How America is Ruining Soccer

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The Big Country is decimating the world’s favourite sport*


Don’t get us wrong – we love America: their cheeseburgers are delicious, their films highly entertaining, and their willingness to take Jordan and Peter Andre off our hands commendable.

However, we felt outrage upon reading an essay published by Stephen H. Webb, entitled ‘How Soccer is Ruining America‘. Jam-packed with insightful observations (”soccer is clearly an important means by which American energy, drive and competitiveness are being undermined to the point of no return”), the piece caused enough of a stir to be picked up and republished by the Wall Street Journal.

It got us thinking – forget football ruining America – there are at least twenty equally ignorant reasons why America is ruining football.

Listen up, y’all…

Stupid Stadium names
Now the Wankdorf is closed for business, we defy you to find a football ground in any league in the world with a title worse than ‘Pizza Hut Park’.

The deification of Darren Huckerby

Update your history books. Hucks is now a ‘Norfolk team’ legend, responsible for the greatest goal in the history of football.

The word “Soccersphere”
Almost as bad as “blogosphere”.

Post-goal celebration music 
Arguably the single most irritating feature of American sport that has infiltrated European football. Just cheering the players isn’t enough?

Green Street
The first entry in our list-within-a-list of crap Hollywood films about football. If you haven’t seen it, just watch the trailer. It’ll all become clear.

Not inviting us to USA ‘94
And for hosting the most boring World Cup final ever. And for making us watch Diana Ross attempt to take a penalty.

Ridiculous rule changes

Partly to satisfy US sports fans’ infamous inability to accept two teams might be strong enough in different areas to actually – gasp – cancel each other out, until 2003, MLS games that ended up as a tie were resolved by an ice-hockey style charge-at-the-goalie shootout. A wonderful stroke of genius subsequently replaced by another… golden goal extra time.

Lacklustre attempts at hooliganism
Note: The Spoiler does not condone violence on or off the pitch, but if playing West Ham means the local idiots feel they have to start up a post-Casuals revival squad, at least make a decent fist of it rather than just taking your cues from Green Street. Just chanting “relegation” during a pre-season friendly isn’t exactly soul-crushing banter.

The acronym “EPL”
Or worse still, the nonsensical phrase “The British EPL”

Stupid club names
Fair enough, ‘Rovers’, ‘United’ and ‘Wanderers’ might be a bit boring now we’re not living in the late 1800s, but that’s no excuse for calling your team the ‘Earthquakes’. MLS’ most rubbish moniker award goes to Freddie Ljungberg’s new teammates, the Seattle Sounders. Drew Carey should be ashamed of himself.

Awful commentary terminology
Watch highlights of any MLS game on YouTube and there’s a good chance you’ll have a stream of absolute nonsense aimed at your ears by men clearly making it up as they go along. “There’s real estate in the area! He’s pinning the ears back!” Genius.

Over zealous statistical analysis
We’ll be the first to admit we get a bit carried away with stats at the best of times, and some of the typical football stats used over the pond for each player (game-winning goals, save percentage) look quite interesting in comparison to the usual fare. But with categories like ‘multi-goal games’ and ‘goals against average’ (they have to have a decimal stat in there somewhere), our American friends are putting too fine a point on the beautiful game.

Escape to Victory
Rocky in goal? Please.

Hot Dogs at Wembley
Yes, we blame you for the fact that our national stadium gives us few dining choices except stale hotdogs that cost the GDP of a small African nation.

The Glazer family/Hicks & Gillett
One lot could potentially end up leaving their club saddled with £700m worth of debt, while the other two are having the longest and most boring lovers’ tiff in the history of man. Thank God for Randy Lerner.

Vinnie Jones as a cockney Manchester Utd fan travelling around Europe on a double decker bus. Hollywood, you have ruined the Wimbledon hardman.

The theft of David Beckham’s career
After tempting him to sunny California with the promise of big shiny cars and basketball cheerleaders, our American friends started requesting ticket refunds to LA Galaxy games when he got injured. Oh dear.

Alright, maybe not.

Freddy Adu
By being advised to stay in the MLS at the tender age of 14, Adu was lumbered with the job of creating a new dawn in US soccer. It’s arguable that he was made to be a league showpiece, at the expense of developing his game in another country. Has international football potentially lost a great?


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