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Soccer is a fantastic sport, but it doesn’t easily fit into the United States’ cultural paradigm in the same way basketball, baseball or football does.
Fans follow sports primarily based on emotions and it’s an emotional adjustment for an American audience to high-five every shot on goal and to get elated about a 1-1 draw. We’re accustomed to the narrative of a winner and loser.
Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donavan Mcnabb said after a tie to the Cincinnati Bengals in 2008, "I've never been a part of a tie. I never even knew that was in the rule book," This is an NFL quarterback. Tying isn’t in the psyche and our national narrative.
In our movies, novels and even reality television, we tell and retell the story of a hero that wins the day. Rarely is there a mainstream American movie that has the protagonist and antagonist shaking hands and going their separate ways as the credits roll.
Soccer has more nuance. It’s a clearer reflection of a European archetype where black and white also enjoys shades of gray. We have to reeducate our society as a whole to celebrate the means and not the end.
The reason why art students head to places London, Paris and Florence is because you don’t have to schlep to art museums to get a taste of art. Art’s everywhere. In the streets, in the cafes—it oozes out of the walls.
Sure there are museums (plural) everywhere, but the work of an impressionistic painter can be bought on the banks of the Seine from street vendors. It’s not removed from the current culture, it is the current culture.
In Brazil, soccer is everywhere. On the beach, in the parks, in school gyms. The culture has metabolized soccer and now it’s part of the organism that is the country. Many around the world liken the Brazilian team’s tempo and rhythm to it’s music. In effect, it’s soccer is a complete reflection of it’s culture.
Hired on July 29, 2011, Klinsmann’s received complaints for the slow implementation of change to his new club. His measured approach seems to be the best way of converting something basic to the human condition of movement and mindset.
Internally, he has a hand in everything from how his players live on a day-to-day basis, to what their nutrition plans are. On the field he’s done things like holding public training sessions the night before matches. This kind of grass-roots effort will build pebble-by-pebble support for a sport that’s fighting for air in crowded U.S. athletic room.
In a way Klinsmann is doing his own form of retail politicking, but across the board, the MLS must get better at...