Dear American Soccer TV Commentator,
I’ve been seeing a lot of you lately. This isn’t really a surprise; I happen to love soccer, and there’s been some great soccer on TV of late, from the Confederations Cup to the World Football Challenge.
But I’m noticing a familiar trend in these games: you keep asking, “Has soccer made it in the U.S.?”
Now, I understand that you’re just trying to sell soccer to the archetypal non-soccer fan in this country.
All I’m asking is that you stop.
Stop, because it’s about time that you started really selling the game, because that’s what real pitchmen do. And what are you selling? There’s a national team that’s experienced some considerable success this decade, including a few highs this summer. There’s a soccer league that’s coming into its own. There’s actual controversy around the game, thanks to Beckham, which is bringing soccer into the national sports conversation. And, most importantly, there’s the massive growth of soccer on TV.
Thanks to HD, soccer not only watchable — it’s also beautiful. Let the moving pictures sell the game for you.
And just wait until August 12, when the U.S. heads down to Mexico City to play Mexico at Estadio Azteca. Here’s the craziest part: there’s no major English language feed for the game, which means there’s actually going to be backlash from the public. Just imagine; people are going to complain because soccer isn’t on TV!
No, soccer isn’t where it could be in this country, but it is reaching critical mass. Next year, when the World Cup arrives, it has the chance to move beyond that.
We’ve been here before, after the World Cup in ’94 and the U.S. team’s run in ’02, with soccer on the brink of mainstream acceptance. But finally, the game has caught up to the hype. It’s being watched — in person and on TV — en masse, and it’s being played at a high level in this country. As a soccer fan, I couldn’t be happier about the state of U.S. soccer today.
So, to you, American soccer commentator, I ask: stopping selling yourself as the little guy. The truth is, you’re not anymore.