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Soccer in German-American Relations

1. Celebrating German-American Friendship!
The Berlin chapter of the Fulbright Alumni e.V. invites everybody to a German-American Soccer World Cup Game Watching Party for the match USA vs. Italy. The party will start on Saturday, June 17th, 8:00 pm at Rock Berlin, Immanuelkirchstr.14.  Stephan
Meyer-Brehm is one of the organizers and appreciates feedback from any potential participants by June 11th, "so we won't suddenly run out of beer… (If you should desire to make a – voluntary – financial contribution, a short notice is also most welcome.)" Stephan was a Fulbrighter at the University of Texas at Austin in 1985/86 and can be reached at "stephan AT texasexes.de"
 
2. Understanding German-American Differences and U.S. exceptionalism!
Andrei Markovits: Offside: Soccer and American ExceptionalismAndrei Markovits: Im Abseits. Fußball in der amerikanischen Sportkultur Fulbright Alumnus Andrei S. Markovits is the author of Offside: Soccer and American Exceptionalism  / Im Abseits. Fussball in der amerikanischen Sportkultur. I have not read this book, but his other books on Germany and U.S.-German relations are very good and easy to read for non-experts as well.
Markovits is a renown political science professor at Ann Arbor and currently the Gambrinus Visiting Professor of Soccer and Sport Studies at the University of Dortmund. He will lecture about "Soccer in America: Unique among American Sports, Unique in the International Arena of Team Sports" at the Free University of Berlin's John F. Kennedy Institute on June 13, 2006, 2:00-4:00 PM.
Prof. Markovits explains on his homepage:
Soccer is the world's favorite pastime, a passion for billions around the globe. In the United States, however, the sport is a distant also-ran behind football, baseball, basketball, and hockey. Why is America an exception? And why, despite America's leading role in popular culture, does most of the world ignore American sports in return? Offside is the first book to explain these peculiarities, taking us on a thoughtful and engaging tour of America's sports culture and connecting it with other fundamental American exceptionalisms. In so doing, it offers a comparative analysis of sports cultures in the industrial societies of North America and Europe.
Palm Beach Post columnist Frank Cerabino comes up with ten funny reasons why soccer isn't a beloved sport in America.
 
3. Are Americans ignorant of the greatest game on the face of the earth ;-) ?
The Foreign Policy magazine's blog links to a GMI poll that says "56% of American World Cup fans do not know that the 2006 Soccer World Cup will take place in Germany, and only 1 in 10 plans to follow the game." I think they misspelled and polled all Americans rather than just American World Cup fans. They give it a negative twist, but I think the numbers are remarkable and prove that soccer is becoming more popular in the US. I am not sure if the enthusiastic Independent Sources Blog is ignorant of history or trying to be funny: 
The U.S. may not even make it to the round of 16 this time, but that will be a minor setback. As Wells failed to note, was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? No. We eventually won that one too.
Soccer has been more popular in U.S. than President Bush and many Americans think it is. In an interview with Bild (White House transcript), President Bush said:
I never saw soccer as a young boy. We didn't play it where I was from. It just didn't exist. I can't even -- I'm thinking about all the -- between age six, when I can remember sports, and 12 or 13, I just never saw soccer being played. And so there's a generation of us that really weren't fanatic. There's a new generation of Americans that did grow up on soccer. And there's obviously a huge interest amongst that crowd in the World Cup. And some of us older guys are now beginning to understand the significance of the World Cup around the world.
Although President Bush is learning the importance of soccer, Grahame Jones, soccer writer for the LA Times, is angry and describes President Bush as ignorant of the "rich" soccer traditions of New Haven, Connecticut, where George W. Bush was born, as well as the similarly rich heritage of Texas, where he was governor. Via: Global Game.

UPDATE: The United States Embassy created a special world cup site
and describes  the popularity of soccer in the U.S.:
Registration on U.S. Youth Soccer Association teams climbed approximately 90 percent to nearly 3.2 million players in 2002-03 from 1990-91. The number of adult soccer players has also increased approximately 80 percent to more than 5 million since 1987. Statistics also show that while interest in other sports is declining, there is increasing interest in Soccer. The number of total Soccer participants (6-years plus) in 2003 was 17,679,000.
World Cup related post: Congressman accuses Germany of "Complicity in Promoting Sex Trafficking"

UPERDATE: A great German World Cup News Blog in English.
Our reader DJ Walker, who also runs the excellent Footballs are Round blog, informed us in a comment that the quote about Germans having bombed Pearl Harbor is a reference to the movie Animal House. Thanks!

Tagesspiegel Blames Haditha partly on a Military Dominated by "White Trash" and Minorities

Berlin's leading paper Der Tagesspiegel always answers some "Questions of the Day" on page 2. On Saturday, Caroline Fetscher answered the question whether some individual Marines are responsible for the alleged massacres in Iraq or whether these instances indicate a problem of the entire US military. She considers the alleged massacres to be more of the latter: Continue reading "Tagesspiegel Blames Haditha partly on a Military Dominated by "White Trash" and Minorities"

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