Why Americans Don’t Play Soccer, and Everyone Else Does Part II

Richard Hershberger

Richard Hershberger is a paralegal working in Maryland. When he isn't doing whatever it is that paralegals do, or taking his daughters to Girl Scouts, he is dedicated to the collection and analysis of useless and unremunerative information.

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16 Responses

  1. Jim C says:

    Brilliant series of articles. I’m looking forward to the next installment.Report

  2. InMD says:

    Just wanted to say this series is really interesting, thanks for writing.Report

  3. LeeEsq says:

    If Britain allowed hacking, we would all be singing Rule Brittania whole roasting roast beef and plum pudding washed down with pints of ale or glasses of sherry, Port, or claret.

    This is fascinating stuff man.Report

  4. Chris says:

    Gaelic football is awesome, but it has nothing on hurling.Report

  5. Fish says:

    You left out the part where Chelsea FC was founded, which all right-thinking people agreed was a very bad thing indeed.

    Have you read The Outsider: A History of the Goalkeeper by Jonathan Wilson? Good stuff, especially if you’ve ever had the misfortune of trying to be a goalkeeper.Report

    • El Muneco in reply to Fish says:

      Upvote the Wilson recommendation. I have many times tried to pass _Inverting The Pyramid_ on people as a good survey of tactics through history.

      I don’t think that’s stealing any thunder from this excellent survey – Richard is unlikely to be diving very deep into tactics, as that’s not the point. But if one is interested, Wilson strikes a decent balance – ‘accessible’ while not too often ‘oversimplified’.Report

      • Richard Hershberger in reply to El Muneco says:

        Thanks both of you for the tips. No, i won’t be going into tactics through history. Not only is that not the point, I also don’t know anything on the topic. But I am interested in learning.Report

  6. Slade the Leveller says:

    The post-fair catch field goal is the holy grail of football. I’m in my 25th year of high school officiating and I’ve never even seen an attempt.Report

    • Richard Hershberger in reply to Slade the Leveller says:

      I totally agree. I love vestigial survivals in sports rule. The dropped third strike is the only really good example in baseball. The football rules, on the other hand, have never undergone a really thorough housecleaning, so all sorts of old stuff clutters up the attic. What makes the post-fair catch field goal the holy grail is that there is a legitimate scenario where it makes good game sense to try it. The drop kick, on the other hand, serves no purpose in modern American football. You occasionally hear of guys with a sense of history trying it, or more often lobbying their coach unsuccessfully for permission to try it, but this is essentially a gimmick, not anything that serves a genuine purpose.Report

  7. You will do away with the courage and pluck of the game, and I will be bound to bring over a lot of Frenchmen who would beat you with a week’s practice.

    Which is exactly what ESPN comment sections say about outlawing helmet-to-helmet hits, other than replacing “Frenchmen” with “vaginas”.Report

  8. El Muneco says:

    I have developed quite a fondness for Australian footy – catch it quick, the playoffs are just starting…
    Odd that, in some specific ways, it’s “truer” to the pre-split game. than either rugby or soccer. While the years of divergence make the overall impression quite different from either.Report

    • Richard Hershberger in reply to El Muneco says:

      I am no expert on Australian rules football, but my understanding is that it is a separate line of development from either Association or Rugby football. Australia was settled early enough, and was isolated enough, that it developed its own football tradition from the pre-modern antecedent versions.Report

      • El Muneco in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

        I’m certainly no expert, either, and it’s possible that they started from a different place and borrowed things they happened to like. I just feel that the whole “Catch the ball, drag a mark with your heel, retreat ten yards, then choose to kick for goal or take off running” is as true to the spirit of the early game as anything is today – certainly more than e.g. the offside rule. The rest of the game they play, with the, um, interesting compromise between “no forward passing” and “throw the fishing thing as far as you can”, has nothing in common with anything anyone else is playing (modulo the ruck, which looks a lot like rugby’s solution to the same problem).
        I was kind of riffing on how a game can develop practically everything so that it looks unlike its forebearers, but a few things are practically identical, and they kind of stand out. Baseball has a few of those, too, and I expect those things will be touched on at some point when you’re done with Assoc.Report