How About Some Soccer?

Now that baseball is the only sport left standing in America, how about we turn our attention to our “fifth” sport, soccer? Fans around the world have been enjoying two top-notch tournaments, the European Championship and the Copa America. Now before you turn your noses up, consider that the U.S. could actually win Copa America. Let’s break it down.

The Copa America tournament is traditionally a 12-team event held in South America with all ten members of the South American Football Federation participating and two outside clubs from North America, or even Asia.

It is the oldest tournament of its kind in the world and this year marks its 100th anniversary. So to celebrate, they decided to have a 16-team tournament outside of South America for the first time ever.And so tonight, in Houston, the U.S. National Team will play Argentina, the team with the best player in the World, Lionel Messi in a semifinal match.

Here’s why this should be fun and interesting to U.S. fans. We are the underdogs. Argentina is one of the best teams in the world. They finished second in the last World Cup and have won two of them. The best we have ever done is finish third, which happened in the first World Cup in 1934 when the competition wasn’t what it is today. We have qualified for every World Cup since 1990, which is an achievement because we didn’t do that from 1950 until 1990.

So winning tonight would be epic, and would put us in position to win the tournament. We should have a good home crowd, but it will take a lot more than that to beat a powerhouse like Argentina. But tune in, you might catch a great story.

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Comments

  • blmeanie  On June 21, 2016 at 9:44 am

    I got nothing to add, despise soccer.

  • blmeanie  On June 22, 2016 at 3:28 pm

    what do the knicks do now with Derrick Rose and Carmelo?

    • nysportsfanatic  On June 22, 2016 at 3:34 pm

      Wow, that’s a shocker. Don’t mind what they gave up, but leaves a hole in the middle.

  • blmeanie  On June 22, 2016 at 3:39 pm

    gave up nothing that I could see. If Rose reasonably healthy, good move for Knicks.

  • blmeanie  On June 29, 2016 at 7:37 am

    changing subjects – sports this summer – love, love , love the Olympics…usually, Rio is quickly ruining it for me this summer. Athletes (granted spoiled pros) not signing up to go because of health concerns, money problems likely going to impact safety and the nasty water conditions. Did I mention I love the Olympics? Wonder if choosing a city in the future will be different?

    • nysportsfanatic  On June 29, 2016 at 9:53 am

      I share your love and your lack of enthusiasm. These games seem like they will be a catastrophe beyond the fact that everyone is going to get Zika. From the fact that the entire Russian track team is banned to the testing lab that is now shut down, these seem like a PED paradise. Throw in the reports that of the water you mentioned, and the fact that Brazil just impeached its President and you have a real mess.

      The one thing that has been crystal clear over the past ten years is the rampant corruption in the IOC and your favorite sport, FIFA. The Olympics and World Cup have become excuses for officials to take massive bribes in exchange for selecting the hosts, with no thought given to the costs that need to be born by the people or the climate. Look at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, they are now going to play it in November, instead of the customary July, because they realized it gets pretty hot in Qatar in July. And to all the main soccer leagues who are in the middle of their seasons in November (i.e. all the good ones) tough luck with that.

      I think the result will be exactly what you speculated. You are going to see fewer places interested in holding the Olympics. Look at the 2022 Winter Olympics, only two cities bid- Beijing and Almaty, Kazakhstan. No other city wanted to deal with the BS. Boston withdrew its bid for 2024 because of costs and they only have 4 cities bidding for those games,

  • blmeanie  On June 29, 2016 at 9:56 am

    it blows my mind that Boston withdrew, very sad. The game has changed with hosting, the Olympics and their hands out has indeed ruined it. Outside of the bombing, the ’96 games were very good for Atlanta. Glad to have gone and enjoyed it before the “real” corruption began.

  • Greg  On June 30, 2016 at 12:31 pm

    “with no thought given to the costs that need to be born by the people”

    Cities (and oftentimes, countries) decide to bid on the Olympics and the World Cup. It is up to the politicians to take into account whether or not the people can bear the costs. Don’t bid if you can’t afford it. It seems that oftentimes, the decision to bid seems based more on reasons of national vanity (and personal ambition) than a hard-headed cost/benefit analysis. Case in point: China. It was very important for the Chinese leadership to bid on the Summer Olympics in 2008, to demonstrate to the world — and more importantly, to their people — that China is taken seriously as a member in good standing of the world community. They were willing to spend whatever it took. Although I love the Olympics (and enjoy the World Cup as well), I find the corruption to be a real turn-off. I also would have preferred it if the Olympics were still open only to amateurs (I know, lots of so-called “amateurs” were in reality state-sponsored professionals). Watching the NBA Dream Team in 1992 gave me no particular pleasure — it was not so much a competition as a turkey shoot. I don’t much care for the nationalistic nonsense. Although I like the Olympics, I was glad NYC did not win their bid (for 2012, I believe). It would have been an organizational and logistical nightmare. The city’s population is 8.5 million now; it’s tough enough to get around as it is, without the added burden of the Olympics. And the taxpayers are often saddled with the bill, after having been promised it would be a huge moneymaker. It took Montreal years to pay off the debt for the 1976 Summer Olympics. Greece got in way over its head financially as a result of the 2004 Summer Olympics, which they simply could not afford, especially in this Age of Terrorism, when providing the necessary security is hugely expensive.

    Why China bid on (and were awarded!) the Winter Olympics is beyond me. My wife was born and raised in Beijing; we go back to visit her family often. I have been to Beijing at least 10 times in the past 15 years, in all seasons (Winter, Summer, Spring, Autumn). Beijing has no business hosting the Winter Olympics. The City of New York is better suited to host the Winter Olympics than Beijing. Beijing lies in a region of China that has a very dry climate, with virtually no snow. I have no idea where they are going to conduct the outdoor events (skiing et al).

    Funny story: I was living in Greece in 1994, when the US was hosting the World Cup. Touring around, learning the language, absorbing the culture, visiting the birthplaces of my father and my grandparents (maternal and paternal), getting in touch with my roots etc. Normally the Greek people (a fairly nationalistic bunch) would have been impressed with my story. Not during the World Cup, however: “What are you doing here? You could be back home attending the World Cup matches!” Priorities, priorities.

    • nysportsfanatic  On June 30, 2016 at 7:07 pm

      Agree on amateurs, and agree on NYC especially! I think you identified why China bid on the Winter Games in your comment and I think they were awarded them solely because their competition was Kazakhstahn. Based on your description of the climate in Beijing, and the fact that the 2022 games will be the third-straight in Asia, I imagine the IOC was hoping for some bidders from anywhere else. But don’t hold your breath waiting for the “bidding” process to change. And btw, part of the Russian crew team was DQ’ed today, joint the track team.

      Love your World Cup story. You missed a fun tournament, I went to three matches and loved them, but you made the right call. I was in Italy during the 1990 World Cup and was entering Venice the night of the England-Italy semifinal. I was interrogated about my citizenship as I checked into the hostel and was warmly greeted after producing my US passport. I skipped over the part about my dual-citizenship due to an incredibly rabid, English football-rooting, Dad 😉

      • Greg  On June 30, 2016 at 11:42 pm

        The thing is, I didn’t see the need for China to bid on Winter Olympics so soon after having held the Summer Olympics — the leadership accomplished their (political) objectives. There are much colder (and perhaps snowier) places further north in China (although the North is generally quite dry and much of it is currently suffering from desertification).

        — Begin Tangent —

        Harbin, China is the capital of China’s northernmost capital (located in the northeastern “corner”). They have an annual annual Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival. According to my wife, the Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival is really an awesome thing to see. I would very much like to see it sometime, but man it is COLD up there. You can see some images here:

        https://www.google.com/search?site=&tbm=isch&source=hp&biw=1366&bih=608&q=Harbin+Ice+and+Snow+Sculpture+Festival&oq=Harbin+Ice+and+Snow+Sculpture+Festival&gs_l=img.3..0i8i30j0i24.11846.24186.0.24617.12.10.1.1.1.0.145.719.6j3.9.0….0…1ac.1.64.img..1.11.720…0j0i10i24j0i10.5G9SSONskog

        (or simply go to https://images.google.com/ and search on “Harbin Harbin Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival” — it is well spending a few minutes browsing the pictures)

        Harbin also has some nice Russian architecture, dating back to when the Russians built the Trans-Siberian Railroad. The climate in winter is dry and, as I mentioned earlier, extremely cold (it is the coldest of China’s big cities). I don’t know how much snow they get, nor do I know how well the tourism industry is developed there. On the one hand, in China, the tourism industry does not meet the expectations of international travelers in those places that are visited by Chinese but not outsiders. On the other hand, I understand the Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival has begun to attract international visitors, so maybe the tourist industry is sufficiently well developed in Harbin now (or at least could be by 2022) to accommodate the Olympics. The point is, I do find myself wondering if it wouldn’t have been a better choice than Beijing. I can’t imagine they get less snow than Beijing. Of course, the political leadership resides in Beijing, so maybe they wanted the Olympics nearby for selfish reasons. Also, I don’t know how mountainous it is up there.

        — End Tangent —

        The thing that especially nauseates me about the Russian PED abuses is that it is blatantly obvious that they are sanctioned by the state. Sure, Americans cheat too, but I’ve never seen or heard any credible evidence that it is encouraged or abetted by the Federal government.

        Wise choice, keeping your dual-citizenship status to yourself. You might not be with us today if you’d told them!

      • nysportsfanatic  On July 1, 2016 at 12:03 am

        So I consider myself a fairly educated person about global affairs, but until you mentioned Harbin, I had never heard of it. While I do not wish to give myself too much credit, I suspect the Party leadership wanted to hold the games in a place most westerners had heard of. I would also suspect that most of that leadership views the typical American as someone who doesn’t even know that Peking is a term that is really only for menus. I would bet that the only other places in China that most Americans, and I am extending this to westerners, have heard of are Hong Kong and Shanghai. (And if we were looking for the most appropriate region of China to hold a winter games wouldn’t it be Tibet? And I know that is strictly impossible politically).

        So to provoke you more, didn’t the US Postal Service sponsor Lance Armstrong making it a Federal-sponsored affair? I kid, but of all the PED users, he has revolted me the most.

  • blmeanie  On June 30, 2016 at 3:27 pm

    My youngest daughter was born in China. Did not know that about your wife. Yeah – probably not too many first class ski resorts for the population in China (yet).

  • blmeanie  On July 1, 2016 at 7:12 am

    no, we adopted her, she was almost 4 when it was finalized

    • Greg  On July 1, 2016 at 10:08 am

      I suspected you’d adopted. One year my wife and I were flying home from either Beijing or Shanghai and there were about 20 couples — all white, American and Canadian — with Chinese toddlers. Apparently they worked with an intermediary company that arranged for them all to fly out at the same time to pick up their newly adopted children and return home. There is a lot of paperwork that needs to be filed and process that needs to be followed, so working through an intermediary company can be a big help. There are many children available in China available for adoption, particularly little girls. Sadly, one of the perverse unintended consequences of the one-child policy has been that, because of the strong preference for sons (to carry on the family name), little girls more likely to be abandoned so the parents can try again for a son.

      • nysportsfanatic  On July 1, 2016 at 10:52 am

        That’s very true, and if you look at the numbers it is staggering how out of whack things are in China. Last figures I saw showed just over 120 males at birth for every 100 females. (The normal number is 105, because little boys aren’t as hardy as little girls.) History has shown that bad things like spikes in crime tend to happen the more boys you have in a society compared to girls, hopefully China can avoid that.

    • nysportsfanatic  On July 1, 2016 at 10:46 am

      That’s awesome. My sister is in the process of adopting two children. Finalization #1 is coming up later this month.

  • blmeanie  On July 1, 2016 at 10:25 am

    yep, tremendous amount of paperwork and hoops to jump through, 3 of our 5 children are international adoptees. She is the only one for us from China, other two from Thailand.

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