This morning, EPLTalk writes about “How American Soccer Fans Are Smarter Than Average Americans.”
I don’t know how soccer fans stack up compared to “average Americans,” but I do think that following soccer can make you smarter. It’s not that you have to be smart in order to follow soccer, it’s that through the act(s) of being a soccer fan, you learn a lot especially as it relates to geography and foreign culture.
When I was in school, both HS and college, I can think of many instances where something I knew was first introduced to me via soccer. Would I have ever learned of Catalan nationalism, British class biases, Scottish sectarianism, Mexican nationalism, post-Soviet Ukrainian culture, or El Salvador’s inferiority complex without soccer? I doubt it.
If nothing else, following World Cup qualifying introduces you to a whole new world of third-world cities like Tirana, Yerevan, Abijdian, Yaounde, and Newcastle.