UNFOUNDED CONFIDENCE. ...

UNFOUNDED CONFIDENCE. Responding to claims that America's apathy towards soccer adds to international irritation with us, Jerry Taylor wonders whether the world would really be happier "if America took this game seriously and, as a consequence, cut through their footballers like a hot knife through butter?"

That's just silly. Our record in international competitions ain't exactly so hot. Baseball, a sport we theoretically dominate, just held the World Baseball Classic, a sort of World Cup for our national pastime. We lost to Korea, Mexico, and Canada, getting eliminated before the finals. We're just lucky we didn't play Cuba, who would've delivered a rather embarrassing whupping. And we all remember the 2004 Olympics, where the Dream Team was summarily demolished by Puerto Rico -- our very own colony!

So comforting American exceptionalism aside, it's not clear to me how a national focus on soccer would lead to us tearing through the Brazilians. Do we, as a country, pay insufficient attention to baseball and basketball? Do you think the Europeans simply don't spend enough money on their players, and that's why Brazil continually runs them over? If America were to get serious about soccer, it would import some South Americans, create an exciting league, and every four years, watch the best players don their home country's jerseys and effortlessly drill the ball into the back of our net.

--Ezra Klein

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