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Soccer Haters Unite
The Akron Beacon Journal, June 23rd, 2006 3:12PM

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The soccer-haters can come out of the closet now. Not only is it okay again for them to loudly and proudly hate the sport loved by the rest of the world, it's expected. Call it their moment, and perhaps they've earned it. This World Cup has been a huge media play, and the U.S. team got more hype this time around than ever before, thanks in part to the team's 2002 quarterfinal finish. But the soccer-haters, the ones who complain about how boring and unwatchable the game is, won this time and you know why? Because the Americans only managed four shots on goal all tournament longyou'd be lucky to win a single game with just four shots, let alone three. As for the game against Ghana, we can talk all day long about that horrible decision by Markus Merk, but at the end of the day, the Americans had 45 minutes to get themselves back into the game, and they simply didn't do enough. The frustrating thing about losing to Ghana, which the rest of the world understands is a dangerous opponent, is talking about it to someone who doesn't understand the game. Ghana has a very, very good midfield, and along with the Ivory Coast, this was the African everyone wanted to avoid. Soccer-haters won't know or care about this. The Akron Beacon Journal says that if U.S. soccer wants American sports fans and blue-chip young athletes to take the sport seriously, this is the kind of match it has to win. "Listless performances against the Czechs and Ghana surely inspired no prep standouts to exchange their shoulder pads for shin guards." Ouch, but true. So we soccer fans must now endure the painful side of that great American past-time we call trash-talking, because we all have soccer-hating friends who now get to put us through the ringer. But let us endure their scorn with equanimity: we've lost the battle, but not the war, folks. We'll be back.

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