No Holds Bard is a blog series featuring U.S. Soccer Foundation Fellow, Alex Bard. Follow his series for an inside look into the Foundation, from a Fellow’s point of view.
I started my fellowship with the U.S. Soccer Foundation this month, and have since been working hard to keep up with my new colleagues’ immense knowledge of both the Foundation and the sport in general. With this daunting task in mind, I came across an article from Grantland.com, discussing the strength of soccer in America. One paragraph in particular caught my eye:
“To understand a sport’s place in a culture you have to look beyond TV and even outside stadiums — you have to look at playgrounds and mall concourses and the jokes people you haven’t talked to in 12 years are making on Facebook. And I’m sorry, but by those measures, the condition of soccer in America is roughly a billion times healthier than it was 18 years ago. It’s countless little things…the whole point is that you can’t really measure it. Soccer is just much more of a steady everyday presence than it was a few years ago. It just is.”
That description of the “unmeasurables” of soccer in the U.S. really put into perspective the work that I will be doing over the next year of my life. Of course my SportsCenter feed is filled with previews of previews of NFL playoff games, but walking through DC, I pass by just as many pickup soccer matches as I do softball leagues and flag football games.
And that’s what amazes me about the work being done in this office. The strength of the game has allowed these selfless people to devote their time and efforts to helping children across the country. Helping underserved communities is our cause, but soccer is our vehicle, and even if you can’t measure its success, there is a reason why soccer has become part of the American sports conversation. I am excited to become a part of this team and share my thoughts over the next year.