Ever since the days of Kyle Rote Jr., the nations media has tried to tell us that soccer was the Next Big Thing.
Its big ... Big! they said. Getting bigger all the time.
And its inevitable. Millions love it. Youll love it, too. You will have to love it or be considered as square as Wyoming.
Whats your problem, Low Brow America? Live in a trailer? Addicted to ugh, football?
Of course, you lout, football isnt real football, they said.
Get over yourself, Mr. Hipster. The USA didnt invent the term soccer. The English did. They reduced the term Football Association down to just Association and further slanged it down to soccer, decades ago.
And just because ESPN says its getting big numbers for the World Cup, dont think that means soccer is suddenly the top shelf in sports.
Much has been made of the 9.6 rating for the USA-Portugal match 18.2 million viewers which was a new high for a U.S. mens soccer match.
Last winter, a run-of-the-mill NFL playoff game between Green Bay and San Francisco drew 47.1 million viewers to Fox.
Nielsen said a total of 20 million viewers tuned in to either ESPN or the NFL Network to watch some or all of the 2014 NFL Drafts first night. Not a game the Draft!
But dont get me wrong. Im actually one of those pinheads that watched all three U.S. matches in World Cup pool play.
Ive been a sucker for soccer ever since I played it as a high school senior. Later came some pretty fabulous pickup games on Fetzer and Navy Field, where I got to play alongside college All-Americans and even some pros. One guy had been a teammate of Pele.
Theres no doubt in my mind that more and more people play soccer. Look around here; there are soccer fields everywhere for youth leagues.
But will people watch it?
What people really like to see is success.
When they were habitually winning MLB division titles, the Atlanta Braves helped Ted Turner turn WTBS into the worlds first superstation on cable.
The Dallas Cowboys were Americas Team as long as they won Super Bowls. Now the Cowboys are better known as the team with the worlds biggest jumbo-screen in their stadium.
Locally, fans still turn out in big numbers for Carolina womens soccer, but Fetzer Field sees its biggest audiences when the Tar Heels are driving toward another national championship. (Whats Anson Dorrances number of NCAA trophies up to now ... 51?)
And local high school soccer draws fine, but the SRO crowds show up for the Chapel Hill-East-Carrboro matches and for N.C. state championship finals.
Americans liked to see the U.S. advance out of World Cup pool play. But theyre not excited that the team did it by virtue of goal-differential after successive ties.
Americans will start watching for real if the USA starts winning for real.
Warnock: 919-932-8743 or firstname.lastname@example.org.