The World Cup starts in ten days, and no, the United States won’t be participating.
I explained the pathetic qualification failure back in October.
Without the “rah rah USA!” routine for the non-soccer fan to follow this summer, there’s another half-narrative going around, the idea that you should pick a different team to cheer for. And maybe that team should be Mexico.
Before I even get into it, I don’t understand this obsession with requiring someone to have a rooting interest. There’s this overwhelming idea that Americans need to pick a Premier League team to follow, like Everton, or Liverpool, or Fulham. I’ve always found that to be corny, especially in Philadelphia, where we totally rag on natives who go on to become Cowboy or Yankee fans. If you’ve never been to Dallas, can you really be a Cowboy fan? By the same token, how much of a Chelsea supporter can you really be if you live in Marlton and have never been to London? I don’t know, it just feels fake to me.
I always just found it appealing to watch the games and enjoy them as a neutral. You wake up at 8 on Saturday morning, make breakfast for the kids, flip on Arsenal and Tottenham, and see a high-level derby. The best part is that you don’t get angry, since you don’t have that natural rooting interest. You aren’t in a pissy mood for the rest of the day if your team loses. ACC basketball, for instance, is a lot more exciting if you’re not a Pitt fan. You just watch quality college basketball without the emotional attachment and the 18 straight conference losses.
So with the United States not being in the World Cup, some people are applying this “who are you going to cheer for?” thing to the upcoming tournament. If you’re half-German or married a Croatian woman or have a Senegalese sister-in-law, I can understand getting behind those countries. Maybe your local team, like Seattle, has a guy like Gustav Svensson, who was called up by Sweden, so you, the Sounders supporter, wanna see your player do well on the world’s biggest stage.