Kick ball dad Sighing deeply, he leaned back on the couch, picked up the fan scarf and waved it back and forth. America was written in big letters on the scarf of the man who spoke from his living room about the way a country is currently moving towards soccer culture. Daughter Alyssa posts videos on Instagram filming her father doing it, like many Americans these days: Football With the 2022 World Cup came American internet culture — and it may be the most important step this country has yet to take in embracing soccer.
Kick ball dad One of many on his account. Memes — short, humorous images of the Internet — about the World Cup and the #USMNT (US Male National Team) have been proliferating on the Internet for weeks. They’re part of the American way of watching matches in Qatar: record ratings were broadcast by Fox and Telemundo after the second group game against England, which was notably televised at home during lunchtime — not prime time. The match against England was watched by 15.4 million people, more than the previous TV record in the US, the 1994 World Cup final in Los Angeles.
Of course, some people will be surprised. Because if you follow a World Cup game in American bars, when the score is 0-0 in the 90th minute, you still have to expect an immediate penalty shoot-out. But at least now there are hundreds of people in these bars who you can ask as an interesting person you don’t know.
Comedy, stars, patriotism – this is the way to more excitement
That was not the case in 2018, when the United States missed the World Cup. At the time, two years after the end of Jurgen Klinsmann’s era, American soccer looked set to fail again. The current renaissance is so amazing – with the youngest team in this World Cup, before the decisive game against Iran, President Joe Biden said they could do it (“They did it!”, Biden later publicly rejoiced).
Daring to go the American way: “It’s called soccer,” echoed from time to time during American games in stadiums in Qatar, so it’s called Football And no Football. David Beckham and former American football quarterback Peyton Manning have already led a debate that ran up and down American television in an ad for a chip manufacturer before the World Cup. Comedy, stars, patriotism and above all the internet – this is apparently the way to get more excited about soccer in America.
Now the rest of the world – especially Europe – has to accept that the American way of following soccer is also respectable. A 2026 World Cup hosted by the United States, Canada and Mexico will once again be incompatible with the traditional ideas of the soccer cultural high priests in the game’s home countries. It would be an American-Mexican-Canadian variant. 90 Minutes in the Grass can be thrilling with a more remote and less pure focus. Kick ball dad Can’t wait hard.