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I received dozens of replies to yesterday’s post about why I hate the American soccer team and was so happy to see it seize defeat from the jaws of victory in the Confederation Cup final against Brazil. The replies were overwhelmingly negative and a few were nasty (“You are embarrassing to our nation, the sport and journalism”). I’ll publish a few below. Thanks to everyone for writing, even Matt Horton, who sent that last comment (and I published the most civilized sentence of his tirade).
I don’t have time to respond to all the emails, but two things. First, to all those — including the editor of this blog — who said I don’t know anything about soccer, I lived in Brazil for five years and have seen many games, and even covered a few when I worked for the Associated Press. I have watched every World Cup since 1990 and have not missed a single game of Brazil’s in all that time. So I do know something about the game — and yes, of course, Brazil is my favorite team, which is why the American collapse last Sunday was especially delicious — and I recognize good soccer. The United States does not play good soccer; the national team has forever been boring, mostly talentless (Landon Donovan among the few exceptions) and specializes in choking on the rare occasion that it manages to get ahead of a good team.
Second, various emailers accused me of hating the United States and rooting against the team for “political” reasons. That’s just stupid. I root for American baseball and basketball teams in international competitions. I just hate the soccer team, for the reason I stated in the original piece and because it’s filled with a bunch of losers. I wish them continued defeat and heartache in the World Cup.
Meanwhile, here are a few comments:
From Matt Smith:
Don’t be such a jerk. It’s a first for American football fans to see
our country in a FIFA Final Cup match. The reason why people enjoyed
seeing the US play the best team in the world is a lot like seeing
George Mason take on Florida in 2006. Was it probable? No chance.
Were they going to win the NCAA Championship? Probably not, but we -
Americans – like the underdog, and it’s deeply rooted in our history.
Wait a few years before you start hating on U.S. Soccer. Besides, find
another country to cheer for after we lose in the World Cup.
From Brandon West:
I disagree with your piece, but I will acknowledge that we shouldn’t expect the U.S. to be
competing with the best from now on. But to suggest that the U.S. never
belonged in the competition is a little bit much. The U.S. team has been
largely the dominant program in our conference, and is beginning to
give Mexico a run for its money. They have been ranked ahead of Mexico
for some time now, this isn’t completely a [new] phenomenon that we are
practically the best team in the CONCACAF, which is how we got into
the competition in the first place.
From David Cody:
I have no idea if the U.S. soccer team is mediocre now, but they certainly were 15 years ago, when I finally just gave up on them. You couldn’t find a better example of reckless ignorance, even on television. Watching the US play soccer was like tuning in to an Olympic track meet and getting a demolition derby instead.
And my favorite, from Richard Steele, who frequently posts comments on GOAL, the New York Times blog on soccer under the moniker of boringarsenal.
Loved your response to the USA v Brazil match. As an avid follower of
real football, nee soccer, I am always amused when fellow office
workers chime in with following, “Hey, I watched that, what was it,
the Confederations Cup, wow, it was great.” “Gee, I’m going to start
watching soccer, it’s really a wonderful sport.” I spend 9 months of the year watching the Premier League and Football
League matches from merry old’ England, and suddenly whenever an
international match of dubious value pops up, my fellow Americans get
quite worked up…Yeah, I hate ‘em, too!
More from Ken Silverstein:
Commentary — November 17, 2015, 6:41 pm
The Clintons’ so-called charitable enterprise has served as a vehicle to launder money and to enrich family friends.
Flor Arely Sánchez had been in bed with a fever and pains throughout her body for three days when a July thunderstorm broke over the mountainside. She got nervous when bolts of light flashed in the sky. Lightning strikes the San Julián region of western El Salvador several times a year, and her neighbors fear storms more than they fear the march of diseases — first dengue, then chikungunya, now Zika. Flor worried about a lot of things, since she was pregnant.
Late in the afternoon, when the pains had somewhat eased, Flor thought she might go to a dammed-up bit of the river near her house to bathe. She is thirty-five and has lived in the same place all her life, where wrinkled hills are planted with corn, beans, and fruit trees. She took a towel and soap and walked out into the rain. Halfway to the river, the pains returned and overcame her. The next thing Flor remembers, she was in a room she didn’t recognize, unable to move. As she soon discovered, she was in a hospital, her ankle cuffed to the bed, and she was being investigated for abortion.
Average amount of time a child spends in Santa Claus’s lap at Macy’s (in seconds):
Beer does not cause beer bellies.
Following the arrest of at least 10 clowns in Kentucky and Alabama, Tennesseans were warned that clowns could be “predators” and Pennsylvanians were advised not to interact with what one police chief described as “knuckleheads with clown-like clothes on.”
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“Matt was happy enough to sustain himself on the detritus of a world he saw as careening toward self-destruction, and equally happy to scam a government he despised. 'I’m glad everyone’s so wasteful,' he told me. 'It supports my lifestyle.'”