Bottomline: Soccer is for patsies according to Jim Reineking, Fox Sports
It was bound to happen. The rest of the world plays soccer because they do not have the physique or talent to play basketball, NFL football, or even baseball like us.
Read Jim Reineking. In it he writes about an elite team of American athletes mostly drawn from the NFL who if they had only taken to soccer would have plastered the rest of the world based on their physique, physicality, and talent. And we wonder why the sport of soccer is still unpopular in this country. It is because of geniuses like Jim Reineking.
Another reading of this article is that the top elite athletes in this country take to football, basketball, and baseball. The rest of us have to play soccer, lacrosse, snooker, and darts.
Reineking never mentions why in soccer you don't have to be 260 lbs and 6"7' to be excellent in the sport. That is because unlike football, soccer is played with the feet and every other part of the body, except for the hands (unless you are the goalie). Guess which part of the body is more precise and dexterous? The legs and the feet or the arms and the hands? Guess which part of the body you need to train more to be precise and dexterous? Precisely, the legs and the feet. That is why the Brazilians can beat the Europeans even though they give away 40-50 lbs and at least six inches in height on an average. Soccer is a game of dexterity and precision, not brute strength and physicality.
The Brazilians would beat the team that Jim Reineking trots out with their arms tied to their backs, each day, every time. Much of what we see as skill and talent in the NFL actually comes down to a script. Terrel Owens would be worthless if he did not run his route. As for making plays, soccer players do that all the time. Steve Smith can run fast with the ball tucked in the crook of his elbow. It's a little different when you have to run fast kicking a ball along. There are two levels of control: Your body and that of the ball. You can do fancy pirouettes with the ball in your hand and bounce of tackles all you want in football but in soccer if you do not time that precisely with the ball at your feet, the consequence is that the ball will be streaking the other way while you are finishing your porte de bras. And looking terribly silly doing it too.
So what you have are two entirely different physical and skill sets needed according to the demands of the sport played and one is not generalizable to the other. The beauty of soccer is that it can be played by all. A 5'0" pipsqueak and a 6'7" beefcake. As for Kevin Garnett with his impressive armspan and 6'11'' frame stopping all those goals. Did Jim Reineking think about those grounders? The ones that Garnett would have to bend down from the waist or his knees and collect the ball. Spring sideways to parry the ball time and time again? Eeeeks! Where did that simple vertical elevation and the alley-oop go.
Lets look at the game. Joey Porter at 250 lbs playing 38 English Premiership games with the same unit on the field for 90+ minutes, plus the FA cup, and the UEFA championship. If Joey Porter's knees can last three seasons with that weight, playing that intense scheduling of matches then we should soon see an influx of Sumo wrestlers in the Japanese team that should lead to them having a lock on the World Cup until Paris Hilton is declared a saint.
Soccer can be played by ostriches, dogs, and ponies because they do not have hands, they have claws, paws, and hoofs. Soccer but not basketball can even be played by robots, because we still have not been able to figure out the complex motor control controlling the precision of the human hands can be translated into the robotic hand.
There is a reason why when you score in soccer it is called a goal. It is harder to attain, hence smaller the score. What are your life's goals? You can achieve those goals and then again you might not. That is why soccer mirrors life more closely. It is much more gritty and more unpredicatable. There is never a surety that there will be a result. And what about touchdowns. How many 60 minute football games do you know that ended 0-0?
And when you scream Goaaaaalllllll! Everybody from the Aleutian Islands to Borbador knows what you have seen. It is a pity but the US will always live in this fool's world because of the faulty analogies made by people like Jim Reineking. I only hope that this article was written in a lighter vein inviting debate and not to belittle the many thousands of skilled soccer players who do not have a 6'8" physique and weigh 260 pounds and perform the 100 meters in 10 seconds flat.