Why don’t Americans follow soccer?

We are in the midst of one of the best UEFA Champions league seasons in years.  FC Barcelona and Bayern Munich look to be the best in the world, but Juventus isn’t far behind.

What?  You don’t know who those teams are?  You’re not alone.  Even after one of the most successful World Cup runs in US history, a recent poll of Americans showed that 40% cared “not at all” about the World Cup and only 22% cared “a great deal”.

Why is that?  Is it because the youth of America don’t play?  Not a chance.  More kids play youth soccer than football & volleyball combined, until about age 11.  It’s also the fourth most popular sport for boys and girls among all kids, outpacing track, swimming, and fast-growing lacrosse.  But that foundation doesn’t translate to success on the world stage or the ability to displace one of the big four leagues in popularity.  While the NHL has done its best to take away all the things that die-hard fans loved about the sport (hitting, fighting, etc), it’s still strongly the fourth most popular league and the MLS is quite a ways behind.  So again, in a day and age where the US is finally somewhat competitive in a sport on a world stage, we’re sending players to play for some of the biggest clubs in the world, why do only 2% of Americans call soccer their favorite sport?

Americans are all about fair play.  Truth, justice, the American way…apple pie, all that stuff.  And yet, in soccer, justice does not always prevail.  The dives that we have the benefit of seeing on replay in slow motion, as the announcers declare their dismay, the referees have to call on the field.  And while often they make the right call, on occasion in the wrong place, they make a bad call, and it affects the outcome of the match drastically.  For example, the biggest controversy during the NFC playoffs this year was the horrible officiating during the Dallas Cowboys/Detroit Lions game.  It was so bad that the NFL apologized to the Lions for the number of missed calls.  That sort of thing would NEVER happen in MLS, Premiere League, La Liga, or any other major soccer league.  It just doesn’t happen.  And, the three referees can have a tremendous affect on the outcome of a match.  Unlike NFL where there are several officials who look at a play from different angles, plus have replay, in soccer, the call is the call is the call.  The center referee can overrule the assistant referees, but the center is the final authority on the field.  The New York Times investigated soccer match fixing by professional gamblers in South Africa and found that there were a number of referees accepting bribes to affect the outcome of games.  While in America we’ve had some issues with that, (Tim Donaghy in the NBA for example), they are few and far between.

Americans also hate ties.  Look at the NHL.  They had to bring in shootouts to keep fans interested, as their fanbase was eroding badly.  Americans like to have a winner and a loser.  There’s very little an American hates more than to watch and cheer their team on, only to watch them battle to a draw.  It leaves an empty, draining feeling that we just don’t like.  So, sports where draws are common, will never gain popularity here.

Soccer can be amazingly entertaining, dramatic, and fun to watch.  But Americans will likely never get the rhythm of the game with the ‘faked’ injuries, the dives, and the possibility that the teams will battle for 90 minutes only to go home with a point each.

And that’s too bad, because it’s a BEAUTIFUL game.

NFL Free Agency Winners and Losers – Teams

Previously, we looked at what players came out on top in the latest round of NFL Free agency.  Next we’ll dive into which teams made the best, and worst, moves.


Philadelphia Eagles

While the signing of Sam Bradford doesn’t exactly excite me, nor is he the player who played in the same system in college, I always like the story of a player who, when given a second chance, succeeds – Drew Brees, Darren Sproles, etc.  And with Demarco Murray also in that backfield, they definitely will see an upgraded offense.  Now to get a receiver in the draft and some linemen.

Denver Broncos

With Peyton Manning not only safely in the fold, but with a restructured contract that should let them re-sign Demaryius Thomas, the Broncos have virtually guaranteed, barring injuries, another trip to the playoffs.  Owen Daniels is no Julius Thomas, but he’s solid and should give Manning a good outlet.  With Montee Ball healthy going into camp, they’ll have an embarrassment of riches in the backfield.  The OL will need work, but that can be addressed in the draft.  Losing ‘Pot Roast’ on the defense will hurt, but Vance Walker at DE helps add some much needed depth.  The only question will be the coaching staff, but Kubiak had success with the Texans with less talent.

Seattle Seahawks

Seriously?  As if they needed another weapon?  They get Jimmy Graham?  Good lord.  They lost their center, Max Unger to free agency, but will likely sign Stefen Wisniewski, a younger, more talented replacement.  They’ve not lost anyone significant to free agency, and they’ve also picked up Cary Williams from the Eagles.  While he’s no shut-down corner, he’s on the bigger side and quick.  He definitely makes up for the loss of Byron Maxwell.


Detroit Lions

Losing Nick Fairley and Ndamukong Suh will hurt.  A lot.  Good defensive linemen help your corners be good, because instead of 4-5 seconds to pick apart the secondary, the QB has 2-3.  With the added time, suddenly that Lion secondary that looked good last year, will be pedestrian this year.  Sure they picked up Haloti Ngata, and he’s a great player, but he’s no Suh.

New England Patriots

How can the defending Super Bowl champs possibly be losers?  Belichick just picks up guys, plugs them in holes, and BAM, they win, right?  Well, sure, that’s pretty close to the truth, but they’re losing some major talent on their defense, between Vince Woolfork, Brandon Browner, Revis.  And no matter how good your system and front office is, losing two guys in the secondary with the talent of Revis and Browner, it’s going to hurt.

New Orleans Saints

They look like the Florida Marlins of old, getting rid of high dollar players in what looks to be almost a fire-sale….except Drew Brees, of course.  Cutting Curtis Lofton, a starting LB and forcing Junior Galette to restructure his deal in order to stay.  Getting rid of Graham in a trade and getting a player who has missed almost as many games that he’s played over the last two years in Unger.


Hope you enjoyed this review of NFL Free Agency. We’d love to hear what you guys thought!

NFL Free Agency Winners and Losers – Players

The first week of NFL free agency still has a few days to go and already there have been some massive shifts in power across the National Football League.  Some huge trades have come into play as well, helping make this first week of free agency more interesting than any in the last several.  Let’s take a look at what players were the biggest winners and losers.

NFL Free Agency Winners

Demarco Murray

Murray gets paid to go to a system where he not carry the ball nearly as much as he was expected to at Dallas, but there are two other running backs in the system.  This will help his durability and ensure that he lasts through the season.  Is the Eagle OL as good as Dallas’?  Not even close, but Chip Kelly’s offense should help keep defenses off balance, and he’ll likely improve the line via the draft

Ndamukong Suh

Suh gets his contract, the highest paid defensive player in the NFL and he goes to an up and coming team.  He goes to a forgiving city, where the Hurricanes kept fans enthralled despite their hoodlum ways for years, until they stopped winning.  And he gets to play in a division where there are zero mobile quarterbacks.  I can hear Tom Brady’s tears on the referees’ shoulders already.

Jimmy Graham

Sure, he’s going to a team with a ‘run-first’ attitude, but with a weapon like that, the Seahawks would be fools not to try to get him the ball as much as possible.  When the GM of your biggest rivals comments that the only thing they can do to stop him is to “find a 6-6 safety”, you know that you’ve made an impact.  Of course, this is the team who had the best RB in the league, the ball on the three yard line, and passed (intercepted) the ball in the Super Bowl….

NFL Free Agency Losers

Brandon Marshall/Jay Cutler

– Marshall gets traded to that talent-suck of a club, the NY Jets.  With no QB to throw to him, he’s destined to throw tantrums, get suspended, and likely won’t last a season before being released.  Cutler will also throw tantrums and interceptions all season (likely more of the latter), now that the Bears have announced that they’re not going to trade him.  I could probably add Alshawn Jeffries to this as well, given that he’s going to see a lot of double-coverage now, with Marshall removed from the mix.

Darelle Revis

Sure he’s getting paid, but why?  To lose?  The Jets don’t scare anyone with their defense, and adding Revis to the secondary only ensures that this Jets defense will be like previous years when Revis was still with them, sieve-like, except when throwing to his side.  He gave up a chance to play for a Super Bowl, to get paid.  I suppose that may make him a winner in some people’s eyes, but if your ultimate goal is to win championships, this is a horrible move for him.

Trent Richardson

Top five draft busts in history?  Probably not quite, but top ten?  I’d definitely argue that he belongs there.  Released from the Colts after having successfully shown they wasted a first round draft pick to acquire him.


Let us know what you think of these latest NFL Free Agency changes – @redshirt_sports.