Thursday, May 25, 2006

The US Soccer Media: Who Are These Nerds?

Check out USA Today's World Cup blog if you'd like to vomit.

Here we go again. Where do these "soccer journalists" keep coming from? Pictured above are USA Today's World Cup bloggers. Their blog is titled "Soccer Sweep: Covering all angles on the 2006 World Cup." Of course, Reckless Abandon might have gotten into this blogging thing too late to cover the cup for USA Today, but one of soccer's image problems is that guys like this comprise 95% of the US media's soccer coverage. The media constantly portrays the game in America as something it's not. It makes it look like some hobby sport for dorks—a glorified Ultimate Frisbee. The US media never conveys the true emotional text in the game, it’s most elemental appeal. They never explain that it takes a group of men to shove three goals in Portugal’s ass in the first thirty minutes of a World Cup.

These guys are wearing their intramural jerseys from their college days at the University of Michigan or something of that ilk. They are apparently qualified to blog for a national publication because they "played" soccer in back in college and have loosely followed it since then. Ok, these are fabricated assumptions, but I use them to illustrate how these guys from "Soccer Sweep" are yet another example of a broad trend in the game which I'm generalizing about.

Soccer Sweep is written inelegantly too. The syntax in their tagline, "Covering all angles on the 2006 World Cup" is as awkward as they look in their picture. It's as awkward as Sam's Army's web design. The preposition "on" just doesn't fit either. Not to mention, the sentence is just plain boring and obtuse.

Check out the Soccer Sweep's first sentence from Wednesday's post:

"With 'Captain America' Claudio Reyna leaving last night's friendly against Morocco with a sore hamstring, and with several other big-time players in question for Germany, let's take a quick glance at ailments around the globe."

Let's just gloss over world soccer in a few paragraphs because it's sure not to inspire interest from the American mainstream. And, let's also make sure that everyone who reads our blog and doesn’t know Reyna's nickname will think that he’s the little brother of Ace and Gary from SNL’s “Ambiguously Gay Duo.” Journalism like this only exacerbates soccer's image problem in the US. We need original story tellers, fresh journalism. We need our own, American nickname for Reyna.

Guys like this are a detriment to the American game. Bruce Arena knows this. Just listen to one of his press conferences, or check out Reckless Abandon's post Arena Plays the Media (Again). Arena constantly has to field uninformed questions. It seems that, since soccer is so foreign to many people in this country and also most managing editors at publications across the nation, it must be easy to convince them that you have what it takes to cover soccer. The result is a very low standard of soccer journalism being disseminated across the country. And, raising the quality of soccer journalism is another crucial step towards raising the level of the US game.

The good news is that the "Soccer Sweep" crowd is on the way out. Soccer in America is entering a new era, beginning with the interest the US team will generate with a good performance in this World Cup. It's time to move from the ultimate frisbee and suburban kiddie crowd to a culture of real soccer—reckless soccer. This game is real, and the rest of the world knows it. Its only a matter of time until we usher in a true American game and soccer culture. We thank all of you nerds, kids, moms, and people who couldn't find friends in other sports for helping us get us to this point. But, now it’s time to take things up a notch.

Reckless Abandon is here to do its part to that end. Keep in touch; it's only a matter of time.


At 12:31 AM, Anonymous Bob said...

Covering all aspects of the World Cup as long as it just has to do with the US team.

Great post. You nailed it. As soccer grows in the US so does the need for better, more informed coverage.



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