Not true! Soccer, and its fans, remain a perennial, if thoroughly predictable, subject of bemused contempt among a certain class of wags who think of themselves as grizzled and no-nonsense.The rant about soccer--and how dull, low-scoring, tolerant of tie-games, and suspiciously foreign it is--is such a rote cliche in American media, it's amazing anyone's still being paid to trot it out. Yet there's seattlepi.com columnist Jim Moore giving it one more run this morning, on the occasion of the Sounders' participation in the MLS playoffs. In a piece titled "Trying, and failing, to embrace the beautiful game," he calls last Thursday night's 0-0 match between the Sounders and the Houston Dynamo "ninety minutes of nothing."
Moore hits all the usual notes, including alerting the reader to how wildly un-p.c. he's being. "Apparently I'm an ugly American who wants more scoring and fewer ties -- excuse me, 'draws.'" (Moore also finds use of the word "match" to be suspect; does he have a prejudice too against boxing?) Typically, he's very fond of the shootout--the most-loathed way of deciding a game, for any true soccer fan--and suggests it be used every time.
The problem with these anti-soccer guys (and they're universally guys, in my experience) is not that they dislike the sport. Nothing wrong with that. It's that they think the problem lies with the sport and not with them.
Imagine if some local media figure wrote a column about how insufferable baseball is--all the interminable standing around; the endless throwing of a tiny ball, over and over, at speeds too fast to distinguish one from the next; the games that go on and on, without any timer, and where one team may not even get a single hit. Obviously this columnist would be deemed an idiot who doesn't understand or appreciate the game. No one would blame the game. No one would take seriously such a person's suggestions for revamping the game.
Likewise, Moore's complaints are also a joke. The Sounders-Dynamo match was actually some wonderful, end-to-end soccer--fun and exciting for anyone who gets the sport. The MLS is never going to get anywhere by trying to "Americanize" itself for guys like Moore. It needs to concentrate on fostering what everyone else in the world has come to enjoy--the thrill of a well-played game, no matter the score.