What is “football culture”? Is it tangible? Is it something every country can obtain?
There is a multitude of questions that can be asked about this subject. One thing is certain; it’s very difficult to see Football culture in the United States.
My name is Vick Bell and I host The Ninety First Minute. I’ve played/lived in the states for a long time and experienced a lot concerning football.
The first issue I’d like to touch upon is an obvious one. The United States has its own big sports. Baseball, Football, and Basketball are all traditional American Sports. Soccer is definitely below those three sports. In many other countries, Football is the undisputed sports champion. How is that relevant? Simple, countries that focus mainly on one sport tend to master it quickly. The sport is also equally integrated and betted into society itself in ways not comparable to the States. Affordability is another point. In most places around the world, it’s generally inexpensive to play Football at a higher level. If a player is good enough he/she gets put into the professional realm as quickly as possible. Financial obligations are taken care of by the club in most cases.
It’s the total opposite in the United States; It’s run by the pay-to-play system. To play on a high-level travel Football team, parents spend between two to five thousand dollars per season. This makes the sport expensive to play and excludes players(usually minorities) whose parents can’t meet the financial obligations. What this does, in the long run, is in my opinion, catastrophic.
Every country has an identity. This identity shapes the philosophy of play. The United States has no identity. We thank the women because they do. We’re talking about culture though. It’s simple; most players that have an “X” factor are immigrants. Sometimes you notice that certain players have something extra. You can meet them at school, perhaps invite them to a session amongst old friends but you rarely see them at the highest level. This isn’t due to a lack of skills but rather a financial restraint that the parents can’t lift.
Over a long period of time, it sets a nation behind. One needs a mix of all types of players in order to shape a proper identity and philosophy. It’s the influx of other nations that helps nations compete at the highest levels. The last point is about watching the world’s game. One of the difficulties in finding the channels that show the games here in the United States. Most of the time parents need to have cable or purchase monthly subscriptions in order to watch high levels of soccer from Europe. Not everyone can afford these subscriptions. This again falls on the minorities. Many come to the states and lose their appetite for Football due to a lack of access.
There’s a reason why many Americans can’t name you older legends of the game besides Messi and Ronaldo. Football culture isn’t just one thing. It’s the combination of many crucial points that make up a country’s football culture. Philosophy represents the country as a whole. The misrepresentation of its people leads to a bad philosophy in the long run. Progress is being made; at least that’s what we would like to believe. The United States didn’t even qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. There’s a saying we use in the world of football: “The Ball doesn’t lie”.
Now let me ask you. Do you have “football culture”?