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Brews And Views Series: Why American Soccer?

We continue our new series on the Free Beer Movement. It's called “Brews and Views” and we pose a question or topic to various prominent soccer persons and, well, they give us their view on it.

We've got loads of get people that have already responded to our call for essay submissions and each week we'll feature a unique perspective on the current topic/question at hand. Kicking it off (pun intended) we're asking our respondents the question, “Why American soccer?”.

As inhabitants of the U.S. of A we've got loads of soccer viewing options and limited amount of time. We want our panel of essayists to make their case as to why the American version of the world's game is the one we should all invest in.

Regularly readers know where we stand on this issue. Buy American. It's ours. Build and shape it so it ranks as one of the premier leagues in the world.

The series will include such diverse voices as former U.S. Men's National Team player Alexi Lalas, The Shin Guardian, MatchFit USA's Jason Davis, Church of Soccer, Nutmeg Radio, FutFanatico, MLS Insider, and many, many more.

Interested in submitting your own answer to the question, “Why American soccer?”, then send us an email with your response. Please keep your submission to under 1000 words (that's like 2.5 pages typed!) and include a picture that you feel goes well with your response. Send it to freebeermovement(at)gmail(dot)com.

By Jason Davis / Match Fit USA and the NEW “Best Soccer Show”
As my response to Dan’s call for answers to the question “Why American soccer?”, I could regale you with emotional arguments draped in the tropes of the American spirit, the idealized inclusive nature of the sport itself, or the undeniable fact that local is always better than distant. It is, by the way. Maybe I should leave at that.

But I won’t. I won’t leave it at local is better than distant, even if our televisions serve as portals to other lands whenever we want them to, or trot out the good, but over-cited reasons for “Why American soccer?” (which I myself have cited in this very space some time back), which mostly boil down to notions of community and identity. Instead, I’m not going to try to convince you at all. You’re here, reading a post at The Free Beer Movement, which means you’re most likely one of those that has already declared themselves a proponent of American soccer. Why should I preach to the converted?

Your answer to the question might be the same as mine, or it might be something wholly different. The answer is as personal as any of the myriad choices you’ve made in your life (and specifically your sports life). Far be it for me to imply that your particular answer is either A.) trumped by another answer (namely mine) that won’t resonate with you on more than a philosophical level or B.) needs any augmenting to be really real, supremely true, and completely defensible. Your answer is as good as mine, and I don’t even know what yours is. From hipsterism to jingoism and everything in between, it all brings us to the same place.

Instead, and in the spirit of The Free Beer Movement, let’s talk about what it will take for those of you already on the bandwagon to increase the numbers of our flock. Proselytizing? Nope. Nothing so aggressive. Debate, as arguing the merits of the American game with someone wearing Sky Sports brand blinders, thereby (hopefully) turning an existing soccer fan to our side? I think not. That’s a fool’s errand with a low rate of return and the guarantee of unneeded frustration. Nowhere outside of politics and religion are people so married to their beliefs as they are with their sports. The worldview of the American sports fan – soccer fans included – solidifies at some point in adolescence/early adulthood and cannot be moved except of their own volition. If that worldview has no room for soccer or is soccer-friendly but only for non-American versions of the sport, no one is going to change their minds. No one but themselves, that is.

Which is why the FBM is brilliant. It’s a proactive way to expose the unconverted to the sport, and to our version of it, without applying any direct pressure. It doesn’t require a dissertation on the joys of supporting American soccer in America. It doesn’t mandate that the FBMer do anything to the FBMee but provide a tasty beverage in the presence of a live or television soccer match. It doesn’t assume that the person on the receiving end of the free beer is wrong, or that they need to be “enlightened.” They don’t need anything, but their life could be enriched if they discover – on their own, because that’s the only way the worldview is going to shift enough for it to happen – that American soccer is the S-H-I-Z-N-I-T.

And it will. Believe in the power of the sport to transform people into fans because of all that it is, not because you have a solid rhetorical point. You can tell people that they should love American soccer, but you can put it in front of them – tasty fermented libation in hand – and let it do it’s work.

Okay, okay, I’ll answer the question. I owe that to Dan for including me in a series littered with great soccer people. Why American soccer? Because it’s awesome, that’s why. Categorically, one hundred percent, with zero equivocation, as it is and as it will be, totally and completely, undoubtedly and to my great benefit, awesome. No explanation necessary. I reached that conclusion totally on my own, not because someone told me it was so.

American soccer is awesome. I know this. You know this. Soon enough, the people will, too. Buy them a beer and watch it happen.
About The Author
Jason is an award-nominated blogger (Match Fit USA), a columnist for the US Soccer Players website, a writer and editor for the soccer culture blog KCKRS, a podcaster for the newly launched The Best Soccer Show, and a guy that needs to slow down a little bit. Sheesh. 

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