U.S. Soccer performance equals moderate gain for sport
"You Gotta Be Kidding!"
by Mickey Charles, CEO Sports Network
You win some, you lose some, but it is the result off the scoreboard that
How else to analyze and evaluate the effort of the US soccer team in the World
Cup? This is simply not the game of the nation they represented. Theirs is a
country baptized with baseball, basketball, football and (to an extent) hockey
at birth. All, seasonally, engulf the populace like a tidal wave of bats,
ball, pucks, gloves, nets, goal posts, bases, sticks, rims, backboards,
shoulder pads, a potpourri of sporting entertainment. And then, not to feel
left out, there is the roar of the racetrack, with NASCAR and Formula 1 auto
racing qualifying as the most watched sports in America. Golf, at the
appropriate time, takes center stage, whether Tiger Woods is playing well or
not. Tennis grabs the spotlight for the four majors and is happy with a small
flashlight for the others.
Where does soccer fit into this mosaic of athletic insanity? At the ground
level of public schools, then upwards into high school to a lesser degree, in a
seeming downward spiral, up again like the Phoenix rising when collegians take
to the field and slowly emerging as a recognized contender for attention with
professional teams. But, it is the World Cup, the nationalism of it all, the
flag-waving, cheering, faces and bodies painted, jingoism and jumping up and
down that does it.
These are our guys! They represent the Stars and Stripes...they are on the
dais at the front of the activity. Go get 'em!!!
It is patriotic pride, my country right or wrong although the bad calls came
the way the red, white and blue with incredible consistency. The inner and
underlying bias is evident all the time.
The World Cup is probably the biggest sporting event in the galaxy. It
attracts the largest audience one could ever imagine. Those in different time
zones are having breakfast in the middle of the night and lunch at dawn.
Sleepless nights are the order of the day ... and evenings. From the youngest
to the oldest, loyalties are worn on sleeves and impassioned followings are
likely an understated description.
All things considered, the U.S. could have, should have, won one more contest.
They did not. No shame there. It is the nature of soccer, for the most part.
You might be beaten up for the entire match, totally outplayed, a seeming
mismatch start to finish, and yet the final tally is one-nil. What are we
missing here? Lopsided scores like the 7-0 pasting Portugal put on North Korea
are possible but infrequent. Are those that are weaned on soccer from the womb
to becoming professional and beyond the product that drives their respective
countries into and onto the higher levels of achievement?
Landon Donovan did all he could to get Team USA into the quarterfinals, but came up just short.
The US is to be commended for having gotten as far as it did. They will be
back, stronger, faster, more secure in the knowledge that they can play with
anyone at all. Youthful aspirants will gather to the pitch at their schools
and the vacant lots hurriedly dressed up with goals at either end to test and
hone their talents. Players from the professional leagues in North America
will become better and better, as the crowds and the dollars paid to them grow.
America is a country walking the tightrope between arriving and almost there.
But will it bring with it the sort of gambling interest that is embedded in the
other sports? Does the player, the punter, know enough; even care enough to
invest a few dollars, Euros or Pounds? Likely not. It is not, for now, the
style of the bettor in the US to hyperventilate over a single score, maybe two.
Football, basketball and baseball are games that are not over until they are
over. Hockey is almost the same, with similar scoring to soccer but infinitely
more action on the ice than there is on the pitch.
Is sports betting in The Colonies ready to embrace soccer? It would, given
half the chance, but the public has to make the first move and it has to be a
major one. Otherwise, anything done here, bettors with sufficient knowledge of
soccer worldwide, is limited to a sparse few when compared to all else...a hill
beside a mountain. Without that knowledge, a wager placed on a soccer match
has more to do with the color of the flag than it has to do with in-depth
analysis and knowledge of the sport, teams and players.
As a bookmaker, the US is not the place to set up shop if your future depends
on soccer. And, the numbers tallied off-shore for Americans wagering on sports
are eclipsed by the major sports in the land of the free and home of the brave
if soccer wishes to share the stage with them. Until some unknown time in the
future, soccer is standing in the wings, ready to go on but with an audience
not beckoning to it.
So, kudos to the US for its performance recently and applause, while not a
standing ovation, for the manner in which they competed and for showing all a
glimpse of what awaits at future competitions. They will be a factor with
which to reckon. That is a certainty but as the applause dies down so does the
wagering interest in the World Cup from the States.
Rest assured that only descendants of those that came here at the turn of the
century from these countries, those possessed of a particular heritage, or the
most fervent and zealous fans of soccer will have followed, or will be
following, the remaining contest(s), the semi-finals just completed and the
final match itself. Once done, either Spain's or Holland's citizens will
rejoice as you have never seen but not because they won a wager. No, because
they won the World Cup. Not a village, town, municipality, city or state. An
The US just might do the same thing one day soon. That could be a good wager
and taken with very long odds. Have I gone into the reserves for the money to
do that yet? You gotta be kidding!