Average Joes Tuning In

Average Joes Tuning In

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On June 14, 2010
  • 2010 World Cup, England, Group C

Who knows, this goal may be more than just a gift in the group standings. (Getty Images)

Every four years we expect a bump in random folks watching our lovely game. Each World Cup comes with more hype and excitement and as the tournament goes on some average sports fans tune in to see what all the fuss is about.

But something was a little different this time around.

The buzz of a US-England match certainly had something do to with it but the buzz was higher and talked about more with folks that generally could care less about the game. Bars across the country were showing soccer for a change and even hyping the game on their billboards and signs to attract fans.

In my social circle I’m pretty much the token soccer fan. Most of my friends and family know my passion for the sport but only one or two of them really follow it like I do. The rest are your every day sports fans that care about what is important to them. Nothing wrong with that but they usually pass over soccer for being boring or not something they want to spend two hours watching.

But again this time it was different.

Most of my non-soccer loving friends actually cared this time around. A few that I didn’t expect to tune in actually surprised me and said they were planning their day around the match. Some were hosting watching parties while others were going to bars to watch it like they would a football game.

What was even better was their reaction to the game in the end.

Usually some of these folks will watch a big game but won’t like when the game ends in a draw. This time however they were fairly pleased with the draw, like they had been following the US all the way through to this point in the World Cup. Before a draw meant it was just another silly soccer ending, but this time it was the sport grew on them and they were more pleased with the result. I know they wanted the US to win like all of us did but for the first time they accepted a draw for what it was based on how the team played.

One of my friends who I know couldn’t name a single US player before the World Cup was asking me tactics and was doing his fair share of reading up on the team going into the tournament. Seeing sports fans like this read up on soccer instead of baseball or football shows how far along this game is in the US.

We think at times that people don’t care about the game here in the States but I think they do now. Even 16 years ago when we hosted this tournament I’d say people didn’t care this much.

I’m starting to think that Project 2010 wasn’t just about winning a World Cup but about winning over fans in a bigger way to the game. While we may not win this tournament in the end I think we are winning fans over left and right around the country. Who knew a draw could do that.