US Team’s Performance at World Cup – Not Too Shabby


Ray’s Rambling

Well, the World Cup is over – at least as far as the American team is concerned. A 2-1 loss to Ghana in extended play dashed any hopes of the cup “Coming to America.”

There is, however, no shame in the U.S. team’s performance. They edged out Algeria 1-0 in the first minute of overtime, making it into the final 16; the farthest a U.S. team has ever gotten in World Cup history, and made a mockery of the pundits’ predictions that they would be knocked out in the first round. They demonstrated for the entire world to see, that Americans, when they put their minds to it, can achieve amazing things.

While their performance up until the June 26 loss to Ghana caused euphoria and celebration throughout the United States, this doesn’t mean that soccer will replace baseball, basketball, and that Texas favorite, football on network screens on weekends. It should, however, increase the respect for and, interest in, soccer in this country. Maybe now, soccer will do better in competition with T-ball in parks where kids go to get fit and learn the basics of good sportsmanship. It would be nice if we saw soccer achieve a status equal to other sports in high school and college sports programs.

Professional soccer already has a number of devotees in the U.S.; with a growing number of teams. Getting soccer the kind of TV coverage that other sports get, though, is going to be a tough sell. You see, soccer is a game of movement and position, and it doesn’t lend itself to the kind of breaks in the action that allow sponsors to insert their ads like they do in the timeouts and delays typical in most American televised sports. Unlike baseball, where most of the time only four people (pitcher, batter, catcher, and home plate umpire) are doing anything, and there’re all kinds of excuses to halt the action; or football, that has more timeouts than a lazy private on mess hall duty; soccer is many, many long minutes of players jockeying to get the ball in scoring position. You can’t just break away for a two-minute commercial and come back – it would be too disruptive, and no self-respecting soccer fan would stand for it.

I’ve been mulling it over, and I think I’ve come up with a solution. Have four minutes of commercials before the start of the game, and then a block of commercials afterwards. I know, I know, you’d just have people tuning in after the commercials and turning off as soon as the game is over. Then again, who knows? I understand the water pressure in most city systems experiences a sudden change whenever there’s a commercial break during the Super Bowl. So, maybe soccer would get the same treatment – heck, it would cost less at first. Of course, soccer fans might just fool the advertisers. People who like the game tend to be more patient than other sports fans – except for the soccer hooligans who like soccer only for the opportunity to cause trouble.

All I’m saying is give soccer a chance. If a died in the wool football fan and former player from Texas can come to this conclusion, there’s no reason the rest of America can’t.