The United States Of America And The 2010 World Cup

Ian

Ian began writing Twohundredpercent in May 2006. He lives in Brighton. He has also written for, amongst others, Pitch Invasion, FC Business Magazine, The Score, When Saturday Comes, Stand Against Modern Football and The Football Supporter. Ian was the first winner of the Socrates Award For Not Being Dead Yet at the 2010 NOPA awards for football bloggers.

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5 Responses

  1. As someone who is about to embark upon a six month stint living and working in New York, I’ll bear this excellent appraisal in mind while I am there. I think your four year “Olympic style spike” theory does hold weight. Certainly, soccer coverage on ESPN or any of the other regular channels between world cups is almost wilfully non-existent – but the difference in interest in football in the US is a world away now from what it was on the occasion of my first visit in 1996.

    The remarkably high proportion of North American run websites among the best of the football blogosphere is also noteworthy. At times, the likes of Pitch Invasion and Run of Play knock regular coverage of the game’s major issues into a cocked hat, with the Togo bus atrocity earlier this year the perfect case in point.

    A weakness of these sites when commenting on global football is a reliance on what academics would call “sceondary sources” – impressions (of the European game at least) are based on watching the idiot box, reading internet reports and not actually attending matches. They can’t be blamed for that though – it’s not an easy thing to cross the Atlantic every week to watch games in the flesh and the quality of the writing is tip top. I think in a recent post on his “A More Splendid Life” blog, Richard Whittall (a Canadian, it must be pointed out) mentioned that he didn’t much care if soccer became truly popular in the US or not but I think we’d all really love to see the sport grow on that large continent.

  2. Brenton says:

    If the commentating is anything like it is for the MLS matches, I can’t see how it’s getting any praise. It’s pretty dreadful, usually with one sports guy (likely borrowed from basketball or “gridiron” and one knowledgeable person, sometimes with an accent for added credibility. The chatter is endless, and they call penalties Pee-Kays. Here is what I wrote last season:

    Here is a list of comments that highlight, for me, why American and Canadian footie commentary duos need a Brit for credibility:

    “…to handle the “flyers” from Salt Lake.”
    “…that enforcer type, that will pick the fights for his teammates that can’t.”
    “…to get out of difficult (pause) phases of the game.”
    “…flying in to become an option here.”
    “…when they’re relaying into the centre.”
    “…two 50-50 balls featuring Will Johnson.”
    “…it’s going to be an elevated second half.”
    “…double-digit touches here.”
    “…the New England team was very very altered by what they could do.”
    “…every minute starts to magnify here.”
    “John Busch clears.” (it was a goal kick)
    “…to put some type of strong conclusion on goal.”
    “It’s in their DNA.” (about Real Salt Lake, as if they’re some historic club)
    “…it comes down to down-and-dirty penalties.”

    Some of it was marginal, but some was just painful. What is a conclusion on goal? What is an elevated second half? How can a minute start to magnify?

  3. admin says:

    Brenton, my understanding is that ESPN’s coverage is vastly different to normal MLS coverage. Tommy Smyth, the long time bete noire of ESPN’s coverage, for example, has been relegated to ESPN’s radio channel.

  4. Brenton says:

    Fair enough. Tommy Smyth and his onion bag would be an improvement over the MLS commentators.

  5. Chicago says:

    Interestingly, but perhaps unsurprisingly, the weakest of the ESPN/ABC commentators is the American — John Harkes.

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