Soccer and American hegemony

Stephen Baker

I'm really enjoying the comments on yesterday's soccer post. The conclusion I'm reaching--and tell me if I'm stretching--is that most of the world would like Americans to love soccer, to admire it, even to participate--but basically to keep our complaints and suggestions to ourselves.

I think many are fed up with Americans trying to run things, and would like soccer to remain an area where the U.S. is a member of the general assembly, as it were, but not the security council. There's a belief that Americans don't understand or appreciate soccer, and that our suggestions would take a sport that's as rich and textured as La Traviata and turn it into Hello Dolly! or perhaps Dirty Dancing.

Fair enough. My proposal then would be to turn American professional soccer into a laboratory for wild experimentation. Try the various things people have suggested. Try loosening the offside rules on free kicks, maybe allowing limitless substitutions. If they work, great. If they don't, it's only American soccer. The rest of the world won't care, or even notice. And sadly, most Americans won't either.

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