Why Americans Shouldn’t Embrace Soccer


There are many signs suggesting that America is changing. In fact, to an outside observer America is starting to look a lot like Europe on many fronts.

One indication of the Europeanization of America might be the growing interest towards soccer. (For the purpose of this article and to avoid confusion, I will, albeit reluctantly, refer to football as soccer.)

The New Republic, once the torchbearer of American liberalism – the classical kind – and now largely a progressive voice, dedicated a whole section for the ongoing soccer World Cup taking place in Brazil.

Granted, I have always been uneasy about Americans and soccer. I love soccer and see it as part of being European. But in my murky soul, soccer represents nothing more than the same lightness and irrelevance of European cultural novelties and indulgences as coffee shops, fashion and high-speed trains.

Of course Americans love sports, but should they embrace a sport that has a bloodier history than any other sport in modern times?

Football and its all-pervasive fan culture is yet another example of the tribalism that Europeans – excluding the euro elites – are sinking into. Western Europe today is defined not by a coherent set of values, but by its identity crisis and deep divisions between lawmakers and the public, Brussels and local governments – and of course between the secular and the religious.