surveying american soccer fandom

After a sizable break during the European close season this summer, save a few special edition live recordings down on Fountain Square for the World Cup, the WSOTP Podcast will be back in action here in a few week’s time. And with a sizable bump in the number of followers we’ve acquired due to the game finally catching a gust of wind here in the States, we thought it would be a good time to figure out just how everyone supports the sport of soccer here in the U, S and A.

As such, my podcast co-host and producer, Jeremy Lance, put together a short survey to give us a good look at the American soccer fan. But for us to really get a clear picture, we need as many of you as possible to fill the thing out. Whether a long-time fan or a relative n00b, we want — no, need — you to fill this thing out.

It shouldn’t take you more than a couple of minutes to complete, and it’s completely anonymous. And we’ll be sharing the results on the first episode of the second season of the podcast, which will be available for your listening pleasure the week before the Premier League season kicks off at the end of August.

So hit the link below, and thanks in advance for your data!


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your duty as an american soccer fan

Much has been made of the incredible interest in the World Cup here in the United States.

The tournament on the whole averaged 4.5 million viewers over all 64 matches, a 36% increase from the 2010 World Cup four years ago. We also saw records smashed for single game viewership several times: the first was with the US-Portugal group match with 24.7 million, while the second was the Germany-Argentina Final with a total of 26.5 million viewers.

Easily at an all-time high, the continuing upward trend in interest in the tournament and the sport in general has prompted many to ask questions like “Has soccer’s time come in the US?” and “What needs to be done for the sport to continue to grow?”. They’re pertinent questions, and ones that certainly need answering.

And to answer that question, I’ll turn to one of our greatest ever American’s:

“Ask not what soccer can do for you — ask what you can do for soccer.”  
– John F. Kennedy

Okay, so maybe I distorted that statement a little bit. But JFK’s most famous quote is incredibly relevant point when modified to address soccer’s situation in this country.

If we — and I’m talking about the existing fans of soccer in this country — want to continue to see our favorite sport climb in popularity and gain the respect and recognition in the US, it’s on us to make that happen.

Yup, soccer’s eventual success in this country comes down to you and me.

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color me surprised

Cincinnati Celebrates Brooks' GoalI have to give it to you, Cincinnati: you really surprised me yesterday.

We’re a city that’s often forced to divide our attention and pick a side. East or west side. Gold Star or Skyline. Xavier or UC. Cincinnati Saints or that other team that we won’t speak of. And when it comes to the watching the US team during the World Cup, things have been no different.

The American Outlaws Cincinnati Chapter were back at their usual stomping grounds at Molly Malone’s in Covington, with those who attended saying the place was jammed full of American supporters like sardines in a can. My favorite soccer pub, Rhinehaus in OTR, was packed in a way that only Lil Jon could appreciate. There were some who chose to stay further out in Hyde Park, with events being held at Cock & Bull, Hap’s, and The Pub at Rookwood. And those are just the soccer hangouts: numerous other establishments around town also have spoken of larger influxes of patrons in to watch the game.

And as such, I was a little concerned that the watch party I was helping to plan — the Cincinnati Saints and Hoists’ Big Game on the Square at Fountain Square — would suffer a lower than expected turnout due to litany of choices available to the city’s soccer fans. If I’m being totally honest, I thought we would be lucky to get 500 people out to the city center to watch the US’ opening game against Ghana.

Boy, was I wrong… and happily so.

The Cincinnati downtown commission, 3CDC, estimated that there were upwards of 5000 fans in attendance. Five thousand! Even if that was a little generous, that’s ten times the amount I had hoped for. Considering this match took place on Monday night on a day where the local meteorologists were warning of pop-up storms in a place that had never hosted a soccer event before, that is freaking incredible.

Too, the atmosphere was absolutely incredible. I’d fielded some concerns that it wouldn’t “be as good as at a pub” and that the AO party “would blow it out of the water”. Those concerns, much like my own earlier, proved unwarranted.

Flags, ridiculous outfits, painted faces, a bounty of bomb pop and Waldo jerseys. There were chants of “I believe that we can win” and “I Love Ya”. The energy and noise after the goals, particularly Brook’s equalizer, was a deafening madhouse. I’m pretty sure I saw someone jump in the fountain in jubilation. There’s a zero percent chance the AO party provided anything better. And the reaction around town, even from non-soccer types, has been nothing short of astounding.

I feel incredibly privileged to have been a part of the experience and to help put on the event. WSOTP Podcast co-host Jeremy Lance and I kept turning to one another and wide-eyed saying to one another, “I can’t believe this is happening in Cincinnati!” Never mind the 30 followers I’ve picked up on Twitter and 20 new Facebook likes since then… it was an honor even without the windfall of new exposure for this site.

We’ll of course be doing this all again on Sunday, and fully expect that the crowd will grow as word gets out that Fountain Square will be the place to watch. So if you didn’t join us yesterday, give us a try this weekend. And for those of you who did, thank you for making this such an awe-inspiring experience.

Here’s hoping we’ll catch you out there again, Cincinnati.

Also, be sure to check out this awesome video of the event from local Ricky Fairrow. It really captured the vibe of the crowd.

All pictures courtesy of the Cincinnati Saints. See the full album here.

ten words or less #92

come out and enjoy a WSOTP podcast before the USMNT v ghana game!

come out and enjoy a WSOTP podcast before the USMNT v ghana game!

Without a doubt, this has been one of the best World Cups I’ve ever had the privilege to witness, and this is my seventh. Goals galore. Drama out the wazoo. Zero draws. It’s the kind of action that doesn’t leave the soccer haters much room for bitching, and I’m smiling ear to ear because of it. And with the US kicking off today, there may very well be more of that in store. Though hopefully all in our favor.

If you somehow missed it, those in or near Cincinnati should come down to Fountain Square to catch Cincinnati Saints and Hoist’s live watch party for the US game tonight! The WSOTP Podcast team — myself and Jeremy Lance — will be recording a podcast live an hour before kickoff at 5pm, so definitely make your way out for that. We’ll have food, activities for the kids, appearances from the Saints team… and beer. Yeah, beer.

And in the mean time, below you’ll find a collection of my favorite links from the opening few days of action in Brazil.

Listen to Brazil celebrating their goals against Croatia. –

Der Kaiser, say it ain’t so! –

Japanese fans are more respectful than you. –

Just read It’s totally worth it. –

I sure hope Michael washed his hands in the bathroom. –

Watching the World Cup as a pro… who’s not there. –

Can Spurs please sign Danny Blind? Thanks. –

A pessimistic Spain fan made bank on his side’s loss. –

Ghana are conserving energy so they can watch our game. –

This is why Spain lost. –

who died and made you king?

if this is how you want to support soccer, then that’s just fine. just know it isn’t the only way.

It’s here. The World Cup has arrived in a massive crescendo of excitement and delirium that is rarely ever reserved for soccer here in the States.

Everyone from Beats by Dre to Subway and ESPN to McDonald’s are pushing (sometimes) epic commercials to remind us of the action to come. Every publication in the country has rushed to put out a guide and dish their thoughts on the world’s biggest events.

But there have been quite a few pieces doing the rounds ranging from “aiming to correct” to “straight up bashing” the way we American fans are supporting the game during this World Cup. Some have taken aim at our “incorrect” use of soccer — ahem, football — terminology. Others have mocked us for aping European supporter culture. And a scant few others revert to the 1990’s and scoff at us for liking soccer in the first place.

And you know what’s most astounding about all of this negativity? A sizable chunk of it is coming from our own fellow supporters. Continue reading

pic of the week 4/14-4/20


David Moyes meets the Grim Reaper

Poor David Moyes. His Manchester United side — nearly the exact same side that won the title last season by an eleven point gap — have now suffered 10 losses in 22 matches in 2014, have been mathematically eliminated from Champions League contention for next season, and look a broken incompetent side. Worse, the Scotsman was made to suffer a humiliating 0-2 defeat upon Moyes’ return to his former stomping grounds of Goodison Park.

And adding insult to injury, a crafty, potentially clairvoyant Everton supporter might just have served as an early bad omen if the rumors doing the rounds today are to be believed. Either that or the Grim Reaper is actually a Manchester United fan who’s decided enough is enough, and that he needed to take action into his own hands. Unfortunately, we never got to find out, as the Reaper was escorted out of the grounds before he could complete the grizzly deed.

pic of the week 2/3-2/9


A pitch invader gets a very Brazilian celebration

Like the increasing trend of students rushing the court in college basketball, invading the pitch is becoming incredibly cliché. It used to be a unique event, but it happens so often anymore it hardly warrants attention. No longer reserved for just the obnoxiously inebriated supporter — though those guys still show up on occasion — we’ve seen pitch invaders ranging from political activists to thrill seeking streakers in recent years. And when it comes to celebrating supporters rushing out en masse, it sure seems like the standard for justifying the rushing the playing surface has diluted tremendously. The television cameras at the stadium have even been instructed to ignore them, so as to not promote more banal tomfoolery.

But last week, one pitch invader managed to transcend the cliché nature of the action and captured the world’s attention in the process. Seven year old Ayo Dosumu slipped away from his father and down onto the field in the immediate aftermath of the Brazil’s 5-0 dismantling of hosts South Africa. But before security was able to whisk him away, hat-trick hero Neymar scooped up the youngster, carried him over to his teammates who then proceeded to hoist the youngster up on their shoulders. And the world ate it up, despite the fact that little guy totally broke a bunch of rules in the process.

Cuteness counts for something, right? Let’s just hope this doesn’t provoke a rash of pitch invasions this summer with fans from around the world trying to recreate Ayo’s picturesque moment for themselves.

a yank’s take on the y-word debate

the y-word debate has me feeling i didn’t submit the right TPS report.

There’s a famous scene at the beginning of American cult-favorite movie Office Space where character Michael Bolton is stopped at a light while driving to work, rapping boisterously along to the profanity-laden Scarface song booming out of his car stereo. The whitest of white guys, Bolton — played by comedian David Herman — is dropping Scarface’s rhymes authoritatively and generally acting a badass… until he notices a black street vendor walking towards his car. He quickly dims both volume and voice, skipping over the F-bombs and N-word heard whispering through his speakers. Once the man passes by, a relieved Bolton resumes his previous menacing lyrical display as if no one was listening for him to offend again.

Continue reading

ten words or less #79

yeah, the premier league is back... but so is deuce.

yeah, the premier league is back… but so is deuce.

Football is back! Well, it actually never left. After all, we’ve had a litany of international matches and MLS league action to keep us entertained all summer and then some. But for most people — myself included — the soccer equivalent of the main course was finally served up over the weekend in the form of the return of the British Premier League. It was a super interesting opening weekend with some really interesting results… but I’ll be dishing about those in full in the next episode of the WSOTP Pod which is due to go up later today.

But while you’re patiently awaiting that to go up, I figured I could keep you entertained with the latest roundup of links that tickled my fancy over the last week or so. And while some deal with topics across the pond, many focus on all of the glorious football we’ve been feasting on all summer.

Duece’s one day media blitz was insane. -

GoPro view of Manchester City training is freaking awesome. –

Who’s submitting their CV for the vacant England U-21 job? –

Brian Phillips entertaining dive into the USMNT’s sexy ugly past. –

I was interviewed about NYC pro soccer by a Brazilian blog. –

Bradford City only like fat people. –

I never figured this would be soccer’s “in” in America. –

An excellent proposal for an EPL All-Star game. –

Kyle Martino has some really interesting thoughts. –

When it rains, it pours. –

ten words or less #78

i feel pretty safe saying i’m even more excited about the premier league getting ready to start than the now famous ted lasso.

I don’t know about you, but I am super freaking excited about the upcoming kickoff to the Premier League season. You might have been able to tell that even if you skipped reading all of this at the top too, seeing as how three of the links in this latest edition of Tens Words or Less are Tottenham related. Yeah, Gareth Bale might be leaving. But even if he does, I’m still really excited for the increased coverage the English top flight will receive Stateside this term.

But before you go assuming that I’ll just forget about the domestic game now that European soccer is about to kick back into full swing, let me remind you just how dedicated I am…. BY GIVING AWAY FREE USA-MEXICO WORLD CUP QUALIFIER TICKETS, POSSIBLY EVEN TO YOU. Just in case you hadn’t heard about it. So don’t doubt me.

Anyway, enjoy the links below as you day-dream about the upcoming Premier League season OR attending the biggest US Men’s National Team game of the year. Whatever suits you best.

Spurs bring in new manager Ted Lasso… from ‘MERICA. -

You hear that… soccer players are stylish. –

Seven excellent suggestions for new Crew owner Anthony Precourt. –

Pessimism is ingrained in American soccer; that needs to change. –

Another effort to launch a possibly interesting World Cup documentary. – kickstarter.

If NYCFC pulls off this Manhattan stadium, I’ll be flabbergasted. –

Gareth Bale to leave Spurs to become… a male model? –

Brilliant trolling. –

The dread felt when your club tries to sign Suárez. –

Some excellent shots of White Hart Lane’s illustrious history. –