Soccer in America

A lot of people may not know this about me, but I’m a huge sports fan. Basketball, football, the Olympics-you name it, I’m watching it. However, despite my love for sports, I’ve never really payed much attention to soccer, and I don’t exactly know why. Maybe it’s because I’m American, and as far as I know, America doesn’t like soccer very much,especially not now.

Today I had the pleasure of coming home for an extended lunch, and as I ate, I decided to turn on one of my favorite sports shows, The Herd with Colin Cowherd on FS1. Colin, always the eccentric sports analyst, expressed his disdain over the US Men’s Soccer Team’s loss to Trinidad and Tobago, and he immediately got my attention. In my understanding, this match was a must win for Team USA in order for the team to qualify for the World Cup in 2018. Long story short, they lost, and people are not happy. It is the first time since 1986 that the US Men’s Soccer Team has not qualified for the World Cup. To many people, that is 30 years of progress down the drain.

Rebecca Blackwell/ Associated Press via New York Times

 

Colin ripped our treatment of soccer in the US, saying that we don’t put enough emphasis on the development of players like we do for football, basketball, baseball,etc. Meanwhile, European countries turn their kids into soccer machines at a young age.  The US is home to the best sports leagues in the world-except for soccer. Soccer is like the ugly step sister in America. We even watch golf more.  Cowherd then pointed out that soccer is a “suburban” sport, as it is the sport that every little kid in the country plays at some point in their life. When Americans think of soccer, they think of “soccer moms” and orange slices at half time, rather than a legitimate sport. In my own experience ,many critics of soccer have called it a “sissy” sport, and that’s putting it nicely, but that is to be expected when football, a “macho” sport replete  with bravado and brain damage reigns supreme in the USA.

Americans already didn’t respect soccer,  so they definitely won’t now. I’m sure our country would appreciate the sport more if the team was dominant, but since they aren’t, forget about it.

What are my thoughts? What do I think of soccer?

I had a soccer career a long time ago. It lasted a whopping three months.

I was trash, just like the quality of this picture.

 

I was one of the many kids in America that plays soccer at least once in their life time. When my family lived in England, my brothers and I played a lot of youth sports through the Air Force base, and when I was seven, my mom thought it would be a good idea to sign my brother and I up for soccer. Always, the natural athlete, my brother was really good. He had all the makings of a good soccer player-quickness, speed, agility-all of it. While my brother was the star of his team, I was the type of player that would get a “Most Improved” trophy at the end of the season. Soccer requires a lot of coordination, something that I lacked greatly at the time. I remember I had one break out game where I stole the ball from an opposing player. That was a happy day. By the conclusion of the season, I ended up getting “most improved,” and my coach never pronounced my name correctly, but I had a lot of fun. I really did. I don’t know why I never revisited the sport.

One of my best friends plays soccer and so do several of my peers, so I respect soccer as a sport and I respect the athletes that play it. Although I do get bored watching it, I don’t think I’ll ever discredit it. After all, it isn’t an easy sport. I couldn’t even play it at the youth level.

I mentioned earlier that my family lived in England. While we were there, we got to experience first hand the prominence of soccer in Europe. It is huge there. During the World Cup in, I think 2006 (We were in England from 2005-2008), I remember laying in my bed trying to go to sleep only to hear my neighbors screaming loudly in celebration or frustration over what transpired with their soccer, or I guess I should say, football team. In America, we have basketball courts everywhere. In England, they had cement soccer courts where kids would play and get into brawls all day long.

Image result for concrete soccer court

It kind if looked like this, just more “suburban”

I remember one time being up at one of these courts with my brothers and our American friends that also lived in the neighborhood. Our British peers were really getting into their little match. There was a bunch of elbowing and foul language. One kid got pushed to the ground, and his entire leg was scraped up and bloody. It looked like he needed stitches. Some cops happened to be driving around the neighborhood, and they stopped to see what was going on. They got the kid all cleaned up and then they took him home. It was quite the experience to witness.

My stepmom is Colombian, and her family is crazy about soccer. In summer of 2016 ,I took a trip to Florida where her family lives. The Copa America was going, and you’d think it was the Super Bowl. I think Colombia made it to the quarter finals before they were eliminated from the tournament. I was mostly indifferent, but her family screamed and hollered at the TV just like Americans do when football is on. It was really interesting to see the cultural differences.

It got me thinking. The entire world adores soccer except for the US. I’m very perplexed by this.  I’m going to get superficial here, but if you go to Leo Messi’s Instagram page or  Cristiano Ronaldo’s page (two of the best soccer players in the world), you will find that they have exponentially larger followings than a LeBron James or Tom Brady. This is simply because soccer is such a globalized sport. For some countries around the world, it is their pride and joy. It unites entire nations. Meanwhile, our sports leagues are dividing this nation, but that’s a whole other story…What does our disdain for soccer say about us? Do we have to be so different from the rest of the world? Is it some weird form of American exceptionalism? I mean the rest of the world has the metric system, and we use inches, Fahrenheit, and feet. Our dates are structured as 10/11/17 and theirs are structured 11/10/17. We always say that the world is backwards but maybe we are backwards. I’m all for standing out. America does a lot of things well, exceptionally even, but I do think we can be on our high horse too much. Rather than dismissing soccer as “gay,” maybe we should try to develop our soccer players better,  so that we can be dominant in yet another sport on the world stage. I’m no soccer aficionado or a soccer expert by any means, but I do think our team would perform better if they had their country’s respect. How funny is that? Americans get mad when a team they don’t even support loses. I am rolling on the floor laughing.

I’ve always thought that sometimes you have to lose before you can win. Maybe the soccer team’s loss could act as a starting point for reconstruction of the program in the United States. It’s possible that USA soccer could be just as dominant as USA Basketball or the New England Patriots in the NFL, but only time will tell. Perhaps right now could be a starting point for the US to start appreciating soccer, but after such an ugly loss, that may be a lost cause. Here’s to 30 more years of growth.

Couturely Sound ❤

Link to Cowherd’s segment: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HwepDm2mYS8

 

 

 

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Fashion and Football

I won’t lie. January can be pretty grim for me. It’s cold, dreary, and gray. Not to mention, school is far from being over.

If there’s anything I look forward to in January it’s playoff football on the weekends. I am an unapologetic Patriots fan, and tomorrow they face off against the Steelers in the AFC Championship. It should be a great game; the Steelers are the perfect match up. Pittsburgh has been one of the hottest teams for the last month or so, and the Patriots are at the pinnacle of the AFC, setting out for their drive for five. I’m expecting a shootout. Of course, I’m hoping the Patriots come out on top, and I have full faith in them that they can. It will be historic that’s for sure. Both teams have a lot on the line.

In honor of tomorrow’s game, I compiled two looks for game day that are both cute and perfect for cheering on your team whether you’re on the couch or in the stands.

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Tomorrow I will be watching the game from the comfort of my home, so I keep my outfits cozy. On game days, I’m typically wearing sweats, my Patriots socks, and slippers. If I really feel like it I’ll wear my beanie. Sometimes I have to take my dog out during the games so the beanie definitely comes in handy then!

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These slippers might as well be my “Sunday slippers”.I’m almost always wearing them on game day!

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This next look is for those fans who are either out and about on game day or lucky enough to be at the game in person.

I recently got this white vest and I love it. It’s pretty versatile; it can be worn in a sporty or girly fashion. Today I was out and about so I opted for my white vest and my beanie since it’s championship weekend. If I had the pleasure of actually being at the game tomorrow night, I’d wear something along these lines. I think it’s cute but not too much, and with a few more layers it would be enough to keep warm.

I am soooo excited for tomorrow! I can’t wait to kick back and root for my team.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Go Pats!

Couturely Sound ❤

What is it About Sports?

Getty Images/ Ezra Shaw

Hey everyone! I hope you are all doing well. Yesterday was a big day for dads and a big day for sports. My dad is a big golf fan, so he was thrilled to watch the PGA US Open, especially on Father’s Day. I can’t say that when I started watching it with him I wasn’t interested. Though golf is widely accepted as boring, I have a lot of repspect for what golfers do. It’s difficult in different ways than basketball, or football, or soccer. I didn’t watch the entire US Open, but I was able to witness some of Dustin Johnson’s last strokes to secure the title. He put out a great performance, so I would say the title was well deserved. In all honesty, the US Open wasn’t something that I had waited all week for; I didn’t even know when it was happening. I saw my dad watching it, so I just joined in.  However I was waiting in anticipation for Game 7 of the NBA Finals. After an entire season of basketball filled with a fired coach, a 73-win  record-breaking season, a unanimous MVP, media frenzy, upsets, chokes, and suspensions, I was ready. It was going to be a good battle. Steph Curry and his Warriors vs LeBron James and his titleless Cavs. All season there was kind of a rivalry between them in the media, and both parties faced lots of criticism. All of the extra stuff aside, it was an awesome game. I was nervous the entire time. I got fired up. The game stayed close, making it the most competitive game in the series, and in the final minute when both teams were tied at 89, the suspense was killing me. That is what sports should be all about! What’s the fun in a blowout? It should all come down to the wire. Kyrie Irving shot a three making the Cavs go up 92-89. LeBron shot a free throw afterwards and that pretty much sealed the deal. The Cavs dethroned the Warriors as NBA champions. I was a neutral party in the game. I’m neither a Cavs nor Warriors fan. I respect a lot of the players though, and looking at the whole picture I’m glad Cleaveland was able to pull through. They came back from a 3-1 deficit, and honestly I’m not sure LeBron wold have ever lived it down if he lost another finals. Also, Cleaveland  had never won an NBA title , and since the lovely people of northeastern Ohio are  stuck with the Browns,the Cavs needed to win a championship for the city. I was super hyped up after the game. That’s just what sports do to me even if I’m not a fan of any particular team playing.

Getty Images/ Ezra Shaw

Getty Images

The game got me thinking about how big of a deal sports are in this country and around the world. It probably impacts your everyday life more than you think because we hold a high regard for sports. We have a sports culture. During the game I was on Twitter, and of course all of the trending topics  were either about the US Open or the NBA Finals. It’s amazing how fast sporting events can get people talking and interacting. So I guess you could say sports impact social media. There’s also memes. No one will ever forget Michael Jordan as long as his crying face meme exists. Let’s just say you don’t want to be a loser because you will be a victim of Photoshop featuring crying Michael Jordan hahaha. Social media, Twitter especially, puts hater culture and bandwagons on display. Some of the memes are pretty savage, but funny all the same. There’s also snapchat filters and all of that extra stuff that contribute to sports’ dominance over the Internet.

Westwood via larrybrownsports

Sports make a lot of money. Think about how bankable it is. There’s merchandise, and tickets, and video games like 2K or Madden. The average ticket price at a Super Bowl is around $3,000 and the cheapest seat at last night’s NBA Finals was $735. To anyone who complains about the amount athletes get paid, stop watching games and buying jerseys. They  are indirectly paid by consumers when you think about it. I stopped complaining a long time ago.

And what about fashion? Numerous athletes have sneaker lines among other things. There’s an entire sports market in the fashion world. Once again, Jordan will always be remembered because of his shoes.

Image Source via Nicekicks

Sports are catalysts for social activity. They connect people in more ways than one. Think about March Madness with all of the competing brackets, or fantasy football. Sports unite cities and countries. I’m sure people in other countries have their share of hardships, but if their team wins the World Cup everything’s okay for a little while. It gives people a sense of belonging and togetherness. It gives people an identity, but it’s also a basis for stereotypes. What would a Pats fan say about person they clash with? Probably something along the lines of,”Oh they’re probably Jets fans.” Sports give us reason to throw parties and eat and talk to people. They give us something to do.

I guess my point is that sports are personified in this country and in the world alike. We value our athletes and take pride in them, putting them on pedestals. I know I do it. Why do you think countries send athletes to the Olympics (super excited for those by the way!) ? It’s to bring their country pride. I’m no sociologist, so I don’t really know what it is about sports that hypes humans up and starts bar fights. What I do know is that sports have a humongous impact on our culture, and that I love them.

AP via New York Post

I hope you all have a great week! Thanks for reading!

Couturely Sound 🙂