Soccer vs football vs fútbol, Major League Soccer, a night at the Miami Inter game.

Soccer, football, fútbol has always been played in the US, it was just never popular like baseball, American football, basketball or hockey, it was a college sport, like volleyball. Much has been written about this, but my reasoning on why soccer never became popular in the US reflects American isolation and provincialism.

The US was for decades self sufficient, it lacked the necessary international flow of goods and ideas to be on equal terms with the rest of the world. America did not so much trade as buy (or take, depending on the country) what they needed. Examples of this might be not using the metric system, not participating in WWI (until later), not joining the League of Nations (until later), etc. Sure, there were millions of immigrants, but their first concern was to assimilate into the local population as fast as possible; forgetting their language and adopting local “traditions” and way of life as a means of achieving the “American Dream”.

Only in the latter part of the 20th C until now, have many of those cultural barriers fallen and the US has (begrudgingly?)  opened up to the world. Maybe the new waves of immigrants were more reluctant to drop their heritage upon stepping on US soil, clearly technology has broken many walls, and so on.

But enough of my ramblings. The other day I was invited to the opening game of Inter Miami against Montreal. Some of my students generously offered tickets to a couple of us football loving teachers. The excursion was led by the Jesus Youth students; what a great bunch of generous, kind people.

One of the reasons Inter Miami is famous is because the president and one of the shareholders is David Beckham, husband of “Posh Spice” Victoria Beckham, and one of football’s great players, who like many greats played his golden years at Real Madrid. My sister Rocky was the first person to interview him when he arrived in Madrid in 2003!

We had a blast. Inter Miami still does not have a permanent stadium, playing out of a temporary facility, the AutoNation DRV PNK stadium. The beauty of a small stadium is how close everyone is to the field, it feels very intimate and enjoyable. Oh, Miami won 2-0.

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