Soccer Fandom in America Does Not Suck
We've come a long way in the past decade
Original Image: Chad Millman / Twitter (https://twitter.com/chadmillman/status/505776459269816320)
I was struck by this while sitting around yesterday afternoon while I wasn't watching the dumb ass Masters. (Another non-athletic looking white dude won, big whoop) Without trying too hard I was able to watch parts of four different soccer games yesterday and that's fucking awesome.
It began in the morning on NBCSN with the EPL's version of Thursday Night Football as Arsenal tried to blow it against Southampton. This was immediately followed up by a highly entertaining match between Chelsea and the only-team-dumb-enough-to-pay-Joe-Hart West Ham United.
After this we switched over to Fox to watch the US Women pound Mexico for the second time this week. It is important to note that this was a friendly where each side was trying to finalize strategy and shape for the upcoming World Cup Qualifying circuit but was still played at a very high level.
To close out the night I moved over to ESPN to catch the Timbers and Orlando City trying their best to live up to the level of play established in the earlier matches. They then aired the Savior of the League's LA Galaxy as they proved their ineptitude against traveling Sporting KC. All in all it was quite an enjoyable day.
While none of these results are extremely remarkable or impactful (other than the Saints being stuck in the relegation zone) it does stand out that on a Sunday early in the baseball season with the NBA regular season winding down and a golf major event being broadcast there was more than enough soccer to pick from. Years ago we would be lucky to get one game on a channel we didn't pay for outside our sports packages.
And that, my friends, is progress. You could point to a number of different contributing factors from the fracturing of cable delivery networks to the rising popularity in the sport or the pre-World Cup aura. But regardless of the underlying cause it's great that the sport is accessible through so many different ways. Hopefully this keeps our kids engaged and exposed to it so we will never again have to suffer a World Cup with our "best" players sitting on their couches at home.