One of the most interesting aspects to come out of the Confederations Cup, after the United States came from nowhere to end up as the runners-up to Brazil, was observation of the reaction to Team America’s successes back home.
As is common knowledge, American TV has never been a huge fan of soccer as a whole and many of America’s top sports pundits are clueless when it comes to the world’s most popular pastime. That said, US “soccer-heads” will likely have been driven up the wall by the punditry offered by ESPN’s Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon on the popular â€œPardon the Interruptionâ€ show, or â€œPTIâ€ as it is more commonly referred to as they attempted to decipher the impact that being in the FIFA final will have domestically.
Wilbon was the first to shoot his mouth off, claiming that the international perspective towards Team America will barely have shifted, arguing “you’ve gotta win the World Cup. Winning this tournament is not a world impact. Winning the World Cup is a world impact.”
Kornheiser, dressed strangely in a jacket, tie and policeman’s hat, was then quick to jump on US soccer’s back and talk down the achievements of the national team. Kornheiser pointed to a baseball stat that one season Seattle won more matches than every other team, but as they never reached the World Series no-one today cares.
That lead to Kornheiser making his main point. While accepting that there will be “a small bubbling up of soccer in America” the commentator then quickly squashed suggestions that soccer could one day rival the US’s main sports claiming soccer “will never touch baseball, touch basketball, touch football in America. It’s just not gonna happen! You’ve gotta win the World Cup!”
The discussion from ESPN’s PTI can be seen here.