Editorial Notebook: U.S. soccer frenzy – deep or superficial?

03 Jul

Published: Thursday, Jul. 1, 2010 – 12:00 am | Page 14A
Like many U.S. soccer fans, I was bummed when Ghana knocked Team USA out of the World Cup. Like other patriots, I had bought into the hype that our red, white and blue boys, led by Landon Donovan, would storm into the round of eight and possibly advance to the semifinals.
Lose to Ghana? Not a chance.
Yet, as they say, reality bites. And for U.S. soccer, humility rules. Although Team USA made a good showing, the nation’s soccer elite still has some work to do to compete with superteams such as Brazil, Argentina and Spain.
Still, there may be an upside to Team USA’s downfall.

For weeks, I’ve been yearning to watch World Cup games at a favorite watering hole, such as de Vere’s Irish Pub. Yet for weeks, the throngs of newly hatched soccer fans have packed such places.

It’s easy to understand the fan frenzy. When Donovan scored the winning goal for Team USA against Algeria, it was an electrifying moment.
From my living room in midtown Sacramento, I could hear a roar go up from nearby apartments as Donovan saved the day.
Within hours after that match, one of my neighbors purchased a vuvuzela, one of those dreaded plastic horns that have turned the World Cup into a hum of mind-numbing noise. Ever since, my wife and I have been treated to annoying honks at all hours.
As a longtime soccer fan, I realize I shouldn’t be a snob. I should welcome that U.S sports fans are finally embracing international soccer with gusto. In a small way, it helps unite us with the rest of the world.
Even so, I can’t help but wonder if the recent U.S. soccer frenzy is a mile wide and an inch deep. I will find out Friday, when Brazil faces the Netherlands in what promises to be one of the best World Cup matchups yet.
Perhaps then I’ll be able to secure a stool at de Vere’s, far away from any vuvuzelas.

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