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U.S. Men’s Soccer Misses Opportunity to Establish Soccer as Premier American Sport

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United States of America forward Christian Pulisic (10) reacts after losing a round of sixteen match against the Netherlands in the 2022 FIFA World Cup at Khalifa International Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY Sports

By Dr. Matthew Williams |

It is well known that Americans love football and consider it Americans’ premier sport. For the past few decades, there has been a push for soccer to become one of America’s premiere sports.

Most American sports fans have never really considered soccer as a premier sport for two main reasons Soccer is not a very physical sport compared to football. There has been a theory that one reason John Kerry lost the presidential election was that he played varsity soccer at Yale University for one year.   Football is considered a collision sport where the main objective is to collide with the opponent, while soccer is considered a contact sport where the main objective is to limit contact as much as possible. Second, American fans have trouble with soccer as a premier sport because it was not invented in America as compared to football.

During the men’s 2022 FIFA World Cup, the U.S. men’s soccer team had a good chance to get acknowledgment from American Fans that soccer could be considered a premier sport in America. But instead, they chose to make the 2022 FIFA World Cup a theater stage of protest.

The American Soccer team started off by changing the USA crest which is usually red, white, and blue colors to rainbow colors which are associated with the pride movement.  Then the United States head men’s soccer coach, while coaching a game at the world cup, was wearing a T-Shirt that left out United and displayed only the word STATES. The result of political statements from the players and head coach and a record in the World Cup of One win, two ties, and a loss did not help Americans earn support for soccer to be a premiere sport in America.

Americans currently are going through tough economic times, hardships, and low morale. The same thing happened to our country in the 1980s. A group of college boys on the U.S Hockey team did not air their political views but instead won the Gold medal and the hearts of all Americans. The USA Men’s Soccer team needs to perform better on the field and have fewer political statements.         

Dr. Matthew Williams is an Associate Professor of Sport Management at The University of Virginia’s College at Wise and is an avid NASCAR fan.

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