European, liberal and not violent enough: Does America really ‘hate soccer?’

The Rio Report

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Everyone’s favourite American conservative talking head Ann Coulter has turned her inimitable skills to an assessment of football.

[COULTER: AMERICA'S FAVOURITE NATIONAL PASTTIME: HATING SOCCER]

Well, of course she refers to it as “soccer”. And it’s not so much an “assessment” as a stream-of-consciousness rant about why she doesn’t like it.

Let’s take a look at why Ms Coulter objects to football to such an extent that she suspects it will precipitate the nation's moral decay...

1) Matches last too long.

In her very first sentence, she claims to have not bothered writing about the game “for a decade -- or about the length of the average soccer game”. Really? 90 minutes plus 15 minutes for half-time is somehow longer – or in any way feels longer – than the day-long extravaganzas of baseball and American football?

2) There is no scope for individual achievement.

She hates the idea that the World Cup gives us no stars, but is reliant solely on team effort. Tell that to Lionel Messi, or Neymar, or Toto Schillaci, or Maradona, or Gordon Banks, or Bobby Moore, or Pele. (Or Homare Sawa, or Marta, or Hope Solo, or Mia Hamm.) “Do they even have MVPs in soccer?” she wails. Well, we don’t call it that, but yes, we do. Alex Buttner can tell you all about it.

3) It’s European and liberal...

She spends three paragraphs drawing parallels between football (European and bad) and the metric system (also European and bad, possibly seditious due to being invented in France post-Revolution, presumably as a more accurate way to measure the blades needed to cut off aristocrats’ heads).

3a) ...and other non-European foreigners like it as well.

Ms Coulter is in no doubt: “I promise you: No American whose great-grandfather was born here is watching soccer. One can only hope that, in addition to learning English, these new Americans will drop their soccer fetish with time.” In effect, she is accusing Hulk Hogan – a Real American if ever there was one – of being some kind of imposter.

4) Girls and women can play it.

She makes the incorrect assertion that all football is “co-ed”, ie mixed gender; and then scathingly notes: “In soccer, the women's games are as thrilling as the men's.” The beauty of our football is that everyone can play it. And you don’t need a (metric) tonne of equipment to protect yourself from a tackle.

5) There aren’t enough goals.

Ms Coulter doesn’t like 0-0 draws at all. Her entire manifesto is based on the misapprehension that if there isn’t a goal, it can’t be entertaining; and if there isn’t a goal, people just aren’t trying hard enough.

6) It’s not violent or humiliating enough.

Exhibit A: Luis Suarez.

It’s probably safe to say that Coulter won’t be watching (the European) Juergen Klinsmann’s USA side take on (the European) Germany later today…but as she points out herself, probably 18 million other Americans within the US alone will be. It does seem that football is a growing interest in the US, and Coulter’s soccer hatred is looking just as outdated as, well, the American insistence on retaining the imperial system of measurement.

Carrie Dunn | Follow on Twitter @carriesparkle

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