Yeah, I realize as a Korean I’m supposed to have World Cup Fever, but the fact is I’m an American also, I grew up in the U.S., and as a product of this culture, I couldn’t give a rat’s ass about soccer.
I especially don’t get how some of my fellow Korean Americans who otherwise don’t care about soccer or Korean nationalistic pride suddenly become the biggest Korean soccer fans whenever the World Cup rolls around. Some of my friends who fall into the above category tried to get me up at 4 AM to watch the recent South Korea-Greece match. Let me make this clear to anyone else thinking of making a similar request of me in the future—I will get up at 4 AM because you are paying me a lot of money to do a job or because Megan Fox is drunk and horny and under the mistaken impression that I’m the only man left on earth. However, I will not get up at 4 AM to watch a soccer game. Why?
‘Cause soccer is fucking boooring!
I’m sorry but any sport where you can play for three hours and score a total of one point and that’s considered normal is boring! Any sport where Asians are just as good or even sometimes better than blacks or Latinos is boring! And what’s with these rules like no touching the balls with your hands? That’s not a rule for a sport, that’s something your girlfriend threatens to do when she’s pissed off at you. Look, even the great David Beckham couldn’t make soccer interesting to Americans. In fact, he may have made things worse and left many fans angry and disappointed. After all, during his time playing for the Galaxy, he did to American soccer what he does to Victoria Beckham every night and that’s not right.
But regular readers of this blog know that I’m all about having an open mind and about selflessly giving of myself. So in the spirit of generosity and helping my fellow man, allow me to give some advice about what can be done to make soccer more appealing to Americans because let’s be real here—if Americans don’t like the sport, it ain’t a real sport.
Now, I freely admit that I know nothing about soccer aside from the no touching balls with hands rule so forgive any ignorant statements I may make. But ignorant or not, I guarantee you that the following four bits of advice will make soccer as popular in the U.S. as it is everywhere else in the world:
1) GET RID OF THE GOALIE
Why is soccer so low scoring and inherently boring when in essence it’s a variation of the same game as basketball and football—two opposing teams, getting a ball into enemy territory and scoring points? Because there’s a fucking goalie who can ignore the rules in a way the other players can’t do (like use his hands when no one else can). Imagine if basketball had the equivalent of a goalie—some dude sitting on a ladder in front of the basket with a machete he could use to swat the ball away from the basket. You’d be lucky to make one basket in a game. Yeah, I realize hockey has a goalie too but don’t make comparisons to a sport that’s only marginally more popular than soccer in the U.S. and besides…hockey goalies—they look fucking bad ass in those masks like some crazed serial killer from an ‘80s horror flick so I got no beef with them.
If you don’t want to lose the goalie altogether, at least make some new rule that will help make things more exciting and challenging like…all goalies must be blind. That would definitely make the game more awesome and you’d also be supporting marginalized athletes who otherwise wouldn’t be allowed to participate in a sporting event that didn’t have the word “special” in there somewhere.
2) EMBRACE THE SEXY
See that photo above—that’s how you should be marketing the sport to Americans. People who know soccer already know that there are a lot of sexy fans, groupies and players involved in the sport, but for everyone else, soccer is a bunch of guys running around in glittery shorts and the type of tube socks that went out of style in 1988. When you create your marketing campaign for the U.S., get rid of any mention of the game or the star players because no one here knows or cares about that anyway. And instead, focus on selling images like the following:
We’re American. Soccer is not football. With all due respect to baseball, football is our national sport (the Super Bowl is consistently the most watched TV event every year) so when you insist on calling soccer football, well, it just makes us mad and irritated. And if we’re mad and irritated, we’re going to hate your sport even more. Once everyone else on earth accepts that the sport shall be forever known as soccer to appease Americans, even though technically you had the name first and since your sport actually involves using more of the foot it’s more appropriate for you, then we’ll talk.
4) PLAY UP THE DRAMA
OK, so I don’t know how the World Cup officials match up the teams and frankly, I don’t care because a tremendous opportunity was flushed down the toilet. North Korea was playing in the World Cup for the first time in 44 years and who do they play against first? Brazil. And they get their ass kicked as expected in yet another exciting, “high scoring” game (insert sarcasm here). What a waste! No, the first match should have been: South Korea vs. North Korea!
With the two countries on the brink of war, think of the marketing mileage you could’ve gotten out of such a pairing:
WORLD CUP 2010….THE EVE OF WAR. NORTH VS. SOUTH! BROTHER VS. BROTHER! ONLY ONE TEAM CAN WIN! THE BOMB DROPS JUNE 15, 2010! BE THERE AS HISTORY IS MADE! MAN SEI!
Everyone would be curious to tune into that. That’s exciting! Hollywood would make a film about the match starring Matt Damon as the head coach for the North Korean team (yeah, it’s yellow face casting, but come on, Matt can play anything!) and a CGI robot assistant (voiced by Seth Rogen). The film will be a big hit making more Americans interested in soccer. Kim Jong-Il will be so moved by the movie that he declares that he will give up his dictatorial ways and embrace a new path of peace. North and South Korea are reunited, soccer becomes America’s national sport, Matt Damon announces he will next portray Korean independence leader Dosan Ahn Chang-Ho…it’s a win-win all around.
Man sei! Be the Reds!