The United States of America is a federal republic in North America. The USA is one of the biggest and most populous nations and has the largest economy in the world. It is most famous, however, for being the one country in the world able to resist the global love affair with association football, despite having practically invented the concept of globalization.
Major League SoccerEdit
The MLS is the top tier of football in the USA and represents an awkward bastardisation of the noble traditions of the world's best loved game to fit more easily into the heart of the American public. But, despite all of the misstepps that the MLS ownership has taken, teams are now getting attendence numbers to rival all but 4 or five English clubs. Mostly due to Seattle and Portland teams, but not bad for a league that is only 15 years old. Changes included:
- A clock that counted down to 0:00, rather than up to 90 minutes, which stopped in dead ball situations. While this seems like a good idea in theory, in practice it proved to be a silly thing and was stopped.
- A 35 yard line for offsides rather than the usual halfway line. Also ridiculous and done away with.
- Matches not being allowed to end in a draw - instead matches went to a 'penalty shootout,' where players had to dribble the ball from the 35 yard line and shoot before a timer ran to zero. Removing the possibility of a hard-fought game between two evenly matched teams ending in it's logical conclusion of a draw might have made sense to someone, but it proved to be a silly thing and along with the strange penalties, it was stopped.
- No promotion or relegation. Mostly due to the league being so new and other leagues not wanting to partner with the ownership to develop the system that most American fans have been screaming for.
- The season's champions being decided by a garish playoff system, which renders the regular season pointless. Changes have been made as of late, but much work is still to be done.
- The inclusion of a draft and a super-draft. Though both of these have proved to be in contrast to the reality of world professional football and rather silly, they are yet to be stopped due to the league still being involved with expanding the number of teams within it. Learning from the glaring mistakes of the Premiership, the MLS seems to be refusing to allow just a few teams to dominate by simply outspending the competition. This is probably also the reason that serious American football club owners are still absent from their domestic leage and are content with owning Man U, Aston Villa, Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City.
- David Beckham being able to dribble past players and beat the opposition for pace when he is healthy enough to play.
Thanks to FIFA's annoying policy of rotating the World Cup around its confederations, North America was chosen for the 1994 edition. Unfortunately, due to the rest of the continent being rife with corruption and Canada being a silly place to hold a football tournament, the competition was awarded to the USA, despite the fact that only 5 people in the whole country understood the rules (which if you think about it was probably the best reason to hold it there. Intoducing a nation of over 300million people, with the world's largest economy, to a sport that is both easy to understand as well as play, was really a no-brainer. Couple that with the Yanks insatiable hunger for patriotic things, pitting their country against the world on their own soil was bound to drum up interest.)
The tournament started badly enough with England failing to qualify, which wasn't really much of a surprise to anyone outside of England. Things didn't get much better when strange-haired soul sensation Diana Ross dragged a penalty well wide during a carefully choreographed routine at the opening ceremony. In a strange circularity, the final kick of the tournament was strange-haired star of Football Italia Roberto Baggio launching a penalty well over to hand Brazil the championship.
In between, there were some fairly forgettable matches, mostly because they were on so ridiculously late at night in Europe, but this allowance was made by FIFA after they realized that European viewers comprised less than 22% of the worldwide audience for the matches. Highlights included:
- The first ever indoor international football match, when the USA played Switzerland.
- Bulgaria storming to the semis, despite being fancied by no one before the tournament.
- Ireland winning a group-stage game in a major tournament.
The USA, along with Mexico, always qualify for the World Cup by virtue of winning 2 games against El Salvador or the U.S. Virgin Islands, after their respective 4-6 other qualifying matches. They are then usually given a comfortable draw for the group-stage, but will either lose all of their games or squeeze through only to be tossed out by a team whose fans actually give a shit. This all changed rather abruptly however in 2002 when the Yanks were able to reach the Quarter Finals. Then again, more recently, in 2010 when they won their Group Stage after England failed to beat them in their opening match. This surprised a lot of English, who don't bother to pay attention to history, and fail to realize that the 3 Lions have NEVER beaten the Yanks in World Cup competition.
Recognisable current players include: Clint Dempsey, Tim Howard and Jonathan Spector. Freddy Adu, who was really good on Championship Manager, also occasionally plays for the USA.
More Popular Than FootballEdit
In the same way English football is tediously dominated by the Big Four teams, America is tediously dominated by its big four professional sports. While football may be popular everywhere that isn't America, conversely, American sports are loathed everywhere that isn't America (except of course all of the countries that currently have professional Basketball, Hockey and Baseball leagues). The most popular sports are:
Derived from the less honorable sport of rugby football. Similar, in that both involve repeated mindless acts of violence in the name of sport. Different, in that rugby doesn't stop for a commercial break every time someone gets tackled; the ball goes out of play; or a mascot decides to do a silly little gig.
Also, american football bizarrely allows the coach to substitute his entire team between plays so the best players are always on for any given situation. This creates a nightmarish image for football, where Rory Delap is brought on for every throw in; David Beckham comes only for the free kicks; and Frank Lampard appears every time there's a frantic scramble in the box to jab in a deflected goal.
Derived from the honorable sport of rounders. Similar, except barely anyone ever seems to score anything; there are an unbelievable number of rules; and instead of lasting for 1 P.E. lesson, games seem to go on for months. Albeit far less time than the woefully slow-paced game of Cricket.
Reports are now in that based on the 2010 attendance records for all sports played in America, soccer (football) has now usurped both Basketball and Hockey to become the 3rd most popular professional sport in the country. Furthermore, the sport has maintained in nearly decade-long dominance as the most played sport by the American citizenry.Edit
Derived from the sport of netball. Similar except one is played exclusively by teenage girls, while the other is played by gargantuan black men. Every play seems to result in points, leading to ridiculous scores. Also, unlike other US Sports, where there are tedious commercials for viagra every time the play breaks: in basketball, if there hasn't been a break for a while, play is simply stopped by a man walking out onto the court with a board to announce a break is being held.
Derived from popular teenage girl pass-times of hockey and ice-skating. This is clearly the most exciting US sport, which is probably why it's not that popular and more of a Canadian thing anyway. Unfortunately, in the same way that most people only watch motor racing or go to air shows for the inevitable horrendous accident: most people only watch ice hockey for the inevitable fight.