I’ll be the first to come out and proudly admit that I only care about soccer once every four years. This really isn’t new territory for me, as there are other sports that only appear on my radar intermittingly. I only care about the NBA during the playoffs, tennis and golf during the majors, and a vast number of other sports only during the Olympics. I can name all of one soccer player (I’ll give you a hint: he looks really good in his underwear), and frankly I find the sport incredibly boring normally.
I’ve decided that my dislike of most soccer stems from some of my inherent personality traits. I like the “black and white”, mathematical sports. I like football and basketball because there are clear possessions and turnovers and I can actually see who is controlling the ball. To my untrained, accountant eyes, soccer (and to a lesser extent hockey) seems completely wily-nily and chaotic. On that same note, I like it when there is a clear winner and a clear loser. Ties annoy me- meaning soccer and hockey annoy me.
But four years ago I was a fresh-faced college student studying in the Union when I found a reason to enjoy soccer. Watching 200 or so complete strangers from various parts of the world cheer and yell and come together for a sporting event was one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. It made me appreciate the universal appeal of the sport, and much like the Olympics, the ability for it to bring out each person’s rarely seen national pride.
If you’re anything like me, and need a refresher course on who these teams are and who you should root for, have no fear because Rush the Court has put a College Basketball Fan’s guide to the World Cup. They take the soccer teams, compare them to basketball teams, and help everyone decide who to root for. And in case you wondered, apparently England is the soccer Kentucky:
“America’s first opponent reminds us a lot of the Kentucky program from the last couple of years. England has a proud history, a crazed but phenomenal fan base, and some titles in their past, but have posted some disappointing results in recent World Cups while playing under coaches that might not have been good fits for such a high-pressure job. Kentucky went through a similar phase from 2007-2009 under Billy Gillispie, but hope returned when a new coach of Italian descent arrived in the form of John Calipari (for England, it’s Fabio Capello) and loaded the team with exciting young stars and turned things around for them instantaneously.
Like Kentucky last season, England is one of the top teams in this tournament and it wouldn’t surprise anyone if they won it all. Also like last year’s Wildcats, England are fielding a much more exciting team this time, with their version of John Wall being Wayne Rooney, a fierce competitor, great scorer, and exemplary teammate, not to mention a fellow who will gladly sacrifice his body to score, or assist on one.
Similar to Wall, Rooney might be considered the best player in the game…were it not for just that one other guy (the aforementioned Messi, in the role of Evan Turner). And the recent English soccer infidelity scandal involving John Terry and Wayne Bridge makes this whole Eric Bledsoe nonsense look like a jaywalking ticket. Maybe we should have chosen Louisville.”