U.S. exceptionalism when it comes to the otherwise-global game of soccer

Discuss U.S. exceptionalism when it comes to the otherwise-global game of soccer. In this excerpt from their 2006 book, Szymanski and Zimbalist discuss some of the key factors that differentiate soccer from typical U.S. sports models. In so doing, they hope to account for the lack of the game’s popularity in the United States.

In addition, we’ll be reading the last chapter from Franklin Foer’s How Soccer Explains the World, where Foer deals with not just the factors that draw American youth away from soccer, but also the socio-economic class tensions surrounding soccer in the United States.

The Szymanski/Zymbalist reading can be found here: Szymanski Zymbalist National Pastime 1-11.pdf

The Foer reading can be found here: Foer, How Soccer Explains the American Culture Wars, 235-248.pdf

  1. According to Foer, what are some of the factors inhibiting soccer’s growth in the United States?
  2. In your opinion, what are the most convincing reasons that Szymansky and Zimbalist pose for soccer’s lack of popularity in the United States? Use specific examples from the text.
  3. According to Szymanski and Zimbalist, how do business interests contribute to the fundamental differences between professional baseball (United States) and professional soccer (Europe and Latin America)?

Sample Solution