In Other News: The World Cup

A look at a current news item through the lens of different titles available on GVRL.

By Michelle Eickmeyer


Soccer. Football. The beautiful game. Ready or not, here comes the World Cup! (For the sake of sanity and simplification in this post,”soccer” refers to the game with the round ball while “football” refers to game with the oblong one.)

For most of the world, the most exciting month has just begun and Brazil is the place to be. For years, soccer has been a second-class sport among Americans. While there are always die-hard exceptions, soccer has struggled to gain a serious following. Which doesn’t make any sense at all.

Americans are very passionate about their sports teams, great match-ups, rivalries, and winning. Hmm. All of these are the exact same reasons people love soccer around the world. Exciting and controversial players. Expert athletes in their prime. TONS of merchandise, swag, and clothing. On paper, soccer is a perfect match (huh? see what I did there?!) for Americans.

Here are some facts:

1. The World Cup was first held in 1930 for the men’s teams and 1991 for the women’s.
2. It is held every 4 years and lasts 30 days. (When held, the women’s is one-year later, in the same host country)
3. The tournament is hosted by, and being held in Brazil. Like the Olympics, matches will take place in multiple cities.
4. Of the 32 teams playing in the 2014 Cup, 8 have previously won the tournament. No team which has previously won is not playing.
5. In the 2010 Cup held in South Africa, Spain bested the Netherlands 1-0 in extra and was record setting for many reasons.
6. There are prizes. Serious. Cash. Prizes. The winning team in 2014 will take home a $35 million dollar purse.

While soccer is one of the top sports for U.S. youth, it has had a halting road to become a great love for many American adults. I suspect that will change as more and more former soccer players grow into adulthood and become parents. Time will tell. Until then, the celebrations continue without us.

Here are five titles that look at the World Cup from different perspectives:

Encyclopedia of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 1st Edition. Sage Publications, 2014

With forceful contact than football, soccer athletes receive serious injuries on the pitch including concussions. In this title, readers can get a better look at the process of diagnosing and overcoming a sports injury.

Sports around the World: History, Culture, and Practice, 1st Edition. ABC-CLIO, 2012

Take a closer look at the people who have had a lasting legacy, both on and off the field.

 The World of Sports: The Britannica Guide to Soccer, 1st Edition. Encyclopedia Britannica, 2012.

Get an overview of the game with this Britannica title. From sections on rules and professionalism to current stars and the game in every corner of the world, this title provides the background needed to understand this ever evolving sport.

The Business of Sports, 1st Edition. Praeger, 2008.

IS it all about the benjamins? Take a look at the cost of doing business in this 3-volume set. What does a large event mean to nations, local governments, owners, players, sponsoring bodies, spectators, and local residents? How do you build a great teams with salary caps and high profile athletes must work together? Is it all about the money, or is there more? Find the answers to these questions and more here.

Blackwell’s Encyclopedia of Sociology, 1st Edition. Wiley-Blackwell, 2007

How does cheering on your favorite team escalate into a fist fight? How are event locations selected and what does it mean to spectators and residents? With sections like “Violence among fans” and “Political Economy of Sport” this title delves into areas including the differences between player and fan violence, crowd mentality, machismo, national health and local poverty.



photoAbout the Author

Michelle is an “anytime!” traveler and language enthusiast. She has degrees in talking from Central Michigan and Michigan State University. She is currently becoming a runner and used to play golf in high school.



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