I don’t if know if this has already been posted, but the following is a link to a column, appearing in a recent edition of The New Republic, that includes some soccer-bashing by columnist Jonathon Chait (it's about half-way down the page): http://www.tnr.com/docprint.mhtml?i=20020708&s=diarist070802 Chait's commentary on soccer is deeply flawed. First, he fails to recognize that soccer is a significantly more popular spectator sport in the U.S. now than it was 10 years ago. As evidence for soccer’s increased popularity as a spectator sport, consider the following: Ten years ago, qualifiers at RFK against Honduras and Guatemala would probably attract about 25,000 fans. This time around, RFK was sold-out for both matches. The men’s national team got good TV ratings during World Cup 2002, particularly considering the times that matches were shown. And 10 years ago, neither Major League Soccer (MLS) or the Women’s United Soccer League (WUSA) even existed. And MLS has averaging about 15,000 per game over the course of its existence. The US Women’s National Team was hugely popular in the last World Cup. In contrast, the previous Women’s World Cup was barely a blip on the national radar screen. The Woman’s and Men’s National Teams have been on Letterman and have had covers on Sports Illustrated. As for Chait’s comment that, “Americans, not unreasonably, associate soccer with weakness.” Although some Americans associate soccer with weakness, I doubt it’s a large percentage, especially if our sample group is any person who lives in the United States who is over the age of 15. For instance, kids I know don’t consider soccer players wimpy. And every Latino I know realizes otherwise, and a lot of Latinos live in the U.S. But is it, as Chait says, “not unreasonable” for Americans to associate soccer with weakness? It’s completely unreasonable. Soccer is physically demanding and requires great stamina, balance and strength-per-weight. In addition, it’s good that soccer is no more violent than it is. Many American football players and boxers have suffered serious injuries playing those sports. And soccer’s level of contact is good. It allows for and fosters artistry. Finally, it’s ludicrous for Chait to suggest that the United States should stay largely isolated from the rest of the word. Assuming, as one should, that history is a good indicator, there is much to learn from the rest of the world -– even during “The American Century.” Think of politics (the Geneva Convention, Universal Health Care, World Criminal Court), science (Einstein, Freud, Plank, Bohr, Heisenberg, Watson and Crick, Pasteur and Alexander Fleming and penicilian), philosophy (Wittgenstein, Sartre, Frege, Bertrand Russell, Habermas, Derida), art (Picasso, Expressionism, Surrealism), literature (Kafka, James Joyce, Virginia Wolff, Thomas Mann, magical realism) and music (Stravinsky, Schoenberg, the Beatles, Led Zeppelin),. Moreover, we in the U.S. are more apt to learn from the rest of the world if we are an active collaborator in the global community. In addition, we can make a better contribution if we enter the fray. Consider the problems the U.N. has when we fail to pay our dues. And note that Mexican, Costa Rican and Honduran soccer has improved significantly at the same time that U.S. soccer has improved.