Soccer is alive and kicking in the US
Regarding "Where are the US soccer fans?" (June 19, Opinion): I must take exception to Carlos Lozada's chiding of the lack of US soccer fans in this World Cup.
After all, the latest soccer industry figures show that over 18 million Americans participate in soccer on an annual basis. The sport ranks only below basketball for participation by youths ages 6-11 and is more popular than both baseball and football among teens 12-17 years of age. The National Collegiate Athletics Association reports the greatest increase in collegiate sports participation in guess what sport? That's right, soccer. And, the recent match between the US and Mexico drew the largest American cable audience ever tuned into a soccer match, even though it was aired at an ungodly hour of the morning.
The future of soccer in America is very, very bright indeed. Watch out, world!
Here in Wheaton, Ill., soccer is alive and well. My husband faithfully gets up at 4:00 in the morning just to see a game live. He grew up in Kenya, East Africa, and in the early days of our marriage he would often say, wistfully, that soccer would never be big here in the States.
Fortunately, that has proven wrong, if our family is any example three of our four children play on traveling soccer teams, and our four-year-old will be enrolled in peewee soccer in the fall. If anyone snoozes here while watching the World Cup, it is because they got three hours' sleep watching it the night before.
So what does it tell us that Americans didn't race to their town centers and wave flags after their upset of Mexico? It tells us that we have our priorities straight. I played soccer as a child, but always preferred to watch football, baseball, and basketball. These sports not only require physical dexterity and ability, but have a mental component that would baffle the mindless drones who choose to watch soccer.
Richard R. de Villiers
Regarding "Soccer minnows are devouring the favored fish" (June 19): Your article stated that every host nation of the World Cup has progressed beyond the first round, except the US in 1994.
As all US soccer fans know, the US did advance to the second round in 1994 by beating favored Colombia at the Rose Bowl, and then played Brazil in the 2nd round at Stanford Stadium on July 4th, losing an exciting close game to the eventual champions.
Thank you for your articles on "Race and Literature" (June 18, Learning). Perhaps there are others like me who have been told that they are burying their heads in the sand when it comes to attitudes on race relations.
I sometimes feel as though people like me white, middle class, with predominantly white friends always are seen as discriminating against people from other ethnic groups.
But most people I know have a positive attitude toward other groups of people. Still, racism remains an impediment to a better American society. Rather than being told that there are land mines in a field, we should be shown a path that will lead us through the minefield.
I do hope that the Monitor will give us more stories that show how Americans have improved, and give us encouragement for doing the right thing. As educators say, praise for work well done helps students to learn.
Chino Hills, Calif.
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