Sunday, May 23, 2010

FIFA World Cup: Soccer Primer For Proud Americans

Howdy Folks and Kin,

Today, I'm a gonna talk some football! Nope, I ain't talking about the NFL, God bless her, I'm talkin' about soccer. Now hold on, before y'all start stampedin' for that thar, just let me explain. You see, next month starts what's called the World Cup tournament fer that thar soccer association what's called FIFA. Now don't ask me why that thar sports organization got them a name what sounds like a poodle. That ain't the point. What is, is that from June 11th to July 11th, just a few days past my birthday, lots a folks from all over the world are gonna paint themselves up every which color and support their favorite country's team by hootin' and hollerin' and eventually, come the end of each game, switchin' t-shirts. That's right, y'all heard me right! All them fans, whether they is the winners or them losers, trade shirts. Now fer some of them, that works out fine. Fer others however, well, they gotta wear them some Frenchman's shirts what smells like a field worker's arm pit sprayed with strawberry flavored bathroom deodorizer.

All right, so what it is, is that they got 32 teams what start duelin' it out. And one of them teams is the U.S. (that means US)! Now accordin' to some statistics I seen, our boys are currently ranked 14th in the world! In the past, they also managed to git themselves into the last 5 World Cup tournaments, and of course, they is a gonna be in this year's tournament in South Africa. Only thing is that they done never won the World Cup before, not even once! The best they ever placed is 3rd in 1930! No wonder we started our own football league! So folks, them boys, what are playin' fer our national pride, need our support. And, bein' the proud American I am, I fer one aim to give it to them! So fer the next month or so, every now and then, I'm gonna keep tabs on our team fer y'all. Heck, I might even use my prognosticatin' powers and pick a few games fer y'all.

The Game of Soccer:

Now fer all y'all what don't know too much about soccer, well it's sorta like hockey 'cept it ain't played on ice. Them players don't use no sticks and they also all don't have to speak French neither, even if they is Canadian. In soccer, them players wear short pants, and since they ain't got no players what are the sizes of a fridge, they don't need to wear them some no pads. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not sayin' them players are "light in the loafers", but they do have them some games called "friendlies", so maybe that's another reason why they don't wear them no pads. I don't know.

Them games is played fer 90 minutes divided into 2 halves of... well accordin' to my calculator ... that's 45 minutes each. They also got them a 15 minute halftime between them two periods just like our football. (Gee! I wonder where they got that thar idea from?) Now during each half, they don't have no breaks fer no TV commercials, which is a big problem! How the heck do they expect them beer drinkin' fans to sit on the couch for 45 minutes and hold their waters? So I still think they gots some things to work out with that thar game.

Them soccer players ain't allowed to use their hands, which is fine with me, cause if I was playin' the game nonstop fer a 45-minute spell, I might like to eat me a sandwich every now and then, without interruptin', my game. So havin' your hands free has it's advantages. Know what I mean? I think y'all do. On the other hand, one of the problems I do have with soccer, is what's called them "headshots". See, that's when a feller on your team kicks the ball at you and expects you to use your noggin' to ricochet that thar ball into the goal. I tell y'all what, how the heck am I, if I was a player, supposed to do that when I'm chompin' down on a sandwich? Again, some things need to be ironed out, I reckon.

On the plus side, soccer is pretty much the most popular sport in the world and the World Cup, like them Olympics, sure does go long way towards unitin' folks from different countries. In these times of economic regression, that thar is a good thing! Meanwhile, the NFL still can't get a team goin' in Canada or even a European League with teams outside of Germany!

The U.S. Teams Chances of Winning The World Cup:

Now, I'll bet lots of y'all what don't know a soccer ball from a volley ball, didn't even know the USA has a team in that thar FIFA and that they got them a good shot of takin' home that prized trophy. The US team belongs to the sports association called CONCACAF. All them letters is a far cry from the NFL or the NBA, so again it's no wonder American's ain't too crazy 'bout soccer. Heck, even NASCAR can be pronounced better than CONCACAF what sounds like an organization that PETA oughtsta be lookin' into (conk-a calf?)!

Well, in the Word Cup, the US team is in what's called "Group C", along with England, Algeria, and Slovenia. Here's the schedule for this here group fer the opening round, so mark your Weather Watcher's Calendar:

June 12, 2010:
England vs. United States, at Royal Bafokeng Stadium, Rustenburg

June 13, 2010:
Algeria vs. Slovenia, at Peter Mokaba Stadium, Polokwane

June 18, 2010:
Slovenia vs. United States, at Ellis Park Stadium, Johannesburg
England vs. Algeria, at Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town

June 23, 2010:
Slovenia vs. England, at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
United States vs. Algeria, at Loftus Versfeld Stadium, Pretoria

Now, if them US boys are a gonna take that thar cup, first thing's first. First, we gotta beat us that thar England team what features David Beckham. Now, I thought ole Mister Posh Spice played here in the US fer them Los Angeles Galaxy soccer team. But apparently, he's on loan to Milan, Italy. What does that mean? Why the heck would we loan him to anyone after gettin' him Yankee rich to play fer us? And, how in the world did that Red Coat git back to England anyway? Again, it don't take a rocket scientist to understand why soccer is as popular as prune juice here in the U.S.!

What To Say To Them U.S. Team Haters:

Let's face folks, even though our boys are a strong contender this year, the odds are against them winnin'. I reckon they is something like 80 to 1 to win the whole kitten kaboodle. As usual, the teams to beat are: Brazil, Italy, Germany, Spain, and Argentina. Most of these teams are tougher than a one-eared alley cat and have been playing the game longer than we've had our independence as a nation! Nevertheless, they do got a chance as underdogs, so here are a few choice words to tell them haters what think we got ain't a snow ball's chance in hell of gettin' that thar cup:

  • We recently beat Spain in the Confederations cup, and we was even beating Brazil in the final fer a spell until the 2nd half.
  • We won the "Hex" (CONCACAF Hexagonal Fourth Round) to qualify fer the World Cup. We also came first on the 3rd round, too!
  • We qualified fer the World Cup ahead of Mexico and Costa Rica.
  • We won the Olympic Gold Medal in Hockey, and we didn't even have to speak French to do it, neither!
Ok, maybe that and five dollars still won't get you a Grand Slam Breakfast at Denny's, but it will give you some national pride. So get out and support our boys and maybe, just maybe, you might even get even to trade fer a better t-shirt what don't smell as bad as yours!

All the best,
- Judd Jugmonger

PS. By the way, thar ain't just a World's Cup fer men, they done got one fer women, too. Ain't that somethin'? While the US Men's team has never won a FIFA World Cup, them ladies have won two FIFA Women's World Cups, in 1991 and 1999. How about that? Maybe I picked the wrong team to write a post about! And, I tell y'all what, some of them women are fine lookin' youngin's. I reckon there is somethin' to havin' them players wearin' short pants, after all!


Links to follow FIFA and the U.S. Team:

The Official FIFA Word Cup Page:
The Official USA Team Page on FIFA: World Cup Preview - USA Team:

 Here are some book fer all of you what don't nothin' about soccer:
Soccer for DummiesThe Ball is Round: A Global History of SoccerSoccer World Cup Preview 2010How Soccer Explains the World: An Unlikely Theory of GlobalizationSoccer Against the Enemy: How the World's Most Popular Sport Starts and Fuels Revolutions and Keeps Dictators in Power

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