by - June 30, 2009 - - Comment Now »

soccerThe following is a statement of fact. The best athletes in the United States are funneled into football and basketball. Fans of other sports tend to cry in my general direction when I utter that sentence but it is true. Most young guys don’t rush to buy ice skates and find a frozen over pond, and the African American baseball player has been replaced by the Latin American player (I am not sure exactly why this is but my working theory is that baseball is inherently boring). The bottomline is that it is easy to find organized football and basketball leagues and those are the sports that elite athletes pursue while dreaming of a big payday. That is why you see the most wow moments in those two sports.

With that said, that doesn’t mean there aren’t other great sports. I think soccer is a great sport. However, for the U.S. to truly embrace soccer the United States team will have to legitimately compete for a World Cup. The problem is that won’t happen until our best athletes start playing soccer. Watching the U.S. team play Brazil there were several things that were impossible to avoid. The United States team is smaller, slower and weaker than the competition. They routinely get beat on 50/50 balls in the air. The only way to fix that is to get better athletes.

Speed and strength are impossible to deny in any real sport. Can you imagine if guys like Allen Iverson, Terrell Owens, Michael Vick, Barry Sanders and Kobe Bryant grew up playing soccer? People would watch soccer and the U.S. would be physically dominant. In fact, people might watch so much soccer that they would learn the Brazilian players’ full names (What if Ronaldinho’s full name was actually Ronaldinho Bartlestein or something like that).

The only problem with everything I have just written is that while soccer is really good, football and basketball are better and more lucrative. So don’t expect to see our best athletes taking corner kicks any time soon.

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