Soccer shmoccer 

Thanks to Mr. Hammer for last week’s column regarding the world’s most popular sport, soccer (Hammer, “Why Does America Hate Soccer?” July 18-25). Mr. Hammer made some very good points, but I must take strong exception to his assertion that the U.S. men’s National Soccer Team is a weak competitor in international competition. First of all, what men’s team sport does the U.S. dominate in international play? Certainly not basketball or baseball despite the fact far fewer nations even play these sports compared to soccer. Of course, football does not even exist as an international sport. Both the U.S. baseball and basketball teams fared very poorly in recent world tournaments, especially given the fact the top professional leagues for both sports are based in the U.S. It’s laughable for any league soccer champion to call itself “world champion.”

The U.S. men’s National Soccer Team is currently ranked 14th in the world of more than 200 nations that field a national men’s soccer team and have received a ranking from the world body of international soccer, FIFA.

The U.S. has qualified for the last five World Cup tournaments (only 32 nations qualify) since 1990 and twice of the five times advanced very far into the tournament, most notable in 2002 when they finished eighth place. They also won the Gold Cup (all of North America, Central America, Mexico and all of the Caribbean nations) in 2007 by defeating Mexico (currently ranked 10th in the world) 2 to 1 in the final game in sold-out Soldier Field in Chicago last month.

Just another (not) bored American fan of the undisputed most popular sport in the world.

Chuck Standiford

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