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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.
In Havana, the past year has been marked by a parade of bold-faced names from the north — John Kerry reopening the United States Embassy; Andrew Cuomo bringing a delegation of American business leaders; celebrities ranging from Joe Torre, traveling on behalf of Major League Baseball to oversee an exhibition game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Cuban national team, to Jimmy Buffett, said to be considering opening one of his Margaritaville restaurants there. All this culminated with a three-day trip in March by Barack Obama, the first American president to visit Cuba since Calvin Coolidge in 1928. But to those who know the city well, perhaps nothing said as much about the transformation of political relations between the United States and Cuba that began in December 2014 as a concert in the Tribuna Antiimperialista.
Amount traders on the Philadelphia Stock Exchange can be fined for fighting, per punch:
Philadelphian teenagers who want to lose weight also tend to drink too much soda, whereas Bostonian teenagers who drink too much soda are likelier to carry guns.
Nuremberg’s Neues Museum filed a criminal complaint against a 91-year-old woman who completed a crossword puzzle that was in fact a $116,000 piece of avant-garde Danish art.
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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.'”