The World Cup is like the Olympics. It happens once every four years, and before you can blink, it’s gone. While fans in other countries get amped for any soccer event on the calendar, the sport is only acknowledged in America during this time. In the past couple of weeks I’ve noticed fans cheering for many different reasons, but I’ll narrow them into the following three groups.
Type 1 – The Pretentious Multiculturalist
This fan is the most obnoxious of any sports fan. Sorry Yankees fans, they have you beat. Reason being, they aren’t real fans. In fact, they couldn’t tell you more than a handful of soccer players’ names. I’ll bet a lot of them think David Beckham is still playing (is he?). But when you ask them anything about soccer strategy, they will likely understand it less than you do. See, they claim to follow soccer because it makes them sound ethereal, and worldly. But they are about as in touch with other cultures as an indoor cat.
And it is this group of people that takes every opportunity to disparage team USA. I’ll bet that the whole ‘Group of Death’ distinction came from the mind of a Type 1er. But no need to let these degenerates annoy you. As soon as the Cup is over, their allegiances will dissolve like a puddle of water in Palm Desert. Because it isn’t about loyalty. It’s about being perceived as cool. This, in my book, is actually quite uncool. Lame-o’s.
Type 2 – The Overseas Transplant
Okay we’re done with those Type 1 jerks. Now onto some more legitimate cases of fanhood. The Overseas Transplant is exactly what it sounds to be. An immigrant. These are people who were born and raised in countries where soccer is king, and have brought their nurtured love for the sport into this country. For many of them, it’s a way to stay true to their roots. Just like a person from Chicago will live and die a Bears fan, even if they migrate to Hawaii. It’s really no different. Most of them aren’t outwardly obnoxious when it comes to rooting for their team and against the USA (like Type 1ers). In fact, many root for their home country as well as for the United States. It’s like a dual fandom. These are the people you should respect, because they are the ones that respect you. They don’t hate you if you’re not that into soccer, because they get it. Soccer is the runt of the litter in America and it’s okay. Because they didn’t come here for the soccer love. They came here to make better lives for themselves, while being able to maintain their home allegiances. These people are the opposite of the Type 1ers. They are cool without even trying to be. They are what America is all about.
Type 3 – The True SOCCER Fan
Notice I used the term ‘World Cup’ Fans as the title of this article. That’s because the majority of the first two types will tune away from the sport when the Cup is over. But not the Type 3ers. These are the true fans of the sport. Instead of moving on to other things, they will set their sights on the upcoming leagues. They are avid British Premiere Leaguers, EUFA Champions League fans, and whatever league Real Madrid is in. These people know the game and they love the game.
We all know people who are crazy about baseball for reasons most can’t understand. Well, this is soccer’s version. Every game is embraced. Tradition is understood. Fantastic achievements are recognized. It is these fans who make sports great. And while most of us in the states are sulking over team USA’s loss to Belgium, these fans are celebrating the phenomenal goalkeeping of Tim Howard.
To all the Type 3ers out there, this Pabst is for you.