Angry American soccer fans
AP Photo/Hasan Sarbakhshian)
Outrage, Despair: Soccer Has Arrived in U.S.
By GEORGE VECSEY
Published: June 14, 2006
ANY minute now, I expect to hear the name Freddy Adu. From what I gather, people back in the States are exercised that their lads could lose to anybody by a 3-0 score, and they want to know who is to blame.
Didn't Nike pay the peppy Master Adu all that money to wear its gear and to play for D.C. United in Major League Soccer? Maybe the young man could have energized the Americans, given them a little razzle-dazzle. I can hear it now on the radio call-in shows, as the United States heads toward a game against Italy on Saturday and potential elimination from any chance to advance.
The parochial little game called American football always engenders a quarterback controversy. Calling for Adu would be like a mascot controversy. Maybe it is a sign that soccer is arriving in the States when people are suddenly questioning Bruce Arena, the United States manager, whom a huge swath of the population could not have identified until they saw him with severe gastric pains on his face during Monday's disaster of a game.
For years, soccerphobes in the news media have been yawning at a sport that does not permit the use of hands (except by Diego Maradona, who apparently had an exemption) and have been equating the sport with the occasional sociopaths who use soccer as a vehicle to injure people. Now the United States loses to the Czech Republic in the first round, and the mobs are apparently on the loose.
The Americans did stink. They did not play up to their capability. But at this stage in the development of the United States as a soccer power, their ability is lower than that of the Czechs — and the Italians. Arena is on record as saying that if the United States fails to advance beyond the first round, it will not be a blow to American soccer. Life will go on.
A large and vibrant segment of the American public has discovered the joy of the World Cup, either by wearing the red, white and blue on trams to handsome stadiums in Germany or by watching the matches back home on these June days. Americans are upset because the Yanks stunk it up against the Czechs? That in itself is progress.
posted by Steve @ 9:35:00 PM