The United States national soccer team will play against the Netherlands in the round of 16 next Saturday. They eliminated Iran and a team from the United Kingdom, a country where they speak the same language but soccer fans abhor the word “soccer.” They only play “football” there. Football defeated Welsh football in Qatar.
In this book It’s football, not football (and vice versa) Scientists Stefan Szymanski and Silke-Maria Wink have come to a clear conclusion. In short, this means that in countries where other ball sports are more popular than football, the latter sport has never been able to claim the name “soccer” exclusively.
are you still there? Well, more specifically. Sports are called soccer Where players can take the ball (usually oval-shaped) in their hands.
In those countries, the most popular sport in the world is called football.
Does it matter? You might say there wouldn’t have been much if it weren’t for the fact that in recent weeks there has been a lot of talk in the public debate about ‘football culture’. Especially its absence in countries like Qatar. Voitstots has assumed that there is a single football culture, while football nations in particular have shown that this is nonsense. Especially in America, where soccer has, to put it mildly, a different social meaning than soccer. That’s why it was nice for the United States to play against two national soccer teams in the preliminary round: Wales (1-1) and England (0-0).
In those countries, soccer is king, and there is a macho culture surrounding the sport, with aggressive fans and chants against women, gays and refugees. In America, soccer is primarily a girls’ sport. Secondly, it is a leftist sport, a game of “liberals”, “blue states”, “Obama people” or even “communist flowers”, in other words: leftist sissies. This qualification dates back to the early 1980s, when he was a young reporter from New York times He asked his boss if he could cover football. “Don’t waste your time, kid,” the sports boss said, followed by the now-famous quote.
There is another, more famous saying. “I think it’s important for young people to know that in real football, you kick and throw the ball, run with it and squeeze it into someone’s hands. We must make a clear distinction: football is a democratic and capitalist sport, while soccer is a socialist European sport.” The quote comes from Republican politician Jack Kemp, from an impassioned appeal he made against organizing the World Cup in his country, and it wasn’t long before presidential candidate Robert Dole chose him as his running mate.
Recently, a well-known American columnist described football as “not individual enough”. In baseball, a person stands alone on a mound, in basketball, the star player regularly scores half the points, and in American football it is all about the playmaker, nicknamed the “quarterback.”
“Football is democratic and capitalist, while football is a socialist European sport.”
Right-wing America hates soccer so much because it owes its popularity to a counter-movement that emerged nearly fifty years ago, the movement of white hippies who have now settled with their children in the green suburbs of the 1970s. There they allowed their sons to play European football. Why? If you ask the Americans, you are right: because they are anti-American, flag-burning, and self-hating. If you ask them, they will say: Because we wanted our children to do something different, something European.
Something less militaristic than football in particular. The manager of the Washington Diplomats, the team where Cruyff played his second American season, was very happy with the Dutch star because he had proven “that a skinny little guy can be a great star”.
The manager told me this years after the team disbanded, when I wrote a book about Cruyff’s American years. I later also discovered that Cruyff looked with horror at the anti-competitive attitude surrounding soccer in the United States, especially among parents and youth. Some youth leagues couldn’t even keep track of goals. This would stimulate the desire to stress too much. “It’s absolutely ridiculous,” Cruyff thought.
The Brazilian Pele loved it, that completely different footballing culture. When he bid farewell to the crowd in New York after three seasons (playing for the Cosmos), he had the entire stadium roar “Love” three times in a row. Pictures from the stands during that farewell match of sorts appear Poetry, musical. They bring to mind the term “communist flowers” and bring us into the surreal present, where Western European countries want their leaders to wear “one love” bracelets, while their football culture has a strong taboo on homosexuality.
In America it’s different. The red and white stadiums of the NFL’s National Shield are regularly painted in rainbow colours, and not just in Qatar or in protest. “As an association, we want to celebrate and promote diversity,” the president said last week. New York times. The US women’s team, the world champion, includes several openly gay players, and the majority of men who win soccer at the World Gay Games are American.
However, hostility towards the word ‘football’ in the UK is not primarily about sexual orientation or left-wing sympathies. The class struggle plays a greater role, as scholars say in their book about the battle between football and soccer. This has to do with the origin of the word s. It exists in Oxbridge circles. About 150 years ago, the word football originated as a corruption of soccer. It was a time when the British elite liked to shorten all kinds of words to ‘er’. For example, students called Radcliffe Camera, a bookshop in Oxford, ‘rader’, rugby meant ‘roger’, and breakfast meant not ‘breakfast’ but ‘breaker’.
Because of football’s elitist origins, the use of the word in British working-class circles has acquired an aura of class betrayal. Real men play football. This was followed by confirmation on the other side of the ocean, where soccer is a sport for girls and rich kids.
Of course, soccer in the United States has traditionally been very popular among residents of Latin American origin – and there are a fair number of those in the United States. But this changes little of the political connotation of the sport. In simpler terms, of the 25 million Americans expected to watch the round of 16 in America (compared to the 112 million who watch the annual football final, the Super Bowl), only a small fraction will vote for Donald Trump. soccer? Or not: Football… Sports are always at odds with oat milk and electric cars. Come and try it in Holland.
In this blog you do the green A report on the World Cup in Qatar in the coming weeks – a report on human rights, abuses, the media circus and perhaps sometimes football.
Tv fanatic. Freelance thinker. Social media enthusiast. Total bacon lover. Communicator.