Washington Evening Journal

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Neighbors Growing Together | Oct 16, 2017

Why the Cup needs support

By Aaron Viner | Jun 17, 2014

With the high school soccer season having ended in the last two weeks, it’s not yet time to temper that excitement that comes from playoff
Mid-Prairie high school certainly is soccer crazy after the boys’ high school team earned its first-ever trip to the state tournament, coming just shy of a state championship in an exciting game that came down to penalty kicks.
I’ve been struck with soccer fever just following them in my first month of covering them, and then one week after the Golden Hawks picked up a second-place state finish, my high school alma mater, North Scott (Eldridge), claimed a soccer state title on the girls’ side of things.
So what could be better than state tournament? Well, if you haven’t heard, there’s this small soccer tournament going on down in Brazil.
This year’s World Cup has only been going on for a week, and all that is talked about on ESPN and other outlets is how great the support has been for the United States soccer team.
Well, I’ve yet to see it.
I’m nowhere near the world’s biggest soccer fan. Some of the rules are confusing, play just stops sometimes and people are awarded balls for acting performances that could win an Oscar, and most of the time, it’s just flat-out boring.
I’d take Aaron Rodgers or Peyton Manning throwing bombs downfield to wide receivers any day, but this is different.
This isn’t just soccer. It’s a massive world celebration that needs to be supported, and with America involved (and picking up a huge win on Monday against Ghana) we shouldn’t be the only country who isn’t actively supporting and cheering on our players.
Heck, in Ghana, they had to ration electricity so the entire country could watch their Black Stars take on United States in the opening round match.
I know there are many people like myself, who would continue to change the channel looking for any football (and that’s American football) or college basketball game, or would go to such lengths as watching the Kardashians, than tune into a meaningless soccer game, which causes ratings to drop.
A lot of people say the same about the NFL, yet come Super Bowl time, it’s always one of the most watched televised events in the country every year, yet not many have this attitude toward the World Cup. So why should we care about this?
Take that buzz that everyone has around Super Bowl time (even if you want to see the commercials instead of the game), and multiply that times 100. That’s the excitement these countries have toward the World Cup.
Now make the Super Bowl happen once every four years.
The excitement that American football fans would have each time the ‘Big Game’ came around would be intense regardless who was in it, just because of the rarity of it all.
That’s how countries like Spain, Brazil and Germany are. They live for this tournament.
Another thing that makes this tournament special is that it is the epitome of playing for pride. Much like the Olympics, these players are the best of the best at what they do, and if they miss their chance now, they will have to wait four years to try again.
While the United States soccer team hasn’t been up to par with the likes of Brazil or Spain in recent memory, they are steadily improving and now stand in as good a spot as they could have imagined in the ‘Group of Death’ after their win against Ghana.
Support for American soccer over the years has grown in small proportions with the American Outlaws, who are an unofficial but strong fan group dedicated to supporting the United States men’s national team, and for big soccer fans, that does
the trick.
However, It’s not like you have to follow the United States team religiously to be a fan. I guarantee you there are not many people who follow the sport of curling throughout the year, yet it remains one of the more popular sports when the Winter Olympics hits every four years.
So on Sunday, when the United States takes on Portugal at 5 p.m., throw on your most patriotic shirt, turn on ESPN and go crazy for your country.

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