Not Just Players: US Soccer Needs All Kinds of Improvements

jeff tydemanAnalyst IJune 23, 2008

American soccer has a ways to go, we all know that. Both on and off the field.

Sure, athletic talent like the Dwyane Wade's and Tom Brady’s and the Tiger Woods's would help the US national team, but there's other untapped physical resources out there. I can picture Barbaro out on the pitch, racing downfield. Okay, bad example. Maybe Eight Belles? Okay, another bad example.

How about a certain non-retired Home Run King chilling out in San Fran? I'm sure after a quick visit to certain laboratory companies in the Bay Area, he could "prepare" for the rigors of football. I envision a massive pair of thighs, calves, and feet stomping around with the head of Barry Bonds on top.

Even if he didn't contribute on the field, his sparkling personality would spread his usual joy and goodwill to those who approach him, even nefarious types such as sport writers (ugh—them!).

Any soccer team needs an actor the quality of a Tom Hanks, George Clooney, or John C. Reilly to flop around holding a barely-touched ankle while appearing to have been hit with an IED. Or to react to a yellow card with stunned indignation after just taking a shiv and shanking a guy on the other team. Actually, Reilly's face alone would scare an opponent into giving up an 'own goal.'

Then there's what I call the "atmospherics," the events in the stands or getting to and from the stadia where we need the most help.

In no particular order:

Getting Drunk—Hard to believe the United States would lag in this key area, but we do. You see, other, younger kids around the world are pounding wine and ouzo at dinner, while our teenagers are barely able to sneak a beer behind the gym after practice.

You have to start inculcating these things at a very young age to excel in these competitive times. Any child development expert will agree.

Vomit—Ours is thin, watery upchuck, versus the thicker, more viscous quality of the foreigners. You only have to see a puke-pile of theirs pooling on a Barcelona train platform or in the corner of a Rio de Janiero barrio bodega to realize how pathetic we Americans are.

Chanting—Test scores show our public school children are, well...they're kind of dumb. It's hard enough to name three state capitals without expecting the poor dears to memorize three singsong stanzas of a team anthem.

Hell, professional singers need a karaoke machine to make it through The Star Spangled Banner, and we've been hearing that song all our lives. We're barely able to bleat out the three syllables U-S-A. Let's not complicate things.

Hooliganism/Rioting—We are such a peaceful and law-abiding people, we could never plan on going out and punching strangers and burning cars. Don't get me wrong—we'll do it. But spontaneously. Not as a set Saturday night amusement, as in England. But we can hope, maybe some day!

U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!  ...uh, how does that go again? Oh yeah...U-S-A! U-S-A!