Editor's note: this piece was co-authored by Chris Burger.
We’ve held off criticizing Ann Coulter’s uninformed commentary on soccer for as long as we can, but our duty to both God and Country has left us no option. As fellow conservatives we generally like Ann, but she simply gets it wrong in her piece titled, “America’s Favorite National Pastime: Hating Soccer.”
As relatively young conservatives, we couldn’t disagree with her more regarding the sport of soccer and many in our country’s love of this great game and the 23 Americans representing exceptionalism down in Brazil.
We’re guessing Ann’s never watched a soccer game because if she had, she’d realize most of her points are ludicrous. We’re reminded of Nancy Pelosi’s comment about having to pass the bill so we know what’s in it. Ann just simply doesn’t know or understand soccer.
In her bullet-point digression, Ann tried to make the case that soccer is essentially un-American, and therefore conservatives should reject it. But what would prickle the New York Times more than to see the sport they supposedly push in a veiled agenda to breed new communists than to watch conservatives use the sport as a new forum to foster patriotism? Here, we’re happy to temper Ann’s gag-reflex at a supposedly “foreign” concept with reasons why she, and all conservatives, can embrace soccer as an American sport while simultaneously remaining a thorn in the side of liberals.
· Soccer is the only true “global” sport. The NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, etc., all claim they crown “World Champions.” Yet, in the World Cup, the winner is actually the World Champion—having played other countries and opponents from around the world. And is not the American free-market also the best form of competition on the global stage?
· As Ed Foster-Simeon notes, more than four million youth are playing soccer and, “Today, soccer is the second favorite sport for those 12 to 24 years old. It's the third largest participation sport in the country. Soccer is the team sport with the highest growth rate over the past decade. That 41 percent of players are women only broadens its appeal.” Clearly, Ann just jumped over this phenomenon entirely.
· Ann claims that soccer lacks individual achievement. So why are names like Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, and Americans Clint Dempsey, and Tim Howard—arguably one of the best goalkeepers in the world—becoming iconic? If there were no individual achievement, these names would be indistinguishable. Not to mention the fact that this is the only sport where athletes play continuously for 90 minutes, with just one break for half, capped at three substitutions, each player running an average of six miles per game, and wearing no protection but a piece of plastic over their shins.
· Ann also doesn’t like soccer because it’s a foreign game. So does she also believe the same about hockey? Hockey isn’t “American” by origin, and yet we excel at that game, and our county rallied around the Miracle on Ice when we beat the Soviet Union. We know Ronald Reagan was cheering. In fact, the founders of our nation were also technically foreign. Yet they built a political system greater than the world has ever known. Cheers to bringing that same approach with our men and women on the soccer field.
· Football and baseball have been American pastimes for over a hundred years, with games being among some of the first aired when we introduced the television to homes across the country. The fact that soccer hit our national scene within the last two decades and is already close to achieving about as many viewers as our beloved football team broadcasts (fandom passed down many times through multiple generations) proves Ann is mistaken.
Ann: stick to instructing us on how we should talk to liberals, if we must. You’re good at that, and we need you there. Releasing a reactionary hit piece on the next great American success story is not constructive to the cause. We believe in expanding the tent to all free-market enthusiasts—so come join us—we’d be glad to host you in Nashville to watch a soccer game. The drinks and hot chicken are on us!