The Beautiful Game, “Jogo Bonito”

In reference to the post about John Ndicu’s view on soccer, I asked Johnny Green, 25, what soccer means to someone in the United States. The similarities between the answers show how loved the sport is throughout the world.

What’s great about the “beautiful game?”

    There are a lot of great things about the “beautiful game” aka “Joga Bonito”.  It has the same great things that every sport has; it’s very competitive, the players have a great amount of passion, dare I say more passion than most other sports athletes. There are so many different strategies and formations to play with. The game can be extremely fast, but also some teams have a knack for slowing it down and just controlling the ball the whole time. You have to be very educated to the game to become a great player, the simplest things like how and where u move without the ball can affect the whole game. Above all of these things though I think the greatest thing about this sport is seeing people do amazing things with their feet, that some people wouldn’t be coordinated enough to do with their hands. Controlling a ball with your feet is a great skill that takes a lot of talent.

Why do you think Americans don’t like it?

  There are tons of reasons as to why most Americans or the “typical” American doesn’t like it. First and foremost a majority of Americans just flat out never gave it a chance, never even made an attempt to watch it with an open mind and see what it’s really about. We live in a society where everyone just tries to fit in and in most towns and schools football basketball and baseball are the “cool” sports to play or watch, so soccer would make them and outcast and “not cool”. They just hear the negative stereotypes like “foot fairy” and think that it would be uncool of them to watch it and enjoy it. Another reason is, it doesn’t have enough exposure in America. Kids growing up can turn on the TV during any time of the day and see highlights and debates about every other sport, but soccer is hardly mentioned. The only time they will hear about a lot of soccer is every 4 years when the world cup is being played. It’s not put in to kids’ heads when they are younger to cheer for any certain soccer team, so they grow up not even caring or hearing about any type of soccer. I think another reason Americans don’t like soccer is because there is no face to it, we don’t have one player hear that people see and know exactly who it is. It needs a personality like an Ochocinco type or a Kobe Bryant to get people more interested. They attempted that with David Beckham, but honestly most Americans aren’t going to cheer for some left over English man.

What are they missing by not giving it a chance?

  By not giving it a chance they are missing out on seeing a lot of great things. Huge Rivalries, European soccer and Spanish soccer has some of the biggest rivalries in all of sports, but no one in America even knows about it. They are missing some of the most skilled and athletic people in the world such as Cristiano Ronaldo( one of the fastest people I’ve ever seen) Lionel Messi ( A 23 year old who is now considered the best player in the world and the “LeBron James” of soccer). They are missing watching games that are filled with some of the best highlights in all of sports, seeing a guy strike a ball with his foot from 35 yds. out, putting a nasty curve on it, fooling a world class goalie. They are missing out on seeing in my opinion the most passionate fans in all of sports. Philly has its crazy fans and crazy stories, but these soccer teams have firms that follow them which are basically a gang for each team that just fist fight because they think there soccer team is better (See Green Street Hooligans). They are missing out on seeing some of the best conditioned athletes in all of sports that constantly run for 90 minute games. They are missing out on some of the best teamwork. In soccer having 1 great player is not enough to change your team, you need everyone participating and pulling together to win games.

What would you suggest people do if they want to get into it?

  If someone would like to try to get into soccer, I suggest they watch some English Premier League, or La Liga (Spain’s best league), or the Champions League (a tournament of all the best teams from all the leagues). This is the top level of soccer, the games are fast paced, and the players are world class. They usually show champions leagues games on espn2 or, also there are websites to watch free worldwide games. Another thing they could do is attend a local MLS (Major League Soccer) team and sit in the cheering section to get a taste of how crazy the fans can get.

You’re a union season ticket holder, briefly describe the atmosphere.

  The atmosphere at the Union games is awesome. I sit in the “Sons of Ben” section which is a group that formed to bring an MLS team to Philly. It’s the loudest part of the stadium, you have to stand the whole time, and there are constant chants going on (literally constant), it has a real authentic feel to it.

How much do you love “doop” the Philadelphia Union’s fight song?)

 Doop doop doop dada doop doop doop, I love it as much as I love breathing, just kidding, It’s a real cool simple chant, real catchy, i take pride in singing it when they score.

In the wake of the NBA playoffs, who ya got?

 Beantown baby through and through, I got the Celtics all the way, OUTRIGHT! (Mike Missanelli reference)

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