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U.S. Develops a Taste for World Cup Soccer

June 20, 2002

Re "While We Were Sleeping," editorial, June 17: My family has been in the U.S. for four or more generations. My heritage is entirely Northern European. I am a 46-year-old female--almost an adult when Title IX was passed in the early '70s. I have no soccer-playing children. But I have been a World Cup soccer fan for nearly 30 years. When I was 18, my best friend and I toured Europe by train. We were in various parts of Germany during the last week of the World Cup and watched the games with the Germans in various pubs. We got to Munich--site of the final game--one week after the Germans defeated the Dutch for the World Cup title. The Germans were still partying. I love a good beer and a good time. This was a great event.

In the early 1980s, I played a couple of years in a women's soccer league. And every four years, I watch as many games as I can--doesn't matter who's playing. The games are usually very exciting, because anything can happen at any time. What ultimately attracts me is that all the world is united over the same fun event.

I can't believe I'm unique. So when you generalize about "nonimmigrant Laker and Dodger fans" and "the Americans originally from Honduras, Argentina, El Salvador, Iran, Pakistan--and yes, Mexico," please remember this tall, blond, middle-aged, nonimmigrant soccer fan. The World Cup has that kind of power, and every four years a few more people like me realize that.

Diane Scholfield

Oceanside

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I am a big soccer fan. I have been thrilled by the progress made by the U.S. team and wish it well. Mexico and Mexicans showed class by their gracious and nonbitter acceptance of the game's outcome. I saw some man-in-the-street interviews with people in Mexico, and they were also mature and gracious about the game. They congratulated the American team and wished it well against Germany.

Mike Burns

Bakersfield

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Thank you for your editorial on the U.S. team's win and advancing to the quarterfinals. As a U.S. citizen of Mexican descent and an ardent soccer fan, I agonized over who would end up the victor between Mexico and the U.S. I'd hoped that the game would go into overtime and then kicks from the penalty spot, but then again, I was very happy for the U.S. and sad for my Mexico. It is a feeling very difficult to describe.

Nevertheless, I would have to take issue with your statement that the U.S. "prowess is testament to the American Youth Soccer Organization and other leagues." Why? Although AYSO has been around since the late 1970s, it is the "other leagues," specifically the U.S. Youth Soccer Assn., which outnumbers AYSO, that field more competitive club teams and have produced many quality players, as opposed to the recreationally oriented AYSO.

Many of the members of the U.S. team got their start in club soccer and, yes, I must agree, some with AYSO. But credit needs to be given where credit is due: to the U.S. Youth Soccer Assn.'s club soccer system--urban and suburban, ethnic and not--that has produced and will continue to produce many of the members of the U.S. teams, male or female.

Horacio Ric Fonseca Sr.

Athletics Director and

Men's Soccer Coach

L.A. City College

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Day after day you publish 20 inches of copy on the front page on sports. On June 18 it was soccer. The continuous tabloidization of The Times is most depressing, especially as you minimize the coverage of the Enron scandal, our economic problems, environmental disasters and the Bush administration's complicity in the failure to discover the 9/11 attacks, etc.

Our society is already obsessed with sports; the average U.S. male can name more NFL quarterbacks than he can name members of the U.S. Senate. You are making a major contribution to the dumbing down of our populace.

Ralph G. Long

Newport Beach

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