May 29, 2014

20 highest paid soccer players by race

#1
One of the reasons soccer is so globally popular is that it's a pretty white sport, much whiter than American football (the NFL is only about 30% white, even less if you exclude all the white soccer-style placekickers). For example, here is Forbes' current list of the top 20 highest paid soccer players in the world (salary plus endorsements):

1. Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal, white (might be tiny bit black through Cape Verdean great-grandparent) -- generally speaking, Ronaldo looks like Tim Tebow.

2. Lionel Messi, Argentina, white

3. Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Sweden (Bosnian father and Croatian mother), white (often accused of being a Gypsy by opposing fans, but at 6'5" looks pretty Balkan to me)

5. Radamel Falcao, Colombia, substantially white, father appears part black, perhaps some Amerindian too, judging from his hair

6. Gareth Bale, Wales, white

7. Wayne Rooney, England, white

8. Sergio Aguero, Argentina, white or mestizo

9. Yaya Toure, Ivory Coast, black

10. Fernando Torres, Spain, white

11. Robin van Persie, Netherlands, white

12. Franck Ribery, France, white (converted to his Algerian wife's Islam) -- face got smashed up in an accident when young, so a little odd-looking.

13. Steven Gerrard, England, white

14. David Silva, Spain, white father and East Asian (Japanese) mother

15. Frank Lampard, England, white

16. Bastian Schweinsteiger, Germany, white

17. Mesut Ozil, Germany (3rd generation Turkish German), white (looks like Bogart's costar Peter Lorre)

18. Philipp Lahm, Germany, white

19. Kaka, Brazil, white

20. Luis Suarez, Uruguay, three-fourth's white, supposedly one black grandfather, could be a little Amerindian.

I'm coming up with the Top 20 being, very roughly, approaching 85% white by ancestry, 10% black, and the rest Amerindian or East Asian. Nineteen of the top 20 highest paid players are at least half white.

Back in 2010 I looked through ESPN's list of the world's Top 50 soccer players and came up with fairly similar proportions, a little less white than the 2014 Top 20 highest paid list, but still much whiter than the NBA or NFL, and probably whiter than MLB.

FIFA could change the rules to make soccer more a test of explosiveness and sprinting ability, like American sports, which tend to favor blacks of West African descent. But, the world seems pretty happy with soccer the way it is.

As I wrote in 2010 before the World Cup semifinals between Uruguay v. Netherlands and Germany v. Spain:
When people go on about how much they love diversity, what they mean is that they want about an 80% white majority and 20% colorful minorities to spice things up, roughly what high level soccer delivers -- not the opposite. (But the opposite is what everybody will eventually get.) 
Much of the glamor of the World Cup stems from it being a mostly white sport. 
Do you think up-and-comers like the South Koreans would be fascinated by the World Cup if it were traditionally dominated by, say, Indonesia, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Pakistan, and Bolivia? Would SWPLs in the U.S. love soccer if it were associated in their minds with "Kinshasa" rather than with "Barcelona"? 
Look at what's happened to interest in track & field over the decades as East Africans have come to dominate the endurance races and the West African diaspora the sprints. (People don't believe me these days when I say that the Olympic running races used to be a really big deal. Who'd ever be interested in people running?) 
The rules of soccer could either be more favorable to men of West African descent who are great at sprinting but lack endurance, the way the NFL and the NBA are, by making the game more amenable to sprinters by having more times outs (great for TV commercials) and substitutions. Or soccer could be made more amenable to highlanders with less speed but great endurance such as East Africans, Mexicans, Bolivians, Rif Mountain Northwest Africans and the like by preventing players from wasting time whenever play stops. But the rules are set in such a way that whites predominate in soccer.

And nobody's in a hurry to change.
          

235 comments:

1 – 200 of 235   Newer›   Newest»
stari_momak said...

"FIFA could change the rules to make soccer more a test of explosiveness and sprinting ability, like American sports, which tend to favor blacks of West African descent."

Isn't this exactly what happened to American football with, for example, limiting contact made with receivers before they start their routes.

Rugby offers another interesting perspective. The sport remains largely white/Pacific Islander. Very limited substitutions, not nearly the specialization seen in American football, seem to be why in places like South Africa and the UK blacks haven't made much of an impact. In other words, it's a sport where you want 7/11 or 10/15 of your players to be a US football tight end.

Martin Regnen said...

A great way to make English people point and sputter is to tell them you like Luis Suarez.

5371 said...

Suarez doesn't have a black grandfather, that was invented by LFC to get him off the "racist abuse" charge.
The technical demands of football are too high for the sport ever to be dominated by blacks. For the same reason there are still a lot of white players at the top of baseball.

Dave Pinsen said...

You could make American football's demographics look more like soccer's by:

- Making most players play both ways.

- Shrinking the size of teams to 25, to limit substitutions.

- Shortening the play clock to 25 seconds.

Luke Lea said...

"FIFA could change the rules to make soccer more a test of explosiveness and sprinting ability. . ." I don't see how. Ten yard sprints are already the most determinative moves you can make in the game.

Dave Pinsen said...

Saturday's Champions League final was an example of soccer's endurance-demanding rules in action. Real Madrid tied it up in the 93rd minute, so the game went into "extra time", a 30 minute overtime. Each team only got 3 substitutions. By the end of overtime Atletico Madrid's defenders looked completely gassed.

Fans I follow on Twitter seemed to think that was a great game, but it seemed kind of sloppy to me at the end. I guess I'm not used to seeing players that wiped out.

Anonymous said...

About half of the players you identified as White are, in fact, mestizo, in looks and ancestry.

Also, soccer is popular all around the world, because it's pretty much the cheapest team sport you can play and has become the main team sport in most countries, especially the poor ones. If Whiteness was a major factor in popularity of a sport, shouldn't ice hockey, rugby, water polo, etc. be the more popular?

I think more Whiteness in a sport generates more revenue than if it were less White, but that's because White countries are richer.

Dave Pinsen said...

Soccer only allows 3 substitutions per game. If they changed the rules to allow unlimited substitutions, teams could field players with more sprinting ability and less endurance.

Incidentally, Usain Bolt is a Manchester United fan, and says he'd like to play for them when he retires from sprinting. That would be interesting to see.

Steve Sailer said...

What's the oldest age at which anybody has ever specialized in soccer and gone on to professional success? Among pro golfers, I think a few took up golf in their early 20s. Among the greats, the oldest might Gary Player or Greg Norman at 16.

Timbaer said...

FIFA could change the rules to make soccer more a test of explosiveness and sprinting ability, like American sports, which tend to favor blacks of West African descent. But, the world seems pretty happy with soccer the way it is.

And soccer the way it is demands intelligence and dedicated practice, not just raw athletic ability and muscle. Which is why the table looks the way it does.

Anonymous said...

once in awhile, your write posts that make you come off as an ignorant racist.

soccer is globally popular because of its whiteness? how ridiculous is that? maybe it has something to do with it being inexpensive to play for children. or, the low scoring nature of the game allows for more drama due to the higher probability of upsets.

Daniel said...

Soccer players are the most fit professional athletes. They have the best physiques too.

Anonymous said...

At least half the players have non-european ancestry.

Ibrahmimovic is part gypsy, therfore part south asian. Mesut Ozil being from Turkey must have some middle-eastern and/or central asian ancestry. Kaka being brazilian most likely has some racial admixture as well.

Anonymous said...

As others have pointed out, you are using an odd definition of white to reach your conclusion. Under your one drop rule, even the NFL and NBA would be primarily white.

Nick Diaz said...

@Steve Sailer

"One of the reasons soccer is so globally popular is that it's a pretty white sport, much whiter than American football."

I fail to see any correlation between the two things. Cricket is much whiter than soccer, and yet it is far less popular. If you mean to imply that white soccer players are more charismatic, there is no correlation either, at least not outside Europe - where most people are white, anyway. Neymar is far more popular in both Brazil and Europe than David Beckham. The common denominator in populariy truly is talent. Messi is so popular because he is insanely talented, and not because he is white. Neymar is far more popular than 99% of all white European players because he is talented.

The reasons why "soccer" is so popular Worldwide are:

1)It does not require freak physical characteritics like basketball and Sumo - anyone can play it.

2) It is a simple game in terms of the materials required to play it.

3) It is exciting due to the non-stop action involved. It's not like in American "football" where the players Sprint for 30 seconds than rest for 5 minutes. That pretty much only appeals to Americans.

4) It is an overall display of skill and not only a narrow skill-set display. To be a great soccer player requires strength, speed, coordination, timing, reflexes, creativity, foot-eye coordination and stamina.

American sports are terrible: they require you to be 350 lbs and obese with no stamina, or a 7'3 bean pole to even have a chance at scoring. Add to that the absurd intervals of several minutes for every few seconds of action and you have a snooze fest.

Anonymous said...

you should just delete this post. i'm embarrassed for you.

dearieme said...

"Cricket is much whiter than soccer"

Absolutely. As long as you ignore West Indies, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. Put otherwise, cricket is largely brown.

Laguna Beach Fogey said...

Soccer players are the most fit professional athletes. They have the best physiques too.

Football (soccer) players lack the upper-body development of, say, rugby players or rowers.

Richard Brown said...

Kaka is as white as you can get for a Brazilian. The Current Brazil national team is the whitest for many decades and may well win the World Cup.

Georg said...

""FIFA could change the rules to make soccer more a test of explosiveness and sprinting ability, like American sports, which tend to favor blacks of West African descent. But, the world seems pretty happy with soccer the way it is.""

That is typical American thought, and a horror
to every soccer fan.
Rules of the play are something "holy"
they must not be changed.
And - FIFA never would be allowed to change the rules by itself, FIFA is just a kind of UN, the sport is ruled by the big national unions in Europe,
The members of this unions are millions of amateur players and their families and fans from small rural to metropolitan clubs. There a some teams in private property in England Italy and Spain, but chamging the rules of play is not within their reach. Theoretically those upper league clubs could try to play along their own rules, but that would mean they would split from soccer as a mass mevement.
So, the way world champinships and other tounaments are organized was changed often, but the play rules are written in Bronze Tables.

Steve Sailer said...

They change the ball substantially for every World Cup, which strikes Americans as strange. American sports fiddle with the rules often, but the ball is more sacrosanct.

The Ultimate Cleanser said...

NBA basketball is an example of a sport with rule changes favoring black athletes. Get rid of the 24-second shot clock, allow zone defenses and use the international lane dimensions and the NBA would change from a black pick-and-roll league to the 1970s NCAA of Bill Walton and Larry Bird.

Anonymous said...

Suarez is the hottest property on the list by a mile - the most exciting player in the world. I'm not saying he's better than the top six or seven, but his trajectory is buy, BUY, BUY. (Some on the list are serviceable has-beens.) The only reason Luis Suarez is as low as 20 is he was written off by the pundits as some kind of racist fruitcake a couple of years ago over a few youthful indiscretions. The FIFA PR crowd would have loved to have seen the last of him, but he's way too damned good... And getting better.

Gilbert P.

Georg said...

@Steve Sailer,
right, but that is one of the minor things caused by the corruption of FIFA (similar to IOC)
They fiddle on the looks of balls, the playoff system and the time of day when to play (in order to maximize TV money)
But what is "off site" or what is a foul etc is not changed often.
The only changes I remember for the past 60 years is 3 instead of 1 or2 replacements per play and yellow cards.

Steve Sailer said...

Many Americans feel the urge to fiddle with the rules of soccer to make it more like American sports (i.e., higher scoring, more TV-friendly, and more black-dominated). Americans find it frustrating that it's structurally hard to change the rules of soccer to make it more "modern."

And yet soccer seems to be doing fine without American fiddling with its rules.

Stevie boy Lawrence said...

6. Gareth Bale, Wales, Neanderthal.

Junior Baiano said...

The offside rule has changed (can't remember exactly when - maybe 60 years ago) from requiring three opponents ahead of you to two, and what constitutes offside (level with the defender, 'daylight' between you and him, and offside but inactive and/or retreating to an onside position being permitted) have all changed in recent years. May sound marginal, but it's pretty important in a footballing context.

And in 1991 goalkeepers were forbidden to handle the ball if it is passed to them (with the feet) by a team-mate. That was a significant change.

But yes, essentially the laws of the game are set in stone and have not really changed in the last 120 years. Not sure that is so different from most sports though.

Nick Diaz said...

@Steve Sailer

"Many Americans feel the urge to fiddle with the rules of soccer to make it more like American sports (i.e., higher scoring, more TV-friendly, and more black-dominated). Americans find it frustrating that it's structurally hard to change the rules of soccer to make it more "modern."

This is utterly bizarre. How is the amount of scoring in any way related to how enjoyable a sport is? In a sport with a lot of scoring like basketball, each time a score happens it is far less thrilling. I actually think the low amount of scoring in soccer makes it better as the build-up and tension every time the players are close to the goal is epic.

And the whole black thing is even more bizarre. Americans seem to equate explosiveness and sheer size of the athletes with how "good" a sport is. Basically, how masculine the athletes appear to be. Boxing has the same dilema, and the heavyweight division has Always been the flagship because heavyweight fighters are perceived as being more masculine since size and weight are masculine attributes. The decline of boxing has a lot to do with the fact that there are no exciting heavyweight boxers anymore. The curent World Champion, Wladimir Klitschko, is a formidable technician, but his style is estremely boring as he uses jabs, his superior reach and defensive boxing to win every time. He almost never uses combinations, and almost never tries to counter his opponents with hooks and overhands due to the risk involved. But I digress..

I don't find size and strength all there is to an athlete, like American fans of NFL football do. To me, Bruce Lee was an amazing athlete and he was only 130 lbs. I see the whole Picture: strength, dexterity, skill, stamina, creativity, speed and creativity. American football, as a sport, is seriously lacking in most of those things.

"And yet soccer seems to be doing fine without American fiddling with its rules."

You got that right. Let's make it very clear: no American sport comes even CLOSE to the popularity of "soccer". Not even close.

Anonymous said...

Larry Nelson, 2-time major winner took up golf at 21 when he got back from Vietnam.

Dan in DC

Steve Sailer said...

Right, Larry Nelson. The other guy I had in mind was Calvin Peete, who didn't win a major, but won 12 times on tour.

Anonymous said...

Stanley Matthews was still a top player at the astonishing age of 50. Boxer father conditioned him from a young age. Out on his own for age still playing at like Donald Bradman was for cricketing stats.

Anonymous said...

Blogger Richard Brown said...
"Kaka is as white as you can get for a Brazilian. "

Zico, Lucas Leiva, and Tiago Splitter (NBA) beg to disagree.

Anonymous said...

"Blogger Georg said...
@Steve Sailer,
But what is "off site" or what is a foul etc is not changed often.
The only changes I remember for the past 60 years is 3 instead of 1 or2 replacements per play and yellow cards."

There are a bunch of fairly recent rule changes:

The back-pass to the goalkeeper rule (the GK may not touch the ball with his hands but must play it as a field player to minimize time wasting) was changed not that many years ago.

Flopping is punished by a yellow card - though not always enforced because it requires obvious intent.

The way fouls are called - going studs-up into someone's leg is pretty much an automatic red, especially when done from behind.


Steve Sailer said...

Here's Larry Nelson saying Calvin Peete is the only other guy he can think of on tour to first take up golf when full grown:

http://www.golfdigest.com/magazine/2008-05/myshot_nelson

Anonymous said...

Dave Pinsen said...
"Soccer only allows 3 substitutions per game. If they changed the rules to allow unlimited substitutions, teams could field players with more sprinting ability and less endurance."

In the US, unlimited substitutions are allowed at many lower (youth) leagues. They're still dominated by whites and, in some areas, Latino, players, though that is probably partly due to the popularity of soccer among urban blacks (i.e., low).
The blacks on good youth teams tend to be 1) strikers (a position that allows lolling most of the game and occasional sprints to beat 1-2 defenders to the goal), and 2) African-born.

"Incidentally, Usain Bolt is a Manchester United fan, and says he'd like to play for them when he retires from sprinting. That would be interesting to see."

You will never, ever see it, except perhaps as a circus act in a charity game. Bolt is delusional, unless this is purely a publicity stunt.

Chad Johnson/Ochocinco (NFL wide receiver) actually played soccer in high school and is really fast and athletic (a must for an NFL WR, quite a few of whom are not that much slower than elite sprinters). He tried out for an MLS team a few years ago and wasn't even close to making the team. The chasm between a good HS soccer player and a professional, even in a mediocre league like MLS, is vast.

sunbeam said...

stari_momak wrote:

"Rugby offers another interesting perspective. The sport remains largely white/Pacific Islander. Very limited substitutions, not nearly the specialization seen in American football, seem to be why in places like South Africa and the UK blacks haven't made much of an impact. In other words, it's a sport where you want 7/11 or 10/15 of your players to be a US football tight end."

I see comments on here that don't seem to gibe with real world observables, and things I've read in other places that seem to be factual.

Let me explain.

Okay recently on this site I read a post by Steve Sailer about the actual lack of genetic diversity among sub-saharan blacks. They are just one big Bantu family, with curious outliers like Pygmies, click language speakers, dinka, and the like.

But the observable is the "specialization" in running events. You know the West Africans for sprints, the East for endurance races. I think I read there was even a small group superbly adapted to middle distances.

Now as far as I have read, the South African Olympic basketball team would probably be mostly white, because all the blacks in country are distance adapted.

Is this wrong? And how does variation within the sub-saharan group jibe with the thesis that Africa actually lacks genetic diversity?

And as an aside, I've put this comment up before: Is there any population in the world that has genetic adaptions that greatly enhance ability in sprinting events, other than West Africans?

I ask because I draw a blank on anyone else having this sort of advantage in sprints.

Seems like a genetic cul-de-sac in a way, it sure seems to me it is something that is a by product of malaria resistance, and not something useful for survival generally.

There are multiple genetic adaptions for malaria resistance in populations worldwide.

If running really fast were actually that useful for hunter gatherers, shouldn't we see other populations in the world with this trait?

Instead adaption to endurance events is common, and the West African sprint advantage a real anomaly.

Anonymous said...

'Keepers used to be limited to certain colours and I think forbidden from wearing short sleeves so the ref could easily pick out the one guy legally allowed to handle the ball.

And ties (draws) used to result in replays, none of this extra time and inevitable penalty kicks nonsense - penalty kicks and flopping around as if shot being probably the most galling aspects of the game to a North American.

dearieme said...

The rules don't change much because the founding body, the Football Association, adopted the Cambridge University rules: so obviously near-perfect.

Anonymous said...

http://www.newrepublic.com/article/117922/elliot-rodger-race-isla-vista-shooter-was-not-just-white-guy-killer

Anonymous said...

http://www.newrepublic.com/article/117764/misha-defonseca-pays-22-million-history-fake-holocaust-memoir

Anonymous said...

http://www.newrepublic.com/article/117828/why-teaching-kids-grit-works-kipp-teacher-responds

Anonymous said...

http://stuartschneiderman.blogspot.com/2014/05/diversity-in-valley.html

Anonymous said...

For all you out there who love to complain when Americans, and certain others, call “Football”, “Soccer”, you should know that it was the British that invented the word and it was also one of the first names of what we now primarily know of as “Football”.
In fact, in the early days of the sport among the upper echelons of British society, the proper term for the sport was “Soccer”. Not only that, but the sport being referred to as “Soccer” preceded the first recorded instance of it being called by the singular word “Football” by about 18 years, with the latter happening when it became more popular with the middle and lower class. When that happened, the term “Football” gradually began dominating over “Soccer” and the then official name “Association Football

Anonymous said...

There was a huge change in the offside law which meant that you could be in an offside position and interfering with play but not be called out on it if you played for a big club.

It wasn't strictly written like that but that is how it turned out.

Anonymous said...

Goalkeepers were limited to 4 colours except Lev Yashin who always wore his lucky black. Now it does not matter if all goalkeeper's colours clashes with the opponents or with the officials.

peterike said...

I always enjoy how any soccer post brings out all the ardent soccer defenders raving about their dull game.

Well I don't care about sports in general. Though it's nice to see that Europeans are just as distracted as Americans by bread-and-circuses while their nations are stolen from them.

Jonny Wilkinson said...

Soccer is 90 minutes of pretending you are hurt.

Rugby is 80 minutes of pretending your aren't.

Anonymous said...

Steve,

Interesting facts and observations, but then what explains popularity of mostly-black NFL and mostly-black NBA among white fans in the US? I can understand whites liking the physical aspects of football, but why they love the NBA is a mystery to me.

Anonymous said...

"As others have pointed out, you are using an odd definition of white to reach your conclusion. Under your one drop rule, even the NFL and NBA would be primarily white."

The point is that Steve is not employing the "one drop rule." He's judging players according to the preponderance of their ancestry.

Anonymous said...

You don't have too many of them, thankfully, but this has to count as one of your less informed posts. White soccer players and managers can be more successful only to the extent that a 90-minute game of soccer requires greater long term planning. Even African teams have mostly white managers, but there are a large number of first generation Africans playing for European teams, especially France, and they have been fairly successful and many of them are considered greats. Brains and regimental discipline can go a long way into turning even a mediocre soccer team into world champion beaters, but too much planning and tactics will give you the super-boring long ball game of the 1980s that Norway I think excelled at, and they managed to do quite well despite having a shitty team. Neutral football fans all over the world love Brazil and Argentina not because they are partly white (although the Argentinians are whiter than Brazilians) but because they play really attractive football. And yeah, white soccer players certainly look more human than neanderthal looking rugby players. What I really wish they would change are the foul rules. In today's soccer, they are just a wimpy bunch where even the slightest body contact can be a foul. Gone are the glory days of the 70s when soccer was far more physical and violent. And the sliding tackle, I miss that!

Anonymous said...

Blacks seem fairly well represented in the teams of countries where soccer is popular and blacks are a substantial fraction of the population. The Brazilian team is largely mulatto, with good representation of both black and white players. Ronaldinho, Ronaldo, Neymar and Romário are claerly mullatto, and the best of all time, Pelé, is very black.

slumber_j said...

Anonymous said: "And ties (draws) used to result in replays, none of this extra time and inevitable penalty kicks nonsense - penalty kicks and flopping around as if shot being probably the most galling aspects of the game to a North American."

I think that's right. I'd add the low scoring--not as a function of diminished excitement, etc., but because it makes the awarding of a penalty kick (in the event of an actual penalty, I mean) have such a potentially huge effect on the outcome. Refereeing can too easily become the central factor in who wins the game.

If by using them he means to insult US sports fans, Nick Diaz should lose the quotes around the words "soccer" and "football" by the way. There are many sports called football, of which American football is one. And of course the expression"soccer" originated in England.

Anonymous said...

http://www.spiked-online.com/newsite/article/its-official-britain-is-now-run-by-an-oligarchy/15064#.U4dFHXJdVA0

http://www.spiked-online.com/newsite/article/whats-worse-for-the-left-than-ukip-labour/15075#.U4dFWXJdVA1

Anonymous said...

I love the people castigating Steve for bringing up soccer and whiteness.

I was bored last night and watched HBO's Real Sports. Hi yella Bryant Gumbal followed up on a story from 2005 about racist Euro soccer fans making chimp noises and throwing bananas at the black players. Here we are 9 years later, and nothing has changed.

My favorite part was when Gumbal bearded a BNP politician handing out flyers at the local soccer game. The pol said he didn't want any black players in British football. Gumbal countered that, if they were born and brought up there, they were British. Politician replied, "If a dog is born in a stable, it's not a horse, but still a dog."

Anonymous said...

Soccer is intensely boring to Americans because almost all the "action" leads to absolutely nothing. A complete waste of effort. One team can dominate the whole game and lose 1-0 due to the other team getting a lucky fast break. How frustratingly absurd.

Anonymous said...

No Nordic nation qualified for the World Cup in Brazil.

Germany, Holland, England.

Thursday said...

I always thought soccer would be less boring if there were more substitutions.

Anonymous said...

The technical demands of football are too high for the sport ever to be dominated by blacks. For the same reason there are still a lot of white players at the top of baseball.

Wasn't Pele the greatest player every?

Anonymous said...

Kaka is as white as you can get for a Brazilian.

What about Gisele Bundchen?

FirkinRidiculous said...

Bale is 90%, 10% monkey.

d said...

"The decline of boxing has a lot to do with the fact that there are no exciting heavyweight boxers anymore."

This is so wrong, I don't know where to begin. Boxing has been in decline in the US since the early 1960s. Clay/Ali was a freak, sui generis. Class plays a part in this: with the rise of the postwar middle class, guys beating each other to a pulp and occasionally killing each other became unpopular. After a televised ring death (Bernie "Kid" Paret - look it up), boxing was taken of TV due to public disgust. Without TV in the modern world, you are dead.

Cricket is, as dearieme says, a mostly black and brown sport nowadays, and outside of its enclaves, devoid of glamor.

As for American sports being terrible because they require freak characteristics, baseball doesn't. This is bullshit. And baseball is popular outside the US - in Japan, Latin America. You've heard of a place called Latin America, Mr. Diaz?

I do happen to hate American prof football, which I consider to be a completely unentertaining exercise in thuggery and brain damage. I really loathe it.

I wish someone would explain whether the rules in football can be changed to make the play more continuous, to make the tackles less damaging. I don't know anything about football - does this have to d with tackling technique?
Making the play more continuous and cutting down on brain-damaging play would improve the sport for spectators and players alike.

Anonymous said...

"FIFA could change the rules to make soccer more a test of explosiveness and sprinting ability"

No better example if institutional racism than the offsides rule.

OK a bit of a joke. But is comparing anything to the NFL worthwhile? If you look at the level of physical abuse and brain damage NFL players get, you have of figure the large number of poor blacks involved is because of the terrible health consequences. Basically most white people do not want their kids involved in contact football. I also think their might be a health insurance aspect. Poorer whites just avoid football because they can't afford to pay for their kids injuries. Extremely poor people get basic care for free with no fear of medical debts.

Anonymous said...

Here's Larry Nelson saying Calvin Peete is the only other guy he can think of on tour to first take up golf when full grown:

There is Y.E. Yang, the South Korean guy who upset Tiger Woods at the 2009 PGA Championship, which was also the only time Woods blew a third round lead at a major. Yang never played golf until he was 19 years old and is self-taught.

BB753 said...

Steve, you´re right about Cristiano Ronaldo´s great-grandmother. But as Cape Verdeans themselves are mixed and not 100% black, that makes him mostly southern European.
Steve, you´re wrong about Messi: he´s a light complexioned mestizo, just google his mother. And he´s notoriously dim.
Neymar´s father isn´t Black, he´s a mix, probably less than 50% black. That makes him "pardo" in Brazil, not even mulatto.
AS for Falcao, he´s tri-racial, predominantly amerindian is my guess.
Aguero and Suarez: mestizos, with some black thrown in in the latter.
Strangely, Fernando Silva´s mother is half japanese. Here´s a family picture:
http://www.mujerhoy.com/corazon/paparazzi/fernando-jimenez-silva-recuerdos-685988062012.html

Kaka, like many upper-class old-stock Brazilians, has possibly some remote amerindian ancestry. S. Euro phenotype, though.

Anonymous said...

American sports are terrible: they require you to be 350 lbs and obese with no stamina, or a 7'3 bean pole to even have a chance at scoring. Add to that the absurd intervals of several minutes for every few seconds of action and you have a snooze fest.

You need to study up on football and basketball, buddy. No one who weighs 350 lbs. scores in football, except the rare nose tackle recovering a fumble that maybe happens twice in an entire NFL season which consists of over 500 regular season games. In basketball the era of the freakishly tall 7ft 3 inch center is dead and buried and has been for some time, dominant super tall centers had their heyday long ago, O'Neal was probably the last of his breed. He was even an anachronism the last half of his career. The general point is correct, football and basketball do require much larger than average athletes than soccer, but the biggest of the big don't dominate scoring in either sport.

Anonymous said...

Look at what's happened to interest in track & field over the decades as East Africans have come to dominate the endurance races and the West African diaspora the sprints.


Correlation is not causation. Sports rise and fall in popularity for complicated and varied reasons. Bowling used to be a huge sport in the US, and the top bowlers made very big money. Today it's a bit of a joke.

Anonymous said...

Cristiano Ronaldo is white, but not very white looking, even for a Portuguese. He looks nothing like Tim Tebow, who looks like a standard northern European with dark brown hair. Ronaldo has a bit of an ethnic look to him.

Power Child said...

@daniel:

No, the most fit athletes, and those with the best physiques, are water polo players. Those guys are beasts.

Anyway, the social component of team sports probably accounts for more than we're talking about. Plenty of black people (esp. East Africans) have great endurance, for example, and surely there are enough black kids with middle-class backgrounds who can afford the specialized gear and weird practice times for a sport like ice hockey.

But what black kid wants to go hang around a bunch of white kids on the hockey team and then get called an oreo or an Uncle Tom by other black kids?

Anonymous said...

About half of the players you identified as White are, in fact, mestizo, in looks and ancestry.


You're full of it. Unless you're counting people who are half-European and half-Japanese as "mestizo", in which case you're both full of it and stupid to boot.

Anonymous said...

I think part of it is that Koreans and SWPLs have a better chance of competing in soccer than in say basketball or football.

Anonymous said...

The technical demands of football are too high for the sport ever to be dominated by blacks. For the same reason there are still a lot of white players at the top of baseball.

Soccer is nothing like baseball. It's much more like basketball.

I suspect basketball players, from point guards like Chris Paul to players like LeBron James would do much better at soccer than baseball.

Anonymous said...

At least half the players have non-european ancestry.


There are some staggeringly stupid people commenting here. Nineteen of the twenty have European ancestry.

Perhaps what you were attempting to say was "At least half of the players are not entirely of European ancestry". That's still deeply silly, but I suppose you could come up with some theory that e.g Kaka must be not entirely white. You'd never prove it in a millions years, but it's not as self-evidently false as what you came out with.

Anonymous said...

And soccer the way it is demands intelligence and dedicated practice, not just raw athletic ability and muscle. Which is why the table looks the way it does.

Basketball and football take intelligence and practice.

Pele and Maradona were complete morons but among the best in the game.

Anonymous said...

Soccer players are the most fit professional athletes. They have the best physiques too.

No way. They're in great shape, but they have manlet physiques.

Anonymous said...

To claim that white guys aren't white if they were born in South America is like claiming that Oscar Pistorius or F. W. de Klerk can't be white because they were born in Africa.

McGillicuddy said...


The love-affair with soccer, in Europe and Latin America and on this thread, annoys the hell out of me. It's basically a wussier and more poorly-designed version of ice hockey. It has all the faults of hockey, only more exaggerated—too dependent on chance because it is so low-scoring and just generally an imprecise game, and almost devoid of strategy. The penalty shots (which determined the winner of the 2006 World Cup!) are an absolute joke. Otherwise it's just a much slower and less-elegant version of hockey. And did I mention wussier?

Why tough-guy chavs identify with athletes who go down like they've been shot every time someone breathes on them is a mystery to me.

As for the popularity of track and field, I think that in Britain it is still a huge deal. My family was in London during the 2012 Olympics, and they said that the pub crowd exploded in celebration when Usain Bolt broke the 100 meter record.

I'm also not sure about your ideas about the level of endurance required for soccer. I don't really follow the NBA at all, but it seems to me that the amount of player substitution in an NBA game is not that different than what goes on in a typical European soccer game. The games are shorter, as is the court, but the players are still out there for extended periods (sometimes whole games) and the amount of exertion is probably pretty close.






Anonymous said...

I'm not sure about this. A lot of NBA players would probably be great soccer players. From point guards like Tony Parker and Chris Paul, to taller players like Russell Westbrook and Lebron James.

Just consider how Peter Crouch was able to be a soccer pro and national team player for England. He is a 6'7" forward who relies on his height advantage, but is much slower and less agile than someone like Lebron James, who is also 6'7". Someone like Lebron James or any other pro shooting guard or forward around his size would be better than Crouch, who is a Premier League and English national team player. Someone like James would have much quicker, longer strides and would dominate on set pieces, which is a major part of the game.

Anonymous said...

American Football is a game of set pieces which in turn means the players have no initiative as the plays are all decided by the coaches. Soccer and Rugby require considerable player initiative as once the game starts the coach can't do much. Hockey and basketball are in between with basketball coaches almost being a 6th player.

American Football is also over refereed, with an obsession about correct calls.

Formal soccer and rugby are more fun to play. Outside of the school - college - pro does anyone play tackle football with equipment and the 6 ro 7 referees?

5371 said...


Someone will be made #1 pick in the NBA draft just a couple of years after first playing basketball. That would be unthinkable in football, baseball or cricket.

Anonymous said...

"FIFA could change the rules to make soccer more a test of explosiveness and sprinting ability, like American sports, which tend to favor blacks of West African descent. But, the world seems pretty happy with soccer the way it is."

Appenrently the French didn't get that memo.
http://i.imgur.com/OosWp.png

Wait, there's a guy named Kaka? I tought it was a word found in every language and with the same meaning just like OK is.

David B said...

Someone said 'Cricket is much whiter than soccer, and yet it is far less popular'.

Not in India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka it isn't. Cricket is/was also very popular in the (ex-British) West Indies, who had a dominating international team in the 70s and 80s, though for some reason not so much recently.

The common denominator is of course that these are all former British colonies, as are Australia, NZ, and S Africa. Cricket has never really caught on anywhere else, though countries like Holland with a substantial population of Indo-Pak origin sometimes field a good international team.

Equally, baseball, though also of British origin (one of the first printed references is by Jane Austen) has never really caught on outside the American sphere of influence.

Soccer is by far the most 'global' field team game. Rugby (under Rugby Union rules) also has a decent following outside the ex-British colonies, with strong teams in France and Argentina. Compared to American Football, Rugby requires less equipment, and probably less specialised training.

wiseguy said...

Since Tiago Splitter was mentioned, here's a quote from Bill Simmons' May 19 article:

Gregg Popovich has done everything short of admitting publicly, I like having as many foreign guys as possible, they're wired differently, they actually know how to play basketball, they didn't just pop out of some AAU factory like the rest of these schmucks.

So, effectively, Popovich and an ESPN basketball commentator think that the Spurs' remarkable success over the past fifteen years is due to racism.

I'm surprised that quote was allowed to be published.

wiseguy said...

You once theorized that openly gay athletes would turn out to be the ones who didn't necessarily need to work very hard at their sport due to having unique physical gifts; e.g. Jason Collins. (Michael Sam, as a DE/OLB would seem to contradict that theory.)

Well, here's a story in the Washington Post about a physically talented gay football player who never panned out due to a lack of interest in the game.

http://m.washingtonpost.com/sports/highschools/former-top-penn-state-recruit-antonio-logan-el-finds-peace-beyond-football-as-openly-gay-man/2014/05/28/c384abe2-e0f9-11e3-9743-bb9b59cde7b9_story.html

Not sure if I agree with your theory, but this story would seemingly support it.

ricpic said...

How do you explain the large loyal pro-football (American football) fan base, overwhelmingly white, rooting for their 70 plus percent black teams? The white fans/black players contrast is even more glaring in pro-basketball.

Anonymous said...

Not a huge football fan here, but I have to question how much you have watched it. Most plays don't come anywhere close to 30 seconds long of sprinting, and typically it is under a minute between plays, and can be much quicker depending on the offensive scheme being run. Not "several minutes" between plays as you claim other than for halftime or a time out.

The general point is correct though - football rules favor sprinters for skill positions and giants for lineman. The only position that is primarily intelligence based is quarterback. Soccer is a lot more equal in terms of who can play it, though not too many strikers have success without being quick and explosive and not too many goalies are good without being tall.

And yes, I am prob one of the few on this site to have played both sports.

Anonymous said...

Kind of funny how so many Brits and euros want America to just willy nilly change the constitution to ban private ownership of firearms would be up in arms over rule changes to soccer.

Pat Boyle said...

I just finished Jon Entine's "Taboo". This book is now 15 years old so thing's may have changed. In any case Entine accounts for the recent Dutch, French and Nigerian soccer success to their recent acquisition of African players. That was around 1990-1999.

Are whites making a come beck in soccer?

Pat Boyle

Anonymous said...

Wlad early in his career was very exciting and constantly threw combos and went for early knockouts. The problem was at his size, it gassed him out and allowed him to be countered, so Manny Steward changed that and made him fight like Lennox Lewis.

Vitali, on the other hand, was always super aggressive and threw a lot of combos constantly. He was much better at hitting people on the end of his punches and keeping distance, so he didnt get countered. He also paced himself better despite throwing a lot of punches for his size. Vitali had maybe four or five fights in his whole career go to a decision, so his being "boring" isn't the reason for boxing's decline in America. It has more to do with racist black fans, white fans, and nerdy sports media types who just can't fathom white heavyweights who destroy the best American blacks have to offer. The same thing happened to joe calzaghe, who was ridiculously entertaining to watch and who humiliated Hopkins and RJJ yet never for any credit for it in America.

If a black American was same size and style as vitali, the media would constantly talk about him and how great he is and American fans would buy his fights in droves. Luckily for the klitchkos, boxing is bigger than ever in Germany and most of Europe so they didnt need the American market to make huge paydays.

Anonymous said...

I can confirm that a relative of mine plays high school soccer and unlimited subs are allowed. The team and all the other good teams are dominated by whites, too.

jody said...

"One of the reasons soccer is so globally popular is that it's a pretty white sport"

bro...come on. not even close. ridiculously bad comment steve. i'm with you 95% of the time but that is absolute crap.

no, one of the reasons soccer is the number 1 sport in the world for both participation and spectator interest is NOT because it's a pretty white sport. dead wrong. could not be more wrong. it's the number 1 sport in almost every country and most of those places barely have any europeans - soccer is not a white sport, period. it's the top sport on earth and all groups play it.

that european peoples are pretty good at soccer has nothing to do with it's massive, worldwide appeal. all it says is that they are decent athletes since everybody is trying to win at this sport.

by the way, a guy named samuel eto'o was the highest paid player in the world from 2011 to 2013, only because he was african and the rich owner of a minor team could not sign one of the big name players, so he ludicrously overpaid the best african player he could get to make sure he signed with his team. it was a classic dan synder move. dramatically overpay a second rate free agent for underproduction, then a few years later, quietly let the deal expire.

Anonymous said...

Black players are hugely over-represented in the English Premier League, especially in forward positions, where pace over the first few yards is vital.

They're also hugely under-represented in management, administration, and TV commentating.

(The BBC's quest for an articulate, personable, camera-friendly black soccer pundit is like Captain Ahab's, but longer and less successful. Since Garth Crooks, a lovely guy but not a TV natural, took the hot seat in 2000, they've tried many - and the only truly successful one, Clarence Seedorf, is Dutch Guyanan, never played in the Premier League, and only works for the BBC covering international tournaments.)

Jewish representation in both club ownership and administration, pretty much non-existent 30 years ago (with the possible exception of Spurs, traditionally supported by North London Jews), has increased. The Football Association chairman is David Bernstein, who succeeded David Triesman. Apart from Spurs, Manchester United, Aston Villa and Chelsea are Jewish owned (though it must be said that Premiership clubs are increasingly owned by international businessmen/oligarchs, so those numbers may not be surprising).

Anonymous said...

Yes anon 1.18pm

Not much to do with football (soccer)but Calzaghe took on and beat everbody.His destruction of Jeff Lacy being the highlight of his career.Reminded me a lot of Joey Giardello's demolition of Reuben "Hurricane" Carter.(watch both on youtube)

Anonymous said...

"by the way, a guy named samuel eto'o was the highest paid player in the world from 2011 to 2013"

He played for a Dagestan team owned by a billionaire oligarch. The whole thing sounded a bit Checheny (the megastar players would fly into town, play, and fly out again).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FC_Anzhi_Makhachkala

Whiskey said...

It would seem that America and Europe mistly Black sports have higher followings than mostly White. Frances soccer team has almost no Whites all Blacks. Far more popular than hockey.

Anonymous said...

A lot of NBA players would probably be great soccer players.


Which just goes to how that a lot of Americans don't have a clue about soccer. It's not a sport which is congenial to tall guys. And it is a sport which you have to learn at a very early age to get good at - unlike basketball, which some people take up in their late teens and became NBA stars.

Anonymous said...

Kaka is as white as you can get for a Brazilian


You could have left out the words "for a Brazilian".

jody said...

"FIFA could change the rules to make soccer more a test of explosiveness and sprinting ability"

why? why would they do that? to make the game less interesting? more boring? to make it so that soccer players could still be slower than track & field athletes?

oh yeah. there already is a sport for that. it's called...track & field.

maybe they should change the rules in the NFL to make it so that slow guys who can't jump, like calvin johnson and adrian peterson, get beat out by fast guys who can jump, like track sprinters and jumpers.

oh, that's right. NFL players are slow. and can't jump. compared to track & field guys. every 'fast' player in the NFL is actually pretty slow. now, this doesn't bother me, and i never really think about it, except when suburban dorks start talking about how fast and strong and explosive NFL players are. which they aren't, compared to the actual fast and strong and explosive athletes. i doubt one guy in the NFL can lift 400 overhead or squat 800, decent but hardly world beating performances.

NFL players are slow, weak, and don't jump that high, relatively speaking, and i'm fine with that. the rules of the sport make for a great game. and it's my favorite, or was, until the cultural marxists took over the league.

Anonymous said...

Which just goes to how that a lot of Americans don't have a clue about soccer. It's not a sport which is congenial to tall guys. And it is a sport which you have to learn at a very early age to get good at - unlike basketball, which some people take up in their late teens and became NBA stars.

I think you have no clue about basketball. Simply being tall doesn't make you good at basketball. The best players are tall and athletic. There's a tremendous advantage to being tall, large, and athleic with the speed and agility of shorter, smaller people. It's just that taller, larger people in general tend to be slower and clumsier. Basketball is unique in that you can find players who are very tall and large and yet very agile, quick, and coordinated.

Most NBA stars take up the game when they're young. This is nothing unique to soccer.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure that fewer substitutions make a huge difference and make it that much more of an endurance sport. Most of the players are walking around most of the time in a soccer match.

Anonymous said...

The Mexicans i know follow Mexican soccer religiously and don't pay much attention to European soccer unless there's a Mexican player involved.

Anonymous said...

Which just goes to how that a lot of Americans don't have a clue about soccer. It's not a sport which is congenial to tall guys.

Peter Crouch, the 6'7" forward, is pretty slow and not that agile, and yet is able to play pretty decently at a top level because he has a huge height advantage and is able to push defenders around since so many soccer players are manlets. Someone like Lebron James, who's bigger and more athletic than Crouch, would be much better than Crouch.

Anonymous said...

oh, that's right. NFL players are slow. and can't jump. compared to track & field guys. every 'fast' player in the NFL is actually pretty slow. now, this doesn't bother me, and i never really think about it, except when suburban dorks start talking about how fast and strong and explosive NFL players are. which they aren't, compared to the actual fast and strong and explosive athletes. i doubt one guy in the NFL can lift 400 overhead or squat 800, decent but hardly world beating performances.


You don't have to be a suburban dork to know that NFL players are fast, strong, and explosive. If you've played decent quality high school or college ball, you know. The fact that they're slower or weaker than specialists like sprinters and weightlifters doesn't mean they're slow and weak. Making big lifts is a specialized sport that requires specialized, exclusive training to build up to big lifts.

Anonymous said...

American Football is a game of set pieces which in turn means the players have no initiative as the plays are all decided by the coaches. Soccer and Rugby require considerable player initiative as once the game starts the coach can't do much

There are fewer "plays" in soccer though, since possession changes constantly without any play developing.

Anonymous said...

Wasn't Pele the greatest player every?


No, Maradonna was. Pele is simply the soccer player most widely known to Americans.

Anonymous said...

@McGillicuddy:
Blame the rules for flopping, not some mysterious character flaw unique to soccer players.
When the NBA started rewarding flopping, players started flopping too. If you could get an extra set of downs in football by flopping, there would be flopping there too.

Despite the soccer rules encouraging flopping, especially in the penalty area, some players (NB: Messi) refuse to flop.

Anonymous said...

Peter Crouch, the 6'7" forward, is pretty slow and not that agile, and yet is able to play pretty decently at a top level because he has a huge height advantage


His "height advantage" has absolutely nothing to do with his ability as a player. If he was six feet even he'd be as good a player, maybe even better.

Anonymous said...

@wiseguy:
Popovich and Simmons can claim that some of these international players are (half) black or "hispanic", therefore no racism.

Anonymous said...

Agreed. Boxing has been in large part ruined by the PPV system set up originally by don king. It made for good short term money, but destroyed interest in the sport for everyone but a handful of fighters in all weight classes. Imagine how popular the nba or nfl would be if it was ppv only!

And like I posted above, vitali klitchko was ridiculously entertaining for a big heavyweight. Constantly aggressive and attacking, and had a handful of fights in his whole career go the distance. Here is one example, and this was on hbo! American media and racist American fans just don't like a white guy destroying their great black hopes - and the same was true for Calzaghe. The same will be true for Golovkin and kovalev, who are now the best and most entertaining in the world at 160 and 175 lbs and will continue to be ducked by black American fighters.

Video: vitali vs Kirk Johnson:

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=s0qFFpziupA

Anonymous said...

I think you have no clue about basketball. Simply being tall doesn't make you good at basketball. The best players are tall and athletic.


Not just tall, but athletic! Nice of you to clear that up.

Hakeem Olajuwon did not start playing basketball until his late teens. In spite of this he was able to go on to be one of the greatest centers in NBA history. Because in basketball being tall and athletic is more important than mastering the basic skills of the game at an early age. In soccer, it's not. In soccer you need a more comprehensive collection of traits than mere;y being tall and "athletic".

Anonymous said...

Yes! Do you remember when Jeff lacy went to fight calzaghe in Britain, and literally 100 percent of the American media said lacy would win via ko? Then when lacy was beaten to the point of his career being ruined, the media dismissed lacy as not being any good!

America media is very racist toward white boxers, and this is just one of many examples. The problem the media will have though is that boxing is getting even more white and this will continue due to vastly superior coaching and amateur systems in Eastern Europe vs America. The best middleweight and best light heavy now are white, and they are being ducked by all the American fighters. Ok...I guess golovkin technically is part Asian since he is kazak....

Anonymous said...

Interesting facts and observations, but then what explains popularity of mostly-black NFL and mostly-black NBA among white fans in the US? I can understand whites liking the physical aspects of football, but why they love the NBA is a mystery to me.

The white fan base for the NBA has actually declined a bit. But at any rate, it's not that complicated. If you grow up in the US, basketball is one of the sports you play and get exposed to, even if it's just shooting hoops in the driveway or playing pickup in the park. Most American men have played some basketball in some fashion or other, and consider it a pretty fun game, even if they don't follow it or play it a lot. From this exposure, it's not that big of a leap to follow or occasionally watch the NBA.

Also, the NFL and NBA didn't become black overnight. It was gradual.

Dave Pinsen said...

Steve Nash grew up playing soccer. His brother played on Canada's national team. He probably could have played professionally. I'm guessing Ricky Rubio could too. And neither of them is as tall as Zlatan.

Anonymous said...

Hakeem Olajuwon did not start playing basketball until his late teens. In spite of this he was able to go on to be one of the greatest centers in NBA history. Because in basketball being tall and athletic is more important than mastering the basic skills of the game at an early age. In soccer, it's not. In soccer you need a more comprehensive collection of traits than mere;y being tall and "athletic".

Olajuwon was very skilled. That in addition to his size and athleticism, made him one of the best centers ever.

Both skill and size and athletic ability matter in every sport. It's just that in soccer, most of the players are 5'8" and 150 lbs. with similar athletic ability, so the only way they distinguish themselves is through skill.

Dave Pinsen said...

Height / leaping ability seems to be useful in soccer in enabling a player to get a head on the ball when there's a high corner kick.

Anonymous said...

Steve Nash grew up playing soccer. His brother played on Canada's national team. He probably could have played professionally. I'm guessing Ricky Rubio could too. And neither of them is as tall as Zlatan.

Right. NBA and college point guards would probably be excellent soccer players. Rubio is also like 6'4" and 6'5", which would give him a big advantage.

Anonymous said...

His "height advantage" has absolutely nothing to do with his ability as a player. If he was six feet even he'd be as good a player, maybe even better.

It absolutely does. He's a stiff whose height and size helps push around smaller, faster players and do decently on set pieces.

Anonymous said...

"Hakeem Olajuwon did not start playing basketball until his late teens. In spite of this he was able to go on to be one of the greatest centers in NBA history. Because in basketball being tall and athletic is more important than mastering the basic skills of the game at an early age. In soccer, it's not. In soccer you need a more comprehensive collection of traits than mere;y being tall and "athletic"."

To add to this, the overall #1 NBA pick this year will be a 7-footer (Embiid from Cameroon) who's only played basketball a few years.
Olajuwon (Nigeria) and Duncan (USVI) were likewise #1 picks despite picking up a basketball for the first time in their mid-teens. Both 7-footers or nearly so.
Now, that does not mean that they were unskilled - both became very skilled over the years.

The point is, in soccer or tennis (or other skill sports) it would be impossible to crack the elite level with such a late start.

There have been other NBA 7-foot #1 picks who've had scant basketball experience, but were less successful or outright flops (e.g. Olowokandi, born in Nigeria, who began playing basketball at 18).

On the other hand, the shorter basketball players have to be extremely skilled from an early age to make it to the NBA. The chances of making it in the NBA double with every inch of height after 6 feet to the point where if you're a reasonably coordinated 7-footer, you have something like 1-in-4 chance of playing in the NBA. And of course, there have been only a handful of sub-six-footers in the league for many years.

Steve Sailer said...

Olajuwon worked hard on developing his skills as an adult, especially after he rededicated himself to Islam in his later 20s when he changed his name from Akeem to Hakeem. Thus, he's unusual in that he had an early peak and a late peak in his NBA career.

Anonymous said...

Dave Pinsen said...
"Steve Nash grew up playing soccer. His brother played on Canada's national team. He probably could have played professionally. I'm guessing Ricky Rubio could too. And neither of them is as tall as Zlatan."

Steve Nash is an example of a "short" (and "slow/unathletic"* - i.e. white) player who makes it to the NBA and becomes the MVP, twice, despite starting relatively late.

*I hate how athleticism in the U.S. is described on West African terms - if you can't jump 38" or run the 40 under 4.4, you are "unathletic". Even if you're a wonderful all-around athlete who could've probably succeeded in many sports and won the NBA MVP twice despite being a 6-1 white guy in his 30s.

Anonymous said...

McGillicuddy said...
"The love-affair with soccer, in Europe and Latin America and on this thread, annoys the hell out of me. It's basically a wussier and more poorly-designed version of ice hockey. It has all the faults of hockey, only more exaggerated—too dependent on chance because it is so low-scoring and just generally an imprecise game, and almost devoid of strategy. The penalty shots (which determined the winner of the 2006 World Cup!) are an absolute joke. Otherwise it's just a much slower and less-elegant version of hockey. And did I mention wussier? "

OK, we get it, you hate soccer. You obviously don't know much about it and have never played it. It's a very physically tough game. Just because the players hit each other with their feet, knees, hips, and elbows, rather than hands or helmeted heads does not mean there is less physicality. I'd much rather be hard tackled football-style than cleated in the shin soccer style.

I'm not putting down hockey or football, but all the protective gear makes it much easier to be "tough", and it sounds much more impressive when plastic hits plastic, rather than flesh hitting flesh.

This is precisely the reason why the sound of punching someone in movies and TV is made up to sound like a "boom", because otherwise it makes virtually no sound, or a wet slapping sound.

I don't like the rolling on the ground antics in soccer either, those are the rules that the players are exploiting. The fault is with FIFA. The MLS this season started fining players for flopping, and there is generally less of it here.

Anonymous said...

He's a stiff whose height and size helps push around smaller, faster players and do decently on set pieces.


If your contention were correct than Crouch should score most of his goals with his head. And he doesn't. In fact he's not a particularly good set piece player. Nor does he "push around" smaller players - not surprising, as he weighs just 165 lbs, the same as those smaller players.

Anonymous said...

""""""Wasn't Pele the greatest player every?


No, Maradonna was."""""


Now that's a lie.

MESSI IS the greatest.

Anonymous said...

Wow, reading this list and you realize just how badly underpaid the Women's national team in their pro leagues are underpaid.

Hope Solo, Alex Morgan, Abby Wambach all earn around a million per and that's considered to be paltry, almost pauperism.

Wow.

Guess Title IX can only take you so far.

Anonymous said...

Olajuwon was very skilled. That in addition to his size and athleticism, made him one of the best centers ever.


You keep quoting things I say and then appending your own remarks to them as if you're responding to me, when the things you say have nothing at all to do what what I've said.

It's as if I said "Everest is the highest mountain on Earth" and you came back with "No, the Amazon is the longest river!"

Anonymous said...

Steve Nash is an example of a "short" (and "slow/unathletic"* - i.e. white) player who makes it to the NBA and becomes the MVP, twice, despite starting relatively late.

Nash did not start basketball late. He grew up playing basketball, and was a star basketball player in high school in Canada.

Nash is not unusual, since there have always been good white NBA point guards.

Anonymous said...

Blogger Steve Sailer said...
"Olajuwon worked hard on developing his skills as an adult, especially after he rededicated himself to Islam in his later 20s when he changed his name from Akeem to Hakeem. Thus, he's unusual in that he had an early peak and a late peak in his NBA career."

Very true, but the point remains that the NBA (and perhaps the NFL) are the only major team sports I can think of where raw talent is enough to get selected high in the draft - even at #1 in the case of the NBA.

The number of raw, but athletic, centers who went #1 in the NBA is quite long, from Joe Barry Carroll, to Olajuwon, to Shaq, to Olowokandi, to Kwame Brown, to Dwight Howard, to Greg Oden, to probably Joel Embiid this June. Their unifying characteristics were not being skilled at basketball, but being around 7-feet tall, athletic, and of West African ancestry.

That just can't happen in soccer, tennis, or any other skill sport.

Shaq arguably never developed much of a skillset, but was so overpowering that it did not matter. Quite a few others were busts.

Last year Cleveland even a selected a black Canadian at #1 who was "only" 6-8. And nobody could figure out this year whether he can play NBA basketball at all.

At least with the European/Asian 7-footers you can figure on their having some basketball skills, because they can't get by on pure athleticism and freakish wingspan, even at 7 feet.


Anonymous said...

If your contention were correct than Crouch should score most of his goals with his head. And he doesn't. In fact he's not a particularly good set piece player. Nor does he "push around" smaller players - not surprising, as he weighs just 165 lbs, the same as those smaller players.

There's a size advantage in general, even when not heading. You don't have to literally push people around to push them around. That's how a size advantage works. Your size is able to dictate the physical positioning of your opponents.

JB said...

They change the ball substantially for every World Cup, which strikes Americans as strange. American sports fiddle with the rules often, but the ball is more sacrosanct.

The ball remains the same. Only the color and the prints change. And it gets a special name, to allow producers to sell it as "the" World Cup ball.

That doesn't qualify as "substantial" for me.

JB said...

That makes him "pardo" in Brazil, not even mulatto.

"Pardo" is a general term for mixed-race people in Brazil. It includes mulattoes.

JBO said...

And baseball is popular outside the US - in Japan, Latin America. You've heard of a place called Latin America, Mr. Diaz?

There are a few Latin American nations, around the Caribbean coast, that are into baseball. It's completely nonexistent in the great South American nations, like Brazil, Argentina, Chile, etc. So to say it's popular in "Latin America" is, at the very least, inaccurate.

Anonymous said...

"Pardo" is a general term for mixed-race people in Brazil. It includes mulattoes.

And green-skinned cat-eyed mutants who can transform into giant black cats with death rays coming out of their eyes?

World Cup Willie said...

Peterike - don't be such a curmudgeon. You can work for the future of western civilisation with the utmost seriousness and still enjoy a little sport in your free time.

Football (soccer) captures the imagination of many people and offers a measure of escapism. I don't see anything wrong with that. And as this blog post discusses, it remains a substantially European sport where many others... aren't.

And I play as well as watch. Football is great exercise! You should play a game or two - it's addictive.

Hunsdon said...

Gennady Golovkin is not Kazakh. Gennady is a citizen of Kazakhstan, but his pops is Russian and his moms is Korean.

I am always happy to see references to the great Hakeem Olajuwon, who is my favorite center of all time. I find it odd, though, that so far no one has pointed out that he played soccer, a lot, as a kid in Nigeria.

Anonymous said...

There's a size advantage in general, even when not heading. You don't have to literally push people around to push them around. That's how a size advantage works. Your size is able to dictate the physical positioning of your opponents.


If that were true then it would be quite mysterious that bigger players do not predominate in soccer. In fact six feet seems to close to the practical upper limit in size, with many elite players coming in shorter than this. You're displaying classical American "bigger is better" thinking.

Here's Peter Crouch showing off his skills. His height is completely incidental to what he can do with the ball.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HRp6k9ZnaYM

Anonymous said...


If that were true then it would be quite mysterious that bigger players do not predominate in soccer. In fact six feet seems to close to the practical upper limit in size, with many elite players coming in shorter than this. You're displaying classical American "bigger is better" thinking.

Here's Peter Crouch showing off his skills. His height is completely incidental to what he can do with the ball.


Bigger is generally better, controlling for speed, agility, skill, etc.

Crouch's size isn't incidental at all. Having long strides can definitely be an advantage.

Anonymous said...

Bigger is generally better, controlling for speed, agility, skill, etc


It's like talking to a wall. Nothing penetrates.

Would you care to hazard a guess as to why all the soccer clubs in the world, several of which are multi-billion dollar entities, have not grasped something which is so obvious to you? Why do these fools doggedly persist in employing players six feet tall and under in spite of your brilliant insights about how bigger is generally better?

Anonymous said...

"""""""""""""Bigger is generally better, controlling for speed, agility, skill, etc """"""""""""


The world's greatest soccer player of this era, at least, Messi, is about 5'5" AT BEST.

Remember: Soccer isn't the NBA where you dribble shoot, shoot, shoot, make the three, make the three, wash rinse repeat. Sprint sprint.

Soccer is a marathon and height plays little relevance at all whatsoever re: Greatness.

Jefferson said...

"Kaka is as white as you can get for a Brazilian."

WRONG. Kaka is not as White as you can get for a Brazilian. Google Gisele Bundchen or Ana Hickmann for example. They look so White that they do not even look Mediterranean, they look like straight up Northern European WASPs.

Anonymous said...

Here's the height of the 20 highest paid soccer players listed above.

Cristiano Ronaldo - 6'1".

Lionel Messi - 5'7".

Zlatan Ibrahimovic - 6'5".

Neymar Jr - 5'9".

Radamel Falcao - 5'10".

Gareth Bale - 6'0".

Wayne Rooney - 5'9".

Sergio Aguero - 5'8".

Yaya Toure - 6'2".

Fernando Torres - 6'0".

Robin van Persie - 6'2".

Franck Ribery - 5'7".

Steven Gerrard - 6'0".

David Silva - 5'8".

Frank Lampard - 6'0".

Bastian Schweinsteiger - 6'0".

Mesut Ozil - 5'11".

Philipp Lahm - 5'7".

Kaka - 6'1".

Luis Suarez - 5'11".


Only Ibrahimovic, and perhaps van Persie, are what you'd call "tall".

Anonymous said...

"The penalty shots (which determined the winner of the 2006 World Cup!) are an absolute joke. Otherwise it's just a much slower and less-elegant version of hockey. And did I mention wussier? "

First, soccer players get injured at a higher rate than rugby players. There are probably many more broken legs in soccer than American football. When heads collide in soccer there is no helmut or face mask.

Penally shootouts were not really a part of soccer at the beginning. Each league in Europe has no playoffs and penalty shootouts except for promotion from the lower leagues.

The FA Cup never had shootouts until the late 80's I believe. They would have replays, sometimes up to 3 replays.

There were replays into the 70's in the European Cup. I don't know what year they stopped it off hand.

Soccer is much better to watch on tv than hockey. Hockey could be good in person, but it's hard to see the puck on tv.

Anonymous said...

Someone like James would have much quicker, longer strides and would dominate on set pieces, which is a major part of the game.

No way. Too big and slow. He would have almost no coordination for soccer.

He wouldn't have the touch. Black African teams just aren't that good. Nigeria is a huge country but they are mediocre at best.

Anonymous said...

I just finished Jon Entine's "Taboo". This book is now 15 years old so thing's may have changed. In any case Entine accounts for the recent Dutch, French and Nigerian soccer success to their recent acquisition of African players. That was around 1990-1999.

That book must be a joke. Even in 98 France had only 3 black starters in the final.

Few of the all time greats are black and Pele is more of a mulatto.

McGillicuddy said...


"OK, we get it, you hate soccer. You obviously don't know much about it and have never played it. It's a very physically tough game."

I'm definitely no soccer expert, but I did play for years as a young kid, and it was fun, but compared to hockey or football, it's not a "physically tough game" at all. You might get a few scrapes and bruises, but no more.

The reason that Soccer players don't wear all the protection that hockey and football players do is that they don't need it. Soccer players don't slid across ice in order to block the path of dense rubber discs moving at 90-100 miles-per-hour (it's not just goalies, skaters do this too). Soccer players are not allowed to separate an opposing player from the ball by crashing into him.

If I were put in the starting line-up of some English Premier League team, I would perform poorly and get really winded, but otherwise I would probably be fine. If I were put in the starting line-up of an NFL team, or given a regular shift on an NHL team, I would definitely get seriously hurt, maybe killed, protection or not.

But the wussiness of soccer was not really my main point. I just think that it's a terribly-designed sport. It obviously evolved from some children's game of keep-away, and it hasn't evolved much since.

poolside said...

I've posted this here before, but ...

I once participated in a soccer coaches clinic led by a MLS head coach.

One of the other participants was a former NBA player.

He obviously was more athletic than all us schlubs, but he struggled more than we did because his height and long legs made it difficult to dribble and possess the ball.

It was funny to see these short, fat, old men running circles around him.

Eventually, even he had to laugh at how much trouble he was having.

ATBOTL said...

"4. Neymar Jr., Brazil, black father and white mother"

More like triracial with triracial looking father and white looking mother.

ATBOTL said...

"FIFA could change the rules to make soccer more a test of explosiveness and sprinting ability, like American sports, which tend to favor blacks of West African descent. But, the world seems pretty happy with soccer the way it is."

How? Did you ever play soccer? You said before that the offsides rule penalizes speed when it does the opposite. Without that rule, attackers would spend the whole game as near to the opponent's goal as possible and ability to outrun defenders for a deep pass would be much less valuable. With the off side rule, a fast attacker has the advantage over a slow one because neither can be any closer to the goal than the defender is. It's like a sprint with the last non-goalie defender as the starting line and the whistle blows when the ball is kicked. See?

JBO said...

Google Gisele Bundchen or Ana Hickmann for example. They look so White that they do not even look Mediterranean, they look like straight up Northern European WASPs.

Because that's what they are: Northern European Germans. There are some 10 million German-descendants in Brazil. They are concentrated in the southern states; about a third of the population of southernmost state Rio Grande do Sul has a German surname. There, they even have their own language, developed out of the dialect spoken in the Hunsrück region of Germany: google "Riograndenser Hunsrückisch".

Dave Pinsen said...

"You might get a few scrapes and bruises, but no more."

Actually...

And just last week.

ATBOTL said...

"I wish someone would explain whether the rules in football can be changed to make the play more continuous, to make the tackles less damaging. I don't know anything about football - does this have to d with tackling technique?
Making the play more continuous and cutting down on brain-damaging play would improve the sport for spectators and players alike."

Making players play both ways would lead to smaller, more athletic players, more exciting broken plays going for big yardage and more separation in performance between the truly superior players and the rest. I think it would also lead to fewer injurious hits, as players tire and try to conserve strength.

Helmets and pads allow more aggressive type tackles than you see in rugby, where tacklers throw themselves through the air and knock the ball carrier down from impact rather than pulling/dragging.

American football is violent and many boys who try to play quit because they are psychologically weak. Players on the same team try to punish each other in practice to establish dominance.

It's nothing like soccer.

Anonymous said...

>>McGillicuddy said:
"""""""it was fun, but compared to hockey or football, it's not a "physically tough game" at all. You might get a few scrapes and bruises, but no more.

The reason that Soccer players don't wear all the protection that hockey and football players do is that they don't need it."""""""""""""""""


This is a great example of simultaneously being 100% correct and 100% incorrect.

FACT: Globally speaking, soccer is the 2nd sport in the most number of concussions. PRECISELY because they DONT wear head protection. The men kick the ball between 90-100 miles an hr and taking a number of blows to the head definitely results in concussions, much as NFLers suffer from blows to the head, and at least they're wearing helmets.

Soccer players really should wear protective head gear to minimize this impact.

Aside from that, you're 100% correct. It is a wussy game and largely non-physical, barring the high rate of concussions due to heading and getting hit in the skull from a 90-100 mile per hr kick. And you know that that's gonna do more than just tickle or sting a bit.



"""""""""""""""""I just think that it's a terribly-designed sport. It obviously evolved from some children's game of keep-away, and it hasn't evolved much since."""""""""""""""""""""""

This is actually 100% accurately stated. If an honest observer were to just watch the game, it does look like some kiddy game of keep away, and one that goes on for 90minutes or more.

Also, every major sport's rules have evolved over time except soccer. Maybe its time.

1. Widen the net (about 1/3rd in width on each side) to allow for higher scoring games.

2. Wear protective head gear for god sake to help minimize concussions.

3. Allow for more physical head on. Allow a player with the ball to push or slam away an opposing player, like an NFL RB or WR can push or shove a would be tackler out of his way.

4. Allow for players with the ball to directly run into the opposing player and knock him down.

Anonymous said...

"""""""Lionel Messi - 5'7"."""""""

Now that's a lie. That is a lie.

Maybe that's what they officially list him as, but that's with lifts.

Yeah, much the way that Bogart and Peter Falk were 5'7".

Remember, the one sensitive issue for most men is height. No one wants to admit that they're short, a twerp, etc.
Messi's about 5'5".

His global nickname is "the Flea" for goodness sake.

A 5'7" tall athlete doesn't get called a flea and that dates back early for him cause he was always the shortest.

The larger point is that few 5'5" NBAers could dominate or even in the NFL.

Anonymous said...

Someone like James would have much quicker, longer strides and would dominate on set pieces, which is a major part of the game.

No way. Too big and slow. He would have almost no coordination for soccer.

He wouldn't have the touch. Black African teams just aren't that good. Nigeria is a huge country but they are mediocre at best.


James is very quick, fast, and coordinated. He would do very well.

Black African teams are terrible at basketball as well. European basketball teams outcompete them.

Anonymous said...

Would you care to hazard a guess as to why all the soccer clubs in the world, several of which are multi-billion dollar entities, have not grasped something which is so obvious to you? Why do these fools doggedly persist in employing players six feet tall and under in spite of your brilliant insights about how bigger is generally better?

Because bigger is generally better, controlling for speed, agility, skill, etc.

Most people, the bigger they are, the slower, less agile, less coordinated they are. People who combine size and athleticism are very rare.

Anonymous said...

Soccer makes watching baseball riveting by comparison.

Anonymous said...

He wouldn't have the touch. Black African teams just aren't that good. Nigeria is a huge country but they are mediocre at best.

It's not about black players. There have been a ton of white NBA wing players and forwards who have better footwork and athleticism than someone like Peter Crouch while being equivalent or greater in size. Someone like Larry Bird or Chris Mullin would be much better than Crouch.

Anonymous said...

If that were true then it would be quite mysterious that bigger players do not predominate in soccer. In fact six feet seems to close to the practical upper limit in size, with many elite players coming in shorter than this. You're displaying classical American "bigger is better" thinking.

Do you seriously doubt that, say, a 30 ft. tall man with the same speed, agility, and skill as normal sized players wouldn't dominate soccer? He'd cover the field in just a few strides and be able to make extremely fast attacks on goal. He could juggle the ball in the air down the field, high above his opponents' heads until reaching the goal and scoring.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for that info. If you watch the Olympics in boxing, just about all the fighters look like some sort of white and Asian mix since that is pretty common there. I didn't realize his mother is Korean, but that still makes him an Asian and white mixture which typically doesn't result in super athleticism, but golovkin is both very fast and has massive power for his weight.

Alte said...

This post is ridiculous. You totally underestimate how beautiful this game is and you are confused about it's nature as a proxy for ethnic war.

The Italians don't boo black players because they don't want to watch them play, they boo them because they don't want to watch them play on their team. If they were playing on an opposing African-based team, like what happens in the world cup, they'd be cool with that.

People want to see guys from their region on their teams, and they get tired of the globalisation-muddle, with the Africans (who represent the immigrants climbing over the border fences) being the most obvious objects of their wrath. There's less animosity aimed at mixed-race local boys because there's more general agreement that they are part of the tribe. And our local amateur clubs sometimes field paid Czechs, but the fans are livid.

You go to the game to see your own boys play, and that's part of the beauty of it. That's what makes it exciting even if you know they will lose.

Anonymous said...

A real "man"s sport" is the NFL. And by that I mean a GAY sport.

Anonymous said...

Another World Cup must be near, iSteve is talking about soccer again. Steve, you really need to watch soccer more often than once every four years to know what you are talking about. Take this for instance:

They change the ball substantially for every World Cup, which strikes Americans as strange. American sports fiddle with the rules often, but the ball is more sacrosanct.

Well, except for that whole dead ball era in baseball thing (design/construction of baseballs changed more than a few times; cork centers were introduced in 1911 for instance). Or when they changed the gridiron football from a fat egg shape (similar to a rugby ball) to the pointy thing we have now (which I think happened in the 1930s to adapt to the passing game). Yeah, except for that.

You listen too much to media hype and don't have an insider's or a fan's understanding of soccer, Steve. The rules about the size, shape, weight, air pressure, etc of soccer footballs are very precise, and have not changed for a very, very long time.

What changes every four years is the hype. It is mostly marketing and purely decorative changes in panel shape, color, design, patterns, etc. Allegedly last world cup the panels of the ball were such to cause the ball to be more likely to dip and curve, but many dispute that. Mostly it was hype, marketing, and media concocted nonsense.

Old soccer footballs were leather, with rectangular or ovoid panels that made them look like what we associate with volleyballs or basketballs today, but with an external lacing (through which one accessed the rubber inner ball to inflate it), lacing like what you still see on gridiron footballs. Then the external lacing disappeared. Then the familiar hexagon/octagon panels appeared (the famous Telstar football in Mexico World Cup, 1970) with white and black panels (before that soccer footballs were brown). Finally the leather was replaced with synthetic materials, which do not absorb moisture and which stand up to wear and tear better. And so on, the evolution continues. But all of these balls were still within the parameters of FIFA/IFAB laws as to the size, weight, shape, air pressure, etc of the football. The Laws of Football, in regards to the size, shape, weight, air pressure, etc., of the football, have not changed in yonks.

Yonks!

Steve Sailer said...

Every four years there is a controversy over the behavior of the new ball rolled out for the World Cup. They've radically changed the material and number of panels on the ball since I was a kid, whereas baseballs haven't changed much since about 1925. From yesterday's National Geographic:

"Every year the newest version of the World Cup soccer ball causes a stir. Now physicists have put those balls to the test, to see just how well they fly.

"World Cup soccer balls used to be not much different from regular soccer balls—32 leather panels stitched together by hand. But the balls used in World Cup tournaments have been distinctive since 2006, when Adidas unveiled the Teamgeist, made of just 14 panels that had been glued together rather than stitched. The company has been introducing new World Cup balls ever since: the eight-panel Jabulani ball in 2010 and for the 2014 games—which begin on June 12 in São Paulo, Brazil—the six-panel Brazuca.

"Will this change in design make a difference in the game? That's what Sungchan Hong and his colleagues at the University of Tsukuba wanted to find out. Making use of some soccer balls, a wind tunnel, and a robot, they found, according to today's Scientific Reports, that a ball's construction really does affect how it flies through the air."

Anonymous said...

Search for Coach Kelley on the interweb. He is the coach who does not have a punter and always goes for it on fourth down.

If you are lucky you will come across if I remember correctly Tony Picard who is a 6' 4" 400lbs running back ---- who is 13.

Some other high school team has a 6' 6" center.

Of course as mentioned on a Baseball post these guys do not exist because they do not show up on US statistics.

(Stalling here Steve) Petaluma California Little League champions had a 6' 2" 12 year old to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of California sending a 6' 2" 12 year old to the Little League finals. They don't show up in the stats as they are theoretically too tall to exist.

Lionel Messi legitimately used HGH as his projected adult height was 4' 8" And he stopped using it at 18 as required by UEFA, FIFA, and his domestic league a fact ignored by many in the press.

Alte said...

Height gives goalies longer reach, but limits fancy footwork and makes it harder to shift direction. I doubt headballs are affected much by height; more by leg strength for jumping.

Height is an advantage, but not excessive height. The ball, after all, is mostly controlled on the ground. Even when it flies through the air, they usually wait for it to land before touching it.

Anonymous said...

***For all you out there who love to complain when Americans, and certain others, call “Football”, “Soccer”, you should know that it was the British that invented the word and it was also one of the first names of what we now primarily know of as “Football”.
In fact, in the early days of the sport among the upper echelons of British society, the proper term for the sport was “Soccer”. Not only that, but the sport being referred to as “Soccer” preceded the first recorded instance of it being called by the singular word “Football” by about 18 years, with the latter happening when it became more popular with the middle and lower class. When that happened, the term “Football” gradually began dominating over “Soccer” and the then official name “Association Football***


This is nonsense on stilts, particularly the part in bold, as soccer was called football long before the nickname 'soccer' was invented. You have garbled some true facts with some utter nonsense, and made a complete hash of it.

The Football Association came first. Soccer was called football then, there being no other word for it. The word 'soccer' did not then exist. Then the Rugby Football Union broke away from the FA to form their own game. In the late 19th century the two sports were often both called football, but rugby was also often called rugby football, or just rugby or just football, and soccer was often called association football, or just football.

Eventually, to avoid confusion, the slang terms or nicknames for the two sports, "rugger" and "soccer" appeared; soccer being "assoc." with the a removed and the -er added.

Once the masses adopted association football, however, the use of the nickname soccer dropped out of use in Britain as it was no longer needed to distinguish it from rugby.

You have the history and sequence of events completely wrong; the correct sequence is football ---> association football ---> soccer. You can't have soccer before you have association football. You can't have association football before you have football. You don't need to have any term but football, until AFTER the RFU broke away from the FA.

But in no way was 'soccer' ever the PROPER name for football.

Soccer is only just a nickname for association football; soccer was called just football long before the nickname 'soccer' was invented. It was always just only a nickname. Soccer was never used as part of official club, league, or association names. Only in the USA and other places outside of Britain did we forget that soccer was only a nickname, and started using the word 'soccer' instead of 'football'.

Yes, British aristos and snobs and toffs used the word 'soccer' in the late 19th century, but they also called it 'football' because they knew that 'soccer' was just a slang term. When they formed a club, it was always called a Football Club, or sometimes an Association Football Club. They never used the slang term 'soccer' in an official capacity. Soccer was NEVER the "proper" term for the sport amongst 19th century British upper classes; it was a nickname and when they wanted to use the proper name for the sport, they called it football, or association football, not soccer.

This is the point which you have missed. A nickname is not a proper name. Soccer is a nickname, not a proper name.

Anonymous said...

You're right about the soccer injuries, Dave. The only high school activity with more injuries than soccer is cheerleading.

Anonymous said...

[science nerds do sciencey things to soccer balls]

Again, Steve, this is what comes of your being a numbers nerd who doesn't have any insider knowledge of soccer as either a player or a fan (playing or watching youth soccer does not count).

These minor differences in ball aerodynamics make little real difference in how the game is played. This isn't baseball, Steve!

More importantly, the Laws of the Game as to the construction of the soccer ball HAVE NOT CHANGED.

And yes they are "changing" the ball yet again, and yet again, it will make little or no difference to actual game play:

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/05/140529-world-cup-soccer-brazuca-physics-jabulani-sports/

Anonymous said...

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/05/140529-world-cup-soccer-brazuca-physics-jabulani-sports/

The Real World

Still, there's a big difference between a wind tunnel and a field in Brazil, said Simon Choppin, a researcher at Sheffield Hallam University in Great Britain, who was not involved in the study. "The wind tunnel can re-create very particular spin conditions,"he said, "but for a pass or shot, the spin might be completely different. That's the major gap between the wind tunnel test and reality."

Nobody, Choppin pointed out, has done a wind tunnel simulation of a player trying to hook a 40-yard pass around a defender. He added that most plays won't be affected at all: The drag effects Hong and his team saw in the wind tunnel were under very specific, controlled conditions, in terms of temperature, humidity, and the like—all of which evaporate once players step on the field.

Hunsdon said...

Alte said: You go to the game to see your own boys play, and that's part of the beauty of it. That's what makes it exciting even if you know they will lose.

Hunsdon said: Exactly! I've noticed that my interest in American college football took a nosedive around the time the old Southwest Conference broke up.

Anonydroid at 10:53 PM said: Thanks for that info. (re: Golovkin)

Hunsdon said: In Kazakhstan, no one would call him a Kazakh. Throughout the former Soviet Union there's a distinction between nationality and citizenship. Nationality is ethnic. Citizenship is legal/jurisdictional. In the FSU Golovkin's nationality would be Russian (it's patrilineal), and his citizenship would be Kazakhstani.

Anonymous said...

'Soccer' was commonly used in England until at least the 1960s and probably until the late 1970s. It was always a middle/upper-class word though - the worling classes (the game's true constituency) have never called it anything but 'football'.

But among newsreaders, sports presenters, on the covers of yearbooks, sticker albums and coaching manuals, in newspapers and magazines, the word 'soccer' was commonly used in Britain until relatively recently. It's surprising how quickly sone people have forgotten this though, and taken up the lazy and incorrect notion that the word is an American coinage

Matra said...

These minor differences in ball aerodynamics make little real difference in how the game is played

The ball moves more in the air than it used to. Free kicks are trickier to save than they were 15 years ago. I think that was done deliberately to appease the "there isn't enough scoring" whiners.

Having grown up playing soccer, rugby, hockey, Canadian football, and even boxing I've always preferred soccer but never would I claim it is a rough sport. If it were rough with body checks etc it wouldn't be entertaining to watch or play. It doesn't bother me to hear it referred to as a sissy sport but it is weird when the person saying it also thinks basketball is somehow manly. The first time I ever heard this was in an episode of The Jeffersons. George says to his English neighbour Bentley(?) that tough black kids wouldn't play sissy sports like soccer they prefer football (fair enough) and basketball. I can still remember wondering what planet are Americans from that they think the girliest of girly sports is somehow masculine. Just look at the shape of their hands a split second after shooting. Netball, the commonwealth equivalent, is played exclusively by girls.

TD said...

For those who keep harping on the "wussy" and "non-physical" theme:

Gus Johnson, the all-American sports voice now being groomed by Fox for soccer play-by-play, discusses what he's learned about the sport in this recent Q&A:

So now that you've been watching more, what's something you've been picking up on that casual—or completely new—fans may not be looking for?

I don't think people realize how physical this game is. This is a rough, rough game. Elbows. Head-butts. Knees to the thigh. Stepping on ankles—and feet. You've got really tiny bones in the top of your foot. And when these guys come down with their spikes on the top of one's foot or one's ankle—that looks like it really hurts. And, when you compare it to basketball, you see a set piece or a corner kick, and you see those guys crashing down in the six-yard box, elbows up, heads angling toward the ball where you could head-butt somebody. There's a lot of pushing and shoving and grabbing. I remember doing a [San Jose] Earthquakes game, and there was a corner kick, and a kid from the Earthquakes got grabbed by players from the Red Bulls—he broke his shoulder. There wasn't even a foul called on the play.

Damn.

I think that's the one thing that casual fans should pay attention to and have a sense of is that these guys, when they go on a run, sometimes it's 50, 60, 70 yards. It's a sprint. These athletes are in incredible shape. They're incredible specimens of man.

Anonymous said...

Only in the USA and other places outside of Britain did we forget that soccer was only a nickname, and started using the word 'soccer' instead of "football'.


No. In places outside of Britain the word "football" is often used to describe some other, indigenous game. American football, or Australian football, or Irish football, or Canadian football. So those people need another name for the game the Brit's call "football". They call it soccer, and not out of any forgetfulness.

Anonymous said...

Soccer is played by people who look normal. They have great skill, but they have normal bodies. If you passed one of the worlds top soccer players in your local supermarket you'd not give him a second glance.


American sports, football and basketball in particular, are freak shows. The players were probably highly genetically abnormal to start with and juicing made them even more so. Walk past one of them in the supermarket and you'll stop and stare.

McGillicuddy said...


Yeah, I forgot about all the headers. That probably does rattle their brains a bit. But soccer kicks don't regularly travel at 90-100 mph. In 2007, The guardian compiled a list of the fastest kicks of all-time. There was a freak one at 114 mph, but nothing else over a 100, and only a handful over 90 mph.

Anonymous said...

American sports, football and basketball in particular, are freak shows. The players were probably highly genetically abnormal to start with and juicing made them even more so. Walk past one of them in the supermarket and you'll stop and stare.

Thanks for calling a spade a spade. Yet these are the same guys who in high school, aided and abetted by their teachers, stared at and verbally (and in many cases physically) abused their intellectual superiors for being freaks.

Dave Pinsen said...

I made a similar comment to my girlfriend once. She objected that the average man doesn't look like David Beckham.

Which is true. Steve posted a link to that article about action movie stars in which someone says the look that's popular in Hollywood is Brad Pitt's physique in Fight Club. That's pretty much the physique Ronaldo and Beckham have (no surprise both men have been underwear models).

Dave Pinsen said...

Pro soccer players do not wait for the ball to land to play it. Some even score with kicks on airborne ball. I've seen Van Persie do that.

Dave Pinsen said...

American football demands more physical courage, because it's essentially a combat sport. But soccer may be more dangerous, due to the lack of protection and often surprise nature of the collisions.

In football, with the exception of blindside hits on a QB, or safety hits on a defenseless receiver (which the NFL has been cracking down on), you usually can anticipate the contact and prepare for it.

Anonymous said...

She objected that the average man doesn't look like David Beckham.

I expect she was referring to his face and not his body.


Steve posted a link to that article about action movie stars in which someone says the look that's popular in Hollywood is Brad Pitt's physique in Fight Club. That's pretty much the physique Ronaldo and Beckham have (no surprise both men have been underwear models).

I don't see it myself. There are plenty of photos of Beck's shirtless online, and he looks completely average. Hell, I look that good with my shirt off. It's not a high bar to reach.

He's got a purtier face than me though, and is rich and famous.

Dave Pinsen said...

The closest thing in terms of conditioning demands to soccer in American football is probably the gunner position on kick coverage. One of the all-time great gunners, Steve Tasker, was built like a typical soccer player: 5'9", 185lbs.

Anonymous said...

""""""""""""TD said...
For those who keep harping on the "wussy" and "non-physical" theme""""""""""""""""""""""""


NO, it's harping on the fact that compared to the NFL and NHL, soccer does appear to be non-physical.

In other words, yes, there is some physicality in soccer but mostly its by accident. Usually its not conscious.

The NFL, by contrast, is a most violent contact sport by design. Nothing in professional soccer at their highest levels can compare to a WR or RB or TE being tacked by 2-3 guys all weighing over 350lbs and the weight is going up all the time.

FACT: In pro soccer (referring to the highest levels, so its global--Premier League etc) they simply don't have players weighing over 300plus lbs. those kinds of players couldn't last running around for 90plus minutes; they'd drop dead of exhaustion.

FACT: before it was cracked down upon, the NFL permitted defenders to "launch" with their skulls at the opposing players in order to takle (lay em out cold). Nothing in soccer comes close to that it simply does not exist. Renaldo doesn't try and tackle a defender and certainly doesn't launch his body INTO the opposing player to knock him down with the front of his skull. Doesn't happen.

FACT: The NFL historically has had a large percentage of fans who want to see the violently physical tackles as it was long designated part of the macho manly culture. "Real man tackle with their bodies; real man launch themselves INTO the opposing player in order to lay em out cold."

Soccer doesn't have players attempting to lay out the other person with their bodies.

Re: any resemblance of intended physicality its the ball that does the work in soccer and not the players bodies. In the NFL its the opposite: the players bodies are the weapons themselves. The body "attacks" etc. hence the reason why for decades the defenders were permitted to use their bodies to attack in violently vicious ways. (which are only now beginning to be outlawed).

So yes, when compared to the NFL or even the NHL, Soccer is considered wussy and wimpy.

There are injuries and it can be more physical after a fashion than some realize but when compared to NFL, for the most part Soccer is nowhere near the physicality of American Football.

FACT: Very few pro soccer players get tackled and nearly crippled for life whereas (at least up until recently) this was a more or less acceptable stategy in NFL. Remember the Saints and their being fined for head hunting?

Bottom line: Soccer vs NFL, the NFL wins hands down in which sport is more violently physical.

Anonymous said...

""""""""TD said...
For those who keep harping on the "wussy" and "non-physical" theme:""""""""""""""""

Another thing to remember: Few Pro Soccer players use steroids to the same level for bulk. That's not to say that some don't roid up, they probably do. But they don't use them for the same reasons.

Soccer players look quite ordinary WHEN COMPARED to NFLers. You know the NFL "look": bulked up, huge necks, etc.

Beckham and Ronaldo as someone commented look fairly ordinary. Lionel Messi wouldn't be mistaken for an athlete in street clothes outside of South America/Europe. If you didn't know who he was, in other words, he doesn't stand out as the "athletic type" that US tends to think of. Messi's sort of like another shorty player, MLB's SS David Eckstein.

In short, today's pro soccer players more or less resemble how most MLB and NFLers who played....about 60-70yrs ago. (circa 50s and 60s): Some tall, some short, some slightly built well but nothing extreme in way of bulky hulky or 30-40lbs of lean muscle as some NFLers look.

Ronaldo, Beckham, Rooney, Messi resemble the Pete Rose and Johnny Unitas look. Somewhat fit, but nothing that stands out as "wow! That person must be really athletic".



Anonymous said...

>>Dave Pinsen said:
""""""American football demands more physical courage, because it's essentially a combat sport. But soccer may be more dangerous, due to the lack of protection and often surprise nature of the collisions.""""""""

It's not more dangerous than the NFL, not by a long sight. If it really were, why wouldn't the pro leagues (via the players unions) start to agitate for some protective equipent? See, if players were having enormous injuries on the magnitude of football that couldn't be ignored, then eventually the players would want some form of safety put in.

But the very rules of soccer mitigate this as there are very few injuries relative to the NFL in scope and severity. And until recently the NFL permitted conscious hits and violent tackles a la potential stroke causing.

Very little exists of this kind in soccer. Players aren't kept on the roster for the expressed purpose of deliberately crashing into and taking out the opposing forwards during a game whereas this is quite the norm in the NFL and even the NHL. NHL fights are quite brutally violent, especially compared to on field soccer fights.


""""""In football, with the exception of blindside hits on a QB, or safety hits on a defenseless receiver (which the NFL has been cracking down on), you usually can anticipate the contact and prepare for it.""""""""""

And it still has no discernible effect. No player can 100% prepare for a hit that will potentially leave him crippled.

ALSO, no player during real time actually about to be tackled (since hits and tackles come at blinding rate of speed) can prepared for multiple tacklers.

Many times during the game, a WR/TE/RB will be tackled by 3 or even 4-5 defenders who pile on and that's totally legal. That's a total of potentially well over 1,500 lbs or more landing on a single player. Who can prepare for the impact of that? No one can.

And you certainly do not see a soccer forward or midfielder being violently tackled by 4 defenders each weighing over 250 lbs. Heck, 200 lbs is pretty excessive weight for a soccer player.

Can you imagine Lionel Messi being launched into head on by three defenders each one weighing well over 300 lbs? He'd be out cold and possibly comatose for a week, with or without equipment.

Body shapes and types also contribute to the wide disparity of range of injuries so prevalent in NFL and are rarely found on the same level in Pro Soccer.

It's a basically safe sport with the bulk of the players looking no different than they did in the 40s.

Manchester United Superstar George Best could easily play in today's World Cup, all he'd have to do is commit to a healthier lifestyle and train a little harder. Aside from that, his body shape is basically the same as most of global soccer's superstars of today. Very little in that sense has changed.

Anonymous said...

I think that's the one thing that casual fans should pay attention to and have a sense of is that these guys, when they go on a run, sometimes it's 50, 60, 70 yards. It's a sprint. These athletes are in incredible shape. They're incredible specimens of man.

One of the guys considered by many to have been the or one of the greatest soccer players of all time was an Andean midget. One of the guys currently considered to be the greatest is a dwarfish guy who was diagnosed with a growth deficiency disorder.

By these standards, you could consider ping pong players to be the greatest athletes.

Anonymous said...

What's boring about soccer is that most of the plays consist of a player losing possession of the ball to the opposing team either by the other player intercepting the ball or kicking it away from him.

Anonymous said...

""""""""""""""What's boring about soccer is that most of the plays consist of a player losing possession of the ball to the opposing team either by the other player intercepting the ball or kicking it away from him.""""""""

Exactly. It's called keep away. Kids play it too. Basically it is a nine yr old game cept more developed and mature bodies playing it.

Basically, soccer is a sport where missing is a major component of the game's passion. Think of it this way: MLB: a HR is exciting. NBA a 3pt or regular goal is exciting. NFL: TD is exciting.

Soccer: A MISS, is exciting, chiefly because its such a low scoring game that missing is one of the main attractions.

Oftentimes then as now, scoring in soccer can be attributed to accident rather than by design. Nearly 40% of all total goals scored in soccer were not by design but thru random accident. It hit off of a defender who was out of position and boom! it went in. totally accidental. Accidents do not equal skill per se. It does take a lot of skill and athleticism to play soccer, but come on. More often then not the goals scored are by accident and not by design as they are in most of major sports.

One of the main reasons for the penalty kicks were to make sure an actual goal was SCORED during the game. 0-0 games til end of game penalty kicks still occur not infrequently. And that can be awfully boring. Watching all the missed goals on purpose. And yet by accident, a goal could be scored. Accidents aren't skill per se, that's clumsiness and klutziness.

A 500ft HR is skill. So is a 90yard run or a 60yard TD bomb on the fly. That's skill.

Thank goodness for the penalty kicks or cause it can get awfully dully for 90minutes of running around, running around playing footy keep away from the other side with nothing to show for it.

Perhaps if they actually widened the goal space to allow for increased scoring it might make a difference.




Anonymous said...

"""""""""""""""""One of the guys considered by many to have been the or one of the greatest soccer players of all time was an Andean midget. One of the guys currently considered to be the greatest is a dwarfish guy who was diagnosed with a growth deficiency disorder."""""""""""""""""

And that dwarfish dude is making nearly 50million bucks counting salary and endorsements.


""""""""""""""""By these standards, you could consider ping pong players to be the greatest athletes."""""""""""""""""


BOOM! There you go.


An old soccer joke:

Fan arrives late to soccer game, it's the 55th minute.

"What's the score?" He asks his buddy.

"0-0."

"Oh, no! How much did I miss?"

"Oh, man, you missed a ton. Five blocked shots, four misses to the left side, and three 'almosts' that sorta went in but at the last second were..."

"I couldn't help it, it was heavy traffic!"

"Dont worry, I came late. It was already the 15th minute and I had missed one almost and one player almost got yellow carded."

"See what we miss when we arrive late??"


Q

E

D

Steve Sailer said...

What was the final score in the big fight at the climax of The Iliad?

Achilles 1
Hector 0

That kind of low-scoring contest is easy to talk about. In contrast a basketball game has too much scoring to make a coherent story out of so a lot has to be left out when retelling.

Dave Pinsen said...

"It's not more dangerous than the NFL, not by a long sight. If it really were, why wouldn't the pro leagues (via the players unions) start to agitate for some protective equipent?"

You're starting to see headgear being worn by some soccer players, but players often eschew protective equipment, for reasons of weight, comfort, and perhaps machismo. You see plenty of this in the NFL.

Lots of skill players in the NFL don't wear any hip pads, thigh pads, or knee pads. Other players just wear the fiberglass shell from the thigh pads without the padding. And there have been padded outer shells available for helmets for years to reduce concussions - how many players wear them?

As for preparing for contact, it makes a difference.

de Ruyter said...

Weird discussion.
The aim of American-football is to place an egg shaped object behind a certain line. The aim of football is to place a ball in a goal. But we're discussing here why football is a game for pussies because they aren't fully armored and crashing head first into their opponent. Maybe we should be discussing why American-football is for pussies because their fans aren't murdering each other, like they do in football.
And why aren't those American-football players fighting each other without armor in a ring MMA style. Bunch of pussies.
For that matter, why aren't baseball players beating each other with those baseball bats. What a pussy sport.

Dave Pinsen said...

Penalty kicks are boring because they score so easily. Saves on penalties are more exciting.

No way 40% of soccer goals are scored by accident. Top players can place the ball pretty accurately.

And this nonsense about widening the goal - it's already huge. That's why ~80% of penalty kick attempts score. Soccer is low scoring because it is difficult to get into a scoring position, not because the goal is small. But low scoring is a feature, not a bug: it makes each goal a much bigger deal. Compare to basketball when teams trade baskets in the 1st period.

Anonymous said...

>>Dave Pinsen said:
"""""You're starting to see headgear being worn by some soccer players, but players often eschew protective equipment, for reasons of weight, comfort, and perhaps machismo. You see plenty of this in the NFL.""""""""""

No you don't at least not anymore. Roger Godell is really cracking down on not allowing "option" protective gear; its all mandatory now and you can get heavily fined otherwise.

Anonymous said...

>>Dave Pinsen said:
""""""Lots of skill players in the NFL don't wear any hip pads, thigh pads, or knee pads.""""""""""

Again, when when they don't and are found out, they are fined. Goddell wants all protective gear to be worn at all time and mandatory at that. Like it not, he's attempting to show the players that its for their own safety as well as health that's at stake.




"""""""Other players just wear the fiberglass shell from the thigh pads without the padding. And there have been padded outer shells available for helmets for years to reduce concussions - how many players wear them?"""""""""""""

UNTIL Goddell took over from Tagliabue, it was quite optional. Goddell is really starting to make a differnce by tying in the protective gear to fines. No player wants to lose salary over not wearing protective gear. I really wouldn't underestimate Goddell in this area. He's quite serious, else he wouldn't tie it directly to being fined if and when caught.



"""""As for preparing for contact, it makes a difference."""""""""

Not much at all, because for the most part, most violent hits in the NFL oftentimes come out of the blue.

Example: Years ago, when QB Carson Palmer in a playoff game threw a pass for an incompletion, he wasn't touched BUT as he was starting to walk away, the opposing DE on the ground rolled over into him and injured him, it was a torn ACL and then some.

And that was a total freakish accident. The player wasn't even "trying" to hit him and cause pain. The play was technically over and the DE on the ground was trying to get up but crashed into Palmer accidentally.

That kind of thing occurs in the NFL all the time.

Uh, how exactly did Tom Brady "brace" and "prepare" for his 08 season ending left knee injury. Apparently it didn't work, and that wasn't deliberate either.

Among many others before him, LB James Harrison was known for his violent tackles WITH HIS HELMET (Skull) INTO the opposing players while tackling them across the middle of the field.

Helmet to helmet, was a long established tradition and went back to the days of Sammy Baugh and Crazy Legs Hirsh. This was accepted practice for decades and caused many, many skull and brain injuries. A person is literally putting the majority of his weight INTO the front landing of his skull as he "launches" himself into the opposing player.
For decades this was considered a very macho manly thing to do. It was accepted practice. Godell has for the most part really gone after this type of practice and has for the most part levied heavy fines at players who continue to do this. He's trying to elimnate total helmet to helmet from the game. For the most part, it is starting to work.

But even then, there is always the freakish accident in the NFL. You cannot brace for an accidental tackle or possible career ending injury when you don't know its coming. This occurs all the time in the NFL, just about every game in point of fact someone gets injured (quite violently) from a freakish or accidental play that they weren't prepared for.

Even if they were prepared, it still makes no difference. Otherwise, if bracing/preparing alone prevents injury, then the NFL wouldn't have the high rates of violent injuries that they do.


Soccer knows nothing of a skull to skull type of play.

Anonymous said...

>>Steve Sailer said:
""""""""""""""What was the final score in the big fight at the climax of The Iliad?

Achilles 1
Hector 0 """"""""""""""""""""""""""""


Well, what was the final score of Lawrence Thayer's Casey at the Bat when the Mighty Casey didn't get the job done?

?Unknown 4
Mudville nine 2



""""""""That kind of low-scoring contest is easy to talk about.""""""""""""""

Baseball. Has just enough scoring. As Goldylocks might say, this one's just right.



""""""""""In contrast a basketball game has too much scoring to make a coherent story out of so a lot has to be left out when retelling."""""""""""""""""


"The only real game I think.....is Baseball. "--Babe Ruth

Anonymous said...

Blacks and biracial's are less than 2% of the population in England but the make up 1/3rd of the England Team.

And other black players make up even less of the Euro population. What would happen if they were equivalent to the black population in the US? LOL

Bear in mind the basketball in Europe is also mainly white.... just keep that in mind.

Idle Spectator said...

Soccer is an immensely popular sport in part because of the skill of its athletes, which has nothing to do with race.

Anonymous said...

" Someone like Lebron James, who's bigger and more athletic than Crouch, would be much better than Crouch."

.......sigh.

Protip: never ever talk about things you have no idea about.

Dave Pinsen said...

Soccer has frequent skull to skull plays when players leap for the same ball with their heads, e.g., in the box on a corner kick.

And there's also the soccer player who died from an injury that I linked to above.

Anonymous said...

>>Dave Pinsen said...
"""""""Soccer has frequent skull to skull plays when players leap for the same ball with their heads.""""""


You're not really attempting to equate the frenquency (as in, every single game in the NFL) to Soccer, right? You won't win that one. NFL is much much more violent.


"""""""And there's also the soccer player who died from an injury that I linked to above."""""""""

That was the one where he had a stroke on the field or over exertion also because he had a pre existing heart condition? Or are we thinking of another one. I know of one where the person had a pre existing condition and he did die on field. But the full truth has to be accurately told. if a person has a pre existing condition, pro sports exertion is going to obviously put a strain on both his heart and his health.

Anonymous said...

Why do people have to criticize a sport and the people who like it? That's like criticizing someone for liking a certain food.

Calling soccer players wussies is about at the 5th grade level.

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