Friday, January 11, 2008

Stupidest Piece About Soccer You'll Read All Year

When I'm on the road, which isn't very often because I don't own a car, I get really peeved at rubberneckers. It's like motherfuckers never seen an accident before. But sometimes, I can't help but slow down and admire the carnage. This essay, titled "US football leagues have a long way to go" by Roberto Carlos Alvarez-Galloso is the internet equivalent of the flaming, 20-car pileup on the George Washington Bridge.

AS A supporter of US football (soccer), the question that is always asked of me involves a comparison of USA with countries in Europe, Africa, and Latin America. Every country is different and to compare US football with that of the FA, La Liga, and the Bundesliga would be similar to comparing a pear with a grape.
Except pears and grapes are completely different fruits. Maybe it's like comparing a red grape with a white grape, or an organic orange with a conventional orange. But that's a minor quibble.
It cannot be denied that US football, is still under-par in comparison with other professional leagues. The reasons are many and need to be organized under certain categories.
US folklore tells how the puritans saw the indigenous population play a form of football called "Pasuckquakkohowog" (which means "they gather to play football"), when they arrived in America. The reality points to an inconsistent history of football in America compared to the consistency which has existed in Europe since football was first played in York, England, during the Middle Ages.
Really? York? As they say on Wikipedia, [citation needed]. My knowledge of soccer's origin comes mostly from the History of Soccer DVD set, which clearly points to the establishment of the Football Association in 1863 as the birth of modern football. Until then, the private boys' schools and their old boys played football under different sets of rules for much of the first half of 19th century, and before that, there really wasn't much organized football beyond the semi-organized chaos of folk football.

I Googled "York" and "football" and "origin" and no relevant result came up. I don't know about you, but I'll believe a $100 DVD set over a blogger who doesn't use a single outgoing link.
America had football as a fad sport that was fashionable at times until the World Cup of 1994.
By "at times", you of course mean, "once, during the NASL's peak from the late 70s to the early 80s".
It could be said that until 1994, the USA had a bunker mentality when it came to football, which favoured other sports (i.e.: basketball over football.
But not after 1994!

It could also be said that unicorns are flying out of my ass, and it would have just as much basis in fact as this piece.
These men were taken very, very seriously.

Before 1994, sports commentators in the USA derided football (soccer) as a "sport for those who do not like sports".
And it all stopped after 1994. Frank De Ford is a river in Egypt and Jim Rome is a man of great intelligence and eloquence.

And again, as they say on Wikipedia, [attribution needed]. I Googled to see exactly who referred to soccer as "sport for those who do not like sports", and I came up with jack shit, except to the very article I'm writing about, and mirrors of the same article. Holy shit, this thing is everywhere!
It was after the World Cup of 1994 that the USA started to take football seriously.
So seriously that they waited two more years before launching Major League Soccer! So seriously that MLS had to pay ESPN to carry the games! So seriously that they traveled back in time and qualified for the 1990 World Cup! And won the Women's World Cup in 1991!
The reason: the USA hosted the World Cup of 1994 and they did not want to be seen as "ignorant" and "dumb".
I have news for you. Americans do want to be seen as "ignorant" and "dumb". They take pride in their anti-intellectualism. Did you not pay attention to the 2004 election results?
The FA, La Liga, La Liga Mexicana, and the Bundesliga have been playing seriously and the supporters have been vocal and present.
Meanwhile, the A-League played half-jokingly, with a smirk on its face, while its fans silently supported the league from remote locations.
The leagues of other countries either received support from their fans or in some cases [such as Monaco] from the government.
So the FA, La Liga, La Liga Mexicana and the Bundesliga didn't receive support from their fans? Monaco has a league? Also, government interference in leagues is strictly prohibited by FIFA. Shhh! Don't let them find out!
Another aspect has been the timing of the football season. In Europe, the season lasts from August to April.
I'll need to consult my atlas, but last I checked, Scandinavia and the former Soviet republics were still in Europe. And they play from Spring to Fall, on account of the cold, dark winters.
Mid-December match in Rosenborg.
In the USA, it lasts from April to October with practices and friendly games starting in January.
OMG, you got something right! Rejoice!
Within the USA, there has been a decline in physical education classes as mandated by the budget cuts proposed by George Bush II. With this decline, there has been little exercise and practice of US football [soccer].
Because George Bush II (sic) sits on local school boards and controls their budgets and curriculum? And what budget cuts? Under W's first term, federal discretionary spending went up 33%. He is the most spend-happy President since... shit, he's a bigger spender than Lyndon B. fucking Johnson.

But that's neither here nor there. What does decline in phys ed classes have to do with AYSO, interscholastic sports and ODP, where youth soccer is largely played in this country?
America, fuck yeah!

And what's with this "US football (soccer)" business? Either "football" or "soccer" works - just pick one, goddammit. And you don't need to qualify every mention of the sport with "US". We get it. You're talking about the US.
There is also the mentality in America that football does not need that much of practice. The US Football team learned the hard way after the men's team was eliminated in Copa America 2007 and the women's team was almost eliminated in the FIFA Women's World Cup in the same year.

So they didn't lose all three matches (though acquitted themselves quite nicely against Argentina) because Bob Bradley took an experimental squad that included three uncapped players? It was because they didn't practice much. Got it. And it wasn't because the women's team played an unimaginative style that relied too heavily on a single player, and the coach made a panic move and pulled a goalkeeper who was playing okay? It was because they didn't practice much. And the women's team was almost eliminated? Like, they're still in contention for the cup, even though Brazil beat the US and Germany won the final?
Bob Bradley and Team USA not practicing at Copa America '07.
A major difference between US football and the other professional leagues is the salary cap. A salary cap (also known as wage cap) limits the amount of money that can be used by a professional team for professional salaries. The Major League Soccer (as well as minor leagues within the USA) uses salary cap.
Minor leagues? You mean USL uses salary caps? Because they're such big spenders?
At present, European leagues are considering the use of salary cap. A report from the BBC revealed that the Football league in England and the Series A of Italy were one of the teams considering a salary cap.
Um, what? [citation needed]. One of the teams in Football league (sic) and the Series A (sic) were (sic) considering a salary cap? What's the point of one team considering a salary cap? That's called a wage budget. Every team has one.
It must be remembered that US football and their leagues, like adolescents, are bound to make mistakes but are willing to learn in order to be on par with other leagues. The USA has to adapt to and rid itself of the bunker mentality. We live in a world of open communication and diversity, which includes sports. Football is gaining converts in America and it is the silent majority who are leading the change. It will take time to destroy the walls of prejudice against football but people are attending in ever increasing numbers.
Bunker mentality? Care to expound... wait, don't. You'll make my head hurt more than it already does after reading this paragraph.
All the same, to compare US football [soccer] to the long and glorious history of European leagues is impossible. The USA has to forge its own history.
The comparison is impossible because you're comparing a sport's place in a country (US football) to organizations (European leagues). Apples and oranges. Now, a comparison between MLS and the top European leagues is possible. For example: "The Big 4 leagues are richer and more established than MLS." There. Impossible is nothing.
US football must change its season since it is almost the only country that plays football off-season.
Almost the only country. The only country except Brazil, Argentina, Australia, Japan, Korea, Russia, Norway, Sweden…
The USA should play at the same time as other professional leagues (August) to April) in order to be on par with them.
You're right, switching to an August-April season is the only hope for MLS to be on par with other professional leagues, like the Coca-Cola Football League Two and Serie C.
While budget cuts by Bush II have hurt football (soccer), there has been a general tendency to form football (soccer) groups.
Yes, like the Black Panther Party! Fight the oppressors!
In fact, the Miami FC has a programme of football for future generations where the practice is gruelling and only a few are chosen.
Isn't that, like, every youth academy?

Yet another Bush budget cut.
The US Football Association has similar programmes for the youth where the practice is on a par with other professional leagues. This includes the under-21 teams.
Is the US Football Association affiliated with the US Soccer Federation in any way? And the youth program includes the Under-21 team? Blimey!
The extensive practice guidelines are a result of the lessons learned in 2007 from underestimating the sport after the Copa America 2007 debacle and the FIFA Women's World Cup debacle of 2007.
So the US youth program didn't practice very hard before the summer of 2007. Landon Donovan, DaMarcus Beasley, Eddie Johnson, Oguchi Onyewu and Freddy Adu were all sitting around in Bradenton, sipping mint julep and playing Guitar Hero? Didn't seem to hurt their development any.
I have faith in the US football team; the 21st century will be a time for the USA and its leagues to leave their imprint on the history of this illustrious sport called football.
For example, in a World Cup in the near future, US will go in as heavy underdogs against a tournament favorite and beat them 3-2, and then advance to the quarter-final round, where they hold their own against an eventual finalist. Now, that's an imprint. That just might happen in the 21st century. Can't wait !
A vision of a distant future - what soccer might look like in the 21st Century.


ΓΌ75 said...

Very well done, this is obviously the best article ever on US Football (soccer)

[citation needed]

Ian said...

Fuck me. That might be the dumbest thing I've ever read (seen quoted).

The Fan's Attic said...

Um...isn't the phrase usually apples to oranges not pears to grapes. And, don't things want to be "under-par", unless you are using the modified Stableford scoring system?

The NY Kid said...

We are all dumber for having Galloso's work. I award him no points, and may God have mercy on his soul.

The NY Kid said...

having *read*.


The Fan's Attic said...

holy shit! those are some ugly MLS jerseys.


As for my friend Roberto Alvarez-Galloso writing about US Football, there is a big difference. My friend and I are US Latins and are better informed than the rest of America.
I can't help but see people who do not know a fuck about anything tearing into another person. For the ny kid, New York is fucked up because of Hillary and Bloomberg; The rest of America is fucked because of Bush. My friend just wanted to help improve the game.