By: Jeff Riger

I admit it…I’m really digging the World Cup!

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We all know nobody cares about Soccer in this great country. Sure, we’ll watch the real big games, but in the grand scheme of things, we would rather rip on the sport than sit down and watch a 2 and a half hour contest that very well could end in a scoreless tie.

We complain about the lack of scoring, the flopping and most importantly; the fact that nobody really seems to know when the game will end. What’s with the extra time? How can such an important game not keep track of time better? Here in the United States we see our teams still have a chance with just tenths of a second left on the clock. On the pitch (that’s a soccer term I just learned) the game just ends and everybody seems okay with it.

You got to admit, soccer in this country is very easy to make fun of rather than to appreciate.

Of course there are real soccer fans around; they’re the ones that get livid when you make fun of their precious sport. Instead of just enjoying the soccer experience for themselves, most of them take it upon themselves to try to educate you while trying to make you feel small in the process. The soccer-nista’s, as I like to call them make the sport even more unbearable than it already is.

I have made fun of soccer for as long as I can remember.

But, I’m ready to change!

I decided before the World Cup got under way that I was going to have an open mind about the game. I mean, if the rest of the world loves it, it can’t be all that awful. Right?

So I’ve been watching. I’ve watched way more than I ever thought and I actually care…

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I felt horrible for the Iranian players when Lionel Messi scored the game winner on them in extra time. (They say that a scoreless tie against Argentina would have been the biggest achievement for Iran soccer in the history of their country. Huh…who knew) And, I was livid when the US blew their one goal lead in the waning seconds yesterday. I couldn’t believe myself. I actually cared when the US tied. When Varela scored on a pass from Cristiano Ronaldo. I mean seriously; what’s with these guys that only have or go by one name? Messi? Ronaldo? Varela? Pepe? Nani? Who do these guys think they are? Madonna? Prince? Itchero?

So, I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m now a Soccer fan…at least for now that is. I don’t see myself getting the English Premiere League package from my cable provider and I’m not heading to Seattle anytime soon to check out Clint Dempsey in a Seattle Sounds game, but I’m going to continue to watch the World Cup and I can’t wait until noon on Thursday when the US takes on Germany.

Anybody know where I can get a US Soccer shirt? I might as well look the part considering I’m such a student of the game.

Oh, a couple more things…

Is there anything better than the Soccer announcers? I could listen to these guys all day long! They’re actually critical and they use stellar words usually not associated with sports. The other day I heard one of the announcers say that a player had a “lovely” chance on a ball that was right in front of the net. “Lovely?” How awesome is that? And, it worked. That same broadcaster also used the word “delicious” when talking about another quality chance. They also are not afraid to talk about what the fans are talking about. Yesterday the announcer doing the US-Portugal game told the story of how Ronaldo was welcomed to Brazil. He was greeted by thousands of fans, a topless model and a guy dressed in a Donald Duck costume. That dude has the life.

I also thought it was interesting that the US-Portugal game featured the first ever “water break” in the history of the World Cup. How the hell can that be? And they were acting like it was a controversial thing. It’s a water break. You don’t want these guys getting heat stroke do you?

I still have a lot to learn about this Soccer stuff and to be honest I’ll probably never take the time to do so. However, for right now, I’m a huge fan. That’s very American, isn’t it?


Kick Germany’s ass so I can be a huge Soccer fan for a couple more weeks.

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No but seriously, you should watch too. It’s actually pretty great.