Every four years, most of the world comes to a complete stop to behold the majesty of soccer’s World Cup.
Here in the United States, however, it’s not quite the same. We don’t so much come to a stop; it’s more slow down a little and gawk out the window.
Still, every time the World Cup comes around, we as a nation are presented with this question: Is this the one that will finally bring soccer into the national consciousness?
The answer, of course, continues to be no.
I understand that more children than ever play youth soccer, and that an entire generation of former soccer players have now grown into parents who appreciate the game.
It’s just that we don’t have room in our hearts for one more major sport. Soccer — the sport we can’t even call by its own name — will have to remain minor. It’s not catching football or basketball or baseball.
I know that U.S. TV ratings have been very good thus far for the World Cup, but face it, we’ll watch anything or anyone that has USA etched across his jersey. We love the Olympics every four years, but when it’s done, we wouldn’t think about watching another curling match or rhythmic gymnastics competition.
Ever watch an MLS game from start to finish? Do you know what MLS stands for? Did you know that nearby Montreal has a team (the Impact) and is hosting an MLS game this very night against the Houston Dynamo? It’s not far. Tickets are still available.
The only way soccer could ever force its way into our collective consciousness is if there were some serious changes.
First, the U.S. would have to be successful. Not “we made it out of our group!” successful, but “we won the World Cup!” kind of successful.