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Obama Talks World Cup

"The interesting thing about soccer in the United States is, it's extremely popular among children....."

Ugh. He's not wrong, but with a pro league in its 14th year, solid TV ratings for the World Cup, a successful women's program and a huge Spanish-speaking population that follows the game passionately, haven't we evolved beyond that tired cliche?

Nonetheless, it's refreshing to see a president asked about soccer and articulate some knowledge about the sport.


By Steve Goff  |  May 8, 2009; 2:39 PM ET
Categories:  USA World Cup bid  
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Next: Saturday Kickaround

Comments

I wonder what Rush will say about this. Oh wait, that's politics. By "Rush," I meant Geddy Lee, Neal Pert, and Alex Lifeson. They're Canadian and may be interested in a jointly hosted World Cup. Whew.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | May 8, 2009 2:53 PM | Report abuse

He sure didn't leave the impression that he knew where the 1994 World Cup took place. I suppose there was nothing on his teleprompter about that...

Posted by: hawknt | May 8, 2009 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Hawk,

You beat me to it. I was going to say the exact same thing.

Posted by: CrippledKeeper | May 8, 2009 3:14 PM | Report abuse

kdmxa3kaklejkjx zie8kdmlk klk2lioio,.

Posted by: joedoc1 | May 8, 2009 3:15 PM | Report abuse

I'll cut the Prez some slack. It's all relative. Obama's understanding of soccer must be light years ahead of all previous presidents.

As for Rush - they seem like a cosmopolitan bunch who would dig a soccer game or two. Though if I remember correctly from my Rush geek days, I think Geddy is a huge baseball fan. Also, being Canadians, they probably rate hockey the highest of all team sports.

Posted by: SSMD1 | May 8, 2009 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Hmm, no mention of Single Table...

....lightweight...

Posted by: JkR- | May 8, 2009 3:23 PM | Report abuse

I don't know. I don't think he said anything too negative. Yes, the game is popular among children. Yes, we have our own league. Yes, our league does not have the same level of popularity as the top three American sports. Yes, hosing the World Cup would be good for the game in the US as it would for the US in general.

I'm not sure how I would have answered the question all that differently.

Posted by: TCompton | May 8, 2009 3:24 PM | Report abuse

He needs soccer fans on his staff to prep him for these things so that he can point to MLS, the success of Americans abroad (OK, just goalkeepers), and Brian Ching and Natasha Kai.

I won't fault him for omitting the Spanish-speaking population in his response. It's a Univision interview after all, Latinos must have been mentioned a few times before in the context of more important stuff (immigration, education, etc.).

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | May 8, 2009 3:37 PM | Report abuse

If you subbed the word "youth" for "children", he said nothing that was inaccurate.

And as another has noted, he's light-years ahead of other national politions on knowing about the game and giving it his backing.

If you want, bash him on other things. Not this one.

Posted by: Edison2 | May 8, 2009 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Oh gracious he didn't say "the United" or anything else unforgiveable did he?

I wonder if either of his daughters is also a lefty. Are they allowed to juggle in the house? Can they at least kick against the wall when pops isn't using the basketball court?

Posted by: OWNTF | May 8, 2009 3:38 PM | Report abuse

We've come a very long way, but there's still a lot of work to do. Nothing Obama said was false. Soccer is hugely popular with kids, and our league isn't as strong as the leagues of other countries in terms of popularity, finance, or on-field product. As a sport looking to go up to the next level of popularity and success, we could really use another World Cup.

Obama is more of a soccer fan than any previous president, but it's not like he was a Fire season ticket holder in Chicago. I doubt he could come onto this forum and debate whether we should start John or Burch. He's a fan in general, so he's going to speak in generalities. I would have been stunned if he hadn't mentioned soccer's popularity with kids.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | May 8, 2009 3:39 PM | Report abuse

As for Rush, I believe my memories of the Bob and Doug MacKenzie album indicate that getting Geddy Lee on board will mean an offer of free beer and wearing toques. I think I can handle that.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | May 8, 2009 3:44 PM | Report abuse

I'd rather have a President who used a teleprompter and actually seemed to have a grasp for the subject at hand, than one who "winged it" and couldn't hit the broad side of a barn with a howitzer from 20 yards.

Posted by: alecw81 | May 8, 2009 3:47 PM | Report abuse

I'm sure he knows the '94 Cup was here. After all, as he said, he's written FIFA about hosting a future Cup. Wouldn't surprise me to learn he was at a game. The '94 Cup launched MLS, but another one could do even more for the sport here. I think that's what he's saying, implicitly.

He's right, too. Americans might be dimly aware of the league, but what if they players from the league representing national teams, be it the USA, Costa Rica, Honduras, or even England. Also, I know it's awful to consider that MLS would still be playing during the Cup, but it might be a chance to market the league to top internationals, too (on Cup off days). Even if the league is off, it might be a chance to market the USA to those players.

Think about the stars that played in the MLS' initial years: Etcheverry, Valderrama, Campos, Hugo Sanchez, Zenga, Diaz Arce, Cienfuegos, Jaime Moreno, or busts like Branco, Matthaus and Donadoni (OK -- some were more forgettable than others), and other international stars that came a few years later, like Hermosillo, Nowak and even Stoichkov.

How many, if any of those players sign with MLS in '96, if there wasn't a Cup here in '94, to show off 70-80,000 soccer fans at almost every game? That can happen again, and it would do wonders for the league.

Posted by: fischy | May 8, 2009 3:52 PM | Report abuse

"I'll cut the Prez some slack. It's all relative. Obama's understanding of soccer must be light years ahead of all previous presidents."

Posted by: SSMD1 | May 8, 2009 3:20 PM
___________________________________________

Considering Reagan actively supported our bid in 1983 for the last minute rights to the 1986 Cup and his support for the 1994 WC from 1987 to 1988 including his writen letter to FIFA supporting our bid actually helped us win the right to host (which was announced on Independence day in 1988), and the fact that George Bush (H.W.) attended a few games at the 1994 Cup I'd say your understanding of previous presidents is a little lacking.

Obama may know a little more about the feel of soccer from playing it as a kid, but I'd not say he's light years ahead of other presidents in supporting it. Wait till he stands with Sam's Army or comes to RFK for a United game before giving him a coronation or saying he's so special and "light years ahead" when in reality he's done nothing more than presidents have in the past.

Posted by: mcontento | May 8, 2009 3:53 PM | Report abuse

@ JkR -- He knows Americans love their playoffs.

Posted by: fischy | May 8, 2009 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Calvin Coolidge's answer would have just been "Yes."

Posted by: fallschurch1 | May 8, 2009 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of the WOrld Cup -- look what I found on the 2010 front page: Boca on Team USA:

http://www.fifa.com/worldcup/news/newsid=1055810.html#bocanegra+great+team+effort

Posted by: fischy | May 8, 2009 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Go easy on Clinton there, alecw81.

And I can't believe you guys are talking about Rush! Phaw! Isn't there something more important?

"To seek the sacred river Alph
To walk the caves of ice
To break my fast on honeydew
And drink the milk of paradise..."

Posted by: joedoc1 | May 8, 2009 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Although George H.W.Bush is best known for being a pretty good baseball player, his best sport, I've read, was soccer, where he played center midfield. I don't recall him speaking out for soccer, but then he was not here when MLS began and when we hosted the World Cup.

Posted by: b18bolo | May 8, 2009 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Soccer is hugely popular with kids, and our league isn't as strong as the leagues of other countries in terms of popularity, finance, or on-field product.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell

You know, I'd even argue that the blanket statement "soccer is popular with kids" isn't really true. Soccer is a recreational activity for many kids (the majority of those included in the bloated "x millions of kids play soccer" stats). Some go on to play the game competitively later in adolescence. Far fewer actually follow the sport with a passion - as children or as adults.

We might as well almost completely separate participatory youth soccer and the health of the professional, spectator sport. Heck, I grew up playing soccer here and never went to a Washington Diplomats match. I didn't really find the game till I moved to England.

Posted by: Kev29 | May 8, 2009 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Although George H.W.Bush is best known for being a pretty good baseball player, his best sport, I've read, was soccer, where he played center midfield.

Posted by: b18bolo

I don't want to delve into semantics, but HW played varsity baseball for Yale (captain). And went to two College World Series. I'm guessing that was his best sport (he did play soccer at Phillips Academy though).

Posted by: Kev29 | May 8, 2009 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Millard Fillmore unsuccesfully tried to host what would have been the first World Cup but the rules for Association Football had not yet been codified and the bid disintegrated in confusion.

So the Know Nothings are really the only party that's ever cared for soccer.

Posted by: Joel_M_Lane | May 8, 2009 4:25 PM | Report abuse

"disintegrated in confusion"

Great name for a rock band.

Posted by: joedoc1 | May 8, 2009 4:27 PM | Report abuse

So the Know Nothings are really the only party that's ever cared for soccer.

Posted by: Joel_M_Lane | May 8, 2009 4:25 PM |
----------------------------------------------

So, it would be in soccer fans' self-interest to vote for the GOP?

Posted by: fischy | May 8, 2009 4:28 PM | Report abuse

I bet Obama would come to DCU games if we built him a presidential box. Of course, we'd have to build a stadium around it...

Posted by: -rke- | May 8, 2009 4:33 PM | Report abuse

So GHW Bush was a midfielder? Was he a 'box to box' middie? Did he get 'stuck in'? Did he 'put himself about'? Did he 'lead from the back'? Did he 'work his socks off'?

Any more jargon?

Posted by: JkR- | May 8, 2009 4:33 PM | Report abuse

"I wonder what Rush will say about this."

Obviously, he's a new world man.

Posted by: -rke- | May 8, 2009 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Any more jargon?

Posted by: JkR-

I believe he 'got on his bike' from time to time and 'skinned' a few defenders

Posted by: Kev29 | May 8, 2009 4:40 PM | Report abuse

GHW? Liked his dose of argy bargy now and then...

Posted by: 22206no1 | May 8, 2009 4:46 PM | Report abuse

boodleball

google it im not making it up

Posted by: OWNTF | May 8, 2009 4:58 PM | Report abuse

No way Bush played midfield. I'd say on the right...strong on defense...

Posted by: Reignking | May 8, 2009 5:06 PM | Report abuse

As for Rush, I believe my memories of the Bob and Doug MacKenzie album indicate that getting Geddy Lee on board will mean an offer of free beer and wearing toques. I think I can handle that.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | May 8, 2009 3:44 PM | Report abuse

"Ten bucks is ten bucks, eh..."

Posted by: SportzNut21 | May 8, 2009 5:07 PM | Report abuse

No way Bush played midfield. I'd say on the right...strong on defense...

Posted by: Reignking | May 8, 2009 5:06 PM |
----------------------------------------------

GHWB would have positioned himself nominally on the right to get in the starting lineup, but would have secretly wanted to be playing on the left and would have drifted over to the left whenever the ball went over there. He loved the night games. Something about a thousand spotlights.

After his Presidency, he did follow the MLS. Despite living in Houston, he initially opposed the move of the Earthquakes, declaring "No New Texans". However, he famously changed position on that one.

Posted by: fischy | May 8, 2009 5:21 PM | Report abuse

GWHB loved to dribble and challenge defenders. He would try to fake 'em out by daring them to "Read My Hips".

Posted by: fischy | May 8, 2009 5:25 PM | Report abuse

"You know, I'd even argue that the blanket statement "soccer is popular with kids" isn't really true. Soccer is a recreational activity for many kids (the majority of those included in the bloated "x millions of kids play soccer" stats)." --Kev29

Let me take you up on that argument offer (because I still have a bunch of work that I don't want to do). Replace "soccer" with "SpongeBob." Is SpongeBob popular? OK then. Soccer is popular with kids - 50% of mine like it.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>

"I doubt he could come onto this forum and debate whether we should start John or Burch." --Chest_Rockwell

I doubt I could either. You're holding him to a standard that few of us could meet.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

"The United States' remorseless march to next year's World Cup finals in South Africa" -- from the link above.

Remorseless? Well, I for one feel no remorse about beating Mexico and Trinidad. I guess they meant relentless.

Let's March

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | May 8, 2009 5:33 PM | Report abuse

GWHB loved to dribble and challenge defenders. He would try to fake 'em out by daring them to "Read My Hips".

Posted by: fischy
============

Fixed the link for ya'. No lie.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | May 8, 2009 5:36 PM | Report abuse

. . . and wouldn't you like a game to be played in DCU's new stadium in the District so that you can get some easy photo ops with your boy, Fenty?

Posted by: notafembot | May 8, 2009 5:39 PM | Report abuse

When he first started playing, GHWB played centrally -- midfield. He wasn't known for his attacking prowess, but he wanted to wear the no. 10 jersey. His daddy was a big contributor and famous alumnus, so they let George play center mid.

When a new coaching staff came on, the were determined to expose the other teams' left flank -- so, they insisted the team attack from the right, playing the ball up wide on the right wing. Bush understood that if was going to be a major contributor -- even a star -- he was going to have to play on the right wing.

Still, a lot of the soccer beat writers thought his natural position was on the left side -- his best move was feint to the right, followed by a spin to the left, around the defender -- but they understood he would line up where his coaches wanted him, if that's what it took to get in the game.

Posted by: fischy | May 8, 2009 5:52 PM | Report abuse

Mia Hamm said during Sunday's WPS telecast that she'd invited the Obamas to attend a WPS match.

Posted by: kevinwparker | May 8, 2009 6:00 PM | Report abuse

Millard Fillmore unsuccesfully tried to host what would have been the first World Cup but the rules for Association Football had not yet been codified and the bid disintegrated in confusion.

So the Know Nothings are really the only party that's ever cared for soccer.

Posted by: Joel_M_Lane | May 8, 2009 4:25 PM | Report abuse

-------------------------------

As a Whig, I demand you retract this ignorant statement!

Posted by: stancollins | May 8, 2009 6:50 PM | Report abuse

I can't believe he didn't say Vamouse United.

Posted by: DCUnitedFootball | May 8, 2009 6:51 PM | Report abuse

OT but the cows are running wild over San jose right now in front of literally dozens of fans. But are we sure they can't just open the new stadium now. I think watching a match at a construction site would be more enjoyable.

Posted by: dimesmakedollars | May 8, 2009 8:06 PM | Report abuse

You are all wrong. GwB was a holding middie, people kept trying to move him forward, but he kept drifting back to the anonymous role. Then, one sad day, he was forced into the number ten shirt. It seemed like it was going well for a while, the noted hattrick against Iraq was well recieved and rwspected around the world. But at the end of the day, his inability to get the rest of the team involved led to his removal from the slumping squad. Sadly, after most of a decade of rebuilding, nostalgia led to his son being given the keys. This didn't end up well.

Posted by: joshuaostevens | May 8, 2009 8:08 PM | Report abuse

Also, I think the right wing United supporters should start calling themselves "the John-Burch Society".

Posted by: dimesmakedollars | May 8, 2009 8:09 PM | Report abuse

as i posted on the other site
http://www.dcunited.com/ladies-night

Posted by: DCUnitedFootball | May 8, 2009 10:04 PM | Report abuse

West Ham United(H) VS Liverpool

Willhill 6.00 3.40 1.50
6.00 4.00 1.53

In those recent matches, Liverpool were playing pretty well, for they need to get 1st position in the league. What's more, with Gerrard's recovery, Liverpool can get 3 points in this matches without much effort.

West Ham need to save their 7th position, but they scored only one goal in the recent matches verses those four top teams.

For more, please visit:

http://www.nowgoal.com/21.shtml

Posted by: nowgoal | May 8, 2009 10:15 PM | Report abuse

The United States putting together a winning bid to host the World Cup again would do more good for the country than any economic program coming out of the Obama administration.

Posted by: PowerBoater69 | May 8, 2009 11:06 PM | Report abuse

Don't you think George H.W. Bush sent thank-you notes to the opposing teams?

Posted by: b18bolo | May 8, 2009 11:21 PM | Report abuse

""I'll cut the Prez some slack. It's all relative. Obama's understanding of soccer must be light years ahead of all previous presidents.""

Uh, yeah. In fact a former baseball owner turned President talking to a baseball friendly Mayor leads to a baseball loving deal for a stadium that leads to no soccer specific stadium for United. Yet another reason to dislike the game and the Pres.

Obama, at least, acknowledges soccer as a sport. That's Change! Keep Hope Alive!

Posted by: delantero | May 8, 2009 11:35 PM | Report abuse

""When he first started playing, GHWB played centrally -- midfield.""

Georgie was never, ever close to playing center. He was deep, deep right fullback from the very beginning. In fact, his left foot was just for standing on. When given any chance to play left footed, he would toe bone every kick out of bounds.

And his fellow right sided players (Cheney and Rove) were effective at defense and one sided attacks at goal, but were woefully inept at bringing the rest of the team into the game.

Playing right sided defense is no way to win championships.

And these people were the same ones that got him elected the first time against Gore----Ohio Christians and gay marriage!

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090508/ap_on_re_us/us_school_dance_flap

Posted by: delantero | May 8, 2009 11:45 PM | Report abuse

Wrong Bush, Delantero. It helps when trying to tell a joke to know who you're talking about...

Posted by: mcontento | May 9, 2009 12:19 AM | Report abuse

This man said nothing that isn't flat out true. The only thing I didn't like about it was that there wasn't enough positive spin.

It would be Way too much to ask for him to know anything about the MLS, but he projects a positive image worldwide- something that we could have used in the last world cup (let's face it, no one was rooting for us except Sam's Army). He provides a big voice, and, When it is called for, will spout beautifully about how we should host this beautiful game.

Do I wish he was a United fan? Came to a game? Help us get a stadium? What did you expect.

Posted by: UnitedDemon | May 9, 2009 12:50 AM | Report abuse

Wrong Bush, Delantero. It helps when trying to tell a joke to know who you're talking about...

Posted by: mcontento

Not really, mcontento. See, you see a real difference between Bush I and Bush II? Well, Rummy, Cheney and Bush II were sittin together during Nixon's second election, part of the Texas delegation?

Anyways, few years later, see, GW Bush I is invited to become CIA director for Ford. Hmm.

Nowsabout 30 er so yearz later, see, GW BUSH II, idiot in chief, convinces America that he's smart. Hell then freezes over and a dunce becomes President.

Posted by: delantero | May 9, 2009 1:01 AM | Report abuse

Either way, the HW B or just the W B, like father like son.

Posted by: delantero | May 9, 2009 1:03 AM | Report abuse

12 CUPS
-------
1 HOME

Its 1:30 am and I am already pumped for the MARCH. VAMOS UNITED

Posted by: Norteno4life | May 9, 2009 1:23 AM | Report abuse

The United States putting together a winning bid to host the World Cup again would do more good for the country than any economic program coming out of the Obama administration.

Posted by: PowerBoater69 | May 8, 2009 11:06 PM
===================

How many damned times do we have to tell you, it not "The United," it's United!

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | May 9, 2009 7:57 AM | Report abuse

"It would be Way too much to ask for him to know anything about the MLS..."
Posted by: UnitedDemon | May 9, 2009 12:50 AM | Report abuse


The MLS = The Multiple Listing Service....

Posted by: JkR- | May 9, 2009 8:30 AM | Report abuse

A southpaw (which Bush pere was) playing right back is not something you see every day.

Posted by: universityandpark | May 9, 2009 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Delantero, the pharmacy called. Your meds are in.

Posted by: joedoc1 | May 9, 2009 11:20 AM | Report abuse

joedoc,

While I'm getting my lithium, remember to get your your Aricept . . .

Posted by: delantero | May 9, 2009 8:02 PM | Report abuse

Delantero, I have no idea what that is... and I'm afraid of typing it into Google!

Posted by: joedoc1 | May 10, 2009 9:21 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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