Guest Column: Ronan’s Quick Thoughts on the World Cup

Ronan Nelson is a regular contributor on and is filling in for Matt McCarthy and/or Different Matt today.  He’s a Capitals fan (thanks Trotzy) and a fan of a sport we don’t talk much about on here, soccer (egad). 

SAN DIEGO, CA – The United States sitting idle as the world celebrates the FIFA World Cup is painful.There’s something missing from the air that was palpable back in 2014 when the Americans defied all odds and made it out of the Group of Death (Germany, Portugal, Ghana) and into the Round of 16, a je ne sais pas that collectively excited the nation. I remember driving from Seattle to San Diego during the 2014 World Cup and everywhere up-and-down the West Coast was buzzing with footy fever. Big screen watch parties lined neighborhood streets from Eugene to Laguna Niguel, and you couldn’t go into a bar without being inundated with soccer jerseys.

It was beautiful. It was a display of pure passion and excitement for playing (and keeping up with) the world’s best.

Unfortunately that buzz doesn’t exist this time around. A World Cup without the red, white, and blue simply isn’t the same. Hopefully this serves as a wake up call for the United States Soccer Federation that the status quo isn’t cutting it. They’ve already appointed the first ever general manager in the history of international football and have already put young players in the drivers seat over the last few friendlies. Only time will tell…

What hasn’t changed, however, is the hatred that many Americans still hold for the beautiful game. I understand where these feelings come from. Watching 22 guys run around the field for 90 minutes without scoring any goals and the game ending without a victor is exclusively antithetical to ‘Murikan sporting culture.

Players rolling and squirming like fish out of water after getting breathed on doesn’t exactly help either.

Thankfully social media has provided an outlet for people across the Internet to express their hatred. As a soccer fan I find it comical that people exert so much effort posting and expressing hatred for the game. Doesn’t seem just a bit ironic? Nevertheless, here are just a few of my favorites…

The Prototypical Hater

The “I’m Watching Soccer But Still Hate It So Much” Person

The “I Hate Their Fragility” Quip (Probably the Most Popular)

The “Soccer Isn’t That Difficult” Tweet*
*This tweet was actually deleted as I was posting this because the college baseball player who posted it had already received around 500 strongly worded messages refuting his point. Go soccer fans!

The Martyr

Thankfully soccer does have a few staunch defenders here in the US, probably no one more committed to rebuffing trolls than ESPN‘s Taylor Twellman

Twellman’s a Modern Day Braveheart for US Soccer

My Irish-American blood doesn’t attest to a particularly strong soccer heritage, but I am nonetheless consumed by the sport and yearn for the day when my countries are back to the world’s biggest stage.

For now, even if you aren’t the biggest fan, enjoy the World Cup while it lasts. Pick a team big or small (Iceland is a fan favorite) and stick with them; the more invested you are the better time you’ll have.

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About Ronan Nelson 2 Articles
Ronan Nelson is an international sensation. He's goes to UCLA, studied abroad at Trinity in Dublin, lives in Southern Cal and is a mainstay on He's also a HUGE Washington Captitals fan, which makes ZERO sense.