The State of US Soccer Fandom
Sometimes being a soccer fan in the US can get you down. If you ever mention that you’re a fan of the game, people feel it’s their duty to make some wisecrack about how stupid and boring it is. If you have a lot of conservative friends as I do in Richmond, those wisecracks often have a personal, acidic edge to them.
On the other side of the coin, a significant number of US soccer fans are obsessed with the question of whether soccer will ever “catch on” in the US and become a major sport alongside baseball, football and basketball. They are so invested in their belief that this will eventually happen that they become deluded, triumphalist windbags.
Yet at this moment, let us take a moment to assess the state of US soccer fandom. In the US, a soccer fan could, if she so chose, watch soccer twenty-four hours per day, seven days a week during the club season. She can watch every friendly, every cup match, every international match in the world if she sets her mind to it (and has the money to devote to it.) She probably has a club team within driving distance to her house.
On a personal note, my best friend from college (who introduced me to world football and made me a lifelong fan) was a huge fan of Sport, Recife’s club team in Brazil. After he died, I became a fan too. I watched them play in last year’s Copa Libertadores, every minute of every match. While I watched, it was like he was there watching with me.
Forgetting for a moment the question of whether today’s result will lead to some great soccer renaissance, let’s all consider the present state of affairs – it’s a good time to be a soccer fan in the US.
Maybe that’s enough. Go Red, White and Blue!