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Post Posted: Tue Jan 16, 2007 11:19 am 
 

Aneoth wrote:lol......... you must not have any kids..............
My friend's kids and my grandkids all play soccer to the detriment of everything else. Soccer may not hold any sway for the good ole' boys who love American Football, but the kids are growing up and once they do, they will eventually replace us ole' fogies as sports fans. The sport they will be fans of will most likely be Soccer, not American Football.
Unless of course it is baseball once again........


         When I was a kid in the late 70s and early 80s, my youngest brother and all his friends played soccer.  All my friends younger brothers played soccer.  When my friends had kids, and with my own stepkids, they all played soccer growing up.  The prediction was, when that generation came of age soccer would be "huge" in the US. Doesn't matter.  When they get of a certain age, they switch sports to Baseball or Football, or if they are tall enough, Basketball.  Soccer is now and will always be #5 or lower when it comes to professional sports in America.  For the last 25 years I keep hearing how soccer interest is growing, yet all the stats say it's been stagnant in the US.
         Everytime a World Cup or Olympics rolls around, the american soccer association thinks this is the time it will catch the imagination of the American public.  And everytime, there is a really tiny bump in interest, that quickly fades. There are just far too many obstacles to soccer's growth in the US, not the most which is the US play is just not up to world standards; witness the US team getting it's ass handed to them every World Cup trial or Olympics.  Hell, the US Women's won the Olympics a few years ago and that did absolutely nothing for interest in the long run.  One of my best friends played soccer in high school, now coaches soccer in Tennessee.  He's been coaching for 15 years. His girls won seven straight state championships, his boys won several but not in a row, and he still says his best players are transplants that some in from Mexico, Dominican Republic, Europe and elsewhere.
         The other problem is that few people want to sit for several hours to watch a 0-0 tie, or a hardfought 1-0 win.  In the US we are spoiled by the high scoring of sports like basketball and football, and that colors our enjoyment of low scoring sports (look how many people hate a 1-0 baseball game, that could be a thing of of beauty if a pitcher has thrown an incredible game).  Hockey almost lost everything  a few years back, and they've had to change rules that were the core of the sport for decades to eliminate the tie. Plus scoring is also up in hockey, and they did all this to try and get the fan's interest back.  Americans HATE ties; you either are a winner or loser in our eyes!!! I truly think that was one of the number one reasons for Hockey's rules changes. Also Americans aver very, very egotistical; we are not the best in the world in soccer like we are in football, basketball and baseball, so we get pissed when a bunch of foreigners kick the crap out of us!  
    (BTW, despite Olympics loses, the Americans are far superior in Basketball....the artificial formats where superstars are plucked from various teams and basically have a month to practice together is not equal to a Brazilian, European or Chinese team that play together every night for years.  Plus our greatest stars like Kobe, Lebron, etc no longer take the time out to play in the Olympics. Take, say, the Kobe-led LA Lakers or Lebron-led Cleveland Cavaliers and put them on the court against a foreign team, they would probably win every game by 20+ pts)
  So I predict a slight bump when Beckham comes to LA; after everyone's curiousity is satisfied, things go back to normal.  

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Post Posted: Tue Jan 16, 2007 11:35 am 
 

bombadil wrote:Au contraire, mon ami, all 3 of my kids play soccer!

My son has been on the regional travel team for the past 2 years, and I can attest to what you're saying.  Every time we travel out to Pittsburgh to get our asses kicked by the local teams, I'm amazed at the level of participation in the sport by kids in this country.  And by the level of skill.  You're absolutely right, in a few years it will be much bigger here than it is now, but among childless adult men in this country soccer is nothing more than a 4-th ranked distraction.[/b]


Actually this is another factor in soccer's inability to catch on; when you get to the high school level, coaching expertise in the public school drops dramatically.  Unless you play select or club soccer, you are really not playing with the best. Most kids who can't afford it (My nephew just got into select soccer; I was laughting my ass off at my brother when I saw the bills he's paying, his daughter is also in select volleyball!!!!) will stick with the "free" public sports at their jr. high and high school. So most kids in public high school instead switch to another sport.   The friend I mentioned above who coaches in Memphis is exceptional; before he came to the school, they would win maybe one game a year. Most of the athletic kids therefore played football or baseball. He had to literally roam the halls and get kids to come try out for the soccer team when he became coach. Under his tutelege they were winning state championships within a season...with the same kids!!!!  The level of coaching was so poor he would outcoach teams for wins, because their soccer coaches were failed football or wrestling coaches...!  Sadly (for the kids) he was finally lured by money and teaches at a private school where they churn out soccer stars for college.  
 By contrast, the best football coaches in football stay in the High schools; the same with basketball.  I am not 100% sure that's true in baseball because I've seen some really good select baseball leagues, but I know that's the truth of football and basketball.  It certainly isn't true of soccer where the coach may be a former football coach at best.  Unless more really good coaches like my friend decide to forgo big paydays and move to high school, soccer will never catch on outside of specialty circles...it will never be the mainstream sport many envision.  

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Post Posted: Tue Jan 16, 2007 12:08 pm 
 

Badmike wrote:The level of coaching was so poor he would outcoach teams for wins, because their soccer coaches were failed football or wrestling coaches...!  


I think you got to the heart of it right there, Mike.  On top of it, it's damned hard to teach your own kid any skills or strategies for a sport you never played yourself.


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Post Posted: Tue Jan 16, 2007 4:17 pm 
 

gyg wrote:Couldn't help having a bit more of a rant!?
This is all a bit lost on us Brits - though I do follow the NFL, the minutae of it is a little irrelevant to me, lets face it there isn't the passion for your 'football' here than there obviously is there.
And speaking of proper 'football' (Kidding!) - the big news in the UK is that David Beckham is likely to be coming to LA very soon - on a reported £125 for 5 years. I'm interested to know if this is in the news on the other side of the pond and if anyone has any opinions either way. (FWIW he seems like a nice guy, a family man with a down to earth attitude - if that can be said of someone who earns millions for kicking a ball around)


I read that Beckham was coming here...and I almost yawned with excitement!  :lol:

But...Beckham's arrival in the US can only help soccer.  In the US, soccer is the biggest girls' sport.  It has many male players too, but soccer will never have the true following that football enjoys in the US.

Mark   8)


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Post Posted: Tue Jan 16, 2007 4:28 pm 
 

sleepyCO wrote:
Mark, I must be getting old---Bosworth played for Seattle, not Denver :?:  :?: ; I don't remember Denver even signing Bosworth as what would now be a free agent, much less drafting him.


Bosworth pulled a huge trick on Denver fans during his rookie season with Seattle.

Bosworth deliberately made some negative comments in order to hype up the rivalry between the Seahawks and the Broncos.  For one, he said that John Elway (who does have a bit of horse face) reminded him of Mr. Ed.
(A famous television horse.)

Well...with all of the hype about Bosworth and his comments, Denver fans were ready to hate him.  And, turns out that there was a compnay selling T-shirts that helped them hate Bosworth.....

Many many thousands of Broncos fans showed up at the Seattle/Denver game wearing orange and blue T-shirts that had slogans like, "Boz Busters" and the word "Boz" in a crossed-out circle.  The grandstands at Mile High Stadium were almost completely orange with those T-shirts.

I understand that the sales of each type of T-shirt ran into the hundreds of thousands in the weeks before the game.  It certainly looked like it on TV....

BUT...turns out it was Bosworth's OWN COMPANY that printed and sold the shirts.  Bosworth made about $10 per Boz Busters T-shirt.

So, the joke was on the Denver fans, who paid Bosworth well over a million dollars to hate him while he laughed his ass off.

The city of Seattle laughed for weeks when Bosworth revealed his plan in a television interview after the game.

Mark


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Post Posted: Tue Jan 16, 2007 5:00 pm 
 

Badmike wrote:
 Hell, the US Women's won the Olympics a few years ago and that did absolutely nothing for interest in the long run.  
Mike B.


What is really funny and pertinent about your quote, Mike, is that you totally forgot to mention that the American women's soccer team also won the World Cup not long ago.

Most Americans either did not hear about it at the time, or they have long forgotten.

It is difficult for soccer to make much of an inroad in America...because it does not fit our American definition of excitement.  It is not brutal, flashy, high-scoring or fast enough.  (No...missing a kick does not count as "fast" in America.)

(Consider that the fastest growing and most watched sport in America is NASCAR auto racing.  NASCAR epitomizes fast, brutal and flashy.)

As I said just a bit ago, the soccer is huge...among girls.  Boys have a lot better options...they tend to grow out of soccer.  

Even the adult males in their 20's that played soccer in high school tend to be fans of football, baseball or (America's fading thug-sport) basketball.  They still tune in to a World Cup soccer match, but it is hard to be a soccer fan in America, where the sport is hard to find on television and invisible in the sports news.

Also...participation in organized sports in general is eroding in America.  There are many reasons, but among them are a decline in functional families (you can go it alone, but organized sports generally require family support and male role-models) and the rise of individual "sports" such as skateboarding or snowboarding.

Mark   8)


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Post Posted: Tue Jan 16, 2007 7:01 pm 
 

Ah, Womens football. Don't like the game much, but when they swap shirts at the end.... :lol:
(another one for the old jokes graveyard)


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Post Posted: Tue Jan 16, 2007 11:29 pm 
 

MShipley88 wrote:Also...participation in organized sports in general is eroding in America.  There are many reasons, but among them are a decline in functional families (you can go it alone, but organized sports generally require family support and male role-models) and the rise of individual "sports" such as skateboarding or snowboarding.


Interesting comment. Since I have young kids, I'd like to know what you think school teams will be like 10 years from now.

Also, when you say organized sports, do you mean team sports? And there are many individual sports that require immense family support. An example, I give my wife's cousins' participation in cross-country skiing.

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Post Posted: Wed Jan 17, 2007 1:24 am 
 

When I say organized sports I mean team sports.

However, there is a general fall-off in participation in all levels of high school sports.  Kids have to work...or they have to take care of their family responsibilities...or they don't have the money to sign up...or a ride home...or a parent who is guiding them to stick with a sport when it turns out to be demanding in some way...or they just don't have anyone encouraging them to sign up.

Soccer may be an exception because it is so predominantly a sport of upper class, white families who's moms often perceive it as more "safe" than other sports.  The students from those families generally have more emotional and financial support than kids from other backgrounds.

I expect team sports in America to be at about the same levels they are now ten years from now...but the erosion is slow and steady.

For an example...consider all of the marketing of "street basketball" in recent years.  Kids who used to turn out for the high school team do not have the time/money/grades/family support...so they play informally on the school's outdoor hoops...so commercials meant to sell to their age group often strike the pretense that "street" ball is somehow where the real action is.

Name an NBA player/thug who made the league from "street" basketball.

This year, my son's football games were against numerous Seattle and Tacoma area varsity teams that fielded only 30 or so players.  The number used to be 60+ for even smaller 4A schools.  

I'm sure the numbers differ by region.

Mark   8)


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Post Posted: Wed Jan 17, 2007 8:43 am 
 

Appreciate the post!

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Post Posted: Wed Jan 17, 2007 8:53 pm 
 

MShipley88 wrote:When I say organized sports I mean team sports.

Soccer may be an exception because it is so predominantly a sport of upper class, white families who's moms often perceive it as more "safe" than other sports.  The students from those families generally have more emotional and financial support than kids from other backgrounds.

Mark   8)


Sure is different over here in Ireland... Soccer is almost exclusively a working class sport. A guy from my grammar school who played for Manchester United and still plays for Northern Ireland was not  allowed time off to play soccer for his local club while he was at school because the only accepted winter sports were Rugby Union or Field Hockey.

Soccer is THE ubiquitous sport. To hear it described as predominantly the sport of the offspring of the upper class in the US is bizarre (and yet I do not doubt the truth of it for a minute).

The difference in class between sports in the UK is quite marked: captaincy of the england cricket team almost demands a Cambridge degree (Flintoff exluded, and Strauss was at Durham), the ex-international and new director of rugby union, Rob Andrew got a first class honours degree at Cambridge. The present coach of Ulster (another old boy of my school) and ex irish international has a law degree from Queens University Belfast.
In contrast a soccer player is derided if he has more than one O level (exam taken at 16).

Of course, soccer players seem to earn several times more than cricketers  or rugby players......

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Post Posted: Wed Jan 17, 2007 9:19 pm 
 

obiter wrote:
Sure is different over here in Ireland... Soccer is almost exclusively a working class sport.


Interesting approach for a sport that can earn you more than a rock star.  :lol:

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Post Posted: Thu Jan 18, 2007 12:32 am 
 

You may have heard the term "soccer mom" in the American media.

It denotes a wealthy white woman who drives her kids to soccer practice in the family mini-van (with anti-lock brakes).  

The cliche' soccer mom is light on intellect and slightly left-leaning in her politics...because the local Democrat is so handsome...and because she heard somewhere that she's supposed to have certain opinions.  ("I mean, everyone knows....")

Of course, as a teacher in one of our state's poorer districts, my definition of "wealthy" includes a number of people who would consider themselves middle class.

The American political left has coined a similar term to describe the blue collar males who typically vote Republican.....

A "NASCAR Dad" is blue collar, lives in the Midwest or South, drives a pickup truck, works hard for a living and is usually right-leaning in his politics.  Whether he's smart or dumb makes no difference because he ain't got time fer pacifists, hippies er whining lefties.  

If the NASCAR Dads were in charge right now, Iraq would either be empty of Americans...or empty of all life.  They know how to deal with people who make problems.

NASCAR Dads like football, possibly baseball...and NASCAR.  They consider soccer to be European...where it ought to stay.

Mark   :lol:


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Post Posted: Thu Jan 18, 2007 1:48 am 
 

There probably is no equivalent to Title IX in most of the world; be warned if you don't have it---a LOT of men's swimming, track, wrestling, golf, baseball, gymnastics, etc. teams have been dropped, in part or large part because of the insanity that Title IX rulings and policies have  forced on colleges and even high schools.  With a projection of far more women than men in colleges (by percentage), the rulings of Title IX will force more cuts in college men's teams, and yes even high school boys' teams, in almost every sport.  When cheerleading is now considered a "sport" in some colleges and state high schools . . . .

On another subject, I think that one player who came from street ball is Rafer Alston, now with Houston (formerly with Toronto and Miami), aka "Skip to My Lou" from the AND-1 tours; seems also that a fair number of current players at some point did or still do play street ball in the summer leagues like the Rucker league in New York.
Also, remember once that dribbling between your legs, passing behind your back, "no-look" passes, and even the alley-oop dunk were probably considered "street ball" in the days of guys like Bob Cousy, Pete Maravich and even later Magic Johnson among other NBA legends.

  

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Post Posted: Thu Jan 18, 2007 10:04 am 
 

sleepyCO wrote:There probably is no equivalent to Title IX in most of the world; be warned if you don't have it---a LOT of men's swimming, track, wrestling, golf, baseball, gymnastics, etc. teams have been dropped, in part or large part because of the insanity that Title IX rulings and policies have  forced on colleges and even high schools.  With a projection of far more women than men in colleges (by percentage), the rulings of Title IX will force more cuts in college men's teams, and yes even high school boys' teams, in almost every sport.  When cheerleading is now considered a "sport" in some colleges and state high schools . . . .

On another subject, I think that one player who came from street ball is Rafer Alston, now with Houston (formerly with Toronto and Miami), aka "Skip to My Lou" from the AND-1 tours; seems also that a fair number of current players at some point did or still do play street ball in the summer leagues like the Rucker league in New York.
Also, remember once that dribbling between your legs, passing behind your back, "no-look" passes, and even the alley-oop dunk were probably considered "street ball" in the days of guys like Bob Cousy, Pete Maravich and even later Magic Johnson among other NBA legends.


For those who don't know, Title IX is the ruling that gives exactly as much public school money to women's "sports" as men sports...despite the fact that 95% of women's sports don't contribute financially to a institution and thus dont' pay back the investment (contrasting a college football team's earnings with any other women's sport is ludicrous, as say the UT football team earns as much as every single women's sport in every single college in Texas added together).  The result has some interesting dynamics....a lot of the marginal women's sports (women's soccer, volleyball, hockey, softball) have been getting more money and thus more popularity; however, marginal men's sports (wrestling, weightlifting, golf, track) are being dropped altogether to make up the difference, and a lot of those interested in these sports are having to move to private schools or universities.  For example, a once "working class" sport like wrestling is becoming more and more stratified as most high schools and colleges can no longer afford to carry it, so only private colleges or very wealthy high school districts carry it any longer.  Also, as a result, men's sports that were once attainable by an "average" person such as gymnastics, tennis and golf, have moved entirely into the upper class and are completely unaffordable to any youngsters who might be interested.
  Interestingly, I think this has had a huge effect on the popularity of Nascar in the american public....Nascar being perceived as the ultimate "blue collar" sporting event.  Look at the waning popularity of such "white collar" sports as tennis (which has pretty much completely dropped off the map) and golf (if not for Tiger, this sport might be dead....our two local golf championships, the Nelson and the Colonial, have horrible attendance and ratings any year Tiger doesn't show up).
   Title IX shows the danger of becoming too dependent on the government teet for money and support...if you want their money, you are going to have to play by their rules.

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Post Posted: Thu Jan 18, 2007 10:27 am 
 

Badmike wrote:
..if you want their money, you are going to have to play by their rules.

Mike B.


And of course it goes without saying that if they (the gov't) want OUR money, they should be obliged to play by our (the citizens) rules...at least I think that's what it said in my 8th grade civics book.  Funny how things have gotten so turned around.


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Post Posted: Thu Jan 18, 2007 10:46 am 
 

Badmike wrote: (contrasting a college football team's earnings with any other women's sport is ludicrous, as say
the UT football team earns as much as every single women's sport in every single college in Texas added together). Mike B.


I suspect your estimate here is actually quite conservative.  When one figures in the alumni support and donations that football brings in...with the increased prestige that the national championship brought UT...it could be two to three times the revenue...maybe four...five?


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Post Posted: Fri Jan 19, 2007 12:43 am 
 

MShipley88 wrote:A "NASCAR Dad" is blue collar, lives in the Midwest or South, drives a pickup truck, works hard for a living and is usually right-leaning in his politics.  Whether he's smart or dumb makes no difference because he ain't got time fer pacifists, hippies er whining lefties.  

If the NASCAR Dads were in charge right now, Iraq would either be empty of Americans...or empty of all life.  They know how to deal with people who make problems.

NASCAR Dads like football, possibly baseball...and NASCAR.  They consider soccer to be European...where it ought to stay.

Mark   :lol:



LMAO, I haven't heard this expression yet, but living in the predominantly white Ru-Burbs of georgia (a county that 10-15 years ago was mainly forest or farmlands but is now growing into a ways out suburb of Atlanta for people who WANT to drive 1 1/2 hours to work each way) this is a perfect decription of MANY of the residents.

  

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Post Posted: Fri Jan 19, 2007 12:56 am 
 

The term was coined by the Chairman of the Democratic National Committee....head of the Democrat party....I can't remember his name at the moment.

He said that the Democrats had to do a better job of reaching the NASCAR Dads.


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Post Posted: Fri Jan 19, 2007 10:25 pm 
 

The term "NASCAR Dad" evidently surfaced in 2002 or so.

Here's one cited source:
[Democratic pollster Celinda] Lake suggested the Democrats should aim to improve their performance among working-class men, who she referred to as "NASCAR dads," over the target suggested by Democratic pollster Mark Penn of aiming for upscale suburban men, a Republican-leaning group he called "office park dads." "NASCAR dads are a better opportunity for us," she said.

From Word Spy - NASCAR dad


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