Wednesday, July 7, 2010

US Actually Good At Soccer

Jonathan Chait says:
Other Americans take pride in the performance of their country's soccer, although -- given America's huge size and terrible record -- this is a bit like taking pride in your college debate team fighting the local elementary school squad to a draw.
Well, first of all, that's I think far too strong; it's more like taking pride in your large-enrollment college without a history of success winning the YouNeverHeardOfIt Bowl on  December 12th.  Or beating a 5th seed in the NCAA basketball tournament, even if you lose the next round. 

The men's tournament.  Because, you know, there's another one.

And anyone who says that the US stinks at soccer is missing half the story -- it's worth remembering that Americans are very, very, good at soccer, as long as you include, you know, the half of Americans who play in the odd-numbered years.  Just as a reminder, the US Women won it all in 1999 and 1991, and finished a very respectable third in 1995, 2003, and 2007.   So any explanation for anything based on the US being terrible at soccer does have to somehow account for that, I'd say.

Mainly, however, I just wanted an excuse to link to an appalling report on TV coverage of women's sports: here's the report, and here's a depressing interview about it (sorry: I mean that the conclusions are appalling; the study appears well-done from what I can see after a quick read-through).  The interview is in The Nation; perhaps the Sage of Wasilla could do something to get a bit of publicity about this in, er, real America.

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