Soccer Indifference · 19 July 2014

The opening ceremony of the FIFA World Cup 2014 by Danilo Borges/Portal da Copa licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

People here in the United States seem to only really care about soccer or fútbol once every four years when the World Cup tournament comes around. (Unless of course, you live in an area where spectators support both men’s and women’s professional teams and it seems everybody played or still plays the game. But that is another story.)

The FIFA World Cup just ended and Germany was crowned the victor for 2014. The German people will celebrate for four years, then they will hope that their heroes will bring home another coveted trophy. Others around the world will root for their favorite players and wonder whether they will continue playing for elite teams in countries that may not be their own. And those in the good old U. S. of A. will forget about soccer for another four years.

Except those with minivans and kids, who will continue to drive their boys and girls to the fields (rather, pitches) for practices and games.

Parents with modest expectations just want their kids to get out of the den and into the backyard. They want them playing soccer with their feet instead of video games with their hands.
Other parents hope against hope that their kids will make the cut for this team or that team. They will pay the fees for tournaments and dole out the money for travel expenses. And they will sit on the sidelines and in the stands to root for their kids.

Still others have loftier goals. They want their kids to be the next Landon Donavan or Mia Hamm or Tim Howard. They want their kids’ faces on TV commercials and boxes of Wheaties. They want to see their kids out there on the pitch at the greatest fútbol stage of all, the World Cup.

Some of the kids want those things too.

Those kids are the ones who will not forget about soccer for the next four years. They will be the ones practicing their fancy footwork and doing passing drills. They will be out shooting or blocking shots for hours on end. They will be following and trying to copy the exploits of their heroes.
Unlike many American spectators.

For American spectators, unless we are soccer players or soccer moms or soccer dads (minivan-driving or not) going to practice and tournaments, we care little about soccer outside of the World Cup. Myself included. We are happy to go blithely about our business thinking nothing about soccer for four years at a stretch. We are happy to completely forget about soccer. Until the next World Cup tournament comes around.

© 2014 Michael T. Miyoshi

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