When it comes to national sports, soccer is a charitable fourth, as far as its popularity in the United States is concerned. Definitely behind football, definitely behind baseball, probably behind basketball, and probably ahead of hockey. When the World Cup isn’t around the corner, interest in soccer vanishes faster than the interest in frosted tips. Luckily for fans, though, the World Cup is right around the corner, so we can all collectively grab our vuvuzelas, pretend that we’ve got any semblance of a national fight song, and watch the games with the vain hope that our fellow countrymen and women might finally ‘get it’ when it comes to soccer.
Hey, it’s a dream, OK? And while part of the reason soccer’s failed to catch on surely has to do with the fact that we’re not a dominant force (if there was a soccer equivalent to the 1992 USA Men’s Basketball squad, aka The Dream Team, we might see it differently), that’s not an insurmountable hurdle. Our country can get better and our teams can play better, even if we’re supporting a team that throws its legacy players to the curb.
And it’s not like our World Cup teams are completely devoid of talent — we may not be the most heralded international team, the fifth most heralded international team, or even the tenth, but we’re not all the way at the end. We’re still in the conversation with the middle of the barrel, as it were. To that end, and to get everyone stoked on the World Cup (even if the U.S. is slated to get roundly trounced in their group).