I am not a fan of the bandwagon. There shouldn’t even be a wagon. You should either be on the journey, or not be on the journey. If you know me, the obvious discussion topic would be politics. I’m not going there….yet.

Let’s discuss US Soccer.

Soccer sits outside the top ten in viewership in America. The NFL, NBA, MLB, PGA, NHL, Tennis, College Football, College Basketball, etc. Each of these sports rank above Soccer on the list of sports many Americans would list as their number one.

That is, until the World Cup/Euro Cup/Champions League Finals are on television. Then, all of a sudden, this slumbering mass of American Soccer fans awake from futbol slumber and remember that, despite conventional beliefs, Europeans don’t really care if Boston, Atlanta, New York or Los Angeles won the World Series. They don’t care if Buffalo, Chicago or Miami won the Super Bowl. And they generally don’t care whether or not Charlotte, Oklahoma City or Memphis won the NBA Finals. At least not as much as they care about futbol.

They care about whether or not ManU or Arsenal, Real Madrid or Barca, Inter or AC Milan show up in their match versus a rival. They care whether or not their National Team coach is legit. They care about whether or not their coach is using a 4-4-2 or a 4-4-1-1. They care about which player on the market their club team will go after. They follow up on the u-17, u-19 squads to try and figure out who the next Ronaldo, Rooney or Messi might be. Yet in America, this past week Poker had more viewers than an MLS match. Seriously.

Around the world, people line up to watch their national or club teams the way Americans line the streets for an LA Lakers Championship parade. When the USMNT was qualifying for the 2010 World Cup, it hardly made a blip on the casual sports fans radar. It’s time to change that.

Get on board. There is no greater national sporting event in the world. No, the Olympics don’t beat the World Cup. Saddle up with the USMNT and pay attention to the squad in between World Cup tournaments. There are plenty of macthes; both “Friendlies” and qualifying matches. Follow the players from America on their respective club teams. EPL, Bundesliga, MLS, etc. Watch the games. Buy the jerseys.

But please, don’t get all excited about the World Cup and then ignore soccer for the next four years.


4 responses to “Bandwagons”

  1. Flener says :

    Sounds kind of like a conversation we had just yesterday.

  2. Jesse Baker says :

    I see what you’re getting at, and I don’t mean to always disagree with you. However, I understand, as someone you would surely consider on the bandwagon, why the wagon exists.

    Every athletic team I really follow is significant to me in some way based on life experience. Raised in Alabama by a father who was a Crimson Tide fan, I call Nashville home, as do the Titans… I don’t follow baseball very closely because Nashville doesn’t have an MLB team, but when I do, I follow the Red Sox because I’ve been to Fenway and I fell in love with the environment there.

    I don’t follow NBA basketball because Nashville doesn’t have a team and I’ve never had an experience with an NBA game. I guess I follow Lipscomb and Alabama for college basketball for obvious reasons.

    I occasionally watch tennis but not religiously, and I rarely ever keep tabs on a favorite bobsledding team. Why? because bobsledding, track and field, speed skating, swimming, etc. do not receive much coverage in the 3 1/2 years between their ultimate stage at the Olympic Games.
    Does it make me a bandwagon fan to only follow those sports and athletes during the Olympics? You may say yes, but I would just call it me following my favorite team. As a lifelong American, my favorite team is the US representatives in their respective events.

    Currently, soccer receives minimal television coverage in the States and the MLS has not established as a leader, producing household names and giving us our favorite teams. Honestly I know that the LA Galaxy exists and you may remind me of other MLS teams, but I don’t really know what they are.

    Also, even if soccer received more coverage, without a team in Nashville, the odds of me becoming as avid a soccer fan as I am during the World Cup are slim to none.

    I don’t know that having bandwagon fans for the World Cup is anything to be all that upset over. It’s a lot like the Olympics for most of us. Our country is being represented in international competition which is something the whole world can get excited about together, and, you’re right, the World Cup is a HUGE deal. So, I may not be excited about cheering for Manchester United when I can never see their games let alone go to one… but I can get out of my seat for a Landon Donovan penalty kick.

  3. Jesse Baker says :

    The point being, in essence, is my favorite soccer team is the US team… if that team only assembles once every four years, then that may be how often I’m going to get legitimately excited to watch a lot of soccer.

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