Ah, World Cup time: as always, a festival of lazy journalism on both sides of the pond.
As both a journalist (why couldn't I have been born with investment-banker genes?) and a soccer fan, I long ago resolved to ignore, as best able, the quadrennial conga line of "Americuhns don't like your so-called 'soccer' game, and they never will because of communism and how it's for girls!" articles that emanate from the buffet-fattened ranks of our sporting press. It just isn't worth it. I've never allowed the opinions of overweight former high school equipment managers ("Fresh jock strap, cap'n?") to influence my tastes in music, literature or food, so why should I take their cues when it comes to sports? As a fan, my view is that if you don't like il calcio, there's probably something wrong with you. (And if you can't enjoy the World Cup, you suffer a social deficiency, but that's your problem.)
As a journalist, I gently suggest that it's a bad idea for editors to allow writers to bloviate on topics about which they know nothing and can't be bothered to learn. Professional malpractice, you might say.
And so this time 'round, I find myself equally annoyed with the profusion of low-hanging-fruit, those-dumb-Yanks-don't-even-ken-the-football! pieces in the British press. It appears not to matter what side of the fish bowl you file your copy on. The likes of The Guardian's Simon Tisdall may know more about football, strictly speaking, than Portland's own Dwight Jaynes. But he appears no more willing than the average American column jockey to do the hard work of delving into the fiendishly complicated world of American soccer.
In this case, the press of Europe and America speak as one; what they have in common is that they don't know what they're talking about. You don't hear from the Salvadoran janitor who picks up extra cash playing in a semi-pro league in DC. Euro-reporters don't seek out the fanatics in Section 8 in Chicago. No Guardian writer has yet flown in to check out the Timbers Army, or spend a weekend on the suburban fields of Tualatin, or the vacant lot near my place where Hispanics and Ethiopians play. No, that would involve actual labor, messing up a tried and true angle that can be deployed for service every four years. And that might make them all late for lunch.