Print Columns   |   Web Chats   |   Blog Archives   |  

America's Most Prominent Soccer Hater, Reporting for Duty

With the World Cup hoopla at full force, I figured it was time for me to do my part for the cause. So when my friend Markus Guenther, Washington correspondent for a chain of German newspapers, proposed to publish a series of interviews with me on why Americans hate soccer, I was happy to help. I didn't know the stories would dub me "America's Most Prominent Soccer Hater," right up at the top in bold black headline type, but, well, there we are and here it is.

Here's the interview, as it has appeared in the Stuttgarter Nachrichten, the Westdeutscher Allgemeine and a slew of other German papers:

Q: Mr. Fisher, why do you hate soccer?

A: I don't hate soccer, I simply consider it a sport that is fun for kids to play, but lacks the complexity and drama that make for a great spectator sport. In America, interest in soccer is very high for children under 10 and then drops off gradually as kids get older, and by the time Americans reach adulthood, they generally have no further interest in the game.

Q: But it is unfair to bring up hooligans and riots in stadiums whenever soccer is mentioned. Soccer is also a widely popular sport for children and young people, even in the USA.

A: Yes, soccer is very popular as a participatory sport for kids in our country, and has been for three decades. But the sport has failed again and again to cross over into popularity either on television or at the stadium. The college game draws very few spectators and the professional league here is forever on the brink of collapse. We tend not to be interested in sports that attract hooligans and riots. In America, spectator sports tend to be family events, with a wholesome emphasis on community. People go out to a ballgame with children or with friends and the game is but one piece of a larger communal event, with cookouts, music, and cheering, as well as the fan's involvement in the personalities and prospects of a favorite team.

Q: Isn't soccer much more exciting than baseball, where the players spend most of the time just standing around bored?

A: Oh goodness no! There is no more exciting or tense game than baseball. Baseball is the only sport in which statistics over the course of more than a century of play can be compared directly, allowing fans to know instantly how today's players rate against those of decades ago. In every play in baseball, every player is on the move, calculating the likelihood of a ball being hit to a certain place. Baseball is very much a game of mathematics--of angles and percentages---and of intricate strategy. Soccer, by comparison, is a blunt instrument, a simple game that depends more on stamina and strength than on the eye-hand coordination, mental gamesmanship and unique combination of grace and power that baseball demands. Every comparison that I've seen concludes that the single most difficult task in all of sports is hitting a baseball thrown at 95 miles an hour.

Q: You once said that soccer is the favorite sport of Osama bin-Laden. Did you intend to compare all soccer fans in the world with terrorists?

A: That is certainly an overly dramatic exaggeration on my part, but there is a serious point behind it: Soccer's popularity in much of the world is sadly tied up with the most disturbing face of nationalism, and so when Americans see soccer fans waving national flags and chanting vile slogans against other nations, we are reminded of the horrors of terrorism and the unfortunate abuse of sports by terrorists and by nations. For many Americans, the rowdiness and nationalistic fervor surrounding soccer reminds us painfully of the Munich Olympics or the petty cancellations of the Olympic Games by the Soviet Union and the United States during the Cold War.

Q: In the USA, soccer is very popular as a youth sport. Millions of boys and even girls play soccer in American schools and clubs. Why hasn't soccer made it as a professional or TV sport in the USA?

A: As I noted earlier, soccer's failure to make the leap from children's game to big-time spectator sport is primarily a reflection of American fans' desire for a level of complexity and drama in their games that soccer cannot support. We tend to like sports that can accommodate stories about players, coaches and other personalities. Soccer, as a largely anonymous sport, doesn't fit. The game simply doesn't work on television because the field is so enormous that the players appear to be tiny. Fans therefore cannot form powerful emotional connections with their play.

Q: Soccer in the US is also growing through the immigration of central and south Americans. Will soccer ever meet or surpass baseball, basketball or football in popularity?

A: No. Most Latin American immigrants to the United States are baseball fans--even more so than many Americans, and baseball is quickly becoming a more Latin sport, both in the ethnic backgrounds of the players and in the composition of the fan base. Indeed, this year's first World Baseball Classic demonstrated baseball's increasingly strong following not only in central and south America, but in Korea, Japan and China. Many immigrants from Latin countries do play soccer here, and many follow their home country's national team. But their children who are raised here end up with only a passing interest in professional soccer. They may play soccer, but they want to follow American sports.

Q: The best result a US team ever achieved in the World Cup was when the 1930 team reached the semi-finals. Is it possible that Americans do not like soccer mainly because the US team has not yet been successful at the international level?

A: Certainly a U.S. team's success in the World Cup would boost the sport's ability to win TV coverage and notice from Americans, most of whom have no idea that the World Cup exists, let alone that it is occurring this month. But most Americans have no clue who is on the U.S. team or even that there is a U.S. team, so the past performance of that team is irrelevant. It's very nice for soccer-loving countries to have their little tournament, but to call it the World Cup is rather arrogant and overblown.

Q: How will the US team do this time?

A: I have no clue. I couldn't tell you the name of a single player. And more important, neither I nor 99 percent of Americans cares. Please enjoy your tournament!

(As the great--and, unfortunately, utterly apocryphal--legend of Uncle Don would put it, "There, that oughta hold the little b------s!")

By Marc Fisher |  June 12, 2006; 7:18 AM ET
Previous: Virginia Senate: Low Blows and the Hook(nose) | Next: Phil Merrill and the Vanishing Iconoclastic Publishers


Please email us to report offensive comments.

Well stroked, Marc! When they come around in four years you might mention:

1. If soccer were really worth anything, Dan Snyder would already own it.

2. They need to widen the nets so that there can be more scoring. 1-0 is nothing.

3. The "continuous play" (if you can call it play) makes it impossible to go to the bathroom or get a cold Budweiser.

4. The fake theatrics, falling down, shin-grabbing, and wincing is a product of managed economies where the government doles out favors. Competitive economies are about play-on.

5. The silly red-card, yellow-card stuff is denigrating. No one should be allowed to treat another human being in that fashion.

Posted by: Kalorama Kat | June 12, 2006 8:51 AM

1) Your not liking soccer is totally within your rights.

2) Sporting hooliganism in THIS country is perhaps LEAST associated with soccer, based on recorded fan behavior.

3) Again, you're free to like baseball and not like soccer. It's simply a matter of taste.

4) Take bin Laden out of your response and you're still being "overly dramatic." We (Americans) did not watch any of this weekend's World Cup games and hear echoes of genocide, unless we were paranoid, xenophobic or idiots. We watched sports.

5) Latin American immigrants baseball fans? Hello? Look in your own backyard. Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala -- all soccer-crazy nations. That is to say nothing of all the European, non-Latin Caribbean and African immigrants and refugees in the U.S. Ask the 400,000 Ethiopians in the D.C. area what a baseball is sometime.

6) MLS is a stable and growing league. Most of today's teenagers do not remember a time without it, or when the U.S. was not a regular participant in the World Cup. Pro soccer is now an American sport, like it or not.


I don't pretend to know that soccer will be the biggest sport in the States in 20 years, nor do I care whether you or anyone else who doesn't like soccer changes their mind.

But I think you've got a lot of this story wrong.

Have a great day.

Posted by: blinkscots | June 12, 2006 9:41 AM

You wrote: It's very nice for soccer-loving countries to have their little tournament, but to call it the World Cup is rather arrogant and overblown.

Now, over 180 countries participate in qualifying to attempt to make it to the World Cup tournament. To assume that it shouldn't be the "World Cup" because the US isn't involved or favored to win, well, THAT, would be arrogant and overblown.

It's amazing to me that you could even write the above sentence. You just reinforced the arrogant American stereotype to the German media. Nice work.

Posted by: ps | June 12, 2006 9:51 AM

Calling the World Cup such is arrogant and overblown because anything not involving the mainstream American isnt a world affair?

I propose we stop calling the World Series such, since clearly it involves only teams in two contries with players from myabe 15 or 20.

And if I'm not mistaken, the World Cup is watched by about 2 billion people, give or take a half billion. What does the World Series draw? maybe 20 or 30 million in a good year?

Posted by: Aaron Willis | June 12, 2006 9:56 AM

Soccer is overly nationalistic? Did you remember the "U-S-A" chanting 'hooigans' at recent olympic games?

I agree that soccer is less than exciting for most Americans, but your tone that if Americans don't like it that it is somehow deficient really falls in line with Americans' arrogance on the world stage these days.

You don't have to love it, but how about a little more respect for the world's most popular sport?

Posted by: Mandro | June 12, 2006 9:59 AM

And to Kat:

1. One NFL owner has realized that soccer is the real deal, Malcolm Glazer of the TB Buccaneers owns Manchester United, which has greater profits than do the Redskins.
2. A great game does not require a goalscoring explosion? Ever heard of no hitter in baseball, alot of runs there huh?
3. Plan ahead. Or maybe our short American attention span necessitates breaks in play every 8 seconds.
4. Embellishing fouls and economics clearly have nothing to do with one another. Apparently you and arrogance do.
5. What exactly is dehumanizing about cards? I suppose a manager in baseball getting eected is too.

Posted by: Aaron Willis | June 12, 2006 10:03 AM

blinkscots, ps, and Aaron Willis--

Are you Germans or Europeans or something? How can you bring yourselves to stick up for soccer (sometimes mistakenly called "football") and this silly sham of a "World" cup? You need to go to a Nats game and see what athletics is about. Most of us Latin American immigrants actually come to America to get away from soccer.

Posted by: Raoul Martinez | June 12, 2006 10:03 AM

This is the most idiotic thing I have ever read. How can you be so ignorant to say that calling the tournament "the World Cup" is arrogant and overblown? We call our baseball championship series "the World Series" and there are two countries participating.

More Americans care about this than you think. I am a huge American sports fan. O's, Ravens, and Terps are the teams I support until death, but I'll be cheering on the U.S. as hard I was cheering on the Ravens in the 2001 Super Bowl. I don't know anyone that is not interested in the game today. Who are these people that don't have an interest in this game? You must not know any sports fans.

Posted by: Chris | June 12, 2006 10:08 AM

It is too early in the morning for this. Is it satire or not? I can't tell.

Posted by: b | June 12, 2006 10:09 AM

I know Fisher was winding folks up with some of his comments -- maybe all, I don't know. So I'm not even touching the "little affair" stuff.

As for Raoul, I'm as American as beating Mexico in the World Cup.

Posted by: blinkscots | June 12, 2006 10:13 AM

Mark -

You're an idiot. If you can't see the complexity of soccer, you're not watching the game. It's painful for me to know that an ignoramus like you gets paid for NOT knowing about sports.

Posted by: Tom | June 12, 2006 10:21 AM

Oh, please, Marc! This is too easy; and if it weren't for the inappropriate remarks about terrorism one could think the dripping irony was intentional:

"In America, spectator sports tend to be family events, with a wholesome emphasis on community." A community of folding chair-throwing players and beer-throwing fans, then?

"...combination of grace and power that baseball demands" Power of the Barry Bonds style, I assume.

"nationalistic fervor" Yeah, I guess those "USA" chants at the 1980 Olympic Hockey Final were really meant to spell: United Soviet Allstars.

" call it the World Cup is rather arrogant and overblown." You mean as opposed to calling a few games between two cities the "World Series." Oh, wait -they're not cities, actually, but teams that get randomly relocated to the highest bidder in a cartel-like organization. With emphasis on wholesome community and competition and all, of course.

And the fact that you

Posted by: cpwdc | June 12, 2006 10:23 AM

"People go out to a ballgame with children or with friends and the game is but one piece of a larger communal event, with cookouts, music, and cheering, as well as the fan's involvement in the personalities and prospects of a favorite team."

Go to a DC United game, check out the cook outs in Lot 8. I guarantee there is more music and cheering at a DC United game, produced by the fans btw and not piped in.

"a simple game that depends more on stamina and strength than on the eye-hand coordination"

um yes by definition since other than the goalkeeper it is illegal to use your hands in soccer.

Winners of the NBA finals are "World Champions" how many foreign teams do they beat? Baseball's "World Series", how many foreign teams are involved? Yet these days the US can't seem to win any of the international basketball or baseball tournaments which involve foreign teams.

One word for you: idiot

Posted by: Tweaked | June 12, 2006 10:26 AM

By the way, twenty years ago soccer being more popular than hockey would have been absurd. Now, hockey is on the OLN and soccer is on ESPN. Even ARENA FOOTBALL is more popular than hockey. I'm not saying that soccer is going to beat out American football or basketball, but it is surely gaining on baseball.

By the way, my grandfather would have bet his last dime that no sport would ever overtake baseball, but now it is sitting precariously in third place. Incremental change has a way of surprising blowhard ideologues like the Marc Fisher.

Posted by: Troy | June 12, 2006 10:26 AM

I just submitted a clean comment and a box prompted me that it was being held for approval by the blog owner (Marc Fisher). I'll be very disappointed if he is stiffling comments that he does not agree with

Posted by: Anonymous | June 12, 2006 10:31 AM


Perhaps it would help folks understand if you more clearly labelled your writing as satire?

For example, I found your comment, "It's very nice for soccer-loving countries to have their little tournament, but to call it the World Cup is rather arrogant and overblown" to be a rather clever poke at folks in the U.S. who call the U.S. baseball championship "The World Series" without ever inviting the Japanese, the Cubans, or any other countries where "our" national pastime is especially popular.

Posted by: Pablo | June 12, 2006 10:36 AM

But is it satire?
I'm inclined to believe that Fisher believes about every word that he spouts.

Posted by: Aaron Willis | June 12, 2006 10:41 AM

Thus is the complexity of my relationship with Marc Fisher. Sometimes I read your stuff and think "Right on brother!" Then other times I read things like your opinions on dogs and soccer and think "Idiot!" Maybe we should go to couples counseling or something to work on this.

Posted by: joe | June 12, 2006 10:43 AM

I'm normally in agreement with Marc on the things he writes about, but this just blows me away. I, too, can't tell if this is satire. But if it isn't, I'm thoroughly disappointed in Marc. However, I'm very proud and stand alongside the true sports fans that have defended soccer from the baseless comments/accusations made by Marc. Good work, guys.

Posted by: Michael | June 12, 2006 10:46 AM

That has to be satire. I pray it is. PLEASE let it be satire.

Posted by: Chris K | June 12, 2006 10:49 AM


Leave the soccer bashing to morons like Kornheiser and go back to bashing Bobby Haircut and Peter Angelos.

Posted by: Matt | June 12, 2006 10:50 AM

You're a jackass - stick to sports you know about and don't run your ignorant piehole on ones you don't understand

Posted by: American Patriot | June 12, 2006 10:53 AM

About 500 Million people around the world will watch the World Cup Final.
About 70 Million people watched the Super Bowl.
American Football is not accepted as a Sports in the Olympics.

Posted by: RS | June 12, 2006 10:56 AM

The problem here is, when it's good satire by a skilled writer, then it is clear that it is satire. Not the case here.

Posted by: ugh | June 12, 2006 10:57 AM

thats like Bush calling Katrina "a little rain shower" good job!

Posted by: EdB | June 12, 2006 10:59 AM

"Calling the World Cup such is arrogant and overblown because anything not involving the mainstream American isnt a world affair?"

Well, really of 18 World Cups 16 have been held in Latin America and Europe. Soccer is more popular and has more of a following in the United States than in China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Iran, Thailand, Egypt and so forth. It is not a matter of USA vs the people who enjoy soccer. It's a matter of hyperbolic European and Latin American sports fans ignoring the reality of 1.5 billion Chinese, 1.3 billion Indians and the majority of people in the largest countries in the world.

Posted by: mark | June 12, 2006 11:01 AM

Well done Mark. Soccer is like a very, very, very slow and boring version of hockey.

Posted by: LoganCircleLou | June 12, 2006 11:01 AM

Hey, Aaron Willis, it's not just him. Marc needs to look up who Lamar Hunt is.

You know, AFL Lamar Hunt

Kansas City Chief's - owned by Lamar Hunt

Columbus Crew - owned by Lamar Hunt
Kansas City Wizard's - owned by Lamar Hunt
FC Dallas - owned by Lamar Hunt
Lamar Hunt US Open Cup

Posted by: American Patriot | June 12, 2006 11:02 AM

As a lover of the game, I usually tune out drivel such as this (ie, middle aged white American guy writing about how boring soccer is, etc etc). That said, two points to be made: one, the only thing more boring than soccer (at least according to the writer) has to be articles/stories from such writers. Secondly, as per the Kos blog in Sunday's Post, 90% of Latinos in the US cited soccer as their favorite sport (maybe collecting your data at Yankee stadium threw your statistical analysis off). In sum, please keep tuned into the Golf Channel, NASCAR, and the 4 hour Brewers-Royals game and enjoy. I'll continue to love the game in all its glory.

Posted by: bored about soccer is boring stories | June 12, 2006 11:09 AM

It's less than an hour before the States kick off their World Cup campaign. Nothing, not even this nonsense, is going to wipe the excited smile off my face. And at least I'm living in England right now, where football is anywhere and everywhere, which just reminds me why I love the game in the first place. Go US! :)

Posted by: Mir | June 12, 2006 11:11 AM

Obviously this is supposed to be funny. But it's still a display of extreme ignorance about a game that's enjoyed by way more people than the entire American population. You say spectators sports in America tend to be "family oriented with a wholesome emphasis on community". That has to be joke. Family-oriented with all the beer drinking, cursing, players fighting fans, players tossing chairs into the stands...If anything American spectators sports are anything but family oriented.

And where does America get off calling an intra-country competition "The World Series", calling the super bowl champions (an entirely national event) "World Champions"?

Posted by: Bart | June 12, 2006 11:11 AM

I guess this must be a satire..guess all forms of sports have its own drama and excitement. I think World cup soccer (football) is deifnitely the most exciting 'little' tournament in soccer

Posted by: AJ | June 12, 2006 11:12 AM

Why some people confuse loving soccer/football with being not patriot enough?, what's wrong with being American and loving this sport?, really, what a sheer ignorance!!. Are we afraid we can't dominate this sports and therefore, we whine and make inaccurate statements? ("soccer is the favorite sport of Osama bin-Laden"). Come on Marc, I hope this is a joke, where is your can-do spirit?, I would say to all my fellow americans, buckle up, shut up and learn how to play it and don't be a wuss, you don't like it?, then move on. There is room for everybody and every sport in this country and it's got nothing to do with patriotism.

Posted by: Americano | June 12, 2006 11:18 AM

Hahaha, this guy Raoul posted a comment saying "Most of us Latin American immigrants actually come to America to get away from soccer".......are you sure it doesn't have anything to do with starting a new and better life for your family? Or is soccer really THAT big that it has run you out of your country? Get a life!

Posted by: Justin Nall | June 12, 2006 11:21 AM

I don't blame him for trying. I'm not sure anyone could really have pulled off satirizing the anti-soccer warriors effectively. Like satirizing Bush apologists, it is too difficult a task; the line between what they actually do argue and what is so absurd as to not be funny is so small that it might as well not be there.

Posted by: b | June 12, 2006 11:21 AM

Oh this is typical. How the heck is soccer supposed to go mainstream in this country when media-types - who help dictate coverage, commentary and opinion on the game, especially for the uninformed or casual fan - don't give it a chance?

And for all those who bash the beautiful game, just see the highlights of the just-concluded Australia-Japan match today. Breathtaking finish. And GO USA!

Posted by: Ryan G | June 12, 2006 11:25 AM

Ok the experiment worked here's the break down...

slobbering soccer fans during business hours on a Monday 35 comments in 4 hours

Possibly racist campaign literature--32 comments in 3 days

Jail break in local neighborhood--6 comments in 4 days

problems at mental hospital (maybe where the soccer fans are coming from)--15 comments in 5 days

local story about schools--18 comments in 6 days

Get A Life.

Posted by: Chris | June 12, 2006 11:28 AM

That comment posted by 'mark' about ignorance is, well, ignorant. First, Japan hosted the last World Cup. Second, if soccer fans were indeed ignoring China and India- how exactly would you call Chinese and Indian representation in baseball?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 12, 2006 11:29 AM

You speak about kids losing interest in Soccer as they grow up. It is interesting to note that the vast majority of my friends between the ages of 19-28 do not care at all about the Nats or the Orioles. In fact none of our conversations ever revolve around those teams. Face it baseball is boring unless your drunk..No one goes to baseball games without drinking! Soccer amongst the youth is everywhere! I have never heard any kid at all ever spurt out baseball numbers like in the past. Things have changed, face it.

Posted by: JM | June 12, 2006 11:30 AM

Baseball isn't as exciting as watching paint dry or grass grow. Soccer takes athleticism. Baseball takes steroids. Soccer takes skill and strategy. Baseball takes an opposable thumb to swing a bat or throw a ball. In soccer, there is movement and action and excitement. In baseball, there are a bunch of guys standing around while nothing happens. Soccer might be low scoring, but you never see a fat soccer player scratching his crotch and spitting tobacco juice while the fans have fallen asleep. Hitting a baseball isn't the most challenging thing in sports - it's staying awake through a baseball game.

Posted by: Baseball is more exciting? | June 12, 2006 11:31 AM

Mr. Fisher, you should have made it clear in your interview with the German newspaper that you do not speak for the general American public. Your remarks were insulting and poorly designed. It would seem to the discerning reader that you were intentially baited to provide a ridiculous and easily characterized American perspective on a world sport that you know nothing about and rose selfishly to the cause. I wish you hadn't been so eager to unthinkingly identify Americans as worthy candidates of the normal foreign prejudice.

Posted by: Nate | June 12, 2006 11:32 AM

"In America, spectator sports tend to be family events, with a wholesome emphasis on community."

Marc - You've never been to or seen a Philadelphia Eagles game, have you? Or for that matter, the end zone at a Ravens game. More hooligans there than I've seen at soccer.

Heck, the biggest "family" event I've been to recently was a NASCAR race.

Posted by: GB | June 12, 2006 11:33 AM

Sorry Fisher, you're so off-base here its laughable. Soccer is the most popular sport on the planet, and is growing hugely in the USA. My entire office, all intensely following the Cup and soccer leagues year round. ABC's broadcast of the England-Paraguay game on Saturday beat out Braves Baseball in Atlanta, and thats not even including the many who were watching on the Spanish stations. My personal story is probably your worst nightmare, though is hardly uncommon: grew up a big O's/Bullets/Skins fan and played soccer at recess in the 80s, 90s - discovered the English league and international soccer though and never looked back, have been a huge fan and will be for the rest of my life (24 years old now). Most of my generation, though may not as hardcore as myself, remain familiar with the game and lack this visceral hatred and ignorance spewed by dinosaur writers like yourself. Immigrants today have less reason to discard their preferred sport (soccer) than in the past due to the availability of seeing their favorite teams on cable television, and the number of americans and other immigrants playing weekends and weeknights. Keep your head in the sand though, pitiable as it may be.

Lets Go USA! Czechs will be a stiff first test.....

Posted by: Will | June 12, 2006 11:35 AM

As a football loving englishman can I say to all Americans PLEASE stay away from football (soccor) you dont want it and we dont want you!

Posted by: ian | June 12, 2006 11:35 AM

Pretty stupid stuff. I feel kind of embarrassed for the writer

Posted by: Bob | June 12, 2006 11:36 AM

Some of Marc's comments were probably intentionally over the top. I mean, "family atmosphere at U.S. sporting events"? (Go to a Philadelphia Eagles game filled with 70,000 drunken working-class lunkheads, and the "family" you'll think of will be the Mansons.) I like soccer, admittedly not as much as baseball, but then again I wasn't born and raised with it.

Oh, and I wouldn't generalize all Latin Americans who come to the U.S. as being baseball fanatics. There are many Latin cultures where baseball is foreign, and a lot of those groups are in the Washington area. (Which probably explains why the Nationals don't have their games on Spanish-language radio, as is the case in New York and even Philadelphia.)

Posted by: Vincent | June 12, 2006 11:37 AM

Chris - first off, just because you come up with some numbers it's not an experiment. But for the argument's sake I'll just pretend it is.

What those numbers indicate are two things: One, soccer fans care about the game. Two, non-soccer fans like you apparently don't even care enough about serious stories to post more comments elsewhere.

So why don't you get some civic engagement.

Posted by: cpwdc | June 12, 2006 11:37 AM

Japan and Korea co-hosted in 2002. The USA in 1994. I am well-informed, not ignorant. I stand with what I said. Soccer is very popular in Europe and Latin America. It is far more popular in the USA than in China or India or many other countries. I am not making any point about any sport other than soccer.

Posted by: mark | June 12, 2006 11:38 AM

Fisher - you have done Americans a disservice. Most Americans are simply indifferent to soccer/futbol due to ongoing lack of exposure, which is understandable. Few hate it. I don't think I've ever met anyone who does. Why try to explain to foreign journalist that we do? You're obviously trying to be that wacky, hyper-opinionated American journalist getting your two cents in at a time when soccer takes center stage. Hopefully the German readers, and others that read your baiting, poorly thought out ramblings, choose to ignore them as many American choose to simply - and unwisely in my opinion - ignore a beautiful event like the World Cup.

Posted by: DubTee Silver Spring | June 12, 2006 11:42 AM

"Are you Germans or Europeans or something? How can you bring yourselves to stick up for soccer (sometimes mistakenly called "football") and this silly sham of a "World" cup? You need to go to a Nats game and see what athletics is about. Most of us Latin American immigrants actually come to America to get away from soccer.

Posted by: Raoul Martinez | June 12, 2006 10:03 AM "

Hey Raoul, something tells me you are not what you pretend to be: a latin american immigrant, not with that name, are you for real?, I mean, you can fool gringos but I don't buy it, where are you from?. Who in heavens told you we actually come to the US to run away from football? (sorry fellas but "soccer" doesn't exist in my vocabulary despite of what you say). Seriously Raoul, I need an explanation because unless you can't see countless mexicans, peruvians, bolivians, salvadorans, ecuadorans, paraguayans, etc. enjoying a good match in this area, I am afraid your idea of reality is just a little too much distorted. You want so see athletics?, try running and handling the ball 45 minutes non-stop with a 15 min. break then charge full bore for another 45 more and I am not mentioning the steriod issues with the MLB which you don't see that much in "soccer". Come on Raoul (or Raúl?), talk to me.

Posted by: perucho immigrant | June 12, 2006 11:47 AM


Actually I post frequently on other sites--apparently I struck a nerve though...

We are up to 50 slobbering soccer fans and counting.

ps. it does count as an experiment if the results are measured and interpreted rigorously. Most traffic studies are performed in this exact way.

Posted by: Chris | June 12, 2006 11:52 AM

Soccer is a boring game, Marc says, more boring than baseball (STATISTICS!!--Whee!!).

A response:

-No commercials. The Superbowl is an hour of action, but it's also 2 hours of T------ Sauce and, if we're real lucky, J Timberlake and friend (ah hem). Baseball has nine breaks and a few pitching changes. Perhaps Marc and the average American are products of the advertising era--it just ain't the Superbowl without that cola ad. Soccer is the least commercially prostituted sport. Period. And that's a good thing. Period.

-Attention span. 90 minutes of straight soccer action is something like an opera for guys like Marc. He doesn't know the language, it goes on and on without stopping, and, geez, nobody can touch the ball with their hands except the two guys in special shirts, and they have to wear gloves to hold it. And, this is the worst part, there's not a Smith, Johnson, or even a Fisher on the field.

The best things in life aren't free, or easy, Mr. Fisher.


Posted by: kelvini | June 12, 2006 12:00 PM

Ian....Americans can play soccer just as good as any Brit! Get over yourself. You have a lot of non-English playing in the Premiership...including quite a few Americans.

Posted by: hf | June 12, 2006 12:04 PM

Marc, you had me chuckling. I have only one question: is your German good enough for you to do the interview in German, or did you use a translator? I'd hate to think that anything was lost in translation.

Posted by: Irony Detector | June 12, 2006 12:07 PM

When did Hank Hill start writing a column for the post? Don't listen to this drivel. I thought is was satire but its to badly written.
The USA have a really good team, Landon is class, Friedal is a great goalkeeper and in Freddy Adu you have one of the brighest young talents in world football. It is heartening to see so many positive comments from Americans in reponse to this rubbish and it give us Europeans hope that on the whole Americans are not the arrogant, insular idiots that is implied by this poor excuse of a columnist.

Posted by: Footylover | June 12, 2006 12:08 PM

Chris - glad to hear you post elsewhere. Glad to know you can count up to 50, too. However, I doubt that one guy counting stuff and labeling it "slobbering" lives up to being "measured and interpreted rigorously."

Posted by: cpwdc | June 12, 2006 12:08 PM

You are an ignorant bafoon Mr. Fisher and not especially bright. Compared to baseball, soccer is fast paced, dynamic, involving, and much more team oriented sport. Compared to a bunch of middle aged overweight men standing around on a field waiting for another middle aged overweight "hitter" to hit a ball with a stick, soccer is nuclear physics. If you really think that Baseball is popular because it is about mathematics, "angles", "eye hand coordination" and "percentages" you are an even bigger idiot then you are perceived to be. Baseball is popular because it is a populist sport that is based in a very easy to understand premise and that is ingrained in american culture. Baseball as a sport is about as interesting as watching paint dry.

I'm sure your views would be different if you werent so backwards and small minded in your observations, which most people find at best silly.

Posted by: Miked Up | June 12, 2006 12:09 PM

Well said kelvini, that's maybe the issue: short-attention span, most americans get bored easily (why?), they need to be entertained 24/7. Reason # 2: there are no too many breaks in between so we can "enjoy" Janet Jackson, wardrobe malfunctions or other lame spectacle, besides hitting the food court and third, we don't obsess with stats and the maniac necessity of a surgical analysis down to the decimal point, well, football doesn't work that way, certainly you can analyse it in terms of goals, tempo, strategy, player positioning but you either enjoy the game or you get lost in the minutiae. Have fun fellas and GO U.S.!!!!!!, beat those Czechs!

Posted by: perucho immigrant | June 12, 2006 12:13 PM

The German magazine should have run two interviews -- one with Fisher's rants, and the other by a U.S. journalist who is a real aficionado (LaCanfora?). Only then would German readers have seen how stupid and ignorant Fisher's remarks really were.

Posted by: JJ | June 12, 2006 12:15 PM


I will leave it up to you to find adjectives then. A few quotes:

"You are an ignorant bafoon Mr. Fisher and not especially bright"

"Soccer might be low scoring, but you never see a fat soccer player scratching his crotch and spitting tobacco juice while the fans have fallen asleep."

"You're a jackass - stick to sports you know about and don't run your ignorant piehole on ones you don't understand"

"You're an idiot. If you can't see the complexity of soccer, you're not watching the game. It's painful for me to know that an ignoramus like you gets paid for NOT knowing about sports."

Maybe you would call this reasoned debate, I call it slobbering.

Posted by: Chris | June 12, 2006 12:18 PM

Hey Marc, how come "Raw Fisher" is no longer listed among the bloggers in "News Columns and Blogs?" I have to google "Raw Fisher" to find your blog at in order to get my 'raw fisher fix.' Thanks.

Posted by: Jeff | June 12, 2006 12:18 PM

What is the deal with soccer fans....what's with all the spittle? Why do you feel that your sport is above reproach. I mean, I'm an American Football fan, but if you were to say that Football is violent, overly long, or boring, I'd have to agree that it's a matter of taste and that would be the end of discussion. Let someone assault the precious ramparts of soccer though, calling it boring, melodramatic, and emasculating for instance, and the daggers come out. Come on guys, it's a SPORT, not a religion. It seems that some soccer fans are so filled with conceit that they can't take a little ribbing. I wonder if their devotion comes more from a love of the game, or from the particular "We Are The World" outlook that comes with it.

Posted by: gdr | June 12, 2006 12:23 PM

Ooh...I missed a good one:

"I'm sure your views would be different if you werent so backwards and small minded in your observations, which most people find at best silly."


Posted by: Chris | June 12, 2006 12:25 PM

Chris - precisely my point: this is not the place for the kind of analysis you pretend to do here, certainly not for anything you called 'measured and interpreted rigorously.'

Posted by: cpwdc | June 12, 2006 12:29 PM

The reason soccer isn't a big television sport here is because there is no commercial breaks so the stations can't make as much money. They don't push it as hard as football (ever watch the Super Bowl for the commercials?) and consequently, the American populace doesn't care as much. It has nothing to do with the quality of the sport. It has to do with how often the television companies can force feed you 30 second spots about Coors Light and Viagara (preferably not in the same commercial).

Posted by: E Virginia | June 12, 2006 12:29 PM

Oh, and I missed one too:

USA 0 - CZE 1

Posted by: cpwdc | June 12, 2006 12:30 PM

Americans don't like football - the game where you use your feet - because they don't have the attention span. Also they're self-imposed isolantionists and their government doesn't want them discovering that the rest of the western world is much freer than them.

Posted by: PJ | June 12, 2006 12:34 PM

"USA 0 - CZE 1"

A virtual blow-out in soccer. Let us hope this trend continues so we can stop talking about WC for another four years...

Posted by: gdr | June 12, 2006 12:35 PM

Here comes your blow-out:
USA 0 - CZE 2

Posted by: cpwdc | June 12, 2006 12:37 PM

Wow, have they invoked the Slaughter Rule yet? I can't remember, but this is single-elimination, correct? Let's hope so....GO CZE!!!!

Posted by: gdr | June 12, 2006 12:39 PM

Europe no longer believes in God but in Science, Rationality and Evidence. Soccer is so big because it has taken the place of going to church. European governments can control their citizens without going to the extremes of religion and foxnews.

Posted by: European | June 12, 2006 12:43 PM

No, and no. A "Slaughter Rule" or other silly rules don't exist in the beautiful game. Only non-beautiful games need that. And no, it's the group stage. Isn't there a rule about not posting when you don't even know the basics? Oh wait - if that were the case we wouldn't be having this blog since Fisher would have clearly failed.

Posted by: cpwdc | June 12, 2006 12:43 PM


I presume this is your Ann Coulter imitation. Say something egregiously stupid and irritating and see if you can generate some buzz.

Or are you still sore because your mom named you after a commuter train?

Posted by: Alex in Alex VA | June 12, 2006 12:48 PM

Ah, NOT single elimination. This is the "GROUP phase". Thank you for clearing that up cpwdc, although it is most disappointing news. And unfortunate news indeed to end my lunch hour on, but such is life. Oh well, let the spittle fly in my absence....good day to you. One more thing, re: your "beautiful" comments, see my earlier comment about emasculation.

Posted by: gdr | June 12, 2006 12:55 PM

marc.. ur a prize wazzock..i'ts all been said above bout jingoistic flag waving stuff, and u know U.S.A . is the worst offender, but anyway. the world cup is about gettin the beers in with ur mates.. not bud by the way.!!!!.. and just cheerin ur team on.. get over ur self an get into the spirit.. crack a tinny and enjoy

Posted by: fazer | June 12, 2006 12:59 PM

The US has some really talented players...dont underestimate them. Also, my boyfriend, who is English, is rooting for USA over England...he thinks that they are a great group and that they will go far. (it also helps that Landon Donovan and Claudio Reyna play for his favorite team, Man City) So don't worry team USA, you have at least one European out there who is pulling for you!

Posted by: hf | June 12, 2006 1:01 PM

GDR/CPWDC you go to extremes to show your distaste of soccer, even it that means rotting AGAINST your home boys, what a d*ck you are dude. Nobody forces you to understand it but at least show some support to your fellow americans.

Posted by: Americano | June 12, 2006 1:06 PM


I'm a 22-year old german and i just wanted to check out what americans think about football-now i know!
American,the great nation of sport,can't evade the GAME like everyone else on this planet!
Watch the worldcup and celebrate your team,they're doing a great job!

Final score USA-CZE 3:2!!!

Posted by: wc2006 | June 12, 2006 1:09 PM

Soccer will never make it big time in the US until the US team does something special at this tournament. And it looks like they could be out very quickly once again.

And for the casual sports fan, its hard to see the strategy in soccer. It just looks like people running up the field with very few good results (a goal or good scoring chance).

Posted by: rodlang | June 12, 2006 1:12 PM

i didn't read all of the interview nor all of the comments, but i find it short sited to be so critical of soccer and then call the sport a reminder of what nationalism does to people. we don't need a sport for that. without being overly critical of the bush administration, i think everyone would agree that we did go to war on highly nationalistic grounds in iraq. and if not for that sense of nationalism, we would not be there today. but, i digress, i think this writer might disagree with me anyways, i mean, he does disregard the world opinion that soccer is the most watched sport in the world. so, you can say the rest of the world are idiots if you want, but i am not that nationalistic to think my views on the sport trumps all others. in my opionion, the lack of interest in the us, is the fact that this is a TEAM game, and not a sport where an individual can triumph over great team play...just look at the camera shots, in baseball, footbal and basketball, it is focused on one player, maybe a couple, but we always have that zoomed in replay every so soccer, because it is a team sport, you have to see what the team is doing to know what is happening in the game much more so than the popular american sports of the day.

Posted by: i like soccer | June 12, 2006 1:17 PM

i know its seems like nothin is goin on .. but there is.. i've had 5 beers watchin this game.. usa may get somethin here.. u got some good players

Posted by: fazer | June 12, 2006 1:17 PM

"Also they're self-imposed isolantionists and their government doesn't want them discovering that the rest of the western world is much freer than them"

One third of all "World Cups" have been played in Spanish-speaking countries. The total number of Spanish speaking people in the world is around 330 million people. That's around a fourth or a fifth the population of India or China. Anyone who wants to pit the USA against "the soccer playing world" is missing the point. The USA plays the game, even if it's not that important a sport here - I just think it's close-minded and 'isolationist' for people to have a "World Cup" in a sport that most of the largest countries in the world do not participate in any significant way.

Posted by: mark | June 12, 2006 1:20 PM

I suspect that America's dislike of soccer, like our dislike of the metric system, is largely a sublimated form of xenophobia and anti-Europeanism.

It's worth noting that our most popular pro sports are either uniquely American variations on existing sports (baseball, football) or entirely created here (basketball). Even in auto racing, Americans prefer homegrown NASCAR.

Posted by: John | June 12, 2006 1:20 PM

o don't get me started on metric .. i'm a turner in uk an i have to converte from metric to "imperial" daily..... no wonder i watch footy an drink beer

Posted by: fazer | June 12, 2006 1:23 PM

fazer....the US is not the worst offender when it comes to jingoism.
Anyway, why is soccer not as big here like it is in Europe or Latin America? The simple answer is "it just is." Soccer is not the main sport in lots of different countries, not just the US.
Baseball has a huge following in Cuba, the DR, and Japan.
In the Caribbean, India, and Pakistan: Cricket
Australia and New Zealand: rugby
Canada, Russia, Scandanavia: ice hockey

So there you have it. I'm not the best at debating, so I have a feeling that I will probably be contradicted, but this is my opinion.

Posted by: hf | June 12, 2006 1:24 PM

John, you read way too much into stuff.

Posted by: hf | June 12, 2006 1:27 PM


Ok I'm not sure that I understand your point. First you doubt the rigor of my extensively researched longitudinal study. Then you imply that you are proud of me for counting to fifty. Then you object to my use of adjectives. And then you refute my analysis by quoting soccer scores at me. I freely acknowledge the European superiority at soccer, the Canadian superiority at curling, the Chinese superiority at diving and African superiority at long distance running. None of these facts are relevant--my point is that many more slobbering idiots managed to rouse themselves from net-induced stupor to post about a sort of funny soccer article than managed to do so in a much longer period of time for threads involving topics that are more serious. I would make the same point in a room of rabid darts fans or frothy mouthed Motown music fans or unreasonably vehement tomato fanciers. If you object to this, fine--but I will continue to count the slobbery posts.

Posted by: Chris | June 12, 2006 1:30 PM

ok maybe i'm wrong.. i can live with that.. but wen ur golfers go off on one.. on the GREEN.. then u have ur athletes covering themselves in the flag at 4x4.. i'm ok with u celebrating ur countrys finest men and women doing well.. but this is bout marc sayin "world cup" is nothin

Posted by: fazer | June 12, 2006 1:30 PM

the "world cup" is about bringin ppl together.. the "football family".. i know the uk or shall i say london an the south of england is jingoistic.. proms comes to mind.. all i'm sayin is just enjoy the spectacle of it

Posted by: fazer | June 12, 2006 1:35 PM

I have to say I am appalled by this entire blog. But not because of the writer but all of these posts. We are talking about sports, and we have people labeling American citizens as arrogant? In America, you have the right to like and not like soccer, just the same as you can like and not like baseball.

I am a baseball/football/basketball fan, and do not care for soccer. I respect the soccer players as great athletes and respect the game, but it isn't my style. I find it boring, but not because it's slow paced. I think that connection is incorrectly made too many times in these arguments. NASCAR is very fast paced (200 mph), but somebody would have to pay me to watch it because I find it incredibly boring. I really can't put my finger on why I find it boring, I just do. The same can be said about hockey in my opinion; key word in that sentence being 'opinion'. I think crazy soccer, football, baseball, etc. fans need to get over themselves and not care that some writer at the Post doesn't like a certain sport.

And for the record, anybody that says hitting a 95 mph fast ball isn't the hardest thing to do in sports has never been at the plate.

Posted by: Matt | June 12, 2006 1:40 PM

What Marc did not mention was that many Americans tend to view soccer as a somewhat, how shall we say, effeminate sport. Soccer players tend to be somewhat more "fancy" (in appearance, dress, style off the field, etc.) than, say, American football, baseball, basketball or hockey players. In short sooccer players seem to be somewhat more delicate or refined as compared to American athletes.

As such, soccer has simply not been able to capture the American male demographic, which is so key for college and professional sports viability. This also explains why soccer is much more of a kids' (and even perhaps a women's) sport.

At most, soccer is a suburban sport played by those who either are new immigrants to the U.S. or those "native born" Americans who view soccer as sort of a global statement or key to "enlightenment", sort of like an NPR listener or blogger on the DailyKos views him/herself.

Posted by: I'm not sayin'; I'm just sayin' | June 12, 2006 1:41 PM

I agree that soccor is boring. But I dont think you can say that baseball is more exciting. Both are slow sports and aren't meant for tv.

Why isn't america into rugby? Thats the question you should be asking. Its fast and violent.

Posted by: jim | June 12, 2006 1:42 PM

so far it's a zero three... uhuhuh
i diagnose, not enough love for the game

Posted by: matteo | June 12, 2006 1:46 PM

but u won't .. cos ur crap.. no wonder ur angry marc.. o well better luck next time

Posted by: fazer | June 12, 2006 1:46 PM

American Football --- derived from Rugby

Baseball ----- evolved out of Rounders a girls game

Basketball ----- derived from Netball a girls game

Have you got any games you can call your own

Posted by: Ian | June 12, 2006 1:48 PM

is that y ur "footballers" have armour on.. do me a favour..

Posted by: fazer | June 12, 2006 1:49 PM

Having played soccer all my life I am also a baseball fan and find it unfair to compare both games. They have different dynamics and tempo. And they are both exciting on their own ways. I believe they have a larger fan base because they are more inclusive and don't require a certain height or muscular build in order to play.
And, contrary to the post, as I see lots of kids playing soccer every Saturday morning plus the triumphs of the women team, I can only se a bright future for soccer in the US.

Posted by: Pietro | June 12, 2006 1:52 PM

I wanted to see for myself, so I just watched most of the match between Our Boys and the Czech Republics. I don't get it. Where's the cheerleaders? Where's the mascots? No fight songs? This "sport" is even worse than Marc made it out to be.

Posted by: Open Minded | June 12, 2006 1:52 PM

Probably, soccer is the only game where you can exercise a lot. All players get to move back and forth. Ask any doctor, they all recommend some exercise. You play a game that helps you exercise and adds some excitement to it. No wonder why Americans are fat.

Posted by: Rafas | June 12, 2006 1:55 PM

First, everyone breath deeply and count to 10.
This little piece was rather amusing, especially in the reactions it has produced! I think we all need to think a bit harder when we're reading and realize that this is some satirical writing, starting from the headline, "America's Most Prominent Soccer Hater, Reporting for Duty".

Look at this sentence, "We tend not to be interested in sports that attract hooligans and riots." Remember the Ron Artest episode two years ago in the NBA? I doubt Mr. Fisher has either.

Also interesting, is my realization that many of those who are reacting negatively are looking to have their American stereotypes so nicely reinforced, so they can revel in the alleged superiority of their favorite sport and country. Kudos to Marc.

Posted by: AA | June 12, 2006 1:55 PM

Ian....very few sports are played in its original form. Get over yourself. Americans have their sports and like their sports. Give it a rest.

Posted by: hf | June 12, 2006 1:57 PM

well open minded.. u stick to wot u know an so will WE.. thank u

Posted by: fazer | June 12, 2006 1:58 PM

Actually, the Uncle Don "legend" is true. I heard it on one of those old blooper records.

Posted by: Mike Palmer | June 12, 2006 2:00 PM

Rafas...dont be a jerk

Posted by: hf | June 12, 2006 2:01 PM

Just a rebuttal of the contention that the largest countries in the world, mainly China, don't participate in "any significant way" is to miss the point that what's going on now is only the World Cup 'Finals.' To say the Chinese don't participate significantly, or most other nations, for that matter, is to undercut the effort and passion that these countries put into qualifying, even if they are ultimately unsuccessful in making the Finals.

Posted by: Footballer | June 12, 2006 2:01 PM

how are you going to compare baseball statistics back 100 years??? Are you saying that players were juiced on steroids, growth hormones, and any of a number of other ingredients to help them cheat even 100 years ago???? I don't believe that is the case, and so you must find that division point in time so that comparisons between players who cheat and those who do not can be made ... and, I can think of nothing more boring than watching clean players compete against cheaters ... also, I can't believe I am defending soccer against baseball, when soccer is filled with cry-baby divers!!! but you could have come up with something better to compare with soccer ...

Posted by: m steven foster | June 12, 2006 2:01 PM

your ideas about soccer explain a bit why abu ghraib and haditha happened. think about it.

Posted by: Shin | June 12, 2006 2:03 PM

No surprises here. America's knowledge about soccer is as high as their knowledge about geography or world problems. So, they go to wars and the rest of us (the whole planet) to the World Cup...

Posted by: Hugh Lenh | June 12, 2006 2:07 PM

Soccer sucks and Brazzil and Germany and other south american countries suck too! USA! USA! USA!

Posted by: Proud American | June 12, 2006 2:08 PM

Hmmm... Satire or not? The .pdf from the German paper would appear to be real which means one of two things is true:

1) Marc Fisher deliberately mislead the German press by passing off satire as real opinion, and thus has compromised his journalistic credibility.

2) These are his ideas, in which case he is a frighteningly unreflective and bigoted boor.

I suspect the truth is somewhere in between the two, and this is precisely the problem with mixing journalism and blogging: it blurs the line between responsible opinion and blowing half-digested crap out your a**.

Sometimes I agree with Mr. Fisher, but other times he spouts the kind of nonsense that would make a college sophomore blush.

Posted by: guez | June 12, 2006 2:10 PM

Re: I'm not sayin'; I'm just sayin'

It's not just soccer--American culture has often stereotyped European men as "fancy," "delicate" and "refined." I think it has something to do with our frontier heritage, sort of an anti-elitism. The snooty Englishman or Frenchman has been a stereotype in Hollywood movies for decades, usually as the guy trying to steal the girl from the small-town all-American boy. Monty Python's Eric Idle once joked that American fans assumed he was gay because he's English.

And HF, I think there are cultural or societal reasons for a lot of things, including why pro-level soccer isn't popular here. I don't really care whether America embraces soccer or rejects it.

Posted by: John | June 12, 2006 2:10 PM

When local English speaking TV stations are not showing the game, then you know why. The $ sign is more important than the national team. Period. Beside, they can't sell commercial during the football game because it doesn't have break every 3-4 min. Football/Soccer is never going to make it big here in the US.

Posted by: game on local TV? | June 12, 2006 2:10 PM

Soccer does suck but I dont think Germeny is in South America. Is it?

Posted by: Todd Tx | June 12, 2006 2:10 PM

the interview is sure to ruffle a few soccer fans feathers but the fats are that soccer is not a major sport in the US and prob ever will be.

I would argue with one point and one point only in the interview . . that hitting a ninty five mile per hour fast ball is the hardest thing in sports. I disagree. If in the course of a season 162 games a top notch person (Bonds, Sosa, Ruth, Brady Anderson) can hit 40, 50, 60 or 70 home runs and in a similar numebr of games a top goal scorer might have 60, I would say they are extremly comparable.

Posted by: Mark | June 12, 2006 2:12 PM

Marc, you might have added that soccer has almost no "sports highlight" moments. Unlike baseball and football (basketball, of course, has frequent scoring) almost no non-scoring plays on the soccer pitch are worth showing on the 11 o'clock sports. Most matches are tedious competitions for the ball, failed attacks, and in general about as frustrating to watch as it is to wrestle a pig

Posted by: gwgoldb | June 12, 2006 2:12 PM

"American fans' desire for a level of complexity and drama in their games that soccer cannot support. We tend to like sports that can accommodate stories about players, coaches and other personalities. Soccer, as a largely anonymous sport, doesn't fit. The game simply doesn't work on television because the field is so enormous that the players appear to be tiny. Fans therefore cannot form powerful emotional connections with their play"

Are you really a serious journalist? Did you do some research before saying something like that?

Washington Post editors, please: We'd like to see a serious discussion about why Americans don't like soccer. Not this rubbish.

Posted by: football not soccer | June 12, 2006 2:16 PM

This is a ridiculous interview. The opinions expressed are in no serious way representative of any large number of Americans' views about soccer.

Posted by: John Fowler | June 12, 2006 2:17 PM

Baseball is exciting?....because you can compare player stats?

That's where you simply lose credibility.

Get a clue.

Posted by: Patrick | June 12, 2006 2:18 PM

Simply put, Americans a just terrible at soccer and will never be good at it unless they put a lot of work, time and energy in this sport. In the mean time all we'll hear are excuses, all kind of excuses. Let's just leave it at that.

Posted by: Aldo | June 12, 2006 2:19 PM dont know anything either. I know more non americans who know less about geography and world problems than americans do. And now, let me name you all the world capitals in alphabetical order....
Kabul, Afghanistan
Tirana, Albania
Algiers, Algeria
Pago Pago, American Samoa
Andorra La Vella, Andorra
Luanda, Angola

Need I Continue?

Posted by: hf | June 12, 2006 2:19 PM

'Soccer is the favorite sport of Osama bin-Laden'.

Baseball is Fidel Castro's and Hugo Chavez' favorite game. George Bush owned a baseball team.

What exactly the above proves? Nothing, I think, but maybe Marc can explain.

Silly statements like Marc's just provoke people unnecessarily.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 12, 2006 2:20 PM

Footballer -

I take your point, I'm sure everyone who participates or attempts to qualify puts passion into it.

But I stick with mine. If the Chinese or Indians or whatever other large country threw a serious (or even mild) effort into the World Cup you would not see Costa Rica and Ghana (despite their passion and understandable enthusiasm) consistently in participating in the final 32. You would see finals between Russia, Indonesia, Eygpt, Japan, China and so forth. Right now, it's a contest between Latin America and Europe. It has always been that way.

Posted by: mark | June 12, 2006 2:20 PM

"but to call it the World Cup is rather arrogant and overblown."

I see that its been covered but I have to put my voice in there -

What is the name "World Series" if not the most arrogant of titles?

Posted by: JC | June 12, 2006 2:21 PM

Imagine the boredom induced while sitting at a baseball game and the only conversation is based on statistics. When I want to go to sleep I put on a baseball game.

Soccer and the athletes who play it exemplify poetry in motion.

Posted by: Scott, NJ | June 12, 2006 2:23 PM

I agree that calling the world cup 'the world cup' when the USA doesnt like soccer is arrogant because its not the hole world that likes it! ANYONE THAT DOESNT AGREE THAT USA RULES IS AN ARROGANT IDIOT!

Posted by: Brad | June 12, 2006 2:24 PM

"but to call it the World Cup is rather arrogant and overblown."

People always say World Champions of every sport (NFL, MLB, NBA, etc).

BTW, you are everything I hate about America. Small minded, arrogant, and stupid. I bet you voted for Bush.

Posted by: Mark Hater | June 12, 2006 2:27 PM

This is a great example of the "ugly american" at work. Or you're playing andy kaufman in the WWF.

Obviously, soccer doesn't have the draw that american football, baseball, or basketball has in the U.S. And it probably never will. But this is ridiculous. The world cup just a "Nice little tournament," but shouldn't be called world cup? It doesn't have the complexities of American sports? When is the last time you saw an organized defense in the NBA?

Will the post hire anyone who writes crap like this, or do you have some connections?

Posted by: cp | June 12, 2006 2:28 PM

anyone who wants to see an hilarious example of american public opinion, go to: and search for 'american public opinion'

you will laugh till you cry!

Posted by: mike | June 12, 2006 2:28 PM

Don't know how serious these guys are, but I enjoyed this piece more than Marc's feeble attempt to satire (I mean, he can't seriously think the World Cup is upstaged by the so called Baseball 'World Classic')


CON: A Pitch From Two Sides

Con: Apathy continues to keep the slow-moving sport lagging behind in the United States,1,3732110.story

By Mike Penner, Times Staff Writer
June 5, 2006

Take off your tattered Arsenal cap and your cracked shin guards and No. 6 jersey for Scribes FC (proud runners-up in the Los Alamitos Park and Rec Men's 30-and-Over Division) and return to a place you used to roam with feet firmly planted and head not blunted by too many headers.

Welcome back. Not much has really changed since you left.

Football still rules this country, the kind of football that's played with helmets and shoulder pads and lots of timeouts to make room for the car and beer commercials. Here we like our football players larger than life. All-Pro defensive lineman Richard Seymour weighs 310 pounds. That's bigger than two Freddy Adus.


PRO: A Pitch From Two Sides
Pro: With TV and tour access to the best in soccer, and MLS on upswing, fans here have it made,1,5431462.story

By Mike Penner, Times Staff Writer
June 5, 2006

Every four years the World Cup is played, meaning every four years Brazil reaches the final, England goes out in excruciating fashion, Spain goes home two rounds earlier than expected and in newspaper sports departments across the United States, editors can be heard grousing, "World Cup again? Is soccer ever going to make it in this country?"

As I wrote four years ago, the answer remains the same: It already has.

You won't find it in the television ratings and attendance figures of Major League Soccer, which is the first place anti-soccer hardheads go to bang on the wall. So FC Dallas vs. Houston Dynamo is a blip on the radar screen compared to Spurs vs. Mavericks. So what? That's missing the point.

Posted by: Serious soccer discussion? Try this in LA Times. | June 12, 2006 2:28 PM

"I agree that calling the world cup 'the world cup' when the USA doesnt like soccer is arrogant because its not the hole world that likes it! ANYONE THAT DOESNT AGREE THAT USA RULES IS AN ARROGANT IDIOT!"

Learn how to spell, then type.

Posted by: Scott | June 12, 2006 2:29 PM


Your remarks about soccer and Osama bin Laden are embarassing. It's just a basic principle of journalism: don't open your mouth if you don't master the subject. Did you read How Soccer Explains the World: An Unlikely Theory of Globalization by Franklin Foer?

I'm sure you didn't. You didn't do your homework. Again, it's too bad you can voice your comments under Washington Post name.

Posted by: football not soccer | June 12, 2006 2:33 PM

HAHA. Good joke Marc. I thought u were serious till I got to the part about it being arrogant to call it the World Cup. That is what gave you away. There is NO WAY a person that is a writer for a major newspaper in the US can be this stupid without joking.

Posted by: SS | June 12, 2006 2:35 PM

That is hilarious!


then type in 'american public opinion' and watch the movie
you won't regret it!!!!!!!

Posted by: Re: Mike | June 12, 2006 2:37 PM

Although the USA just lost, I think there is more to come from the team they've got. As far as I'm concerned, if they can become a more potent force in football, the game as a whole will benefit.

Posted by: David | June 12, 2006 2:40 PM

It's an article filled with SARCASM people!! Stop watching TV and turn on your brains.

Posted by: concerned american | June 12, 2006 2:40 PM

C'mon everyone, chill out; all of this has got to be satire. The WP would not let such moronic statements within 10 feet of one of their microphones, were it not for the appreciation of a good joke.

Posted by: Stefano SF | June 12, 2006 2:42 PM

I'm not sure who's the bigger idiot - Marc Fisher for his uneducated and completely baseless assessment of the state of soccer in the US - or his "friend," Markus Guenther, for selecting the biggest American soccer idiot to represent this country to a chain of German newspapers. I know that columnists, in general, aren't held to the same fact-checking standards as regular reporters...but you'd think that Fisher might actually be able to squeeze at least one fact somewhere into his responses. I hope Herr Guenther puts a disclaimer on any material he might choose to actually publish!

Posted by: Mark | June 12, 2006 2:43 PM

that's so funny!

everyone must go to
type in "US public opinion"
you have to have broadband though

Posted by: Tim | June 12, 2006 2:44 PM

I'm still laughing here and I'd like to throw a few logs on the fire.

Many posts focus on the fact that soccer is a universal sport and that US citizens don't enjoy it because our teams rarely do well. If that's the case, how come after 50 some posts nobody has weighed in on the success of the US Women's Soccer team?

Also, no comments yet on the major initiative FIFA has undertaken to penalize the explosion of racial taunting and heckling at games?

How many people have been trampled to death at a baseball game?

Has a place kicker ever been executed after a American football game, or does that only happen to Keepers???

BTW - the US has won as many Men's World Cups in the last 37 years as the UK...

Posted by: aflapr | June 12, 2006 2:48 PM

I think that all of this debate is rather weird. Who cares if you do or don't like soccer? The important thing is that our country is playing in an event that has representatives from every other area of the planet - Asia, South America, Central America, Africa, Carribean, Europe, Australia, the south pacific and the Middle East. Now no matter what you think about soccer, you should support your country and your team or at the very least not actively root against them!! Come on America, get behind your team. They need our support. I am not really a fan of baseball, american football or basketball, but if a team from my city makes it into one of the championships (like Seattle did in the superbowl) of those sports, I always support the home team. That is what all of the non-soccer fans should do now.

Posted by: soccer fan | June 12, 2006 2:51 PM

Congratulations to Team USA. It takes great American athletes to finally make soccer a watchable sport. More points scored in the USA-Czech game than probably scored by all other teams combined today. The fact that all of the points were scored by Czechs is immaterial.
Unfortuantely it is unlikely any of the other teams will adopt the fun-filled approach of Team USA and the rest of the tournament will be nothing but 1-0's.

Posted by: John | June 12, 2006 2:54 PM

I hope you die

Posted by: Geoffrey Deibel | June 12, 2006 2:55 PM

Didn't feel like going through 140 comments so I'm sure this has been posted before but.....

"In America, spectator sports tend to be family events, with a wholesome emphasis on community."

Clearly Marc you've not attended an NFL or college football lately....

Posted by: Adams Morgan | June 12, 2006 2:55 PM

read: "I think you're an idiot"

Posted by: geoffrey Deibel | June 12, 2006 2:58 PM

geoffrey Deibel,

You're very articulate. Let me guess. Soccer fan, right?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 12, 2006 3:21 PM


Your ideas about soccer just show how you despise the most popular sport in the world.

So, just because you are a columnist you are free to say anything without doing some reading about the subject? Hello, we're speaking about the Washington Post, one of the most important newspapers in the world, the biggest winner of the latest Pulitzer.

But that's enough. Besides, Italy vs Ghana is about to start. Think about the Haditha and Abu Ghraib remark.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 12, 2006 3:21 PM


Your ideas about soccer just show how you despise the most popular sport in the world.

So, just because you are a columnist you are free to say anything without doing some reading about the subject? Hello, we're speaking about the Washington Post, one of the most important newspapers in the world, the biggest winner of the latest Pulitzer.

But that's enough. Besides, Italy vs Ghana is about to start. Think about the Haditha and Abu Ghraib remark.

Posted by: football not soccer | June 12, 2006 3:23 PM

Just a few notes...

Soccer not commercially prostituted? Ha! second only to NASCAR with sponsorship plastered all over jerseys.

Yes, boring. If you think Baseball is boring, you simply don't understand it.

Mexican / Central Americans & Baseball. Almost every major city has an amateur league made up of Mexicans & central Americans. DC included.

Every few years someone jumps up and screams that, in the U.S. Soccer is the next great thing. The Pro league eventually sputters into nothingness. American Soccer Association. North American Soccer League. MLS is financially miserable. If one person owns a number of teams in the league, and the league owns a number of others. Guess what, it's not prospering.

BTW: Pro Baseball leagues in Most South American Countries, the Netherlands, Italy, Korea, Japan, Australia. June 22, 2007 Pro Baseball in Israel will celebrate its inaugural opening day.

One final note: Soccer is far from the fastest growing sport in the US. Lacrosse gets that honor. I'd bet that the growth of that truly homegrown sport will signal the death knell of this version of the great soccer boom within a decade.

Posted by: Catcher50 | June 12, 2006 3:23 PM


Your ideas about soccer just show how you despise the most popular sport in the world.

So, just because you are a columnist you are free to say anything without doing some reading about the subject? Hello, we're speaking about the Washington Post, one of the most important newspapers in the world, the biggest winner of the latest Pulitzer.

But that's enough. Besides, Italy vs Ghana is about to start. Think about the Haditha and Abu Ghraib remark.

Posted by: football not soccer | June 12, 2006 3:23 PM

This is highly incendiary and rude and I'm disappointed in Marc Fisher.

Posted by: Arlington | June 12, 2006 3:24 PM


If this is the reception you get in the US where people used to have senses of humor, how will it be received in Germany where they're still waiting for their senses of humor to be delivered?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 12, 2006 3:25 PM

well done, Marc. Soccer is not going to make many inroads in the US. The fake falling and overblown fake injuries turn us off. Most of our sports legends are based around toughness, not faking: Kirk Gibson, Ronnie Lott, Willis Reed and what have you. But I do love the overblown indignity of soccer fans - a perfect reflection of their sport.

Posted by: yup | June 12, 2006 3:26 PM

The commment about India or China not being intrested in "FOOTBALL" is incorrect, Visit India anytime this month & you will see the people as enthused about football as they are about cricket (Which is the national obsession of India like american football or basketball for American's),The reason for India not being represented in the world cup is economics & as India has started prospering & infrastructure has started improving the new generation is taking up football like never before,I might be old by then but we will be there proudly cheering our team in times to come.
Just an afterthought, Why do Americans need to be aggressive while discussing simple simple everday topics.
Exmaple, I work for a call centre for American Customers.Lets have some fanatics spit venom.

Posted by: Rohit | June 12, 2006 3:28 PM

Unlike dozens of dopes in this comment thread, I recognize the fact that Marc was 50% serious, 50% messing around and trying to get a rise out of the predictable, hysterical soccer fans (successfully, it would seem) who flip out like 6 year old girls at the drop of a hat when anyone rips on the game.

I do think, however, that it would have been perhaps more interesting for us American readers and especially for the readers of that German paper if Marc had been more consistently serious in his answers. Some of his points (the culture of American sports vs. Euro sports for example) are actually quite interesting and insightful. But its hard to discuss them seriously when he's fooling around and calling the World Cup "your little tournament" in the next breath.

I bet there are a lot of Euros who are genuinely curious about why so few Americans like soccer, and would rather have heard more legitimate discussion than silly provocation. But perhaps the writer asked for this sort of satire, either for entertainment, or to fulfill a stereotype...

Posted by: JP | June 12, 2006 3:31 PM

How ignorant of Fisher to belittle the World Cup by saying, "It's very nice for soccer-loving countries to have their little tournament, but to call it the World Cup is rather arrogant and overblown," when in fact all nations of the world participate in it, either in qualifying, or by making it there. How many countries are represented in the so-called "World" series of baseball? National League vs. American League hardly qualifies as anything "worldly."

Posted by: Cap Hill football | June 12, 2006 3:32 PM


You mention at best 15 or 20 countries that have pro baseball leagues. Why didnt you cite a similar fact for soccer? I challenge you to find 20 countries that DON'T have some form of professional soccer.

I guarentee to you that there are many many more Spanish soccer leagues than baseball leagues, even in DC. head to carter baron any afternoon of the week. baseball, no. soccer, yes.

Lacrosse is hardly homegrown. Yes it began within what we now call the United States and Canada. But by Natives, not white people. You're heritage is far closer to the beautiful game than it is lacrosse.

Lacrosse might be making larger percentage gains, its not hard to go from a couple thousand to a couple more thousand, but soccer outpaces lacrosse easily in absolute numbers.

Posted by: stoddert | June 12, 2006 3:33 PM

Good stuff, folks.
Some responses:

To Irony Detector--My German isn't what it once was, so Guenther and I did the old routine of each operating in his own native tongue, and I then translated his side of the interview for the blog.

To Fazer: A wazzock! Fabulous. (Five beers in at 1:17. But of course it's American sports that require extensive lubrication.)

To all: I knew we'd manage to turn this into a discussion of the metric system. I'm proud of you all.

To I'm not sayin' and John--Your discussion about effeminacy and elitism has great potential. I'd like to hear more on that.

And a new theme of this conversation comes from gwgoldb, who introduces the idea that soccer isn't making here because there are no highlight moments for SportsCenter to use. Very interesting.

Posted by: Fisher | June 12, 2006 3:35 PM

While every person is entitled to their own opinion, I have to disagree with a couple. Saying that soccer players are anonymous on the field and are too small to be seen on camera undermines the fact that one can actually see their faces - unlike football which the players have helmets. In that sense, the anonymity of soccer plays is less than their football counterparts.

Granted, soccer has not taken off in the US because of a machismo culture that has the best athletes going to more popular (and physically punishing, not to be confused with endurance) such as football. However, to argue that soccer has no strategy or need for coordination probably means that you have not actually watched many games with the intention of coming to terms with the subtle complexities that exist.

Posted by: C | June 12, 2006 3:41 PM

Well put, JP!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 12, 2006 3:46 PM

Anyone who believes that this is satire probably thinks that Barry Bonds owes his home-run-hitting prowess to prune juice and spinach soup. Look: satire means saying the opposite of what you think in order to deflate the assumed opinions of the audience. What Fisher has done is to say what he actually, truly does think, and he has said this in a way that reinforces what his audience of German magazine readers already thinks. Namely, that Americans are crude, simple-minded, arrogant, elitist, racist/xenophobic numbskulls. Instead of Fisher putting one over on us unsophisticated soccer fans, it appears that he has been played for a sucker by the European media. This foolish and poorly calibrated performance means that I will be doubting Fisher's opinions on other matters in the future. There are so many of these paunchy, middle-aged baseball stat-geeks who every four years arrive to make screamingly ignorant criticisms of the world's most popular and greatest sport -- Frank Deford and Adam Gopnik are two others -- and I'm afraid that we will have no peace until that generation of baseball-sentimental baby boomers retires. Bring on the Franklin Foers of this world, and by God, Bruce, let's start Clint Dempsey next time . . .

Posted by: Frightening Pace | June 12, 2006 4:00 PM

Rohit -

I'm not saying it's not popular in India, but you have a ways to go before India qualifies to be in the World Cup. Would you say the most popular sport in India is soccer? That's not my impression. The truth is the only nation outside of Latin America and Europe to ever come even remotely close to winning a World Cup is the USA. I think that says something about the World Cup, not about the USA; I think it's a safe bet that no country outside of Latin America or Europe is going to seriously contend for the World Cup for a long time to come. Soccer fans just direct frustration to the USA, because they don't understand there are bigger holes in the global picture of the World Cup. If the USA was a big soccer playing nation, fans would be blogging about the Chinese, Nigerians, Pakistanis, Vietnamese, Ethiopians, Turks and Thais (all countries with very large populations who are not in the WC).

Posted by: mark | June 12, 2006 4:01 PM


I generally enjoy your columns and am like you a baseball fans.

I would agree with almost all of the comments above that you are extremely obtuse and are of the type that causes Americans to be despised throughout the world.

If you understood anything about soccer, it is just as cerebral a game as baseball. You are right that it does not offer the same cerebral experience to fans who get to keep score and follow statistics, but the game itself is very cerebral. A midfielder who receives the ball at the center circle and turns upfield has just as much to think through as a batter facing Roger Clemens and having to guess or recognize that he is receiving a 97 mph fastball or a change-up. Also, controling a soccer ball takes just as much skill as hitting a Clemens fastball, must the skills are a different type.

I have read elsewhere that you have been exposed to soccer before. Thus, your comments are out of hatred for the sport, not mere ignorance. You are free to write about how much you hate soccer but I wish you would confine your comments to why you hate the beautiful game and not represent that your beliefs are shared by Americans in general.

Posted by: Alexandria, VA | June 12, 2006 4:03 PM

I hate all sports except, Shuffle Board.

Posted by: John | June 12, 2006 4:04 PM

Frightening Pace-

So soccer is above criticism? hardly.
Grow thicker skin. Then have the players do the same thing, rather then flopping around the field when anyone gets within 5 feet of them to draw afree kick. Soccer = Effiminent

Posted by: yup | June 12, 2006 4:04 PM

good for you marc. you were right on with your comments about soccer. what a boring sport. baseball on its most boring day beats out any soccer game, and baseball can get REAL boring. For further comment on soccer, I refer you to the Simpsons. And you know, I can't believe it: every single American fan of soccer is posting on this thread! I had no idea there were more than 20.

Posted by: firebrand | June 12, 2006 4:04 PM

I'm a cvnt. pay no attention

Posted by: Fisher | June 12, 2006 4:06 PM

Firebrand--There aren't more than 20 fans of soccer. Each of the six are posting under several assumed names, even while the games are going on, because soccer's conducive to multi-tasking.

Posted by: Right on | June 12, 2006 4:07 PM mistake then.

Posted by: firebrand | June 12, 2006 4:18 PM

Frightening Pace, your somewhat narrow definition of satire may be technically correct (the word is often used too broadly in common conversation), but you've used the narrow definition to ignore the obvious point that Marc was clearly being "cheeky", to use a word Europhile soccer fans would appreciate. Whether or not this counts as 'satire' is well besides the point.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 12, 2006 4:18 PM

Frightening pace--

I thought that what Marc was doing was called "irony." In the case of irony with soccer fans, the technical description would be "pearls before swine."

Posted by: Observer | June 12, 2006 4:28 PM

There are few reasons why soccer is not popular in the U.S. 1) When you get in to high school both soccer and American football seasons happen in the fall. Most kids end up playing football and anyone will tell you football gets the better athletes (Imagine someone with Deon Sanders speed and agility playing soccer. I think his name was Pele). 2) Most teenagers who dream of playing professional sports also dream of getting paid a lot money doing so and most of them have no idea you can make millions playing in Europe if you're good enough; they only think you can make the chump change (compared to Football, Hockey, Basketball and Baseball players) U.S players make in the MLS. If a parent or coach does find a kid in the U.S. with great naturally ability (who does not get plucked by one of the other big 4 sports) the problem still remains. 3) The level of competition is still below the rest of the world so the kid needs to be sent overseas to play against better competition. This is something which most parents are not willing to do or if they are, cannot afford. 4) COACHING is the other and probably most important factor. Having played soccer from Age 5-12 (switched to football at 13) coaches always teach ball control, keep the ball on the ground, pass the ball (keep it on the ground again). Boring Boring Boring... Having married a Brazilian I have made several trips to Brazil and observed kids playing pickup games of soccer. I was surprised how little the ball actually touch the ground at times. Watching a bunch of kids in Brazil play pickup soccer is 10x more entertaining than watching the U.S. Cup team play (although I still root for them in vain). Our coaches need emphasize creativity on the field instead of the same old tired and unproven methods.

Posted by: James Z | June 12, 2006 4:36 PM

Yet another reason to spend more time reading the for sports and analysis as it relates to soccer. Never quite understood what is to gain for media outlets to slam soccer fans and the sport of soccer. Mark Fisher once again demonstrates that the Post can be so remarkably self-absorbed as to alienate whole groups of their readers (Kornheiser and Wilbon are notably talented in such a skill as well).

Posted by: Mickey | June 12, 2006 4:36 PM

Soccer's popularity faces more competition in the USA than it does in other countries. When provided more choices, customers reject the least desirable options. That explains why soccer has not captured the American public's imagination, American's have too many better choices. Europeans, South Americans, etc, don't have 4 highly developed, major sporting leagues competing with soccer. If they had the same alternatives that Americans have, they would probably begin to see that soccer is an inherently inferior sport.

Posted by: Rose | June 12, 2006 4:38 PM

Mark, I don't know why you list the Nigerians and Turks as non-World Cup nations, both are usually there, and the Nigerians have done pretty well in the past, even beating Argentina.
Of the countries you list, Pakistan is the only one in which football isn't the most popular sport. Football in China especially is growing by leaps and bounds.
And beyond Europe and South America, Africa is a third continent that produces teams capable of contending. It's only a matter of time before an African team really goes places.
And Korea, by the way, made it to the semi-final last time around.
Football is the world's sport, and the game has billions of fans even in countries that have no short-term prospect of winning anything - simply because it's a beautiful game. And it's even more fun to play than to watch.

Posted by: Soccer's most prominent America-hater | June 12, 2006 4:44 PM

thank god all this soccer is out of the way before the games start tonite.
soccer fans - enjoy some orange slices today.

Posted by: tomke | June 12, 2006 4:44 PM

You obviously have never played the sport and don't understand the strategies and what it takes to be competitive in the world arena. The fact that you said, "There is no more exciting or tense game than baseball" is one sided and almost ignorant.

Watching baseball can sometimes be as exciting as watching grass grow. How many baseball games are 1-0, 2-1 ....etc....a lot. Everybody's entitled to there own opinion, but as a writer I think you shouldn't even consider commenting on any sport but baseball.

You probably think Hockey is to slow as well. It's a shame they asked your opinion on something you obviously know so little about. Baseball exciting and tense, whatever?

Posted by: A.Ressing | June 12, 2006 4:48 PM

I've been having a debate at another forum with a European as to why soccer isn't more popular in the United States; I think Marc hits a few right notes, but he does get some things wrong:

1. Baseball is the most boring sport ever created in the entire history of civilization.

2. The World Cup is a far more apt title for a competition than is the World Series (in which only 2 nations have the chance to participate).

On the other hand, I think he's close to the mark about the perception that soccer is viewed as a game for kids; I think most Americans view soccer as a "gateway" sport, a non-threatening game for the under-10 set to play before they move on to the far more intense (and, thus, more macho) American football. Americans are aggressive and arrogant (hey, I'm an American, so I can say this), and that is reflected in our most popular sports; soccer just seems wimpy and silly by comparison.

Posted by: Joe | June 12, 2006 4:51 PM

Your hatred of soccer is totally accepatble, but don't you think you're being a little harsh? I mean, what's so wrong with soccer? It's just like basketball with feet, or hockey minus the sticks. It's yet another sport, and quite frankly, there's nothing un-family like about it. I have bunches of relatives who gather around the tv or computer screen to watch World Cup games just as they do the Super Bowl or the World Series.

I agree with you when you say that soccer is more popular among the younger age groups, those under 12, and that the professional soccer league in the U.S. can barely stand on their feet but why this animosity? Also, what is so wrong with people waving flags and banners of their countries's soccer teams? How is that any reminder of terrorism? It's just people waving banners of the team they support, on an international level. When we go to Hockey games, people wearre the Bruins colors and people wave the little New Englan Patriot's Banners at Patriots Football games.

In reality, there is more to soccer than world competition. I seriously hope that you know that other countries throughout the WORLD have inter-country soccer games, just like we have our own Football Association (the NFL) or hockey league (NHL),they have their own soccer leagues.

The World Cup is merely a large international showdown between the best teams the world can gather and a fight to see which one wins. It's not big in the U.S., but it's the equivalent, if not more, of the World Series in Baseball or the Superbowl in Football.

It's rather rude for one to be so ignorant towards a simple human pastime. But then again, I suppose you don't care if someone calls you rude. I, however, am quite surprised that the Washington Post was willing to post such an article. For a very prestigious newspaper they seem to be lowering their standards (this isn't the only article I'm surprised got published in this newspaper). If this is how the paper chooses to operate from now on, people will find it difficult to believe that the Washington Post once received the Pulitzer Prize.

~One who is not excessively ignorant or proud to be so.

Posted by: Random | June 12, 2006 5:15 PM

The US may never warm to pro soccer and that is fine - pro sport is mere entertainment after all and each to his own. But when you start talking about complexity in entertainment as an American prerequisite, may I be the first to admit that we in the rest of the word simply had no idea you chaps were such disriminating intellectuals. Leaving aside the mysterious scholastic allure that doubtless also resides in your music videos and commercial TV for moment, I must confess to completely missing the cerebral element in Nascar. Basketball and hockey share many characteristics with soccer. Presumably you despise them as well? Baseball is complex but cricket is even more so and the scores are somewhat higher. Perhaps it is the ultimate sport for your nation of culture vultures?

BTW European soccer has one indisputable advantage over the socialistic major leagues - bad teams get kicked out every year.

Posted by: bg | June 12, 2006 5:16 PM

Football (soccer for you) faces strong competition in every country. In england, rugby and cricket are extremely popular. Just because we don't embrace your home-made sports (suited to small attention spans)which only are popular in america does not mean football faces no competition!!

Posted by: steve | June 12, 2006 5:18 PM

Soccer's most prominent America-hater -

I stand corrected on Nigeria and Turkey, I guess, although I find it a little wierd that Trinidad with a population of 1 million people finds itself in the World Cup, while Nigeria with 131 times as many people and a strong history of being in the contest is, somehow, not. I think it's a European and Latin American event; I'm not saying people don't play it all over the place. I get annoyed listening to people use soccer to pit the USA against the rest of the world. The USA plays the game well enough to regularly make it into the contest. You never hear us complain that over a billion Chinese have their priorities screwed up just because their national sport is table tennis. Why don't you go bug them?

Posted by: mark | June 12, 2006 5:26 PM

Random, I completely agree with you. I also wrote here about how such important paper like Washington Post can give room to someone write so many absurdities. But Fisher won't comment on that.

He knows most of what he spoke about soccer wouldn't resist to a simple test of serious journalism.

Posted by: football not soccer | June 12, 2006 5:28 PM

I don't expect Europeans to appreciate baseball for the very same reasons I don't expect Americans to appreciate soccer. The main reason is that most Americans simply have not grown up playing soccer or watching it at a professional level. That is certainly the case for Europeans with respect to baseball.

However, there is one key difference - the fact that while baseball can understandably seem "silly" to some, soccer most certainly can be viewed as both "silly" and "wimpy" ("effeminate", as some have observed), especially in comparison to American football, basketball and hockey. Therefore, it is no wonder that soccer (mainly at the professional level) lags so far behind other American sports in the U.S.

Also, for those Europeans/Brits claiming that Americans are arrogant for not appreciating the intricacies of the "beautiful" game, I'd simply like to ask...Don't you see the irony in your viewpoint? I mean, why are you so aghast at the fact that, say, one country does not share your pasttime?

After all, you don't see Americans trying to cram baseball or American football down the throats of Europeans. Why do you feel so compelled to convince Americans that your sport is legit?

Posted by: I'm not sayin'; I'm just sayin' | June 12, 2006 5:47 PM

"Frightening Pace-

So soccer is above criticism? hardly.
Grow thicker skin. Then have the players do the same thing, rather then flopping around the field when anyone gets within 5 feet of them to draw afree kick. Soccer = Effiminent

Posted by: yup | June 12, 2006 04:04 PM"

Really?, let's see how you stand a bone crunching tackle when you're in possession of the ball running full speed towards your rival's goal, tell me it doesn't hurt.

Posted by: Americano | June 12, 2006 5:51 PM

What kills soccer in America is with American sports you can see the drama the story unfolding the momentum changing! If you score in soccer and you lead 2-0 basically that's it! You never see the drama with one swing of the bat..score ballgame. Get the picture! Like I said you can't see the greatest come back ever in Soccer!

Posted by: hec | June 12, 2006 5:58 PM

Why isn't soccer more popular in the U.S.? One reason - 0-0 (nil/nil) matches! You cannot convince me that there is any "beauty" in that. At least with American football, baseball, basketball and hockey there is some finality. Spectators in American sports typically don't go home with the sense that nothing at all happened.

Posted by: Buck | June 12, 2006 6:06 PM

Oh yeah... soccer really lacks drama. Don't know if I must either laugh or cry.

Posted by: football not soccer | June 12, 2006 6:06 PM

you cant watch the greatest comeback in soccer? perhaps you missed the japan australia game this morning, with australia scoring 3 goals in the final 8 minutes to win 3-1, or last years champions league final, considered by many to be one of the greatest soccer games ever. i'll fill you in since i doubt you recall.
with milan up 3-0 at half, liverpool came storming back to tie 3-3 at the end of regulation and win in penalties. is there something in baseball more dramatic than penalties? i think not.

Posted by: soccer | June 12, 2006 6:10 PM

How come the most ignorant american gets the soap box? You have successfully perpetuated to the German press that YOU are an American ignorant of the game and that YOU are so small-minded and nationalistic that YOU can not look outside of the borders of your own country to see the wonders of the great movement that world football is.

The U.S. media seems to only ask people about soccer whom they have already identified as ignorant of its marvels. Sounds like a setup aimed at finding people they are already certain will answer to their liking. Give ignorance the pulpit and the world will continue to grow in their disrepect for the ugly Americans.

Since Mr. Fischer is making up statistics for the foreign press, I'll take some liberties myself. I can't find an American in the city where i live, who is not aware of, most are consume with it, the World Cup.

When you don't know what you're talking about, it's best not to open your mouth on others behalf.

Posted by: MLorentz | June 12, 2006 6:21 PM

Americans seem to draw a big distinction between games they play and games they watch. Walking to the car is about all most of them manage to DO, but from those mutts beyond the glass they like to think they want blood and lots of it. Where does golf fit into this macho scenario?

American Football has another depressing aspect - the role of the coaching staff in making most of the decisions for the players. In most games this is considered iffy or downright illegal and to my mind there is something unamerican about it.

Posted by: bg | June 12, 2006 6:49 PM

Oh my little soccer buddy excuse me futbol! 3-3 and you end the game on penalties? I don't get it? Why not play on? Ok so you kick at the goalie but why not finsih the game the way it started. I see it now liverpool has tied the game 3-3 and a defender slips and liverpool scores again to win 4-3. Liverpool scores 4 goals in a row to thats a comeback! Now that's dramatic! But instead you get to kick at the goalie?

Posted by: hec | June 12, 2006 6:53 PM

That's like a batter in baseball pitching the ball to himself up in the air and if goes long and it's a homerun game over!

Posted by: hec | June 12, 2006 6:59 PM

I was honestly suprised to see that this somehow made its way into the Washington Post. I love football/soccer with all my heart and I play it too. While Marc Fisher may hate it, I implore him anyone else to sit and watch a game. Better yet, watch it with a soccer fan. I watched some matches in Spain when I was there and it was incredible. The passion people have for the sport is amazing. In Brazil they called it joga bonito, the beautiful game. Please, watch a match...the skills, the intensity and the fans' passion. People say that Americans hate football, and that's not true. We watched a match in class and everyone was on the edge of their seat, clapping for shots and groaning at misses. Football is very popular with young people today, and I promise as we age we'll still follow it. Love it or hate it, it's a worldwide passion that's catching on over here too, and no doubt is here to stay.

Posted by: Phoebe | June 12, 2006 7:03 PM

Mr. Fisher has trolled us I know but I can't resist.

When he says the following

"Oh goodness no! There is no more exciting or tense game than baseball. Baseball is the only sport in which statistics over the course of more than a century of play can be compared directly, allowing fans to know instantly how today's players rate against those of decades ago. In every play in baseball, every player is on the move, calculating the likelihood of a ball being hit to a certain place. Baseball is very much a game of mathematics--of angles and percentages---and of intricate strategy. Soccer, by comparison, is a blunt instrument, a simple game that depends more on stamina and strength than on the eye-hand coordination, mental gamesmanship and unique combination of grace and power that baseball demands. Every comparison that I've seen concludes that the single most difficult task in all of sports is hitting a baseball thrown at 95 miles an hour"

has he never heard of Cricket..or Rounders?

Posted by: bg | June 12, 2006 7:04 PM

"How come the most ignorant american gets the soap box?"

Um, because this is America and we have free press! By the way, we also use deoderant!

Posted by: WB | June 12, 2006 7:11 PM

Why Soccer is not popular in America?
Because it is not made by americans, and not tv commercial friendly.
I rather want to watch soccer because I don't have to deal with stupid commercials every 10 minutes.

Posted by: JS | June 12, 2006 7:41 PM


Good stuff. I am laughing out loud.

I'd also like to point out all of the commenters here who call soccer/futbal/whatever "a great international movement". All I can say is YIKES. You might as well just slap a UN logo or a hammer and sickle on the ball. No wonder why Americans are wary of embracing the so-called "beautiful game". I believe that it was Jack Kemp who remarked on the floor of the Senate that soccer is, in essense, a "socialist" game...and a boring one at that.

Posted by: Buck | June 12, 2006 7:43 PM

"I rather want to watch soccer because I don't have to deal with stupid commercials every 10 minutes".

Actually, you're watching a commercial EVERY minute of a soccer game/match/whatever. Ever notice that all of the players are covered in advertisements?!

Posted by: Buck | June 12, 2006 7:45 PM

For me, this is the second best time of the year (the first is Christmas). All throughout the World Cup I get to yawn and sneer at the "beautiful game" and it irritates the heck out of my soccer-dork friends.

Posted by: SB | June 12, 2006 7:48 PM

Thank you for spelling out the truth about soccer (futbol). The most obnoxious part about soccer fans is their lecturing to those of us that find it as exciting as "The World Series of Tiddly-Winks". We don't like it. We never will. Go and enjoy it in peace and leave the rest of us alone.

I have worked numerous soccer matches, professional and amateur, for television (including the world cup). The truth is, it doesn't excite me. It lacks strategy and intelligence. The average soccer fan is crazed, obscene and xenophobic.

Take your game, enjoy it, relish it, but don't lecture me every four years about what I am missing. I already know!

Posted by: David M | June 12, 2006 7:57 PM

Its called the World Cup becuase 200 odd nations attempt to qualify every 4 years and in 2010 it will be held in South Africa, the first to be held in that continent, hence making it truly global. Only Australia (they are considering 2018 as well) need to host it now for all the continents to host the most watched sporting event on earth.
How can it not be called the World Cup, its the only viable name you could have.

Also these perceptions its only popular in Europe and Latin America. Eastern Asia has a huge football following (hence it is a popular marketing tool for European clubs) and with the exception of South Africa (Whom adopt a few sports), a lot of countries in that continent only know of football and brings the people of the poorest nations together.

In conclusion, over a billion people cant be wrong about the sport now can they??

Posted by: Anonymous | June 12, 2006 8:01 PM

Well, if you seriously think it is global in nature I will be happy to wager with you. I bet either a Latin American or a European country wins the World Cup this year. I bet either a European or a Latin American country wins when they play in South Africa. And if they play in the Australia I bet either a European or Latin American country wins there, too.

Posted by: friendly wager | June 12, 2006 8:32 PM

I won't spend too much time dissecting the arguments of Mr. Fisher, but they are so clearly tainted with ignorance, inconsistency and bias...and not just about soccer, but about other sports, other countries, demographics, etc.

I gather it's all meant to be a little tongue-in-cheek, but it doesn't strike me as humorous, intelligent or responsible journalism. Clearly the German media enjoyed spinning Fisher's anti-soccer mentality to serve their own purposes of presumed USA-bashing or mockery. There are so many examples of poor journalism to be found these days, and this is just another instance of it. Is the German doing the right thing in choosing "Raw Fisher" as a source of knowledge on soccer in the US? Is Fisher doing the right thing by accepting the interview and presenting himself as knowledgeable on the topic?

There are quite a few very good journalists, photographers, etc. who have been offered buy-out contracts from the Post recently. Any chance these cost-cutting measures will catch up with Mr. Fisher, so he can pursue a 2nd career in something he's really cut out collecting baseball cards? I mean, really, what a self-indulgent geek of a writer.

Posted by: speculation | June 12, 2006 8:38 PM

football (soccer) not popular in india???
i'm indian and i can tell you that football is the number 2 behind cricket, the top club teams attract 120'000 spectators. and as an experiment marc why don't you try and get some service in india on the day of the final, i'll help you, you won't get any service.

Posted by: makhon | June 12, 2006 8:42 PM

If soccer is so popular in India why is Costa Rica, with a population of 4 million people able to participate in the World Cup, while India, with well over a 1,100,000,000 people is not able to qualify? It's very strange and improbable. I think it's not as popular, or taken a seriously, in India as in Costa Rica.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 12, 2006 8:55 PM

Wow, this is the most ridiculous article I've read. I really hope this is satire. You are ignorant and arrogant; a perfect example of why the rest of the world thinks so lowly of America and its citizens.

Posted by: Ct | June 12, 2006 9:24 PM

this article by fisher signifies how stupid and ignnorant we americans are. believe it or not soccer is a more unifying sport than (basketball/ football /baseball). soccer is a major sport in europe, africa and southamerica. it is also gaining popularity in Asia and becoming a national sport. i have no doubt that soccer will be a national sport in america within the next 50 years.

Posted by: abraham | June 12, 2006 9:52 PM

Youth soccer started taking off in most parts of the country in just the past 20 years, so only a small percentage of American adults have played the game. Twenty years from now, when the majority of adults will have grown up playing the game, and understand it, there will be a big difference in the game's popularity here.

One thing that will always limit the participation of older kids in soccer is that, unlike baseball or football, you must be a well conditioned athlete to play. Soccer has no equivalent of slow overweight first basemen or obese offensive linemen.

Posted by: Steve | June 12, 2006 10:38 PM

0-3 =)

even if they were able to qualify among 31 others countries, the US still have a lot to learn with the "feminine" sport.

btw if China and India, despite the fact thet they represent 30% of the world population, are not represented in the world cup, it is because they did not qualify. There is 8 or 10 games to play before you get the qualification.

It's also funny to read those "big" "macho" guys talking about the feminine side of FootBall. If you push that a little further, you should talk about Rugby :), no pause every 90 seconds, 2x40minutes straight, no helmets or shoulder protections. Just teeths and balls.

Let's forget about sport My dears United States friends, we are all watching what your macho, muscular mentality, is doing to the rest of the world...
kind of sad.

Posted by: matteo | June 13, 2006 12:55 AM

I'm 49 years old and it seems to me that I've been hearing that soccer will be the next big thing for pro sports in this country for the last 20 years or so. Well, it hasn't happened yet not even after the US hosted the World Cup, and I feel pretty sure that I could live another 49 years and soccer still won't be such a big deal in this country.

My feeling is that, at some level, soccer is regarded more as a girls game in the US. Why this is, I'm not sure, but there does seem to be a perception that it's just not a brutal enough game for "real" men.

Posted by: lucy | June 13, 2006 5:59 AM

Steve -
I play soccer in high school in the USA 24 years ago & people were saying the same thing about "twenty years from now". So, I'd like to think you are right, but I would not count on it.

Posted by: mark | June 13, 2006 7:21 AM


Reading your post, I have a image of you sitting in some third world locale, wearing a Che Guevara t-shirt, watching your "beautiful game" on a black and white TV and seething about the American imperialists. How accurate is that?

Posted by: JY | June 13, 2006 8:21 AM

Soccer is a kids game! To be honest not sure why soccer nations don't embrace Rugby? Kind of like soccer but at least those guys actually "Tackle"!

Posted by: hec | June 13, 2006 9:56 AM

Ok, more than 200 comments by slobbering soccer fans. I guess we know what to do if the blog is ever in danger of being cancelled--bash soccer. As a benefit, I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of these were non-WPost regulars that were sucked here by the soccer bashing to view ads. I wonder if the same thing would happen if Mark were to bash football or even another fringe pursuit like darts.

Posted by: Chris | June 13, 2006 10:22 AM

I chuckle at those who insinuate that a nation's population has something to do with the ability & success of it's soccer (or other sports for that matter) team. If that were the case don't you morons realize that China would be winning everything in sight by now?
In my mind, Fisher must have been making at least some attempt at humor, but for the life of me I don't get it. I'm a 48 year-old white guy born in the U.S. and I'm a fan of just about every sport in the world...even cricket. I don't particularly get NASCAR and motorcycle racing - but there's no value in bashing any one sport to try and improve the perception of other sports. True fans "get it" for the sports they love and the boring and uneducated don't.

Posted by: Mark | June 13, 2006 12:02 PM

You talk about soccer, yet you say at the end of the interview that you have no information on it (i.e."I couldn't tell you the name of a single player"). I say that's pretty ignorant of you, my friend.

Posted by: Tom | June 13, 2006 1:01 PM

Hi - Marc here. Still a cvnt.

Posted by: Fisher | June 13, 2006 1:01 PM

Hey Marc,

Next time post something like this:

Anyways, here are the 7 reasons why soccer sucks:

1- There is only one interval (halftime) in the whole game and the rest is filled with non-stop action. Players have to rest constantly, because they're good guys and they deserve it. And where are our awesome commercials that we want to see every 5 minutes? That's why I love the superbowl, kick ass propaganda.

2- The athletes are among the most skilled and fittest people in the world. Who wants to see people handle a ball with such finesse, style, and elegance while they try to move so skillfully through the field dodging players, tricking them, and at the same time connecting and passing with their teammates in such a strategic manner? This kind of play is incredible and too far-fetched. nobody wants to see something that's almost unreal. We want to see something we can believe and can actually imagine ourselves doing... this is why baseball is the best.

3- Players do not use their hands. This kind of play is unreasonable. Why wouldn't you use the easiest controllable body part in a sport? We don't want them to have challenges while moving and shooting the ball. The world is already too difficult as it is, keep it simple.

4- Scoring is scarce. So we're watching a game for 2 hours or more and we only see 1 or 2 goals... what a waste of time. We don't need suspense or thrill, players should score ALL the time, because scoring is the best part of a sport. Basketball understands this philosophy, so they make scoring easier and we get around 100 points each game. Even though this takes away the surprise and excitement when a player gets some points, it's still fun to see the same dude score again and again non-stop. This might be going off-topic, but basketball scoring system needs to be even easier, maybe the team that runs from one end of the court to the other gets 5 points. That way it's even better when someone gets points and think about the thrill when someone doesn't score!

5- It is played internationally. Who wants to see other nations' teams which history we don't even know about? We want to keep the sport in one country, that way we're familiarized with every squad. Besides nobody cares about other nations, screw them.

6- It wasn't created in the USA and it's not hyped up here in the good old states. We all know USA is the best and makes the greatest of sports and products (just look the amazing line up of beers we have... such great quality). If the USA's media doesn't make it popular, it means it sucks... we don't want to watch crap.

7- Most importantly of all, soccer sucks and it's extremely boring. I have no arguments here, it's just a law: soccer = crap. But if you keep insisting for reasons: because it is!!! , then it must.

Good day!!

Posted by: Marco | June 13, 2006 1:36 PM

Great satire should not have a sign on it that says "DEAR MORONS: THIS IS A PIECE OF SATIRE." That's like the joke-teller who insists on explaining the joke at the end. Good Lord, people. Marc is doing a terrific schtick as the ignorant soccer hater. It's hilarious seeing you people get worked up about it. Great work, Marc.

Posted by: Jonathan Swift | June 13, 2006 1:37 PM

It's not hilarious, it's actually pleasing to see that the sport is getting more fans and followers than before.

Posted by: Marco | June 13, 2006 1:53 PM

What a load of tripe!

So when you can't go 50 feet in America with out having a US Flag waved in your face, in the form of a flag, a lapel pin, a magnet, a billboard and any other flat surface that could support some nationalistic slogan!
driving down the road and having "God Bless America" stickers and magnets flooding your field of view. With "I am Proud to be American" and "Buy America First" stickers all over Japanese and German cars with license plate covers that say "I would rather be down under in Australia"

With flag waving dung heads driving along our southern borders in hopped up dune buggies with semi automatic weapons. While leaving our northern border wide open... (apparently terrorists can't afford to fly into Canada)
Hiding hatred, intolerance and bigotry behind the name of "The War on Terror!

All the anti-gay and lesbian rhetoric that is stirring middle america into a frenzy over religion, marriage and basic human rights...

No!!! WE are not Nationalistic at all... So what you are saying is that Americans(or anyone else) that like soccer are no better than Nazi's or terrorists!

You are speaking about soccer on behalf of all Americans... Please stop pretending to speak for me. You have only proven to be the stereotypically uninformed American that is never short of a bad opinion.

After reading your opinion I can only begin to imagine why every country in the world hate America sooooooo much!

They probably learned about America and Americans by reading the opinions of idiots like you.

The saintly way that all of us Americans help each other regardless of race, religion, ethnic background, social standing, gender and sexual preference!

We have set the standard for the rest of the world to follow... Right?

Well don't start complaining now that the rest of the world is following suit!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 13, 2006 2:22 PM

A: Certainly a U.S. team's success in the World Cup would boost the sport's ability to win TV coverage and notice from Americans, most of whom have no idea that the World Cup exists, let alone that it is occurring this month. But most Americans have no clue who is on the U.S. team or even that there is a U.S. team, so the past performance of that team is irrelevant. It's very nice for soccer-loving countries to have their little tournament, but to call it the World Cup is rather arrogant and overblown."

little tournement? yeah ok, try the biggest in the world that has over 20 times the viewers of the super bowl

Posted by: tom | June 13, 2006 2:25 PM

Can someone decipher that last post?

Posted by: SLM | June 13, 2006 2:32 PM

"The saintly way that all of us Americans help each other regardless of race, religion, ethnic background, social standing, gender and sexual preference!"

Get a grip! This is a forum about soccer! Did the ACLU write this post? Are all soccer fans leftists?

Posted by: TJ | June 13, 2006 2:44 PM

The truth is it's the one place or event in the world that doesn't focus on America! We don't like it because we are not winners at it like everything else we do! Also our best athletes play other sports with big $$$! It's simple! If our best athletes played soccer we would watch but they don't.

Posted by: hec | June 13, 2006 2:56 PM

The truth is it's the one place or event in the world that doesn't focus on America! We don't like it because we are not winners at it like everything else we do! Also our best athletes play other sports with big $$$! It's simple! If our best athletes played soccer we would watch but they don't.

Posted by: hec | June 13, 2006 2:57 PM

Could you imagine if Randy Moss grew up loving soccer and going up blocking shots as a goalie. How about T.O. or Vince Carter doing a header! Like Brazil our kids grow up playing soccer but we have more to offer in other sports.

Posted by: hec | June 13, 2006 3:15 PM


Everyone has the right to enjoy any sport they like but they have no right to expect me to enjoy it, too.

Posted by: White Camry | June 13, 2006 3:28 PM

Gee, I'll never understand how Fisher lost his job at the State Department?

This article does have some redeeming value, however, since it could be included as an adendum to 'The Ugly American.'

Posted by: Felix St. Pe' | June 13, 2006 3:49 PM

soccer own ur mom and ur dad.

Posted by: stfuplz | June 13, 2006 4:06 PM

I love soccer!

In the past year, I've lost loads of money on MLB, NBA, NFL, College Football and College Basketball.

I don't know a thing about soccer, but I'm 4-0 in betting on the World Cup so far!

Posted by: Mitch | June 13, 2006 4:44 PM

Mark Fisher, i have never read anything (sports related) so idiotic and negative. i will never read anything you write again, you are clearly too lazy to do any research and too biased and overly patriotic to realize that this is not the only country in the world. Please, eat a big piece of humple pie, NOW

Posted by: amazed | June 13, 2006 5:33 PM

'I guess, although I find it a little wierd that Trinidad with a population of 1 million people finds itself in the World Cup, while Nigeria with 131 times as many people and a strong history of being in the contest is'

Well for starters they are from different continents and so do not cempete each other in their qualifying groups. trinidad play in the CONCACAF federation from north and central america which has 4 places allocated for the world cup and Nigeria plays other african teams which i think have 5 places allocated. Doesnt mean they arent a good team or heavy football fans because they didnt qualify, Turkey, last years 3rd place team, didnt even make it either, Nor did countries such as Scotland, Uraguay or Egypt, all footballing nations.

Posted by: Andrewf | June 13, 2006 5:36 PM

so makes me laugh.

Posted by: nboi | June 13, 2006 6:06 PM

"I have a image of you sitting in some third world locale, wearing a Che Guevara t-shirt, watching your "beautiful game" on a black and white TV and seething about the American imperialists. How accurate is that?"

not super accurate.

i am doing a 6 figure in los angeles.
i wear a white shirt and do not watch tv.
but you are right, LA does feel somewhat exotic to me ;)

Sorry... not so accurate and a bit arrogant too.
enjoy the game

Posted by: matteo | June 13, 2006 6:46 PM

Read sarcastically, this is BRILLIANT!

Posted by: lol | June 13, 2006 6:59 PM

I see a fear in this man comments and there are so many others like him who are worried that one day soccer will be sport and punks like would have nothing else to write, soccer is gaining ground every year over other sports and if all the sports we have here didn't have the timeouts and therefore no tv deal they would be out of business long time ago, only soccer with no timeouts, is still the sport for the world.

Posted by: usfooty | June 13, 2006 7:03 PM

Population size is apparently an unreliable predictor of national performance in sport according to Swiss economist Benno Torgler who had deveopled a sophistcated model to predict how teams will do. He considers the FIFA rankings a very poor predictor BTW but I could have told you that. The Dominican Republic and Cuba with small populations produce a disproportionate number of top class baseball players but there are fewer other sports in these countries to compete for the best athletes.

With that said, the actual winners of World Cups in the last forty years have all been populous countries, the smallest being Argentina.

Posted by: BG | June 13, 2006 7:34 PM

wow - moaning about nationalism...from an American! the sweet irony of it all.

what is it about soccer that scares people like Fisher? is it fear of the outsider, of the un-american? is it the fact that it isn't a sport where America can claim supremacy; a sport in which its pro league can't claim to be the "world" champion?

every four years, the infantile and fearful rants of those who couch their xenophobia in a soccer-tinged tirade - and you know what? it's pretty dam tiresome. grow up, Fisher. get a life.

Posted by: Vicent from NYC | June 13, 2006 8:17 PM

I'm proud to be an American, where at least I know I'm free.....

Posted by: Are You? | June 13, 2006 8:26 PM

Jesus, am American shocked by nationalistic fan displays, presumably never seen his fellow Americans at the Olympics?
PS, thank god for no boring time outs or ad breaks.
PPS, 207 countries belong to FIFA yet 'we' are arrogant to have a 'World Cup' in a sport Americans can't understand?
PPS, OK, I've worked it out, you're taking the piss, right? Phew, thought you were serious for a minute.

PPPS, I hate lefties and love football, your political dimension is straight out of the same folder as WMD in Iraq.

Steve (please god, let England beat mighty Trinidad and Tobago 3 -0 on Thursday).

Posted by: Steve (not a commie) from England | June 13, 2006 10:08 PM

I really hope you are being funny, but if not, just drop by RFK on a weekend when the Nats are on a road trip and see why this post got so many comments. (That would be yet another invitation to come see a DC United game if you didn't get the reference.)

Posted by: David | June 14, 2006 12:36 AM

Yanks, If you don't like football then don't watch it. Don't take part in the World Cup you will not be missed. And no we are not going to make the goal wider just for you.

Posted by: Lorraine | June 14, 2006 6:55 AM

i want to be very prominent in life

Posted by: isaac osei bonsu | June 14, 2006 9:34 AM

Brilliant, Mark Fisher, brilliant! By inhabiting the persona of a smug, know-nothing halfwit with hilariously illogical and counterfactual beliefs, you've ruthlessly parodied the "stupid American" stereotype that so often embarrasses us abroad. What Stephen Colbert does for news, you do for sports!

Well done to you and Markus Guenther both for managing to keep a straight face throughout this hilarious send-up of an interview. I particularly loved that your suggestion that the soccer World Cup isn't international--and the implication that the the *National* Football League "world champions" somehow are. As a long-time Chicago resident, I have to say it was priceless to hear you pretending that soccer hooliganism was a bigger problem than, say, the way American cities explode into riots even when their teams win an NBA title. Oh, and gosh, the part where you poker-facedly assured us that baseball is a game of constant tension and action with growing fan support even though we're well aware that people in this country and others tend to use it as a sleep aid and that fewer and fewer native-born Americans are playing it each year (and the average age keeps getting older and older because fewer pro-quality players are coming up through te ranks), golly that was a masterpiece of satire.

Well done!

I mean, unless you're lazy enough to have meant what you said.

No. No. Surely nobody's that smug and uninformed.

Posted by: Jon E. | June 14, 2006 10:00 AM

Mark -

I think you miss the point about population, popularity and sports. I think at some point China will contend in every sport it feels like; it's obviously a force in the Olympics. I expect it will be a lot like the USA, fielding teams in most everything. Only I would expect it will be a bigger force, over time.

The point is it's not a "player" in soccer now. There are a lot of poor countries that are significant in soccer - most countries in Latin America for instance. the cost to field a soccer team is pretty low. So, it's not a matter of cost. The fact is if even a very very small percentage of China was significantly interested, at this time, in playing the sport they could field a team that could beat countries with 10 million people in team. Serbia. The Czech Republic. Costa Rica. Trinadad. I know, it's there's not a direct relationship between population and what you can accomplish in sports, but really, after a point it's a bit absurb to say a sport is "popular" in a country, when the country can't field an effective team. Fact is, there are a lot of very large countries like this.

Awhile back on this strand someone suggested the second most popular sport in India is soccer. That may be true. But if it is true, it certainly colors that fact that India - the second largest country in the world by far - can't beat out Trinadad for a spot in the World Cup. If soccer is so popular in these large countries, the natural landscape of the sport would have these countries in the World Cup way more often then they are. Sure, sometimes, a small country would make it in, but it would be a Cinderella Story.

You've got soccer fans out there who think the sports culture of Nigeria and Turkey and Indonesia is all about soccer. It's just very odd to me that these large countries are all no shows at the World Cup. And yet the soccer fans use this idea to pit the USA against "the world".

More realistically, the USA, if you take a global view is part of the soccer club. We are a soccer playing nation, even if it's not anywhere near as popular here as in Europe or Latin America. These days we consistently make the World Cup, unlike the majority of the worlds largest countries.

Posted by: mark | June 14, 2006 10:25 AM

Decent perception of the past for soccer in the US, but poor observation of what is truly happening.

The children of the 80's are now grown up. The kids of the 90's are right behing. We now have money to spend, and it isn't all going to go into MLB, NFL, or NBA.

Also, if we're into wholesome sports, why is the NBA or NFL so popular? Anysport that seems to require a bonfire or riot when winning a championship should be lumped in with the few incidents of worldwide fan violence in soccer or rugby.

Posted by: Kim | June 14, 2006 11:13 AM

andrewf -

"Nor did countries such as Scotland, Uraguay or Egypt, all footballing nations"

The current system for determining who participates in the WC is designed to give countries outside Europe and Latin America a chance to complete. Otherwise, Uraguay and Scotland would beat teams like Japan and the USA and the whole thing would seem less global.

Posted by: mark | June 14, 2006 11:27 AM

Mark, you dont know what your talking about, Scotland are a terrible team, and incase you noticed the USA made it to the quater final of WC 2002, hardly a token. Football is hugely popular outside S america and Europe, Saudi Arabia postponed school exmination directly because of the world cup, countries such as Tunisia have de facto bank holidays such as that of superbowl day in the us and countries all around africa follow european club football closely.

Posted by: Andrewf | June 14, 2006 12:00 PM

Andrewf -

I'm using Scotland as an example of a small country in Europe that could generally be expected to do well against any large country outside of Europe and Latin America. I do not know the specifics on Scotland, but even without knowing anything, I bet they could beat China, India, Indonesia, and so forth.

Do you think the World Cup would more representative of the world if the selection process were more democratic?

You can talk all you want about "huge popularity", but "hugh popularity" in combination with hugh populations must result in a significant base of talent, since so much of the talk about "huge popularity" revolves around the idea of a young and growing population playing the game (an idea that's been around for quite some time, ironically).

I'm not saying it's not popular. But I think there are a lot of emphasis by soccer fans on it's global nature, like it's some sort of global empire who's rear end we must all kiss. I don't think most folks in the USA care for that and I expect you'll find, over time, there are a lot of other places in the world where that is true as well.

Posted by: mark | June 14, 2006 12:50 PM

Posted by: boo | June 14, 2006 1:56 PM

Stephen Colbert, are you ghostwriting columns now?

Posted by: Tony | June 14, 2006 2:33 PM

3- Players do not use their hands. This kind of play is unreasonable. Why wouldn't you use the easiest controllable body part in a sport? We don't want them to have challenges while moving and shooting the ball. The world is already too difficult as it is, keep it simple.

4- Scoring is scarce. So we're watching a game for 2 hours or more and we only see 1 or 2 goals... what a waste of time. We don't need suspense or thrill, players should score ALL the time, because scoring is the best part of a sport. Basketball understands this philosophy, so they make scoring easier and we get around 100 points each game. Even though this takes away the surprise and excitement when a player gets some points, it's still fun to see the same dude score again and again non-stop. This might be going off-topic, but basketball scoring system needs to be even easier, maybe the team that runs from one end of the court to the other gets 5 points. That way it's even better when someone gets points and think about the thrill when someone doesn't score!

5- It is played internationally. Who wants to see other nations' teams which history we don't even know about? We want to keep the sport in one country, that way we're familiarized with every squad. Besides nobody cares about other nations, screw them.

typical narrow minded american
this is why we dont discuss matters with you guys
i played the baseball and i love it
and i play basketball too most of the days
but football is something different
a more challenging task
all im saying is most people who hates football is the ones that cant play em
and we soccer lovers still can play your game

Posted by: Hunter | June 14, 2006 5:16 PM

Wow. What an article. I realise you were probably trying to be provocative and amusing. I also realise that your blog is an effort to break the mold of traditional journalism a bit, to spice it up. But I find your article really disappointing.

You presume to speak for 300 million people, supporting your argument with unsubstantiated statistics and ill-founded generalizations. You also present subjective opinions as objective fact. And of course, you throw in a number of insults. It is insulting to me and to many readers that you would present yourself that way, claiming incorrectly to speak for us, to foreign media.

You are welcome to your opinion. I just would expect more effective arguments--or at least acknowledgment of opposiing views and the complexity of the argument--from a journalist.

Posted by: JohnG | June 14, 2006 5:59 PM

Dear Sir
I find your comments rather amusing. I am English and love soccer. As it requires a level of athleticism that frankly could only benefit the majority of your baseball players, who seem rather unfit, some even overweight. Could it be that Americans are just lacking in ability and fitness after a young age and are encouraged to take up more sedentary activities? It is the most followed sport in the world! Just because America does not play it well and it is not a popular sport here, you are only representing one country. It is in the truest sense a "world event", unlike American football!
When you talk of a level of complexity and drama in a sport, a game that is fast paced and lasts only 90 minutes is far more exciting than a baseball game that can last for hours, end in a very low score and see people actually leaving live games before they have even finished. A soccer fan would never dream of such behavior. I could go on and on in response to your interview but I have soccer games to watch, along with the vast majority of other nations.


English Soccer Fan

Posted by: Beverley | June 14, 2006 6:27 PM

Beverley :

You make some good points whilst making some fundamental errors.

Firstly, you consider yourself an english "soccer" fan. Nobody in england uses the term "soccer" !! it is football !!

Secondly, please spell the word behavior(sic) with the U it deserves!!!!

The english language should be spelt in the english way!! Please in future conform to this behavioUr !!!!!

Posted by: matt | June 14, 2006 7:59 PM

I think Americans would watch the World Cup if the USA team were in the finals or whatever, but we would be as interested in that as we are when Lance Armstrong rides in the Tour de France. We're not watching every cycling event in the world just because an American is number 1 in the sport. But Marc touched on something that I seldom mention to others--the main reason why I dislike soccer is because of the images of Nazi-like hooligans that pop in my mind. From the strange, nationalistic chants the fans shout to the swastika flags waving proudly, I just can't watch soccer without thinking of Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Youth brigade.

Posted by: Mario | June 14, 2006 9:31 PM

Hey English Soccer Fan, your comments are some of the reasons why Americans don't like the sport--you are scary fascist! Besides, Americans do play the sport well. Our kids could most likely beat yours, and our women are the best female soccer players in the world. Why don't more english women play sports? Is it because they are fat and lazy living off the public dole like Susan Moore?

Posted by: Brandon | June 14, 2006 9:34 PM

I am a new American citizen. I do not like soccer because it reminds me of the fascism that is all over europe. It is that fascism that I escape from. My new country of America is about family and peace, not riots and pig behavior. Why do Americans not like soccer? Why do we not care about the world? Because we're all products of immigration, whether new or related, and we are trying our hardest to forget the sinister world we came from. America is our refuge. We shut the door on you. Don't cry world. You tried to kill us and persecute us. You should be glad we're gone. I am! Soccer! Phew!

Posted by: Sergei Tolmachev | June 14, 2006 9:37 PM

Why don't Americans like soccer? In one sentence: Because there are no cheer leaders!

Posted by: Damien P. | June 14, 2006 9:38 PM

When our Italian exchange student came to stay w/ our family we took her to see a football game, the Redskins v. Baltimore. She could not believe the extravaganza. She said in broken english that it was like watching something from the future. Half time shows, fireworks, cheerleaders, marching bands, huge men in strange "costumes" as she called it, penetrating aggression. What can compare to that on earth? Soccer cannot compare to the emotional excitement of football.

Posted by: T.C. | June 14, 2006 9:41 PM

I don't think any of you understand the German media. It is nothing but sarcasm and parody. Even with serious interviews they will ask questions like, let's say to Condi Rice "Why do you like to kill children?" etc. This is how they are. It's called German sick humor. They understand Mr. Fischer's humor, as does Mr. Fischer understands German humor. The article, though I'm sure Mr. Fischer doesn't like soccer, is largely a parody and fits perfectly with German media style.

Posted by: Biote | June 14, 2006 9:44 PM

I hear American leftists will watch soccer with the same experssion on their faces when they listen to the Dixie Chics.

Posted by: Vivian | June 14, 2006 9:48 PM

I am from Brasil. I moved to the US to get away from soccer. Oh, and I also moved to get away from corrupt socialists.

Posted by: Pedro | June 14, 2006 9:50 PM

Gee, why don't Americans like soccer more? Hmmm. I wonder....

Posted by: M.S. | June 14, 2006 9:51 PM

If the players pulled their socks down to their ankles I think there would be more interest in the sport in America. The outfits look way too 70s! Even basketball garb in America changes over the decades. Why can't soccer's?

Posted by: Cindy | June 14, 2006 9:54 PM

Hey, M.S., great link! Any sport that needs SWAT teams to guard them is no sport for me or my children!

Posted by: Jacobsen | June 14, 2006 9:55 PM

I just can't get into a sport where Ghana plays Libya. I'm more interested in a sport where Washington plays Philadelphia.

Posted by: Let's go for a ride | June 14, 2006 10:07 PM

you need to get lives. Football is a great sport, baseball is a great sport. Take the politics away from the discussion. And by the way I feel sorry for all those who have moved to the US to escape political oppression!

Posted by: Richard | June 14, 2006 10:36 PM

All-American and soccer fanatic. You are just wrong. I grew up in Cleveland loving the Indians and the Browns. Now, baseball is dead to me. The combination of strikes, juiced up overpaid spoiled brats, and a sport with stars that can be fat and old killed it for me. I will buy DC United season tickets until the day I die, even if I move from the area. I doubt I will ever attend a baseball game again in my life.

Posted by: All-American Mike | June 14, 2006 10:55 PM

Canada isn't a big soccer country either. Why are the euros only concerned about whether Americans like the sport. I thought we were supposed to be ogres? Why should they care what Americans do? Why are they so focused on us? I don't give two seconds worth of attention to them.

Posted by: Selma | June 14, 2006 11:16 PM

It's good that people like sports and play them and it's good that in America games are good natured (except for maybe little league) and we don't have hooligans killing people over a missed goal. But I personally do not like to watch soccer. I will play any sport, and watch some, but I can't watch soccer, whether inperson or on TV

Posted by: Robocop | June 14, 2006 11:20 PM

I'm trying the best I possibly can to pretend the rest of the world doesn't exist; do I have to play their sports?

Posted by: John | June 14, 2006 11:21 PM

Posted by: Bart | June 14, 2006 11:26 PM

My son plays soccer, and his team is the state champs (MD) for his age bracket (under 12), and he practices and plays all day long. He is always kicking his soccer ball around, but he has no interest in watching the world cup. He even laughs because most the international teams don't have names, but numbers.

Posted by: Gary | June 14, 2006 11:36 PM

soccer is too european. I don't like european things. Europe gives me the willies. When I watch soccer, I always feel like I'm a prisoner of war.

Posted by: Debbie Downer | June 14, 2006 11:47 PM

Marc, soccer is more stratigic then football and baseball combined. Have you seen a soccer player kicking the ball from a far distance right into another players feet?? Probably not. have you seen ronaldinho play, he can dribble the whole team. Your just jelouse because The world Cup is the biggest event ever in the world, and your favorite sport isnt. If soccer is so easy why didnt the US win a world cup by now.If all it takes is running, and kicking why didnt they do it, cuz thats all americans are good at. I bet if I stood right in front of you , you couldnt pass me the ball right to my feet. Number one you dont have the balance. #2: You wont be able to cuz your probably on steroids like every baseball player, and Im sure thats a good things for american famylis teach your children how to use steroids and cheat in sports. Perrty soon american will be fat to play any sport, they go to eat at the ball park not enjoy the game. Perrty soon they will have to change MLB to super FAT XXL OVERWEIGHT MAJOER!!LEAGEUE BASEEEEBALL.

World series baseball??? If you want the word "world" included in sporting Tournament you have to have more then one country in it!!

Did you know EVERYCOUNTRY IN THE WORLD participates in the FIFA WORLD CUP QUALIFICATION MATCHES!! YOU Probably dont care, but that basicly means its a world even not a european event, if americans dont like they dont have to participate in it, but they do because they like,a nd they want to win. And dont act like you dont want USA to win, you just dont want to play allong cuz your an anti american and you dont support The American soccer team, who pays taxes, supports it troops, and only want to make america a better place by showing other teams that they are the best in the world. There is only one tournament in the world that can prove who is the most talented skilled, balanced and richest soccer nation in the world and thats by winning the world cup. SO marc I got one thing to say to you...your just too dumb to realize that,plus you know the kids that start up with soccer when they are ten, and then quit...they are losers who never will be a pro athelete because they quit because they dont know how . the people who know how to play soccer they stick with..The game of soccer is to complicated for them and you, all youthink its kicking and running, I hope you get a chance to play for fun against a team soemday. Im sorry to say but America will be a soccer nation soon, so you can say good bye to the NFL and MLB..No one wants to watch gay sports anymore, they want to see real sports where you compete with the world not you good friends form out of town..
by the way marc are you still a virgin, yu certainly look like one with your bald your self a favor and start playing soccer cuz then maybe you will get a chick. Cant you see baseball has faild for gotta move on buddy...

Posted by: DENIS | June 15, 2006 2:26 AM

Whereas I could write an essay on the deep philosophical meaning of some of the replies and how this load of crack explains US foreign policy, I have to thank Marc Fisher for making me roll about the floor laughing. I have never seen so much nonsense in my life. I think young Fisher should have stopped after the first line: "Because There's Sometimes Less to the Story". Spot on!!!
(Go orange)

Posted by: Baz | June 15, 2006 2:27 AM

Considering you were probably born and raised in the US, I'd forgive you for your misguided comments. Obviously you grew up living with the idealogies of baseball, NFL, and any other major American sport instilled into you throughtout your childhood years. But let me shed some light on some your ill-guided comments.

The World Cup deserves it's title as it allows every nation the opportunity to participate. Please note the 32 teams in the World Cup at present qualified from a 100 countries through 5 divisions.

Your perception that it is dominated by latin american/european countries is quite valid however note also these are the strongest teams to qualify through their division (Think of it like the NFL or NBA -west and east conferences) South America, Europe, Asian, Africa, Oceania and Central America. Each division has a number of spots (usually the top 2/4 teams) that advance to the group stages of the world cup.

You don't see the likes of Nigeria, Russia, China, or India qualifying as they are usually not the strongest teams and don't usually finish in their division as either the top 1 or 2 (This can be to a number or reasons: economics, politics, poor line-up, coaches, crap players, etc.). However with the right encouragement (out-sourcing talent to strong soccer leagues -Serie A, Spain, EPL) you'll see more countries making their World Cup debut a la T&T, Ghana, and Togo.

Secondly, your perception that team USA is a joke is pretty much shared by the rest of the world. The Central America division (CONCACAF) is one of the weakest divisions along with Oceania. This is why USA is ranked 5th by FIFA standards and are constantly always going to get into the world cup (top 2 spots of each division get entry).

Thirdly, why soccer is never going to be big in the US and be a major contender for the World Cup? How can it be when you ridicule your own team, no support (the few that do are overshadowed by the ignorant populance), below par talent (need to out-source talent to strong leagues, like europe), and the whole "US conservative" perception concerning the sport (Just cause it was established in the old days like NFL or baseball doesn't mean it doesn't have a place in the US). People like you who share your views (judging from a number of posts) are a strong reason why soccer is hindered from developing.

On the game itself, sure soccer sports a lot of unsportsmanly theatrics (name one sport that doesn't) however it's the only game that is considered of the highest skill level (Watching an MLS game doesn't even remotely come close to describing the skill level as this is 2nd/3rd tier stuff). NFL (people running into each other is not skill -don't get me wrong I like watching the superbowl when it's on over here), baseball (hitting a ball is not skill -it would get more respect from me if they could hit it at a specific target).

On people posting about soccer being boring, understandable you grew up with "NFL/baseball" influences so accustoming yourself to another sport is difficult (General world perception is that Americans very isolated from the world). Ask anyone outside of USA and you'll be hugely surprised of how exciting soccer really is.

Someone posted about the scores, resorting to penalty shootouts after tie. 30 mins of extra time is added after scores are tied, if by then scores are still tied, penalty shootouts occur.

On the family thing, sports promoting scantly clad females flinging their "pom-poms" as role models for women is definately family oriented. (Don't get me wrong I like watching NFL, NBA, and ice hockey but your comment on this was very ill-guided)

Soccer is called the "World game" cause everyone plays it. I'm not going to join the bandwagon but I will say this, you have every right to criticize soccer, you have every right to hate the game but before you give what you may think as a valid comment do some research (learn the game, learn about the history, learn something useful before writing down meaningless comments), try to leave your childhood instilled "US conservative mumbo jumbo" behind (it comes off as hugely arrogant -you may want to be perceived like this but you're hurting your kinsmen -the world are pretty much saying "another stereotypical ignorant, arrogant american, lets laugh in his face") and try and say something useful, encouraging, especially those instilled with American patriotism (ie. USA supporters -try and do something different from what ever other media outlet has done which is chastise your own team -they need encouragement to develop).

On a side note, GO AUSTRALIA!!!

Posted by: An Australian | June 15, 2006 7:29 AM

While I did make a number of points about the relative popularity of soccer in my comments - I am not the marc who writes for Post - I never suggested the USA (or any other country) was a joke. The USA has a long history with the World Cup, going back to it's origins and founding. The USA has participated in 8 World Cup finals and done pretty well in a few of them, better than most countries.

I am an American, but I don't fall under the sweep of your generalizations. If any team outside of Europe and Latin America wins the World Cup in the near future it will most probably be the USA. And soccer is popular in the USA, I think more popular in a number of ways than some of the countries you've mentioned. It's just there are a lot of other things going on here as well. A lot of people here talk down the World Cup in order to annoy the French. I do it to annoy the Swedes.

Still, I stand by the general idea that some folks tend to paint a strange picture of the USA vs. 'the rest of the world' when it comes to soccer. I think these people are more anti-USA than pro-soccer, and, as you would expect, they don't objectively look at the sports culture of a lot of the countries they lump into 'the rest of the world'.

Posted by: An Australian | June 15, 2006 8:29 AM

All things from Europe are fascist;
Soccer is from Europe;
Therefore, Soccer is fascist.

Posted by: MaybellineNYC | June 15, 2006 11:59 AM

Have you ever heard the moronic comments from foreigners about American football? American criticisms of soccer pale in comparison.

Posted by: Ralph | June 15, 2006 12:01 PM

"Soccer's popularity in much of the world is sadly tied up with the most disturbing face of nationalism" - Fisher

The most disturbing face of nationalism is blindly supporting a stupid war that leads to 2,500 deaths among your countryman and + 30,000 deaths among the residents of where the war is fought, giving up your civil liberties, and being intolerant of dissent. All countries coming together to play a game, interact, and have fun is by far the least disturbing face of nationalism.

Posted by: John Valentine | June 15, 2006 1:44 PM

In regards to the population factor and the status of India and China give it a rest!! We're in CONCAF and rated at #5 in the world. Why??? Because we're in league with Trinidad and Tobago and Canada. You can basically say the level of competition for the region affects the ability for a team to consistently qualify. Japan and South Korea are very strong football nations for their region and you also have the Mid-east bundled with Asia. There is your equation; say what you will.

Our ability to reason as Americans is pathetic. No wonder we're stuck in a bogus loop of a conversation. This is not the first post to mention the region qualifying criteria. Do the people here with knee jerk response read the answers that are plainly put before their eyes?

The nation of Trinidad qualified for the FIRST time ever (which is a story in itself) they did not nor will they ever be battling India or China for a spot allotted to North America. Does anyone else have a question on this? No child left behind....

Posted by: Mike | June 15, 2006 2:12 PM

Mike -

You should read a little on voting systems. I think you'll find it interesting.

The World Cup divides the world in such a way to cover major television markets & give the appearance of a global competition.

But the reality is the competition is all south of the Rio Grande or west of the Dnieper. Some would say it's even less interesting than that - that it's basically, at least right now, a competition between Germany and Brasil, with a small amount of random chance that some other country will bust in.

Posted by: mark | June 15, 2006 3:56 PM

I'm not trying to be antagonistic but was the voting system directed to me? I don't see what voting has to do with the way the regional blocks are allocated. It affects the world rankings in a dramatic fashion but really has nothing to do with Trinidad qualifying vs. India making it to the finals. Each region is basically autonomous from each other to make it to the finals right?

I certainly agree with you on the competition being from Mexico on further south, but Jamaica is certainly not on par with Scotland or Denmark (neither of which made it) this inflates our rating.... Hell Italy is ranked #10; we'll see what happens on Saturday. It's all about whom the countries play against on a regular basis (both league and international); competition breeds excellence.

Posted by: Mike | June 15, 2006 4:06 PM

Wow, what immigrants do YOU know? Yes, Cubans, Dominicans, and Puerto Ricans (which, while Latin, shouldn't be considered immigrants) prefer baseball. But the Mexicans, Salvadorians, Hondurans, and Venezuelans who make the VAST majority of immigrants coming to this nation are soccer fanatics.

Dude, don't be ignant.

Posted by: Magia | June 15, 2006 4:06 PM

One thing I would like to know and I've been too lazy to research is how they assign the groups once qualifying is done. It seems to be random, but your post made me question if I've been misinformed about that Mark.

I wouldn't be surprised if there is some weird committee that decides who plays who and from what region. Is that what you meant by voting systems? Please let me know.

Posted by: Mike | June 15, 2006 4:09 PM

Magia -

Interestingly, Venezuela is more of a baseball playing country.

Posted by: mark | June 15, 2006 4:14 PM

Mike -

Yeah. Picking a given system of voting can change the results of an election and so forth. Like, if the World Cup were a straight competition instead of divided regional you would probably see more countries from South America and Europe in the final 32. They way it's set up, you get more diversity in the final 32 - but maybe not all the best teams.

Posted by: mark | June 15, 2006 4:17 PM

People keep arguing that the World Cup isn't a World Cup because China, India, etc. don't compete in it--and that this somehow proves soccer isn't popular there.

That is nonsense; the World Cup is actually the World Cup FINALS, and the 32 teams in Germany qualified to compete in the Finals after 3 years of qualifications. India and China don't participate in the finals because they did not qualify, but they played in the qualification round. If you don't believe me, check out, and you'll see that even Mongolia, Vietnam, and Uzbekistan played in an attempt to get to the World Cup. Say that about just about any other sport.

As to the fact that China and India don't make it to the World Cup, and, therefore, soccer isn't a major sport in those nations, that suggests that China, India, and every other country has equal talent and infrastructure to bring out that talent, which is not true. India's favorite sport is cricket, yet India is not a cricket powerhouse--why is that? France, Germany, and Italy are always soccer powerhouses (with ebbs and rises), but they're population is miniscule compared to Brazil's.

That speculation ignores that infrastructure, cultures, and even the difficulty of qualifying to the World Cup can affect who goes--and does not go--to the World Cup.

Posted by: Magia | June 15, 2006 4:38 PM

Oops, I meant Columbian, not Venezuelan--you're right, baseball is king in Venezuela.

Posted by: Magia | June 15, 2006 4:40 PM

In the immortal words of Larry the Cable Guy on "Blue Collar Comedy"...

"I do believe, that the most boring football game ever played, still beats soccer."

Posted by: Jeff Foxworthy | June 15, 2006 6:01 PM

Soccer is a scary game because scary fascist types love the game. When you see Hitler and Slobadon watching soccer games, chills go up the spine. It's hard to get images like that out of your head. Soccer in death camps, soccer in prison camps. It's a scary Old Europe game and no one sane and decent should play it. I would never allow my child to play a game Hitler loved.

Posted by: David | June 15, 2006 6:30 PM

The Germans and Japanese used to use the heads of prisoners (after they executed them of course) for soccer practice. What a lovely sport.

Posted by: YD | June 15, 2006 6:31 PM

I love soccer. I also love sticking needles in my eyeballs and eating raw chicken and watching baby animals get eaten by predators.

Posted by: Good morning, Mr. Cameron | June 15, 2006 6:35 PM

I have to agree with most the postings here. Soccer is a sport played by countries where they still execute people because they are the wrong religion. That the world cup is being played in Gemany is a perfect testament to what kind of a sport it is and who plays it. If I had to make a list of what it is that makes my hair stand on end: the UN, the EU, Oprah without makeup, and soccer!

Posted by: Candace | June 15, 2006 6:38 PM

As a "soccer" fan I can't even take you seriously when you criticize the sport. Your ignorance of the game and its truly global appeal is just astonishing. Surely you're joking when you write such an article....

Posted by: at | June 15, 2006 10:45 PM

marc fisher - owned by one of his own at wapo...

Jason La Canfora: When Marc says in response to this question, How will the US team do this time?

A: I have no clue. I couldn't tell you the name of a single player. And more important, neither I nor 99 percent of Americans cares. Please enjoy your tournament!

He should have just stopped at "I have no clue." It sums up his knowlegde of the sport. It's a pity, but Frank DeFord and other giants in this business have the same opinion and seem only all to happy to share it. To each his own.

Posted by: dc | June 16, 2006 3:54 PM

One of the most arrogant and most uninformed critiques of Soccer I have ever seen in my life. I couldn't even bring myself to read the entire entry. Try getting a passport and experiencing some sports culture outside the US. By the way I'm an American just in case you want to play foreign nationalist card.

Posted by: Patrick Frazier | June 16, 2006 7:13 PM

That "little Tournament" is the biggest sporting event in the history of the galaxy, and to infer that, after having over a 170 national teams compete for over 3 years to reach the final 32, that it isn't a World Championship is, frankly, fatuous.

..And this from a country where the winners of the NATIONAL Football League and the NATIONAL Basketball Association declare themselves WORLD Champions without ever having leave the country of face foreign opposition....LOL!

Posted by: Will Hartje | June 16, 2006 11:54 PM

hahaha an American worried about nationalism pfftt!

Posted by: Roy | June 17, 2006 9:44 AM

..Then of course there is AMERICAN Football, where a touch down isn't touched down and the Cheerleaders don't cheer - or lead, and it takes 3 hours to to run out a 1 hour play clock, so for two thirds of the time absolutely NOTHING is happening, except maybe the referee is explaining the overly complex rules to a bewildered crowd that could figure out what just went down because the ball was obscured from sight an

If you actually out a stopwatch on the the game and check how much of the play clock is actual action as opposed to clock being run down by one side or the other you will discover that there is only 12 to 15 minutes in which the ball is in play during a three hour game...

Now there's entertainment for you!

Posted by: Will | June 17, 2006 10:10 AM

"It's very nice for soccer-loving countries to have their little tournament, but to call it the World Cup is rather arrogant and overblown"

thats from the country who host the baseball "World Series" remind me how many countries participate in that tournament?

Posted by: Daniel | June 17, 2006 12:06 PM

omg..USA actually got a draw againts Italy
and should've won if it wasnt for the offside
and with 9 players too!

Posted by: Hunter | June 17, 2006 5:48 PM

"I would never allow my child to play a game Hitler loved."

Why stop there? Let's avoid all the other things Adolf was fond of - like art, Beethoven, Bruckner, mountain walks, vegetables, breathing.

We must keep going in this purge of unAmerican activities. Saddam liked swimming - cut that out. And Deng was a keen card player. And I hear old Genghis Khan was a great man for the horses....

Posted by: bp | June 17, 2006 5:49 PM

Marc Fisher,

Do us a favor and let us know how many of these posts actually came from other countries.

BTW, I give you the All-American Ultimate Soap Box Stir-Them-Up Award!! You do what you do best!

Posted by: WB | June 17, 2006 8:36 PM

Maybe Mr Bush (aka daddy's little war criminal) should introduce a ban on football (or soccer as you moronic people call it)for being un-American. Face it simpletons, the reason you guys have a conniption over the game every time the World Cup comes along is because you suck at the game and you can't dominate it - for once, you are outclassed by even the economic lightweights. Europe is advancing while it seems like the US is going backward. Poor bigots. We feel sorry for you anti-communist, anti-Arab, anti-Gay, anti-Mexican, Pro-Israeli cun*ts. You are ridiculous.

P.S. You might want to get a chant to replace "U-S-A, U-S-A"; you look like wankers.


Posted by: Football = foot+ball | June 18, 2006 11:10 AM

There are so many laughable posts here but fortunatly they seem to be few and mostly the same people.

I've noticed over the last year or two that football has really become quite popular in america.

Some people really do have a utter hatred for the sport even though they have prob never really seen it, i guess that pretty much puts them out of the argument then.

Oh and i watched the USA Vs Italy game fully expecting Italy to win and despite the fact i had 3 italians in my fantasy football team i actually hoped USA would win. Showed they had a real passion to win even if they do lack the skill of bigger teams. Oh and the elbow in McBrides face was out of order, hope he recovers ok.

Oh and one final thing, the UK doesn't have a team, it has 4, England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, although only England made the finals.

Anyway, off to watch Brazil Vs Australia, come on you Aussies

Posted by: Scotty | June 18, 2006 11:34 AM

"soccer is too european. I don't like european things. Europe gives me the willies. When I watch soccer, I always feel like I'm a prisoner of war."

Posted by: Debbie Downer | June 14, 2006 11:47 PM

Debbie, you're a prisoner of your own country. How sad that you've been brainwashed into fearing a SPORT. Stupid sod.

Posted by: Football = foot+ball | June 18, 2006 2:13 PM

"I'm proud to be an American, where at least I know I'm free....."

Posted by: Are You? | June 13, 2006 08:26 PM

I am free to travel to Cuba - are you?
I am free to burn my national flag if I so wish - are you?
I am free to critize our leader without fear of wire taps - are you?

Don't make us laugh. Challenge yourself.

Posted by: Football = foot+ball | June 18, 2006 2:20 PM

What an idiotic column. Just back from Germany. Fewer riots than, say, the family friendly couch burnings after a Maryland basketball loss or an innocent bystander being shot in the eye and killed after a family friendly red sox world series victory...

Not to mention, anyone who can't see the complexity of a soccer match just doesn't understand the game. No different than the complexity of a baseball game, which in reality, can really be boring.

The only problem with soccer in this country is that sports writers are generally failed football, baseball and basketball players, not failed soccer players. So, they write about what they sort of understand.

Just do us all a favor and stop pretending to represent or understand soccer in America.

Posted by: Dave | June 18, 2006 8:01 PM

It has been pointed out that soccer is played by countries that have committed atrocities in the past (Germany, England and all the South American and African countries.) American Football and Baseball obviously doesn't have this taint as America has never committed atrocities i.e Slavery, Internment, Genocide

Posted by: Lorraine | June 19, 2006 12:46 PM

You need not write things about an event you know nothing about. I wasn't gonna write a thing, but I was so disappointed in your comments that I just had to say, resign or write an apology or something, just do a little to try and understand the event and maybe you will have a different opinion.

Posted by: J'can Fan | June 19, 2006 2:22 PM

It has been pointed out that soccer is played by countries that have committed atrocities in the past (Germany, England and all the South American and African countries.) American Football and Baseball obviously doesn't have this taint as America has never committed atrocities i.e Slavery, Internment, Genocide

Posted by: Lorraine | June 19, 2006 12:46 PM

...not to mention dropping an atomic bomb, killing hundreds of thousands of innocent humans. Pretty atrocious that one.

Posted by: Football = foot+ball | June 19, 2006 2:36 PM

Jeeze, this has just turned into the normal slanging match.

Listen all, a couple of things about the World Cup you should know. Over 160 nations (yes, that is nations....countries for idiots) try to get through to the finals. That includes the mighty ones, like New Zealand, the Solomon Islands and Wales. Also the likes of Russia & Nigeria try. All teams have to win a few games in qualifiers. Obviously, with 32 nations competing in the finals, over 130 have not made it.

By definition, this makes it a WORLD event. A few years ago, Nigeria, South Korea or Japan weren't heard of. Nigeria didn't make it this time, but Ghana has. The day will come when an Asian or African team will win. They're simply not organised enough at the moment to do so.

So what you actually see on your TV's is the culmination of a WORLD event. Very soon this will include China & India. Like all other teams, they have to qualify. World "powers" such as England have not always qualified, neither have France or Holland.

So the moniker WORLD CUP is very much justified, unlike a certin World Series which a few of us have heard of.

Incidentally, it is reckoned that the World Cup attracts more viewers than the Olympics. Every 4 years we watch a 100 metres final, or synchronised swimming or whatever, then turn off. Every weekend millions are out watching soccer.

By the way, I am also a baseball fan and a non US native from England!

Posted by: Paul | June 19, 2006 5:44 PM

Full Time: Fisher 0-1 Rest of the World

Posted by: Football = foot+ball | June 19, 2006 6:46 PM

first of all, yes i am english and yes i love football (soccer) so maybe i am a bit bias but i have to say after visiting family in atlanta and attending a braves game, baseball is so incredibly boring.
Nothing happens! i'd say for about 3/4 of the game people were just standing around!! i was trying to get into it but i was slowly losing the will to live. it seemed that the cheerleaders with their stupid tshirt guns, the band and the loud music playing every 5 minutes was a way to distract people from the fact that its incredibly dull and boring! i enjoyed the whole experience though because you'd never see anything like that in the u.k, it was a ridiculous spectacle, where the crowd had to be pepped up every 5 minutes by loud music, just in case they suddenly realised how dire the game really is!

world cup rules!!!!

Posted by: sophie | June 20, 2006 7:28 AM

One thing few care to consider is that the Americans have their own very commerically succesful varieties of sport. And clearly the market is staturated. No room for soccer. But some cash rich organiztions/teams may well dig into their pocket books and try to buy up one those big name teams in England or elswhere.

Posted by: Bobby | June 20, 2006 7:29 AM

The "World Cup" results so far.

Europe - 18 wins
Latin America - 7 wins
The Rest of the World - 2 wins.

Posted by: mark | June 20, 2006 2:39 PM

Oh, sorry, I forget South Korea took a game. So, that gives the rest of us 3 wins.

Posted by: mark | June 20, 2006 2:44 PM

"But some cash rich organiztions/teams may well dig into their pocket books and try to buy up one those big name teams in England or elswhere."

Malcolm Glazer bought Man United. I think we are far better off with Russian billionaires anxious to curry British favor than asset strippers like Glazer. And the last thing I would want to see in soccer anywhere is a major league circus where bad teams are never kicked out.

For best results, in sports franchises or politics, vanity should exceed greed.

Posted by: bp | June 21, 2006 5:28 PM

f u in your a.

this is the most stupid thing i have ever read in my life.

Posted by: Paulo Choi | June 22, 2006 11:58 AM

" call it the World Cup is rather arrogant and overblown."

This statement alone throws all your credibility out the window. You are so ignorant, it's infuriating... and that's the purpose of this article - to piss people off.

This is exactly why Americans get called "ignorant Americans" when anyone from another country talks about Americans and their soccer knowledge. It's people like you who ruin it for us intelligent people.

Learn to keep your mouth shut about things you know very little about.


Posted by: Friend | June 22, 2006 11:27 PM

dude, you are a moron.


Posted by: | June 23, 2006 4:04 PM

yes baseball is the ultimate spectator sport most definitly without a doubt in my mind.a lot of fat old bald men sit on there buts drink beer and watch a guy throw a baseball to a guy with a bat and the guy that hits it runs is sometimes fat out of shape ass to first base and so on and so forth.
Soccer is a sport for children.ok yea is seriously.u dont need a ball a glove and 18 people to play it so it is easy to organize better.all you need is a ball.hmm.mayb its easier for kids to understand instead of ok son so while you are running the bases you have to stay on base until the other player catches the ball and then you can run ok son.and then he still does not get it half the time.
soccer on the other hand.ok look son you are going to that goal over there not the goal where we are standing.ok so you have to run and kick the ball and kick it in that goal not this one.and dont use your hands just your feet.much easier in my mind.
I know no baseball player who can run for 90 minutes.When you find one let me know.
You dont have to pay soccer players 100million dollars a game to play soccer whereas you have to for baseball players.
you say that baseball has not taken off in America because its not a good spectator sport.well for more than half of the World it is.and it also has not taken off here because of morons like you who try to say a lazy mans sport is more exciting than a real mans sport.Find a baseball player who is actually a good athelete, and lets play some soccer, or baseball for that matter, i dont care, i mean baseball is easy, you stand in one spot for more than half of the entire game unless the ball comes to you then you have to run 10 feet to get to it.yea great spectator sport.especially for lazy Americans.Yea we are lazy, and fat.Mayb because we just sit on our fat asses watching baseball all day.For the dude who said something about not being able to get a Bud and go to the bathroom.Your probably one of the fat lazy american men who have nothing better to do than make fun or say that soccer players are not real athletes, mayb because more soccer players date or marry super models, spice girls,or really hot women when your sitting on your but watching baseball and getting fat!
Find me a baseball player who can do half the things a soccer player can do.
Soccer is a real sport.And the Hooligans you talk about.They are the most passionate of all the soccer fans die hard for there team,there team loses and they dont go to work for a week.
Better things can be done with hands.I rather kick balls than throw them around with my hands.Mayb after the game i can take my hands and feel up my supermodel spice girl wife.
Thank you Mr Fischer for your wonderfully incorrect insite on the worlds game.They dont even know what baseball in some places in the world.
one more thing, you can actually play this sport in the poring down rain, whereas you have to cover up the field so that out of shape overpaid,men dont get a little muddy!
I am going to get mud on my overpriced Nikes.


if someone wants to leave me a email please send it here to thank you!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 24, 2006 12:57 PM

Did you know that the United Nations only has 191 memebers, and that the FIFA organization has 207 members. I think thats why people all over the world(except for some americans) call football(soccer) the King sport. I love it!!! it really brings out the best in people for the good of the game. it brings all the world and countries together. I just hope that someday americans can see that.

Posted by: Charlie | June 24, 2006 1:59 PM

Charlie very well put my friend

Posted by: Michael | June 24, 2006 4:46 PM

Sport is even more imprinted on us than food preferences, making it hard for US sports, unlike other cultural products, to find a big world audience. Once you start supporting a team that's it - save for some strange quirk of fate they are your true love forever. To say that US sports are fundamentally superior is a bit of a stretch when most major North American sports have similar counterparts in the outside world: baseball closely resembles cricket for good and ill with just as much strategy, stats and general tedium; football is really quite like rugby; soccer is hockey without ice. Only basketball (created by a Canadian) has no close rival - Aussie Rules, Gaelic football and volleyball are all quite distant cousins - which may partly explain its popularity beyond the USA - that and the fact that large round ball sports are easier to play in small spaces.

Posted by: bp | June 24, 2006 8:15 PM

You are very wrong about a lot of the things you wrote in this article.

To not call it a world cup you would have to take out the teams representing nations all over the world.

Soccer is not appreciated in the United States because of a lot of iggnorant people like you.

When you mention riots, violence, and out of control fans in sports you can think of when the Detroit Pistons played the Indiana Pacers where Artest got a suspension for the remainder of the season.

You probably never watched a whole real match in the game of soccer. Soccer takes skill, cooperation, and athletism to play.

Why don't you try to play the sport? You will figure out that it is very difficult.

Posted by: Byrd | June 24, 2006 9:34 PM

Mr.Fisher's take on soccer in America is one person's narrow and ignorant evaluation of a worldly game.It must be difficult for him to look in the mirror each day with such a narrow outlook on things.....You are a sad little man, indeed.

Posted by: Bill | June 24, 2006 10:32 PM

Mr. Fisher, I know it is difficult to loose. No one likes too loose in anything. It is human nature. So just because the US is not good at playing the World's sport doesn't give you the right to degrade it the way you do. That is not going to fix the problem. I am sure the US will get better at the sport. It is also the American way of life, to win no matter what the circumstances. It might be difficult, and a rough path, but Americans will not accept this kind of performance to represent this great nation. Americans are not used too loosing, so we as a nation have to demand higher quality soccer players instead of just degrading the sport the way you do. We can be the best if we put our hearts into it.

Posted by: Joe | June 25, 2006 2:49 AM

I think the above commentary has pointed out how ignorant and foolish Marc's arguments are, so I won't bother repeat them; however, I feel compelled to remark upon how stories like this are what continue to cause this country's soccer prowess to be held in such low regard. Fools like this further every negative stereotype about American's that I can possibly conceive of. To say that the World Cup is the rest of the "world's little moment" is so stupid I staggered as I read it. You embarrass us all as Americans by implying that because soccer is not the most popular sport in our nation then it should be of little consequence to the rest of the world. Thank you Marc for humiliating us all.

Posted by: John | June 25, 2006 11:29 PM

The author is a total idiot. There is one major reason soccer has not caught on in this country; all of our sports require hundreds of stoppages and time outs in order to allow for advertising. The continuous play of soccer does not easily lend itself to our American sport business model of 30 beer commercials in the last 5 minutes of a game as in basketball, for example.

Posted by: Jason | June 26, 2006 4:04 PM


Posted by: VATO LOCO | June 26, 2006 5:23 PM

hmm..if you're being serious..
you are safely the biggest American moron of many. being english, i am not angry, but cannot stop laughing at your naive and idiotic comments. what a joke. typically american - arrogant, narrow minded and simply stupid

Posted by: ak47 | June 28, 2006 1:34 AM

so any sport that is big in the USA is an all important world class event? Soccer is the most popular sport in the world MORON

Posted by: idiotsupsetme | July 1, 2006 12:24 AM

oh and by the way, its called "the world cup" because many nations compete... congratulations, you just reinforced the stereo type of an American...

Posted by: idiotsupsetme | July 1, 2006 12:28 AM

Just finished reading through all the comments, and this one really bears repeating:

"Europe no longer believes in God but in Science, Rationality, and Evidence. Soccer is so big because it has taken the place of going to church." (Posted by someone using the nickname "European").

This is a great point. Many in the pro-soccer crowd seem to essentially view an attack on the game of soccer as blasphemy (indeed, even calling it "soccer" is blasphemy! shame on me), in almost the same manner as a religious zealot would view an attack on their religion. (And yet, if Fisher had written a series of outrageous attacks on Christianity instead of soccer, how many of these same folks would raise a peep? I assume nearly all are of Christian background, yet I bet not one of them would.) Not to get political, but to me this really reflects on the sad state of affairs socio-politically in Europe. I love Europe, I hope they find their away again

Posted by: Touchdown, Washington Redskins! | July 1, 2006 10:39 PM

Hey man...sorry I missed the party. nokia6630

Posted by: kristina | July 2, 2006 7:20 AM

Marc my boy, c'mon now. Your good at attempting a rhetorical attack but not that good. Initially your arugment of why Trinidad and Tobago qualified and Nigeria not (population) is relevant. HOWEVER... How about researching the process of the qualification for the world cup. 180+ countries attempt to qualify for the world cup which only allows 32. The key lies in how the 32 allotted spaces are distributed by continent. Europe holds the majority, followed by the americas and africa. Then Asia and finally Oceania. Oceania does not even have a reserved spot. So teams that qualify in Africa have noting to do with trinidad and tobago. This game is not about popluation, its about how good your team plays. If that was the case, then why did uruguay win the first world cup back in 1930 against countries (european countries) with populatins many times greater. Soccer is the most popular sport in the world face it. Just because you have a billion people doesnt mean your gonna have that many times more pele's or maradona's or team chemistry Oh wait, I hope you know who the latter players were.

Posted by: Marc fisher's nemesis | July 7, 2006 2:13 AM

I love it when people use terms like "the majority of Americans" and "the majority of this or that ethnic group" without providing a factual basis for their moronic opinings. Good thing you aren't an academic, or a credible journalist for that matter, otherwise you would have to do a little thing called: FACT CHECKING!

US sports a "family affair" - apparently someone hasn't been to a college football game in a while! I really want my son to learn how to do a four-story beer bong before he gets to college.

Calling a sport "boring" is the most idiotic and baseless comment anyone can make. We could go back and forth about why I think baseball and american football are the most boring sports on the planet. The fact is, people enjoy only what they allow themselves to enjoy. Saying that you don't like soccer because of some supposedly objective facts you've discovered about the game is as stupid as a ten year old saying "I don't like broccoli because it's gross!" What is your scientific definition of "boring" - can come up with some obejctive criteria for measuring boredom that doesn't involve the fact that you don't get a bathroom or a cold beer (are we freakin' children now? do you really 15 bathroom breaks during a three hour football game!).

Enjoyment is subjective - I have forced myself to watch college basketball, and I actually find that I enjoy it, if I don't let my own bias, emotional connections with other sports, and MY EGO get in the way.

I've played and loved many sports, and while I can attest to the fact that hitting a fastball is THE hardest thing to do in sports, there is much more to sport than that. I've heard (notice I didn't state it as an objective fact) that soccer players are amongst the fittest athletes in the world and run an average of 3-4 miles per game. Baseball players can still be found chewing tobacco on the sidelines, and fatasses like Cecil Fielder are potential hall of famers!

And as far as on-field theatrics - if you knew anything about soccer, you would know that this is a source of debate even amongst hardcore soccer fans. Luckily, we don't have to worry about soccer players raping hotel employees, beating their wives in the middle of the street, shooting steroids or their limo drivers!

Posted by: Fife | July 7, 2006 2:18 PM

I forgot to address perhaps the most idiotic (though not the most inflammatory) comment Fisher made:

Soccer isn't popular because all the players look really small from up above and fans can't get a connection to them (paraphrasing).

Do I need to say anything?

No, but I want to: Are you an imbecile? Is your thought process really so elementary, uncreative and clueless to reality? Professional football players are amongst the most well recognized athletes in the world. Ever watched a soccer game? They constantly zoom in and show close ups of the action. And the beauty of soccer is that you can tell a player simply by the way he touches the ball, runs and moves in relation to the other players on the field. Oh yeah, THEY ALSO WEAR NUMBERS AND HAVE NAMES ON THEIR JERSEYS MORON! A football pitch is roughly the same size as a football field or a baseball diamond. American football players where helmets and pads so you can identify them by relative bulk only (or the occassional visor or mullet hanging out the back of a helmet!). Contrary to the point you made that 90% of the US doens't care about soccer and probably can't name a member on the US team, I know that most of the people, kids and adults, in my small little Iowa town of 250 people (yes, some are rednecks like you too!) can identify players like Ronaldinho, Beckham and Landon Donavan by face if not by name. In Omaha, NE they have an oustanding FIFA soccer stadium that plays host to one of the most well repsected college soccer programs in the country - IN NEBRASKA for crying out loud! Home of Husker Football....and Creighton Soccer! Soccer has hit the mainstream, face it. I don't where Fisher lives, or who he associates with, but he is dead wrong.

Posted by: Fife | July 7, 2006 4:44 PM


I have to admit, I made a couple of posts immediately after reading Fisher's drivel, as a knee-jerk reaction and only now have I gone back and read some of the posts from my fellow Americans.

It is extremely sad for me to see that so many of us still have a very xenophobic view of the world: "I'm not going to let my kid play a game that Hilter liked."

Okay, I really feel bad that I have to explain this, but: THE REST OF THE WORLD IS NOT A SAO PAULO FAVELA!

Germany: one of the most advanced and socially responsible nations in the world.

Rest of Europe (including rapidly developing parts of eastern Europe): more efficient infrastructure that the US, cleaner parks, cleaner public transit, lower poverty rates.

Parts of South America: nicer than Detroit!

Most of the evil dictators in the 20th Century: supported at one time or another guessed it: US

Get a clue about the rest of the world before you criticize it - you really look like fools, and make me look like one too. You are the reason many young Americans traveling in Europe claim to Canadians!

Posted by: Fife | July 7, 2006 5:05 PM

I cannot believe the inane drivel that is coming out Mark. I have lost SO much respect for him that its not even funny. First of all to say that India isnt interested in Soccer is rubbish. He's NEVER been to an Asian Cup game! Sure its not as popular as cricket, but some indian states like Goa, West Benegal, and Punjab are soccer crazy. East Indian immigrants in England are soccer crazy. Remember the main character in Bend it like Beckham? One of France's star players is Vikash Dhorasoo, who is of Indo-Mauritian decent. (Mark, who does your research?)
China hosted the Asian Cup final in 2004. Soccer has a very strong following. Japan is also another Asian powerhouse with Japanese superstar Hidetoshi Nakata being the nation's own Zinidine Zidane. And Mark, you are so ill informed about Egypt's passion for the sport. If you would bother to do your research you would know that Egypt was on the bid to host the 2010 World Cup. The people that I watched the cup with throughout were mainly Egyptian and they can vouch for the love of the beautiful game in that country. I wont even get started on South Korea's crazed love for soccer. So the assertion that soccer is soley Latin American and Euro is dead weight.
Supposedly, rugby loving Australians went nuts over their team qualifying for the FIRST time! Thier country bonded and thousands packed the streets watching it on massive screens rooting for thier team. It was beautiful! The US has been constantly qualifying these past Cups and all they seem to get is ill mannered rants from uneducated nationalists like Mark, instead of whole hearted support.
It's attention seeking malcontents like yourself that wish to keep the game in bondage to fuel your ratings and intice the populace. You guys are just cashing in on the anti-world, isolationist campaign and bringing down a US national team that deserves support.
So, Mark, I am waiting for you to come out and insist that this was satire gone awry because if you really meant every word of this tedious polemic then I feel very, very, sorry for you buddy. I thought you were a better man than this.

Posted by: Jude84 | July 11, 2006 2:43 AM

Mark, concerning Indonesia:

"With a huge, population of soccer-crazy fans, Indonesia is seen as having the potential to mirror Brazil, which has worked its way up to become the most successful soccer country in the world."
- Zakki Hakim, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Stick to ranting about Democrats and guest hosting for Rush, because Mark you are WAY out of your league on this one.

Posted by: Jude84 | July 11, 2006 2:48 AM

"I'm proud to be an American, where at least I know I'm free....."

Posted by: Are You? | June 13, 2006 08:26 PM

'I am free to travel to Cuba - are you?
I am free to burn my national flag if I so wish - are you?
I am free to critize our leader without fear of wire taps - are you?

Don't make us laugh. Challenge yourself.'

Regarding your Cuba trip:
Make sure you are enjoying your mojitos on the beach as Cubans (those that weren't lucky enough to arrive here after risking their lives) work their government assigned jobs earning next to nothing and Castro jails/murders any dissenters and spends any cash they have on their useless military, his uniforms, and those tasty cigars.

On buring the American flag:
Where do you get your info? You must already live in Cuba. Its not illegal, so burn away.

On criticizing "our leader" without fear of wiretaps:
Are you kidding? Where have you been the last 5 years? If all those American's criticizing Bush have been "fearing" wiretaps, then I have underestimated what I already knew; that American's have one of the bravest citizenry on Earth.

Having said all that, I do watch and enjoy soccer. Not my favorite sport, but it is intriguing. One criticism: Too many important matches in the World Cup, legitimately at least 50% are decided by at least one of the following: diving, injury faking, time wasting, ridiculous/overzealous yellow and red cards, flat out wrong penalty kicks awarded, and the absurd concept of deciding seemingly most of the important matches on the guessing game called penalty kicks. Wheew...that was a long list. It is a good game, but has serious problems. Clean those up and it could be great.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2006 2:55 AM

Note to the Super Nationalist Poster about a few things listed above. First of all responding to tiresome arguments concerning Cuba and flag burning is not only tedious but pathetic when we're talking about Soccer. I think there are alot more people that understand Cuba is a Gulag, you can burn a flag in the states, and yes you can critique the president, abiet being called a "liberal traitor" by foaming right wingers. So you can stop playing Rush Limbaugh for a moment and get back on topic.
But your analyses of soccer is about as central to the point people make on this forum, as legitimate critisism of the President. You just dont get it, period. The fact that you cite some of the most ridiculous reasons for disliking the game shows that you simply like to bash it for the sake of appearing more manly next your baseball loving fans.
Now I personally find baseball to be twice as boring as C-Span, but I dont go around ranting about how fat and slow the players are, how practically the announcers talk about other things than the actual game, how at every game more people are moving about not even paying attention to the game, there are over 150 games which hardly makes any of them crucial, strikes, baseball brawls,steroid, steroids, steroids and the most annoying part; calling it the WORLD SERIES. These may seem silly to you but to consider a game thats similar to kickball a sport is another thing. Maybe if you "fix" the game like making the players lose weight, excerise, stop taking steriods, give up chewing tobacco, and accept thier contracts, than maybe just maybe the rest of the WORLD would like stickball. PEACE.

Posted by: Jude84 | July 13, 2006 3:41 PM

dear mr. fisher. u r a clown. and furthermore, you are a good reason for anyone to bomb us, to get rid of ignorant people like you, that only care of what is relevant to them and what they grew up with is pretty funny. I played baseball until i was 18, and now im 23, i play soccer religiously, and follow my favorite soccer clubs all over the world. The reason baseball is a dying, yes DYING sport, is simply because it is 10% playing, and 90% watching. and dont say i dont have any experience in playing it, i played it for my whole life up until a few years ago, i even played for my high school, but simply put, grace in baseball? please. non existant. I dare you to go and play a good game of soccer, because u just make america look even worse and give us an even worse name. thanks alot. if homeland security wants to capture someone supporting terrorism its u. I cant wait until MLS outshines NBA in the next 10 years, and then, eventually crush baseball into a sport off in the distance. Talk to me in 10 years. then again, by then, ull b a soccer fan too

Posted by: sam | July 19, 2006 2:31 AM

All of you are just simply narrow minded americans. I dont care what you all say. You have to understand the beauty of soccer in order to watch it. Up to like 40 million people watched the superbowl this year. The world cup Finals was veiwed by 2.5 BILLION people. If you wore a a football jersey in some countries in the world people wouldn't even know what it was. Soccer players have more pride in their countries than anyother sports. The common american doesn't watch soccer cause they are impatient. They are too used to seeing goal goal goal or TD TD TD, basket after basket. Soccer is a game of patience and genious. It takes a real athlete to play soccer. Now some overweight drugdealing child molester that is a linebacker for some redneck american football team. Soccer players dont play for the money the cars and the fame like american sports. they play for they glory.

As much as i say, you americans will just never understand. I'm ashamed to live in the country

Posted by: Bobinho | July 20, 2006 8:41 PM

Marc, your outlandish, albeit humorous misconceptions on FOOTBALL are so bad, I don't even feel the need to respond. However, I would like to let the rest of the world know that not all Americans are of such low intelligence, and do not suffer dillusions of grandeur about baseball. Please, rest of the world ignore this disgrace of an American. I feel the same way most Americans do, soccer is a beautiful game and will make it. It is already mainstream, and is growing every year. I'll put a football on your grave. That's the only ball that will be used by Americans in the next 20 years.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 20, 2006 8:45 PM

This site is a lot of fun very well designed. nokia6630

Posted by: hermelinda | July 23, 2006 12:45 PM

Mr. Fisher,
You are completely ignorant to the sport of soccer. I am 15 and still heavily involved in soccer. I love it and plan to keep playing as long as I can. You say that " It's very nice for soccer-loving countries to have their little tournament, but to call it the World Cup is rather arrogant and overblown" don't they call the big baseball tournament the WORLD
Series? I believe that is more overblown considering how no one else participates other than the United States. You apparently have no idea what you're talking about and should stop saying things like this about soccer, because you have either never played, or sucked at it.

Posted by: Elizabeth | August 13, 2006 9:52 PM

It's satire. No one is this arrogant, ignorant, and blatantly hypocritical. I cannot find a single sentence in this interview that isn't completely, laughably ridiculous. Soccer isn't a sport, after all. It's more like art.

Posted by: Stew | August 27, 2006 3:56 PM

The World Cup will still be and will ALWAYS BE the greatest sports event this planet ever celebrate! and nothing you soccer-haters can do about it!

Posted by: MM | September 11, 2006 11:51 PM

I went to a baseball game for free recently..Phillies and how awful is that game. How can anyone like that. What bore. I think that fischer guy is just a xenophobic, and just hates it for the sake of hating..well, soccer does not need the U.S.--but just to teach basic geography to American students I think the U.S. needs soccer. Just the other day some adult asked where Argentina was. So for kicks I said it was an island near Japan. And they believed me!!!!!

Posted by: the utter truth | September 12, 2006 5:54 PM

Ha ha ha! What a funny guy you are!

I mean, seriously...calling the World Cup the "World Cup" is "arrogant" & "overblown"?

No--the U.S. calling whoever wins the Stupor Bowl "world champions" is arrogant & overblown. At the very least, 32 countries care about the World Cup. (And, of course, we know that far more countries actually do care.) "Futbol americano," on the other hand, is a sport that ONE country--count it, ONE--cares about.

Also, why do coaches & "other personalities" (and who might those be?) need to be accomodated in sports? The players are the ones who actually make things happen on the pitch. It could easily be argued that over-coaching (what with the enormous egos many coaches have--and this includes people like Bruce Arena) damages creativity in American sports.

However, I'm glad you qualified your statements by using terms like "generally" and "most Americans." In other words, thank you for realizing that some of us in this country (more than you think, actually) do NOT want to be lumped in with haters of "the beautiful game."

Posted by: Mary | September 30, 2006 12:25 AM

I would first like to point out that I am a big soccer fan, I watched everygame in the World Cup and I play it with a passion.
i think that the people who are getting very aggressive in their defense of soccer are usually taking it too far. It seems a little too hard to have a serious discussion on the popularity of soccer in the US (or whatever it is, comments keep drifting farther and farther away from the relevant theme). I find it is a matter of preference. I am currently in high school, and am exposed to a multitude of different opinions regarding soccer. In my case, the debate revolves mostly around soccer and football. There are the "hardcore" football players who think soccer is for wussies, and the "hardcore" soccer fans who think football is organized violence for anyone too dumb to do anything else(i tihnk these two "extremes", if i may call it so, can be used in a more general sens of the US population). Both of these views, i think, are ridiculous, because these people don't take the time to understand the other sport.
But, as a vast majority, i think people respect each other's sports (or keep their true opinions hidden). Just today we had a soccer and football game the same day. The football team came to cheer on the soccer team and likewise when the football team was playing. It is not neccesary to LOVE soccer, or hail it as joga bonito(the beautiful game), but i think people should gain an understanding before they criticize.
I think most people will admit that soccer requires a certain finesse that football does not require. This is not to say that one is more complex than the other, but these two sports focus on different talents.
As a parting note, Marc Fisher is simply stating his opinion(there is no need to insult him), combined with several , iwould say debatable or distorted facts.

Posted by: Pat- | October 1, 2006 12:21 AM

sorry bout last paragraph, i would hate to think it is his actualy opinion. I actually see it as a pretty brilliant parody of the typical American stereotype. The only problem is many people(initially including myself) take it seriously.
and one question, was this actually printed out in German newspapers, because i think the parody is way too subtle and will only reinforce this american stereotype.

Posted by: Pat | October 1, 2006 12:30 AM

The comments to this entry are closed.


© 2010 The Washington Post Company