09:11
    Macht das Feld nur noch halb so groß, die Tore doppelt so groß, schafft die Abseitsregel und das Handspielverbot ab - und Fußball wird auch in den USA zum Nationalsport.
    #6AuthorEifelblume (341002) 11 Jul 14, 09:33
    I never understood how Europeans managed to be crazy about just one sport

    That's certainly doesn't apply to the UK.
    I believe one reason* behind England’s lack of success in football is that rugby and cricket are also major sports. England has contested every Rugby World Cup since it began in 1987, reaching the final three times and winning it once in 2003. If rugby were a minority sport, more young men would be playing football.
    Btw the USA is number 18 in the International Rugby Board world ranking comprising 102 countries; not bad for a relatively unpopular sport with a bad image, as mentioned in a thread some time ago.
    In Germany, football is number one by a huge margin I’d say.

    * Apart from the Premier League preferring to spend money on foreign stars rather than developing home-grown talent.

    In the US the women have actually been better than the men, 

    Yes, the German women have been even more successful than the men in recent years, and the English women’s team is coming along quite nicely too.
    #7Authormikefm (760309) 11 Jul 14, 10:14
    @dude: Anyway, one inherent problem I see for the future of soccer is that, sure, lots more kids probably play soccer than play football or even baseball, but once they get older and might want to become professional athletes, they go to where the money is, and that's not in soccer.

    Aber was ist mit den US-Kindern, die wie Messi, Neymar, Shaqiri, Valbuena oder Lahm sind? Für die dürfte Basketball oder American Football oder Baseball schon rein von der Statur keine ernsthafte Alternative sein, um mit Sport Geld zu verdienen?
    #8Author Advohannes (785343) 11 Jul 14, 11:08
    Für die wird dann vermutlich gelten "they go to where the money is, and that's not in the US", so wie umgekehrt ja auch Dirk Nowitzki in die USA gegangen ist.
    #9Author JanZ (805098) 11 Jul 14, 11:23
    And on the other side of the Pacific ...

    I get the impression that soccer is rapidly gaining popularity in Australia, mainly as a result of our participation in the World Cup this year and in 2006. I was surprised to hear a few years ago that Australia had also played at the 1974 World Cup. I remember that year very well (I was 18 and still living there at the time): there was North Melbourne’s unsuccessful bid to win their first VFL premiership in Australian football in front of 113,000 spectators, and shortly afterwards the Poms arrived for the traditional “Ashes” grudge cricket series. But I have no recollection whatsoever of Australia’s participation in a soccer championship – the “round-ball game” was a sport for our countless Italian and Yugoslavian immigrants.
    #10Author Stravinsky (637051) 11 Jul 14, 11:31
    Re #4: as far as the "European experience" or generally playing abroad would be for the US soccer players - a lot of them already play abroad. Below is part of the national team and where the players that do play abroad hang their cleats:
    Jozy Altidore - Sunderland (England)
    DaMarcus Beasley - Puebla (Mexico)
    Alejandro Bedoya - Nantes (France)
    John Brooks - Hertha Berlin (Germany)
    Geoff Cameron - Stoke City (England)
    Timmy Chandler - Eintracht Frankfurt (Germany)
    Mix Diskerud -Rosenborg (Norway)
    Julian Green - Bayern Munich (Germany)
    Brad Guzan - Aston Villa (England)
    Tim Howard - Everton (England)
    Aron Johannsson - AZ Alkmaar (Netherlands)
    Fabian Johnson - Borussia Moenchengladbach (Germany)
    Jermaine Jones - Besiktas (Turkey)

    That's 13 players, with 11 of those playing in Europe, one in Mexico and one in Turkey (although Besiktas is is in Istanbul, which basically still is in Europe).

    What I've always been told - and there is some truth to that, IMO - is that soccer's format doesn't lend itself well to broadcasting games on American television because there are no breaks except halftime - unlike American sports where they even have "TV time-outs," or breaks imposed upon the teams by the television networks for the sole purpose of airing commercials. American television has been at loggerheads with FIFA for eons about this. Seems that running little banner ads on the bottom of the screen while the game is going is totally un-American, yet any true soccer fan would cringe at the idea of splitting a soccer game in more than two parts.

    Having said that, though, I was amazed when I was watching a world cup game - I think it might have been Mexico vs. The Netherlands? It's all a blur after a while - where the ref actually let the teams take refreshment breaks, one in each half. I'd never seen anything like that before.
    #11Author dude (253248) 11 Jul 14, 17:13
    Well, some of the blurred games (know what you mean) were played in temps 30C plus, humidity around 70%; in Britain they'd call drinks breaks health and safety measures I guess. :-) AFAIK it was a first-timer though.
    #12Authormikefm (760309) 11 Jul 14, 17:21
    Yes, apparently the 'rehydration breaks' were completely new to soccer and specific to Brazil, and only intended for really hot days, like in Manaus. My impression was that they were in response to the concerns expressed by so many of the European teams about heatstroke or whatever.

    Even though some of the Europeans ended up seeming better prepared for the endurance marathon aspect -- the Germans definitely included. I even wondered if Robben was using Lance Armstrong's blood recycling method by any chance -- he just seemed so perky and happy so late in every game, but maybe that was part of his game plan to psych out the opponents.

    The commentators have also said that the refs weren't really supposed to grant so long a break between overtime periods, but I don't think anyone minded too much. They even wondered whether it wouldn't be a good idea to allow, say, one additional substitution in overtime or in case of serious injury. That would make sense to me, but then I'm used to sports where you don't have to ration the players so drastically.

    Re Australia: Tim Cahill certainly earned a lot of compliments. The challenge for countries where soccer isn't the number-one sport seems to be to get enough depth on the bench to back up good individual players like that.

    And immigration may indeed be key. US soccer has certainly benefited from it, and so has German soccer for that matter. Even if it starts to make the whole idea of nations and national teams look a little passé.

    Re ads: Between pregame, halftime, and postgame, I feel like I've seen plenty of them. In fact, I'm really grateful to the few companies who aren't still showing the same one ad they started with a month ago.

    To me the 45 minutes of playing time goes by surprisingly fast, anyway, and I hate the commercial breaks in American football and basketball. It seems to me like with a good pregame and postgame show, you would get enough advertising time as well as time to get more Americans interested in the sport, by discussing the players, the strategy, and so on. But then I'm not the typical marketing target.
    #13Author hm -- us (236141) 11 Jul 14, 18:16
    ... American sports where they even have "TV time-outs," or breaks imposed upon the teams by the television networks for the sole purpose of airing commercials. (#11)

    I remember the opening ceremony for the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. Every now and then everything would come to a halt for a minute or so, with grinning girls in the arena holding up signs saying “Commercial break”.
    #14Author Stravinsky (637051) 11 Jul 14, 18:33
    Ich denke, daß das folgende Stück bekannt ist.

    Aber sicher ist sicher.
    #15Author jo-SR (238182) 12 Jul 14, 23:13
    #16Author no me bré (700807) 12 Jul 14, 23:17
    Nur zur Dokumentation für Leonutzer:

    "Die Vereinigten Staaten haben keine Position zu der Frage, wer der Präsident der Fifa ist", sagte Außenamtssprecherin Marie Harf - und konnte sich einen Nachsatz nicht verkneifen: "Ich tendiere außerdem dazu, American Football etwas mehr Beachtung zu schenken."

    #17Author jo-SR (238182) 05 Jun 15, 16:27
    Nur zur Dokumentation für Leo-Nutzer:

    Hier ist der sehr unterhaltsame Kommentar von John Oliver zum aktuellen FIFA-Skandal:

    Olivers vorheriger Kommentar zum Thema FIFA-Korruption und Weltmeisterschaft ist ebenso sehenswert:
    #18Author Himalia (970475) 05 Jun 15, 16:33
    I believe one reason behind England’s lack of success in football is that rugby and cricket are also major sports.

    Had to smile. If I'd used the word 'football' at school (in England, c. 1960) to mean 'soccer', I would have been severely reprimanded.
    #19Author escoville (237761) 06 Jun 15, 12:39
    So who's watching the women's World Cup? I'm afraid I'm not hugely interested yet, but I may watch a few games if they're not only on cable.

    Will the players sue dear Mr. Blatter if they break a leg on the artificial turf? And will anyone at all miss him except other FIFA officials?

    And will Fox/Telemundo be able to do as good a job as ESPN/Univisión? Unfortunately, Telemundo doesn't seem to have a second over-the-air channel like UniMás, which is where I always got to watch some of the matches that no one else was covering. I still think that subscription-only coverage is not the way to build viewership, but it's the only model that seems likely to win out in the US. Sadly.
    #20Author hm -- us (236141) 06 Jun 15, 18:37
    John Oliver kauft Sendezeit auf einem lokalen TV-Sender in Trinidad, um sich mit einer Botschaft direkt an den kontroversen FIFA-Funktionär Jack Warner zu wenden:

    Jack Warner antwortet auf Olivers Botschaft:

    #21Author Himalia (970475) 12 Jun 15, 10:00
    Tonight is apparently a big game between the US women & Sweden, whose Swedish coach used to be the US women's coach. I guess that's at least a better story angle than Hope Solo's domestic problems.

    Not that that's necessarily any more incestuous than watching the US men coached by Klinsmann play the German men coached by Löw. Who very generously seemed to let a lot of first-string players take a convenient rest (as far as I could tell from the snatches I saw live; I may watch the tape again later). Anyway, we appreciated the hospitality -- and apparently from the Dutch as well? Unfortunately I totally missed that game. I wish there was more in the newspapers about international matches, even friendlies, before they happened.

    Oh well. I hope the trip at least did the US team some good with the media & sponsors & recruitment and so on, as well as just morale going into the Copa de Oro. Just as long as they don't get overconfident.
    #22Author hm -- us (236141) 12 Jun 15, 23:34
    Unfortunately I totally missed that game. I wish there was more in the newspapers about international matches, even friendlies, before they happened. 

    Newspapers??? Are you aware that there is a newfangled invention called "The Internet"? It can satisfy all your information needs. You can stay up-to-date with news about the USMNT and USWNT by visiting the very informative subreddit about both teams:

    #23Author Himalia (970475) 12 Jun 15, 23:44
    BTW, just found this on the US Soccer subreddit:

    Hitler Reacts to U.S. Beating Germany 2-1

    #24Author Himalia (970475) 12 Jun 15, 23:59
    I know, I know, but I don't want to know that much about it; I just want to know when the next international game on broadcast TV will be. (-:
    #25Author hm -- us (236141) 13 Jun 15, 00:22
    John Oliver responds to Jack Warner's response:
    #26Author Himalia (970475) 15 Jun 15, 21:19
    #2: You may get the impression that everyone's crazy about football alone but a lot of people are just as crazy about handball in Germany, rugby and cricket in the UK, rugby and Gaelic sports in Ireland, rugby and handball in France, Italy, etc. etc.

    #11: A bit late with this comment, but it's worth pointing out that at least 4 of the players you mention are German-born (Johnson, Brooks, Jones, Chandler), so are actually playing in their home leagues. Aron Johansson and Mix Diskerud are both at home in the European leagues. The other players you mention have "made it" in Europe, to some extent.
    #27Author Pipper (917363) 15 Jun 15, 21:53
    A bit late with this comment, but I finally got to sit down and watch the whole Germany-US (men's) game played in Cologne a few days ago, shown on Telemundo. It was a pretty good game, with several of those players playing, though not JJ. They did pretty well considering their youth, though the Spanish commentators fussed a little about their clumping up on one side of the backfield and leaving the other side open.

    Julian Green is another who's played some for the US, though apparently he's not going to be on the roster for the Copa de Oro in July. I know it was probably hard for some of those German kids to decide to cast their lot with another team, but I'm glad they're with us, and I hope they feel appreciated.

    The women's game between Germany & Thailand is being shown right now on Fox over the air; I've appreciated their showing at least a few of the games not on cable only, though Univisión used to have more games during tournaments through having two on-air channels. Germany got a very pretty goal, but they're a bit slow and the commentators are praising the Thai defense -- not clumping up, apparently.

    It's a little confusing right now with men's U20 finishing, women's World Cup going on, Copa América starting (haven't figured out who if anyone is showing it here), and Copa de Oro coming soon. But nice to have several international matches to choose from (I hope). (-:


    Unfortunately apparently no one is showing the Copa América here except some cable company called beIN sports. Das Bein? Bein' sports? British English in? Ah well.érica
    #28Author hm -- us (236141) 15 Jun 15, 23:02
    So, the saga of US soccer continues and it isn't pretty.

    The Gold Cup (Copa Oro, apparently, not de Oro) is already looking pretty tarnished, and alas, it's not even over yet. The officiating throughout has been very spotty, much like the play of the top-seeded but struggling teams US, Mexico, and (shudder, flinch) Costa Rica. (Is Bryan Ruíz ill or what? Pobrecito.)

    The worst example was tonight, by a US referee who I had previously (naively?) thought was not that bad, Mark Geiger. He apparently gave a Mexican player a yellow card when it obviously should have been red very early in the game, and then compounded his error by giving a Panamanian player a red card that should have been yellow not long after. Panama, even playing with only 10 men, scored a really lovely goal off a free kick when the US barrier failed to jump. (Isn't jumping pretty basic?) But then a Panamanian player (the captain) fell heavily after a collision in the area and the ball was, unfortunately, under him. The ref called it a penalty, though everyone else in the stadium and all the commentators (at least on UniMás; Fox, curses be upon them, didn't even deign to broadcast the game on network TV) agreed that it wasn't, because (so far as I understood it in Spanish) he obviously didn't intentionally touch the ball. After half the Panamanians threatened to walk off the field, and the situation escalated into a near-riot that lasted 10 or 15 minutes (though only 5 minutes' extra time was awarded, and not even that much was played), the PK eventually allowed Mexico to tie and send the game into overtime, during which both teams were exhausted and accomplished zilch, except that there was one more penalty called correctly against Panama, which was also converted, making Guardado into the 2nd leading scorer of the tournament even though many were on PKs.

    Earlier today, the US had appeared in the other semifinal against Jamaica, and were apparently mentally undone by having two goals scored against them fairly quickly. They got one back, but missed several other opportunities. One Spanish-language commentator said Dempsey might as well have stayed in the locker room; that seemed a bit harsh, but it was true that the US never found much of a game.

    The bright spots of the whole tournament have been the Caribbean teams. Even poor Cuba, which had 4 or 5 players defect before even getting onto the field, managed to score one goal and make it into the elimination round, which was better than some Central American countries. Haiti showed some of the prettiest technique and most comfortable ball-handling in the whole tournament, even though they didn't make it past Jamaica. Trinidad and Tobago, likewise, gave viewers a lot of really nice soccer before going down to Panama in an agonizing match that was only decided after 18 people had taken PKs.

    To me the really sad thing is that, after all that agony, the US media will hardly even cover it. There'll probably be an anodyne sentence or two in tomorrow's wire-service articles. 'Despite complaints about the officiating, Mexico managed to advance.' Which leaves out everything that really mattered -- the fans throwing so many bottles on the field that some of the players were injured. The referee anxiously chewing gum and having to be escorted off the field by security. The Mexican coach (whose job may be on the line) saying honestly afterward at the press conference, Yes, it wasn't a penalty, No, we didn't play well at all. But that's what soccer is, it's not ideal. Yup.

    I"m glad Spanish TV didn't show Klinsmann at any press conference. They faulted him for a lot, especially as far as the lineup against Jamaica went, taking Beckermann out too early, waiting too late to sub Yedlin in, etc. I've wondered if, as a former offensive player, he maybe just isn't as good at coaching defense -- but isn't that why you have a whole slew of assistant coaches? And, unspoken, that American-German back line, which keeps proving so porous. They don't say it, but you can hear them thinking, Why did he insist on bringing these foreigners over? I hate that. I wish the Germans could do better, which I'm sure would make them happier to be here. The commentators do keep saying that Brooks is in there for his height and his ability to win headers, and that's true, he has won some. I miss JJ, who used to be a spark of energy. I think Johnson has done pretty well against a lot of tough matchups. But I also like some of the homegrown younger players, like Bedoya and Yedlin and Zardes. Even though they don't always do the right thing, their energy has to count for something. Energy is one thing that the Jamaica coach, one Winfried Schäfer, also from Germany, has in abundance -- the Spanish-language commentators were reminded of a character in 'Back to the Future,' but he seems to suffer and rejoice along with his players, even if they don't necessarily seem to like it.

    The other sad thing is that most of the US public won't even have been paying attention. There are the hardcore fans, like the 'American Outlaws' who brought an extremely obnoxious trombone to the game in Dallas (or rather, Frisco -- where is that besides a rich white school district?) and made the match nearly unwatchable because the noise was such a horrible racket. (I wondered if Klinsmann would manage to send a note around to the trombonist: Thanks so much, but please just stop.) But the vast majority of US viewers who are interested in sports at all won't even have watched this. Which is why there will only be a paragraph or two about it in tomorrow's newspapers, and the stands will still be half empty at the next tournament, which the US may not even manage to get into.


    And of course, any of you who follow international soccer won't have watched it either, because it's only a blip on the radar compared to the really big European and South American tournaments. So why am I even writing this? Good question ...
    #29Author hm -- us (236141) 23 Jul 15, 09:09
    Nun, hm--us, mindestens einen Leser hat Dein Beitrag gefunden. ;-) Es stimmt schon, dass der Gold Cup (so nennen deutsche Medien das Turnier) in Deutschland nicht so viel Beachtung findet, aber das gilt üblicherweise auch für Asienspiele und den Africa Cup. Die Südamerikameisterschaft bekommt aber mehr Aufmerksamkeit.

    Das Spiel USA - Jamaika war natürlich für die deutsche Presse etwas interessanter wegen der deutschen Trainer bei beiden Mannschaften. Deshalb gab es auch den einen oder anderen zusätzlichen Bericht. Rein sportlich hatten wohl die meisten hier erwartet, dass die USA das Turnier ohne große Probleme für sich entscheiden. Im Spiel gegen Jamaika sollen sie ja auch überlegen gewesen sein, aber ihre Chancen nicht genutzt und zudem ein paar böse Abwehrschnitzer eingebaut haben.
    #30Author harambee (91833) 23 Jul 15, 09:44
    World football isn't pretty, as the mainstream public is starting to realise. Match-fixing, gambling, embezzlement, fraud, compromised referees, corrupt officials, organised crime and obscene amounts of money changing hands are everyday occurrences. I'm wondering when the mass doping will start to emerge.

    If you want to enjoy football as a spectator sport, go and watch your local, lower-league teams and forget about the trash on your screen.
    #31Author Pipper (917363) 23 Jul 15, 13:44
    Frankly, I never understood how Europeans managed to be crazy about just one sport, and not like two or three.

    You forgot: Skiing, skijumping and cross-country skiing.

    Im Gegensatz dazu ist mir die Faszination für die (gefühlte) 4-stündige Dauerwerbesendung mit American-Football-bezogener Unterbrechung ein Rätsel. Ich habe offenbar keine Aufmerksamkeit für die ständigen Unterbrechungen.
    #32Authorfjällräven (949117) 23 Jul 15, 15:40
    Frankly, I never understood how Europeans managed to be crazy about just one sport, and not like two or three.

    Some Europeans (even if they don't like to think of themselves as such) manage to be crazy about football and cricket, and maybe rugby, horse racing, F1, golf, tennis, etc. etc.

    Frankly, I never understood how anybody manages to be crazy about even one sport.

    #33Author amw (532814) 23 Jul 15, 17:24
    Re #4: Maybe some day the idea of women's leagues will seem as quaint as that of Negro leagues. With the women winning their third World Cup title this year, that seems hardly a realistic concept at the moment. Maybe the opposite will happen in the US: the men's league will disappear or be looked at as a quaint little byproduct of a much more dominant women's league? Hey, it could happen ...
    #34Author dude (253248) 23 Jul 15, 17:57
    When catching up on back newspapers, I was wryly amused to read an article by someone in the Wall Street Journal a week or two ago speculating about the FIFA rankings and how, since they don't really give enough weight to the differences between competitiveness in Europe and South America versus the rest of the world, the US could theoretically achieve a high enough ranking to be well seeded in the World Cup. Or something like that. Guess that looks a bit silly now.

    In the meantime the English Wikipedia entry

    has been updated to halfway reflect the hash the whole tournament has been with regard to travel and officiating. Not to mention the condition of the fields, especially some that weren't really natural turf all the time, or that had two games on them back to back. Despite all that, with regard to soccer there were some nice moments. Though Wiki doesn't mention the earliest mistake by Geiger in the Mexico-Panama game, which was apparently a foul by Carlos Vela in the area that could have been a red card but wasn't.

    Again, if I understood the Spanish commentators correctly. I wish any of the English-language newspapers would ever print something besides just the wire service summary, which is usually disappointing because it leaves out so much. You would think a controversy this serious would be news. I wouldn't actually expect the US referees to be involved in some kind of bribery scandal, which is what Panama seems to think -- it makes more sense to me that they're just not always good enough for big international games or high-stress situations. But it seems like with so much about FIFA corruption in the news, it at least calls for reporters to report the accusations, and the evidence pro and con.

    Ah well. They're about to play again for the third-place match -- good luck to them. I just hope no one makes stupid mistakes or gets hurt, and that, after all this, a crowd shows up. But refrains from throwing things.

    *edited after the game*

    Well. That was certainly lackluster. I couldn't decide whether the US actively decided it was fair to let Panama win one, or just didn't try very hard from discouragement or because of the heat or some other reason. The back line was worse than ever -- the ball would come one way and they would run the other. As the commentators said, even Nurse looked surprised at the big hole he was almost invited to stroll through. Brooks seemed very sluggish but eventually appeared to have been playing with some sort of groin injury, so at least maybe there was a reason. There was another incident with pushing and shoving and three yellow cards that I missed seeing the beginning of. Yedlin and Dempsey had a couple of good moments, but only fleetingly. Marcelo Balboa was saying, think how well they might be able to do if they just started Yedlin, and he may have a point. I don't know -- it just seems like they keep trying different combinations in different positions and no one group ever has time to really get comfortable playing with each other. It would be nice to think that's part of the long-term plan, but I'm not sure the plan has materialized yet.

    I wish Fox had shown the game so I could have heard what the English commentators were saying, but they chose to show some (pre-season? exhibition?) tournament with Barcelona and Manchester United in a half-empty stadium somewhere. Thank you, Fox. Well, maybe it's better for fans not to have seen this one anyway.
    #35Author hm -- us (236141) 25 Jul 15, 21:59
    John Oliver continues to cover the FIFA scandal:
    #36Author Himalia (970475) 27 Jul 15, 17:12
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