If ESPN’s ‘I Believe’ commercial for 2014 FIFA World Cup didn’t get you in the World Cup spirit then you are not a sports fan. I can’t even get the IBelieveThatWeWillWin chant out of my head.
Soccer is the most popular sport in the world. In America, soccer is the fifth most popular sport. It’s no surprise that the most popular sport in America is football followed by baseball, basketball, hockey and then soccer.
Soccer is the holy grail of sports for some countries and we American’s just think, it’s a game played every four years. Maybe it’s because we do not dominate in the sport. Actually, history tells us we are pretty awful when it comes to soccer.
The United States best World Cup performance was in 1930 with a third place finish and we made the quarter-finals in 1994. It’s an American victory if we even qualify to play in the World Cup! From 1954-1986 we didn’t even qualify. #Embarrassing.
So naturally, if we’re not the best (or think we are the best) it’s never going to be our most popular sport. We use the World Cup as an excuse to show how much we love our stars and stripes by making an American flag a piece of clothing and by having an adult beverage in at least one hand all while thinking how star spangled awesome we are. And we wonder why the rest of the world hates us.
My personal feelings towards soccer have not changed since the last World Cup. Watching all of that running still makes me tired and I will always believe that in sports you should win or lose. Ties are for small children. Keeping playing until there is a winner and a loser. After running for 90+ minutes to have a game to end in a tie would make me feel like a loser, but who am I kidding, I’d never be running for 90+ minutes. And my favorite part of the game is still listening to the announcers yell GOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLL.
The more I watch the World Cup, the more it reminds me of watching ACC basketball. There’s a dramatic fall every time there is ANY contact. These guys have rock-hard bodies and the slightest touch makes them fall to the ground and grab a body part. Any by “fall” to the ground I mean; arch your body, make a forced, painful facial expression, grab a body part and rock, make grass angels or any gesture they can to draw attention. GET UP! It’s a good thing they are soccer players because their acting skills will never win them an Oscar.
What really makes the World Cup so special is that for a few weeks, every four years, the entire world is so proud of their country. American’s might be drunk in bar, but for a brief time politics are forgotten and we simply love our country. There are no political allegiances and for a moment we are all on the same team. It’s a symbol of what we should be; the United States. For once, we are living the American Dream.
Team USA is now on the brink of shocking the World Cup. They are in what is referred to as the ‘Group of Death’. With Germany, Ghana, and Portugal no team was considered “safe”, but all were considered unlucky to be in this group. With the US beating Ghana (2-1) in game one and then ending game two in a draw (2-2) with Portugal, we are still alive going into Thursday’s game against Germany. Beating Germany (or a draw) could advance the USA from the group stage to the second round. No one outside of America thought we would win a game and look at us crazy American’s now! The best player in the world, Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo couldn’t even beat Team USA, he couldn’t even score on us. We are still in this and like the rest of the United States, I believe!
But if the world really wanted to make soccer more popular in America, they should play shirt-less. There would definitely be an increase in female viewers.
Link to the “I Believe” commercial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2uEpcfonkt4