Since the inception of the MLS in 1996, the popularity of soccer has continued to grow in the United States: There are now over 500 colleges that offer varsity soccer (some of which can attract 10,000 fans for a home game), and thanks to David Beckham's propensity to pose in his underpants, the name of at least one professional player is known in most American homes.
Despite the growth of the game in North America — a growth that many believe will put Team USA among the world's best in the next 20 years — there still remains a chasm of soccer-based knowledge between the population at large and handsome, sweet-smelling DT readers such as yourselves. At the bottom of the chasm are Hollywood celebrities like impossibly-handsome-but-surprisingly-good-actor Zac Efron. The Sun reports:
"High School Musical actor Zac Efron, 22, said he couldn't wait for the States' game on Saturday — against Man United."
Gigantic comedy actor Jason Segel showed an equally impressive level of knowledge when he referred to "the UK" team and reeled off the following anecdote: "My best friend is British and left the room crying five years ago during the World Cup." Strange, we must have missed the 2005 World Cup. (And also, is that best friend Barney or Ted?)
Attractive women Eva Mendes and Vanessa Hudgens were also asked for their views on the tournament, but remained more dignified by admitting no knowledge of its existence.
I wouldn't expect an in-depth knowledge of soccer from these celebs — it's popularity in the states pales in comparison to baseball, basketball, yada yada — but why they deemed themselves smart enough to answer questions about things they have no knowledge of is anyone's guess. (They should have done what I do when someone asked me about American Football: go quiet for a little while then say something about enjoying the pretty colours and loud noises.)
A misguided view of South Africa 2010, however, is not isolated to Americans. The Sun also reports that Jackie Chan was asked whom he tipped to lift the greatest accolade in international football, to which he answered "Barcelona and Milan." Bless.
- David Beckham
- Zac Efron