Soccerstoriesbook's Blog


ANYBODY HOME?

The 2011-2012 CONCACAF Champions League was to kick off today with four matches:  Los Angeles Galaxy (U.S.)-CD Motagua (Honduras) and Alajeulense (Costa Rica)-Morelia (Mexico) from Group “A”, Santos Laguna (Mexico)-Real Espana (Honduras) from Group “B”, and Seattle Sounders (U.S.)-Comunicaciones (Guatemala) from Group “D”.  [August 26]

Comment:  Perhaps it was an oversight, perhaps laziness on the part of someone on the sports desk, but the local paper here ran this week’s schedule for the CONCACAF Champions League and actually listed the home teams first, the visiting teams second.  For example, a Group “C” game was listed as Pumas UNAM (Mexico) vs. FC Dallas (United States),” not “FC Dallas at Pumas UNAM.”  No “@”, no assumption, as far as is known, that the first team listed was the visitor.

This is no big deal to the average reader, of course.  However, in a small way, it’s yet another indication that soccer is not only here, it’s something of an acknowledgement that there’s no need to Americanize it at every turn.

Always listing the home team first, whether in a schedule or a rundown of results, is one of soccer’s many good ideas, along with things like punishing a naughty player by making his team play short-handed or making a naughty club play a match in an empty stadium.  Glance at a soccer result, and you know immediately who had the home-field advantage.  Glance at an NFL score in a U.S. newspaper, like New England Patriots 35, Houston Texans 28, and Joe football fan has to do a little research to find out whether the Pats were given a scare in Foxboro or got the job done on the road without beating the spread.

Hard to say if this is a trend.  Long ago, when major newspapers’ only international soccer coverage came on Sunday mornings in the form of a list in agate type of results from all four English divisions and the top two Scottish divisions–nothing more–the home team was indeed listed first, as in Clyde 0, Dumbarton 2.  Chalk that up to the myopic, hunchbacked desk guy with the nicotine-stained fingers not wanting to bother combing through more than 100 soccer results to sort out who was the home team.  Now, even ESPN has broken down and has been listing the home team first in the graphic in the upper left corner of your television screen.

Chances are, soccer’s “good idea” will grow but be limited in the U.S. media to soccer.  But that’s OK.  Before long, we’ll always know who’s home, and fans of gridiron football, baseball, basketball, hockey, etc., can continue to guess.

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