Alex Massie Alex Massie

The Never-Ending Neoconservative War on Soccer

Long-time readers may recall that one of this blog’s minor amusements is chronicling the ridiculous extent to which some Americans – mainly, it must be said, on the right – go in their efforts to decry the baleful influence of soccer upon the American ideals of manly sporting excellence. There was, for instance, this example in March, complaining about the insidious impact soccer was having on the culture of suburban America.

Now, in the aftermath of the United States’ surprising victory* against Spain this week, Gary Schmitt, once of the Project for a New American Century and now residing at the American Enterprise Institute, complains that:

As someone who didn’t play soccer growing up, but had a dad who did and whose own kids played as well, I can say unquestionably that it is the sport in which the team that dominates loses more often than any other major sport I know of. Or, to put it more bluntly, the team that deserves to win doesn’t. For some soccer-loving friends, this is perfectly okay. Indeed, they will argue that it’s a healthy, conservative reminder of how justice does not always prevail in life. Well, hooey on that. And, thankfully, Americans are not buying it. In spite of the fact that one can drive by an open field on Saturdays and usually see it filled with young boys and girls playing soccer, the game’s popularity has not moved anywhere toward being a major sport here in the United States. It’s grown for sure but not close to where folks once expected it to be given the number of youth that have played the game over the past two decades.

For sure, there may be a number of reasons that is the case but my suspicion is that the so-called “beautiful game” is not so beautiful to American sensibilities.

Already a subscriber? Log in

Keep reading with a free trial

Subscribe and get your first month of online and app access for free. After that it’s just £1 a week.

There’s no commitment, you can cancel any time.


Unlock more articles



Don't miss out

Join the conversation with other Spectator readers. Subscribe to leave a comment.

Already a subscriber? Log in