Dear Mr. Jonathan Clegg,
There are posers, wannabes and fakes in every group of fans, regardless of the sport – but in your Wall Street Journal article “Why I Hate American Soccer Fans”, you made some pretty harsh judgements. I tried to move on with my day after reading it, but I’ll admit, you got me a bit riled. (So congratulations to you if you’re trolling. Well done, sir.) However, on the off chance that you were sincere in your ridiculous remarks and petty complaints, I would like to set the record straight on a few things.
You want to know why some Americans refer to the sport as “fútbol” instead of “soccer” – I shall explain. The United States is a very multicultural country, and many of us watch our “fútbol” on Spanish-language channels; some even prefer the lively commentary in Spanish, have grown accustomed to it – it’s part of the sport for those who haven’t known it any other way. Some of us even come from Spanish-speaking households, or perhaps watch the game with Spanish-speaking friends. You know, it’s funny, a Brit complaining about Americans calling it “fútbol”, when the more common complaint from our friends across the pond is, “Why do you call it soccer? It’s football!” … Well, you got your wish, it’s just that we decided to say it in Spanish. What seems to be the problema?
Then you complain that some of us call the field a ‘pitch’, the game a ‘match’, and the jersey a ‘kit.’ Although you have assumed otherwise, most people I know don’t do this to be pretentious, but because if we want to watch a game in English, it’s often a British commentator using those British terms. Is it that difficult to understand that when one is a soccer fan in the United States, they inevitably find themselves rubbing elbows literally and linguistically with people who aren’t Americans and thus pick these things up? … But you know what? It’s fine. You can have your pitches, matches and kits back, just kindly return all the Americanisms that have somehow made their way overseas. Oh! And please refrain from watching our Hollywood movies, those are ours. No one else can watch them.
On a related note, you complained about our obsession with ‘tifo’ – Yet, if I’m not mistaken, ‘tifo’ are of Italian origin, so would you kindly tell England and all the other countries displaying them at games to knock it off? Why can’t they come up with their own traditions? While we’re at it, everyone in the world except China must stop setting off fireworks, (with it being a Chinese invention and all.) I’m sure we can come up with some other cool way to celebrate things.
On the topic of these American fans you so detest wearing soccer scarves on hot days – This is not a phenomenon unique to soccer and it does not automatically guarantee you have spotted a “poser.” Americans do all kinds of crazy weather/fashion related things. Have you not seen girls on college campuses wearing furry UGG boots year round? Have you never witnessed shirtless men with painted chests in bone-chilling cold supporting their American football team at the stadium? I also find this particular complaint kind of hilarious given that England’s national team has been practicing while wearing extra layers, including hats and gloves so they can prepare for Brazil’s heat. Maybe you guys would like to borrow some of our scarves since you don’t want us wearing them anymore?
I think the thing that made me most insane about your diatribe was that after all these complaints about Americans pilfering soccer traditions from other countries and telling us how unimaginative we are – you then dove headfirst into telling us how stupid our own unique soccer traditions seem to you. Which one is it, Mr. Clegg? You can’t have it both ways.
To close, I would just like to remind you, Mr. Clegg, that this nation is built on a foundation of mixed traditions, languages, and adaptations from all the beautiful cultures that make us who we are – I don’t see why you would expect our growing love of soccer to be any different.
See you at the World Cup, amigo.
American soccer fan, like it or not