The Metric System is superior to the current American Measurement System. Both have been analyzed over and over with the majority of the World coming to the conclusion that the Metric System is simpler and more precise. Yet, the United States plays the role of the stubborn mule refusing to convert. Simply put, the rest of the civilized World has left America behind. This is an identical situation to America's view on fútbol, also known as soccer. The rest of the World has embraced the most popular sport on Earth, but the United States lags behind.
In recent years, soccer has slowly progressed in popularity in the States. The national team had an incredible upset over the world's number one team Spain, and has developed a legitimate superstar in Landon Donovan. However, the majority of the nation still refuses to give soccer a chance. How is there no interest in a sport that drives the rest of the world? A sport that has passionate fans, countless leagues spread across different continents, an incredible worldwide tournament, and superstars galore. The time has come for America to get on board.
The arguments have been the same for years: Soccer is just running back and forth, there isn't enough scoring, you can't even tell who played well. Once, I belonged to this group of doubters who had failed to understand everything the beautiful game has to offer. As a nation, do we honestly have such a short attention span that we refuse a sport because it is relatively low scoring? Soccer is more than just goals. Soccer is Lionel Messi being able to dribble while running full speed and simultaneously dodging seven defenders. Soccer is Wayne Rooney sacrificing his body plunging through the defense and diving to keep a ball in bounds. Soccer is the grace once shown by Pele' and now replicated by the dynamic Cristiano Ronaldo.
The stories that drive major American sports are parallel to those in fútbol. The Yankees and Lakers exist in the form of Manchester United and Real Madrid. Players sign mind blowing contracts and seem to be constantly on the move between clubs. There are dynamic personalities such as Italian Fabio Capello, who is looking to manage England to a World Cup championship as the first ever foreign born coach. Phenoms persist throughout the sport with lads as young as 16 sometimes breaking a squad.
Soccer is about heart. Whether it is a Spaniard playing for his Italian club, or a German giving his all for the national team, courage can always be found on the pitch. They train as hard as Drew Brees and care about winning as much as Kobe Bryant. In Texas, children are raised on football just as in Brazil children are raised on fútbol. Give people an open field, grass optional, and they will play. The six year old in Wales imagines himself making the final shot to win England's Premiership similar to the boy in California imagining himself hitting a home-run to win the World Series.
The 2010 World Cup will be the most important event in the history of American soccer. The sport is at a crossroads with an opportunity to build the interest of thosewho have refused soccer for so long. If the United States can make a solid run in the World Cup, then maybe soccer can begin the process of becoming a legitimate American sport. The first step is to improve the talent in the United States. Major League Soccer (MLS) is not close to comparable to any respectable fútbol league in Europe. Despite an increase in popularity for the sport overall, the MLS still struggles with attendance. People who have become interested in soccer have naturally gravitated to European club leagues where the majority of the World's talent presides. Soccer must be preached from youth, similar to football, basketball, baseball, and hockey. The MLS needs soccer stars, not an aging David Beckham, to enhance the league's stature. Famed French striker Thierry Henre plans to join the New York Red Bulls; a step in the right direction.
Why such a ferocious campaign against fútbol has reigned over America for so long is not understandable. All the elements for a successful sport exist and have been proven across the globe. Eventually, the United States will adapt the metric system. Someday, soccer will be counted amongst the major sports in America. Further down the road, the United States will develop their own style and homegrown superstars. One day, the U.S. will be feared as a soccer power. The time has come.