English & U.S. Football/Soccer Fans Differ Vastly

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    Updated: June 23, 2014
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    While watching the United States Men’s National Team play Portugal on Sunday, I couldn’t help but notice all the Futbol (soccer) talk coming from Americans. Granted 90% of Americans are casual fans and don’t know much about the sport, but come World Cup time the nation is locked in and all supporting our players. On twitter it was much of the same: joy, patriotism, camaraderie, etc. Then I started seeing tweets from English Football fans about the American fans. And surprisingly enough, the majority of the tweets were actually positive.

    I was expecting a tidal wave of, “You Americans are band-wagon fans” or “Since when did you lot start caring about football???” The reaction from our English friends was actually quite the contrary. I saw tweets from English fans saying they actually admired how the Americans got behind their team and genuinely enjoyed every minute of both games in this tournament. Some English fans were saying their supporters could learn a thing or two from the Americans. It’s an admirable thought and gesture, and as a die-hard American Futbol fan I will tell our English friends this, it’s impossible. The cultures and landscapes for Futbol in our two countries won’t ever allow the Americans to root like the Brits do and vice versa. And it may not be a bad thing.

     

    The Passion For Football Is At The Core Of The English…

     

    Football in England is more than just a sport; it’s a way of life. Whether it be club football are watching the National Team, the English adore their footy as if it were a blood relative that they’re the closest one to in the family. In England, match days are like a weekly holiday, and when a person’s club is playing, all the supporters are front and center. It’s the exact same for the national side. When the 3 Lions are playing the entire country stops for 90 minutes and no matter a person’s club loyalty, it all takes a back seat to national pride. Steven Gerrard, Wayne Rooney, Frank Lampard and Jack Wilshere no longer belong to the original Big 4 clubs once they throw on the white England Kit. They’re National team members and the nation expects their club form to be replicated on the world stage. There are always high expectations for England. Hell, they invented the sport and have only 1 World Cup to show for it in 1966.

    The fans want, no change that, the fans need a trophy and now. They expect their players to give it their all and when they don’t, those players let an entire country down. And that’s the beauty of English fans. You can walk up to any English fan and ask them to name a starting 11 they think would excel and that person could talk to you for at least an hour about players and tactics. It’s amazing. Football is theirs and they adore it. Unfortunately it’s so ingrained in the culture that when the 3 Lions suffer, everyone suffers. It’s great, but it’s nothing like America. The English don’t watch Futbol during the World Cup because it’s the flavor of the moment thing to do as a casual fan. The English watch football because it’s the sport that they adore more than any other.

    They wear their heart on their sleeves and they don’t apologize for wanting their National Team to succeed. After a World Cup elimination, the English will be thinking about what went wrong until the European Cup competition begins two years later. Even when the Premier League season starts in a few months, the memories of not advancing will still be in their minds and they will still be upset that their national didn’t do enough to advance in Brazil. It’s just the way it is and that’s what true passion is when it comes to sports. The American can’t replicate that and believe me, it will be years before the United States cares even two months after a World Cup tournament ends.

     

    Patriotism and Patriotism Only Is Why Americans Watch The World Cup…

     

    The majority of Americans couldn’t name five USMNT players before the team touched the field for the U.S’s first game against Ghana. And the best part about that is most people don’t really care. No one knows what teams these players play for at club level, and honestly most people in the U.S. don’t care. And that beautiful ignorance is what makes the World Cup so much fun for Americans. The English know these players and root for or against them on the club level so know them well, Americans are only seeing most of these players for the first time so there is no emotional attachment.

    The only thing the Americans are rooting for is that the guy wearing number 12 on his jersey plays hard for our country. For Americans every player on the field looks alike to them, it’s just 11 American men running around trying to beat everyone else in the name of America. And when it comes to patriotism and the U.S. trying to out patriot other countries, there are none better than us Americans. I’ll give you an example. When the final 23-man roster was announced by National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann and Landon Donovan was excluded, there was an American uproar.

    Why the uproar you ask? Because Donovan is the player most casual fans know. The Americans didn’t know Donovan was in poor form and in terrible condition leading up to the World Cup. None of that factored into the American outrage at Klinsmann’s decision. Americans just felt that Donovan was the best player and how dare this German guy leave out our soccer hero. Everyone else that follows the sport knew it was a good decision. But again, Americans don’t take kindly to anything American being slighted. And what’s more soccer related to America than Landon Donovan? Nothing.

    Through two games Klinsmann has proved over and over again he knows the sport better than 95% of Americans and yet even during the Portugal game there were still some people questioning him over Donovan’s exclusion. Donovan wasn’t necessary yesterday and Dempsey proved it like he always does. Most casual fans were unaware that at his former club in the English Premier League Fulham, and even during United States qualifiers Clint Dempsey played upfront as the lone striker and has done well. And that’s where the difference lies between the English and us. This World Cup tournament for the Americans is just about getting together and being ultra American. Once the tournament is over and the NFL and College American Football begin, this tournament will be long and well forgotten and most people won’t care again until the next World Cup.

    This isn’t our sport, and we will never claim it is, but when we can root for our country in anything and get behind our guys, we don’t ask for perfection or for our team to necessarily have to win. We just want our guys to give everything they have for the shirt on their back and their representation of our country. And in four years America will repeat this process all over again and not care what any other country feels about our stance on Futbol.

    So English fans, don’t envy us or admire us or think we can teach you a thing or two about supporting your country in the World Cup. For us it’s just one big party that we can enjoy for about 5 weeks, then we go back to the sports we adore like football, basketball, baseball, hockey and NASCAR. Brits, keep rooting in the amazing fashion you do for the 3 Lions, and keep the pressure on your players to succeed in these tournaments and demand excellence. Believe me when I tell you this English fan, if there was a World Cup tournament for American Football and we weren’t winning every single tournament, the U.S. would have a meltdown. Be who you are Brits and never change, it’ll pay off when you win another World Cup, trust me.

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    5 Comments

    1. London Paolo

      June 26, 2014 at 8:13 PM

      Nice article, so much resonates true. Represents nicely where both countries stand. I’ve always wondered why America hasn’t really latched onto football at the national level, given its patriotic fervour for its sportsmen to be the best and beat the best. After all, it’s pointless proclaiming ‘World Series’ at baseball when no-one else plays it! If you want to take on the rest of the world at sport, it has to be football.

      That’s all changed with this World Cup. I think the American fans in Brazil have been brilliant, and your analysis why is spot on. However I think the tide already turned with English fans a few years back. Expectations of success are now very low, and we too like to party.

    2. Grace

      June 26, 2014 at 6:35 PM

      Hey Frantz! Still believe, now, (after the US-Germany match) that the U.S. didn’t want to win?

      There was a Corporate sigh in that Brazil stadium, and on their faces, and on twitter, etc. when they knew that Portugal had won so they could advance.

    3. Daniel

      June 26, 2014 at 5:48 PM

      No. They shouldn’t put more pressure on their players to succeed. That is a massive part of the problem. England are always over hyped. We demand too much from a set of average players. We need to take a step back and realise that we do not deserve to win anything yet. There has to be fundamental change at grass roots level for England to do anything that is expected of them.

    4. Grace

      June 24, 2014 at 2:33 PM

      Great article!

      Only part disagree with is that the U.S. DOES want to win the World Cup, especially since their own Coach says they aren’t capable. The response to the win U.S. had over Ghana; and their almost win over Uruguay kind of shows that. The NFL SuperBowl is a National Championship even if they sell the winning team as “World” Champions. The WORLD Cup,like the Olympics, is truly an opportunity for the U.S. to prove they are truly world champs.

      It’s true that no country does patriotism like the U.S. True that the U.S. participating in the World Cup is one big party for Americans. Still they want to win, as the U.S. has always been about dominance - Dominance in EVERYTHING!

      • Frantz Paul

        Frantz Paul

        June 26, 2014 at 8:16 AM

        Thanks for the reply and the read on the article Grace. You know, in hind-sight I have to agree with you. We do want to win. But I do also believe in the end if we don’t that we won’t really bat an eye-lash and just move on. Agree?

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