Black people don’t play soccer

No I’m not crazy. This is the title of a new book by African-American writer Robert Woodard.

Playing soccer for their country is the greatest ambition a black athlete can have. That is anywhere except the United States where soccer is virtually ignored by black athletes and the black community. It’s a subject everyone knows about but has never been discussed or examined in detail.

The book is currently being reviewed on the Sam’s Army site, although it has its own web page here. The full title is Black People Don’t Play Soccer? Unlocking American Soccer’s Secret Weapon.

I found this interesting because of the last chapter in another one of my favourite football books, How Soccer Explains the World by Franklin Foer.

He explains that while in almost every country in the world soccer is the preserve of the working classes, except for the U.S., where it largely played and enjoyed by the professional classes. Wussy elites if you will.

Foer explains that when the children of the 60’s grew up into liberal yuppies they enrolled their kids in soccer because they thought it focused more on participation and confidence-building than the brutal win-at-all-costs mentality of four-down football.

So now, aside from Latino immigrants, soccer is disproportionately played by rich white kids from the either two coasts, and is hated by largely the same people and commentators who voted Republican for the past eight years.

But part of this is also that soccer never extended to the black communities. And now Woodward decides to write about it.

I guess we never really had the same kind of Culture Wars in Canada that exist in the U.S., so perhaps our situation is different…

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One Response to “Black people don’t play soccer”

  1. Well, these are interesting thoughts. I think they are true. However, everything is
    relative and ambiguous to my mind.

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