Over the past thirty years there have been numerous attempts to build a fan base for soccer in the United States. Just recently the Women's Soccer League was disbanded due to lack of interest and thus lack of funds. This is despite the awesome show the American women's world soccer team made four years ago during the World Cup. Americans will not accept soccer as a sport to rival football or baseball, even though almost every American kid grows up playing town soccer in the fall and spring. Why is that? How can a sport flourish in every other major country in the world but not in America?

America is a unique country, not just in its history and geography, but in its ideals and values. Football is the sport of war, two opposing teams battling for control of the field, moving the ball up yard by yard. If there ever was a sport that resembled the battlefield in would be the gridiron. Soccer is a game of subtitles, contact is frowned upon. The point is to have finesse, flexibility and speed. Football is power, brawn and force, right up the middle, no finesse at all. Americans aren't very good at finesse, never have been. We appreciate the straight forward approach. Its honorable and dignified. It isn't the violence that draws the fans, although it is one of the selling points, but its the spirit and heart that has to go into every play to make it work. Football is the modern day militia, where men can go out strap on the pads and play for the hometown. This stems from High School Football where the game is played for school and town pride, to Pro-Football where its played for the city, state, or regional pride. Football is a religion, soccer is a game.

Baseball also has its root in being American. Outside of the Caribbean and Japan, no one plays baseball, its a cultural thing. Baseball is for those long hot boring summer days. You go to the game with a picnic sort of attitude, bring some food, a beer or two and settle down for a game. Unlike Football, Baseball is fairly relaxing. Each team gets its turn to try and score and then the other team gets a chance. Very fair and very even. While soccer can be high paced, as all sports, for the most part its just kicking a ball around a massive field. There's no excitement involved. With baseball you have a number of things to get excited about. So and so gets up to bat at the bottom of the ninth. The home teams down by three but so and so is really good against left handed pitchers who prefer the knuckleball, despite the fact that he's been 0-3 all day. Baseball is strategy, its a thinking mans game. Every aspect can be analyzed and reanalyzed, ESPN's major selling point. Soccer doesn't have that strategy aspect. Yes, players can be good, they can be very good. But how many times can you analyze a soccer player? Its just a guy with a ball against another guy without the ball. No strategy, just luck and skill.

Even against basketball and hockey soccer doesn't stand a chance. With none of the ferocity of hockey and without the speed of basketball soccer is just a middle of the road sport to Americans. Each sport revered by the American public reflects one of its values, football for hard work and effort, baseball for strategy and planning, hockey for spirit and pride, NASCAR for Americans love of their cars, and Basketball for its speed and grace. When you get down to it Americans love ordinary guys lining up against each other and slamming into one another. Soccer is one of the few sports where hitting is frowned upon and contact is often used as a pretext to get an opposing player kicked out of the game. Americans don't like that, life isn't that clean, you have to get muddy, dirty, sweaty and tough it out, fighting to the very end. That's what an American family sees as its values.

The real question is: Why do Europeans love soccer so much? While America fosters four or five major sports, with women's leagues coexisting next to some of them, Europeans focus mainly of soccer. Of course you can point out cricket in England and hockey in Russia, but overall Europeans worship the soccer god. To answer that would take another entire essay and input from all the Europeans who patronize . But what it comes down to is that Soccer has no connection with the American culture, no real world equivalent that people can reflect upon. American kids may grown up playing the European sport, but then on the other hand all the parents have to buy is a pair of shin-guards and cleats. Soccer will not catch on in America and gain the notoriety of football and baseball. It can be played, of course. We're already seeing a national soccer league, but it will never have the fan base it enjoys in Europe. Thus soccer fans might want to get over the lack of attention they get in the US. Shut up and turn on the TV, the Sox are playin'.