I don't wear a stars-and-stripes flag pin, nor do I have a yellow ribbon on my car (I don't even have a car!), but I love my country. Namely, I love it for the concept that it is -- one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
I assume that all includes soccer fans. And so, in honor of this past July 4th, I've got some liberty and justice to lay down.
These things have done more damage to American soccer than anything else. Luckily, over the past few years, several soccer-specific stadiums have been built, and suddenly some of us can properly watch games. But still, there are too many places -- New England, New York, Houston, Seattle next year -- where fans must suffer through footballisms at least part of the season.
But there is a strong grassroots tradition in American soccer, from dad coaching his kids at the park, to the ethnic leagues like the old LASA League. And just because the soccer league here is now major doesn't mean we shouldn't be able to dictate some things now and then.
Truth is, swearing is in the soccer fan's DNA. So is questioning the fidelity of an opponent's mother. And mocking the loyalty of opposing fans. (Side note: Truly offensive language, like the racist remarks hurled at New England's
This year, in particular, because of the Euro hoopla, there has been a rash of these articles, from
[Several people have e-mailed since this article was published to remind me that Marc is a big soccer fan, and an even bigger Manchester City fan. I knew this, and I shouldn't have thrown him to the wolves. But I wish he did more soccer writing, other than asides in his NBA online chats. For example, why didn't he catch the first plane to Austria the minute the NBA Finals ended? I would've loved to read his take on the final. Or his live blog when the satellite went down during the semi and ESPN had to embarrassingly go to the studio.]