I’ve seen a number of comments on various forums where people think the flood of cards in this World Cup will turn off ‘new’ US fans who tuned in for the first time, reaffirming it as a ‘sissy’ sport. I just don’t buy that. American Football? The flag flies constantly. Basketball? Players spend a whole lot of time on the foul line. Hockey? You may not get ejected, but you play a man down for 2-5 minutes. Americans are used to fouls in sports and I can’t see why they would see soccer any differently. You trip a guy, he gets the ball back. Fair enough. You commit an egregious foul, you get carded or ejected. You deny someone an easy goal, they get a penalty shot. Nothing outrageous there. I expect most Americans see this as normal.
I’m not excusing the number of cards this go around by any stretch. I’d prefer to see more yellow for the divers than the players who make a marginal tackle that should rate a foul, no more. But I just don’t buy that new US viewers who watch this World Cup will be turned off by the officiating. It may drive longtime soccer fans nuts, but an American new to soccer would just take it in stride – a foul is a foul, etc.
Besides, we Americans LIVE to argue with and yell at sports officials. This World Cup and soccer as a whole is right up our alley!