The Best Tweets That Correctly Show the Rest of the World That ‘It’s Called Soccer’
The United States Men’s National Soccer Team, or USMNT, has advanced to the Round of 16 in the FIFA World Cup for just the fifth time in its history. The squad advanced behind the breathtaking play of the team’s young star, Christian Pulisic, dubbed “Captain America” or, more sarcastically, “The LeBron James of Soccer” following a Pawn Stars episode that exposed our nation’s ignorance of the global sport.
Despite our relative inexperience with the pastime, the American way has come to the soccer-sphere of the internet following the USMNT’s 1-0 win over the Iranian national team in the final match of the Group Stage, and Twitter is buzzing with the rallying cry of “It’s Called Soccer!” as American fans celebrate the attacking midfielder who laid his manhood on the line to score the team’s lone goal.
The meme of “It’s Called Soccer” originates from a picture taken of Pulisic after he scored the goal that would put the USMNT ahead of Mexico in a World Cup qualifier match last year. Shortly before the contentious match, Mexico’s goal keeper, Guillermo Ochoa, said of the rivalry, “Mexico is the mirror in which the (U.S.) wants to see itself and wants to copy.” Pulisic answered by donning an undershirt with the words “Man in the Mirror” written in black sharpie, which he exposed after scoring the winner to both rib the losing goalie and reference the painfully catchy Michael Jackson tune.
American fans took this picture and ran with it, photoshopping out the original text with their own chosen declaration of “It’s Called Soccer.” As Pulisic’s star has risen on the international stage, so has the fervor with which American soccer fans have proclaimed their linguistic dominance on the world.
The movement to properly title the sport is not without its enemies, however — unsurprisingly, the majority of soccer fans on the internet are not American, and the pushback to call the sport that is definitely not played in the NFL “football” has some formidable names among its ranks. Just earlier today, Monty Python legend John Cleese posted his counterattack to the “It's Called Soccer” surge — Cleese’s England has also reached the Round of 16, possibly setting the table for a future match that will decide the fate of the sport's name.
But sadly, the USMNT will not face the England side that they tied 0-0 in the next round — the American squad will play its next match against the Netherlands while England faces off against Senegal. Both sides would have to win their next three matches before facing off in the final, which would undoubtedly be the greatest matchup between England and America since 1776 (sorry, War of 1812).
Unfortunately, the American star who started the meme and has kept his country’s World Cup dreams alive didn’t walk away from today’s triumph unscathed — Pulisic collided with the goalkeeper in what has been called an “abdominal injury” but sure looked a lot like a shot to the soccer balls. Nevertheless, the soccer star remains in high hopes that he'll be ready for Saturday's matchup with the Dutch.
Between now and Saturday (and hopefully well beyond), the SOCCER world better be prepared to see many, many more American memes.