Thursday, May 18, 2006

No Stars

Who is going to become a household name in this year's World Cup?

That's the question the Maximum Soccer segment of Fox World Soccer Report posed last night. And since they boast, "Fox Soccer Channel is the premier television destination in the United States for all fans of the beautiful game," I assumed they would provide American fans with a legitimate opinion on who will emerge from the US team.

One would think with the cupboard stocked full of young talent on our American squad the guy could come up with one player who will make a splash on the world stage this year.

Instead of referencing our ultra-talented and unknown newcomers, Gooch, Dempsey, or Convey, he says, "As for the US, No star again this year, they'll have to get it done as a team."

I was flabergasted. And after lividly cursing the guy, waking up the geriatric neighbors that live underneath us, and threw a shoe at the screen of my roommate's absurd 51-inch TV, I regained my composure.

I am reminded that FSC has no allegiance to me, the Fan, the American supporter. Theirs is an audience of Europe worshippers-who value their knowledge of EPL 2nd division league stats over the steady and persisent growth of the game on this side of the Atlantic. Twelve years after hosting the World Cup and only four years since our splash into the semifinals, an American soccer media station still cares more about its subtle knowledge of the Ukrainian up-and-comers than our own. The game in this country is still in its infancy.

I am thinking about all of the years as an American player in which our naive parents sent soccer camps like the one Reckless Abandon was sent to called the This Little Light of Mine Camp. This camp, like many of its kind, was coached by a accented entrepreneurial coach and counselors. At this particular camp, the guy had no CLUE how to run a soccer camp. Every morning we had a chalk talk session, which entailed our overzealous smiling counselors leading bewildered American kids, in a horrific cassette tape sing-a-long of the American National Anthem followed by a less than inspiring rendition of "This Little Light of Mine." Then we would go out, follow these guys around as they taught us the rudimentary dribbling, shooting, passing, and heading drills. They had realized a simple element in American soccer culture: Americans will follow the instructions of anyone talking about the game with an accents and they exalt foreign brand of soccer over soccer at home (see the rosters of many American college teams).

The extreme naivety of the parents, the players and the fans could be expected 15, even 10 years ago. But you would expect a growing American fan base to demand more from those who provide the media. Fox Soccer Channel, it seems, has a similar mentality as those early : worship European soccer, relegate American newcomers to the side of the kickball field at recess, explain to them how inferior they are to the rest of the world, and then explain "no stars, they'll have to get it done as a team."

So, in the mean time, have no fear, Reckless Abandon have vowed to tirelessly point out hypocrisy where we see it and step in where American media leaves us all wanting.

Get ready for our own list coming soon: American stars who will emerge as household names this summer in Germany.


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