Here in the United States, we like football, not football. In fact, most of us call the latter soccer, which used to annoy pedants at parties back before social distancing became the rage. We prefer football so much that I’m guessing most of us didn’t realize the United States was competing against Mexico for the CONCACAF Nations League soccer championship on Sunday night.
CONCACAF, world champion of absurdly long initialisms, stands for Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football. (Association footballer is also where the word “soccer” comes from, although don’t bother explaining that to any pedants at your next gathering, not least of which because it doesn’t make a ton of sense as a contraction to begin with.)
Sunday was the inaugural championship match for the CONCACAF Nations League. On the way to the championship, the United States defeated Honduras, with Mexico defeating Costa Rica in the semifinals. (Honduras went on to come in third and Costa Rica fourth in the third-place playoff match, so it would seem the system works.)
Despite trailing in possession time and only equaling, not surpassing, Mexico’s shots on goal, the United States prevailed where it matters — points on the board — winning 3-2 in a high scoring game. For a look at how the match went, here’s a clip from an episode of “The Simpsons” that first aired in 1997.
I kid, I kid. I actually love soccer, predominantly when played by little girls, so please don’t stop inviting me to the team get-togethers, fellow soccer moms and dads.
When it comes to the age and professional level of the soccer I tend to watch, I suspect most Americans are similar. There are a lot of parents at games, practices, and tournaments. Sometimes, on the sidelines, we discuss other sports, namely football and basketball. In the roughly seven years I’ve been a soccer dad, I can recall matches like Sunday’s CONCACAF being discussed two, maybe even three times.
It’s just not a sport America cares about on the professional level, but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy
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