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We're No. 2! (Behind Skydiving)

As far as environmentally friendly sports and outdoor activities go, soccer is hardly green, according to

"The game unites cultures, countries and backgrounds in a common bond of athletic competition. It requires nothing but some friends, a ball and an afternoon full of fresh air: Unless you're one of the hundreds of thousands of people who play it professionally. Then, you'll need buses, cars and airplanes to transport you across continents."

Read all about it by clicking here.

Should we be concerned? Or is this stretching environmental consciousness too far?

(Thanks to Insider super-loyalist Joe for the link!)

By Steve Goff  |  February 26, 2009; 5:48 PM ET
Categories:  History , Misc.  
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I definitely think it's a something we should be aware of but I'm also not sure how much can be done about it. Another thing to mention is that massive sporting facilities have correspondingly massive carbon footprints. I appreciate that DCU is talking about LEED certification for a Prince George's stadium. I also appreciate the fact that it will (should?) be near metro.

Posted by: hogmesh | February 26, 2009 6:01 PM | Report abuse

Unfair! Whoever made this list must decide whether it wants to be US-based or global. It cannot be both. Comparing the global impact of soccer to NASCAR, but not world-wide autoracing, is biased. This article has no merit.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | February 26, 2009 6:13 PM | Report abuse

The article is stupid. Those tree huggers are getting a bit desperate if they are ridiculing soccer.

Posted by: redskinsux | February 26, 2009 6:19 PM | Report abuse

Soccer families practically invited the carpool. Soccer should be given some credit for that.

Posted by: BigBubba1 | February 26, 2009 6:26 PM | Report abuse

I suppose I could go on forever with more reasons why the article is crap (and Steve would appreciate the number of comments to his blog :-), but I'll end at this one.

"Some [sports]--hiking, running, swimming--represent the best of man in harmony with nature."

What is harmonious about flattening fields to build large structures that contain swimming pools which deplete millions of gallons of fresh water from our country's aquafers and incorporate harsh additives which must be manufactured at chemical plants?

It's a rhetorical question.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | February 26, 2009 6:29 PM | Report abuse

Who cares? Don't they have better things to worry about like spray painnting humvees?

Posted by: bighungry | February 26, 2009 6:30 PM | Report abuse

24 days till United's first match!

Posted by: Curious99 | February 26, 2009 6:48 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the hat tip, Steve!

As the official right-winger of Soccer Insider, my reaction is this: this is a classic case of enviro-Marxism run amok. It's to the point that if you're enjoying life, you need to re-evaluate your "carbon footprint."

Posted by: joedoc1 | February 26, 2009 7:02 PM | Report abuse

How about a carbon offset - I propose we abolish American Football and NASCAR and put all that money into soccer. That will more than balance things out. That, or pave the tree huggers.

Posted by: Ron16 | February 26, 2009 7:22 PM | Report abuse

I blame suburban soccer stadium for increasing the distance that fans need to drive.

Posted by: Reignking | February 26, 2009 7:25 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone even care? [/Looks around the room] NOPE!

Posted by: FAkeemail9875 | February 26, 2009 7:40 PM | Report abuse

Obviously being green does not improve analytical skills. There is so much wrong with their analysis . . . I won't even try to start.

Posted by: carnack | February 26, 2009 7:51 PM | Report abuse

"I blame suburban soccer stadium for increasing the distance that fans need to drive."

Agreed. (hint hint)

Posted by: redskinsux | February 26, 2009 7:59 PM | Report abuse

It's probably worse than the article says, at least in North America. If you factor in the fossil fuel required to transport millions of 5-17 year olds to games and tournaments (even with carpools), the footprint is staggering. I've often wondered why local travel soccer clubs don't rent buses to transport kids and families -- saving an enormous amount of gas, and making travel soccer accessible to families who don't have the resources to drive 150 miles roundtrip every weekend. Just a thought....

Posted by: reedd1 | February 26, 2009 8:04 PM | Report abuse

Break it down - every *business* has adverse affects on the environment. Pro sports, soccer included, are businesses. End the discussion there and move on. Geez.

Big takeaway - man is harmful to the planet. Everything is involved to some degree or other.

Let's get real - what we *should* debate is the green-ness -- or not -- of FieldTurf vs. real grass. Now that's a worthwhile discussion.

Or not.

Posted by: 22206no1 | February 26, 2009 8:05 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and Joedoc drives a Hummer -- *get him!*


Posted by: 22206no1 | February 26, 2009 8:08 PM | Report abuse

Well in!

Posted by: joedoc1 | February 26, 2009 8:30 PM | Report abuse

I'm probably going to have to slip into my hemp smoking robe, hit the locally blown phelpsian water pipe and ponder my still not having a driver's license in my thirties carbon foot print before I really say something about how dangerous soccer is... (what's with those cornball soccer terrorist t-shirts anyway?)
meanwhile BTB has an excellent opportunity to ask The Man about the "nitty gritty" in regard to DCU tomorrow:

I'll be sure to be asking about the 3rd skort for sure...

Posted by: DadRyan | February 26, 2009 8:47 PM | Report abuse

Sounds like these group of ignorants in the name of environment can't stand the fact that soccer is the most popular sport and it is becoming even more popular, thanks to global tv network, day by day. And they can't do anything other coming up with this sh.t to try to slow down and coming up with the blame? Wow, how pathetic! I bet these are part of the group bashed DC United from getting the deal go through to build the stadium in DC.
Do they prefer letting the kids not play soccer and get fat like most them do?

Posted by: DCUnitedFootball | February 26, 2009 9:30 PM | Report abuse

Off topic, but I need to say something about this Beckham situation. I haven't said a word about it, but now I am fed up. If I were the Galaxy, I either get $10 million from Milan, or Beckham buys out his own contract for $10 million. If neither happens, I say let him come back, and then leave in November. If he stays, threaten to let his @ss rot on the bench. The league has already recouped the money they spent on him, so there is no loss there. The Galaxy have ALL the leverage here. Beckham wants to play in the World Cup. If he rots away on the bench in LA, the likelihood of him playing at the WC drops significantly. If the Galaxy does play him, Beckham would need to work his ass off to stay in shape and impress Capello. Yes, if the Gals let him rot on the bench, they are wasting the $400k they could spend on someone else, but they can't be much worse than last year right. I know what I'm saying is very spiteful, but he has a contract, so he should honor it, or buy out of it. The Galaxy has every right to demand as much as they can for him. MLS doesn't need Beckham, it never did. Did it raise the profile of the league somewhat? Sure, and it also made the league some money. But all in all, it has been pretty much pointless.

I always thought that Beckham was a class guy, the way he handled the benching at Madrid, and how he works his @ss of for club (1st half of last year) and country. However, his handling of this situation has tempered those feelings.

Posted by: torrey151 | February 26, 2009 9:36 PM | Report abuse

Geez. Someone points out a downside to the beautiful and game people go apoplectic with ridicule. Better get used to confronting many more inconvenient truths.

Posted by: rj432141 | February 26, 2009 10:30 PM | Report abuse

So can we get some more bike racks at RFK or what?

Posted by: DadRyan | February 27, 2009 12:14 AM | Report abuse

I think we all should fly and see as many games as we can before Obama's carbon offset tax puts the sirlines out of business and we'll be back taking horse-drawn carts everywhere...wait, the emissions from the horses are a greenhouse gas problem as well!

Posted by: targetmedia | February 27, 2009 12:27 AM | Report abuse

wait, the emissions from the horses are a greenhouse gas problem as well!

See... They're really not though. Horses run on new grass, not dino-grass, and the carbon making up the new grass comes from the air. And don't come back with the methane argument. First, horses produce about 2/5 of what cows do. Secondly, while it's a more potent GG, we're only slightly out of balance on CH4 source:sink unlike CO2.

Nonetheless, it was a dumb article, and I agree with the previous poster(s) who said that soccer should get some credit for the carpool.

Posted by: mason08 | February 27, 2009 12:41 AM | Report abuse

The article is a joke.
Bottom Line

Posted by: jjfooty | February 27, 2009 7:39 AM | Report abuse

Blaming Soccer for the fact that you have to travel to get places would be like blaming our current president for there being a bunch of soldiers in Iraq the day he took office.

Even as someone sitting pretty far on the left, this is one of the most anti-capitalist, anti-common sense pieces of writing I've seen in a while. I guess this is how folks at the Heritage Foundation feel when they're lumped in with Jerry Fallwell?

Posted by: M__N | February 27, 2009 8:30 AM | Report abuse

The Earth is fine and nothing humans can do to it will truly have an effect in the long run (i.e. the Earth will be here long after we're not, unless the Sun explodes or the molten core cools, which are two things we can't control).

Posted by: mcontento | February 27, 2009 9:04 AM | Report abuse

As a professional working for environmental conservation, I can say with authority that this is a silly article. It gives environmentalists a bad name (as if "treehugger" weren't bad enough).

I would disagree with JoeDoc, however, that "this is a classic case of enviro-Marxism". This website is very much a commercial enterprise trying to create content that attracts readers but that no true conservationists take seriously. This is the equivalent a fluff article in a popular magazine like "Men's Health" or something. Nobody judges the medical profession by an article in that magazine, and neither should real environmental conservation be judged by

It is true, however, that soccer has a very big footprint, and the industry and fans should absolutely be working to minimize that. LEED certification for the new stadium is a must, and we do need more bike racks at RFK. Minimizing fertilizer use on suburban soccer fields is a good step too.

Posted by: WorldCup | February 27, 2009 9:24 AM | Report abuse

'll be sure to be asking about the 3rd skort for sure...

Posted by: DadRyan | February 26, 2009 8:47 PM

Thanks for my first laugh of the day.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | February 27, 2009 9:27 AM | Report abuse

The Earth is fine and nothing humans can do to it will truly have an effect in the long run (i.e. the Earth will be here long after we're not, unless the Sun explodes or the molten core cools, which are two things we can't control).


Correct, if you are talking about the lithosphere. Otherwise, um, not so much...

Posted by: mason08 | February 27, 2009 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Definitely a poorly constructed and written report, which is a shame. Sport can and should be taken to task when it is wasteful, complimented when it is exemplary. The helter skelter way the article was constructed did a disservice to its movement by wasting the readers' time.

Posted by: Fuegofan | February 27, 2009 5:13 PM | Report abuse

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