Soccer generates actual hostility in the United States in a way that few other sports do. . . . It would be one thing if there was just indifference -- nobody should have to watch a sport -- but the fact that it creates rage in the mind of someone like Glenn Beck is actually pretty interesting.
I think it has to do with the fact that soccer is a sport that has always been linked to immigrants in this country and at the same time tied to a certain cultural elite. And as we know, there’s a particular strand of American society that sees immigrants and the intellectual elite as dangerous forces. So looking at it that way, it’s not surprising that conservative commentators would fixate on soccer, since they’re obviously fixated on those other two things anyway. It’s an obvious leap -- they feel like the growing popularity of soccer is just further proof of the decline of America.
Interview at Salon. Dubois' work on soccer and the politics of empire looks interesting as well.