Thanks to Outsports.com blogger Ryan Quinn for calling attention to an interesting piece on Football.co.uk about why Americans haven’t embraced soccer with the same passion that much of the rest of the world has. In other words, why do Americans hate the sport that everyone else loves.
Chief among the reasons? Soccer is too gay for the typical red-blooded (and straight) U.S. sports fan. The article also cites a few other reasons, including the sport lacks big business (though the article ignores the L.A. Galaxy’s $250 million signing of David Beckham), has too many foreigners (again ignoring a quick look at any MLB, NBA or NHL roster), is gay and lacks enough scoring:
There is an obvious difference between how America and how the majority of the world view soccer. The world embraces soccer and Americans push it away. Soccer has never been a big sport in American culture and there seems to be a genuine dislike from most Americans towards the sport.
Another idea that soccer “promotes” that strikes fear into Americans’ hearts is homosexuality. Soccer does not explicitly promote homosexuality, if it does at all, but in America, it is regarded as a “girly sport.”
Like Quinn, I agree that soccer certainly has its gay appeal though that isn’t why the sport fails to attract mass appeal in the U.S. It’s got more to do with scoring and the fact that pro soccer in the U.S. lacks big-budget marketing efforts and TV deals. Atlanta already offers the Silverbacks, a men’s team that plays in the First Division of the United Soccer Leagues. But when they open their season on April 19, you can expect little of the splash that’s accompanied Opening Day for the Atlanta Braves this weekend.
Maybe it will take the marketing muscle and deep pocketbooks of Arthur Blank to make a difference for soccer in Atlanta. Blank hinted in an interview earlier this year that he’s interested in bringing a Major League Soccer franchise to the city. Or it could take what gay fans of the sport already recognize and enjoy — the muscles of players like Beckham or Cristiano Ronaldo (top photo), jocks who aren’t shy in showing off their wares on and off the field. Like most things that are worth doing, the gays are usually there first with everyone else following once they know it’s OK.