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Many Soccer Zealots Don’t Make Novice Fans Feel Welcome

In the matter of the past month, soccer has crossed my path and continued to intrigue me. The announcement of the World Cup soccer matches coming to Philadelphia in 2026 created a huge buzz. The Philadelphia Union unveiled their new kit. The promise of a new season dawns. The Sons of Ben sent me notice of a fundraiser that I gladly promoted on the air. They are a group of fans that understand how to grow the sport. Soccer has seeped into my 4-for-4 fan mentality more often since I returned home. I’ve attended a few matches. I watched on local tv and then Apple TV, and I feel ready to be sucked in as a true fan. Jim Curtin sells his team and sport beautifully with us on 97.5 The Fanatic. So many good forces at work have their efforts dampened by the zealots. It’s as if the “soccer elite” want to put up a wall and install a moat around their sport. I wonder why this is, and I never see it with other sports. NFL fans don’t feel the need to critique the novices that jumped on board during the hype around Travis Kelce and Taylor Swift. Bill Colarulo gets jumped on Twitter for an unavoidable slight. Bill was hosting his show on The Fanatic on Saturday morning from 9am-12pm. He asked, “Which Philly team will win the next championship?” He followed up the introduction of the topic with a poll question that listed the Eagles, Phillies, 76ers, and Flyers. On cue “outraged” Philadelphia Union and soccer fans post how the flagship didn't have the Union as a poll option. Well, it would have taken minimal research to understand a poll on Twitter only allows four options to a question. Lindsey Horan calls fans “dumb.” According the the captain of the USWNT Lindsey Horan, American soccer fans aren't smart and they “don’t understand the game.” She has attempted to walk back her critique in the past few days, but it’s just another PR nightmare for the Women’s program. Instead of building a bigger tent, you alienate fans who aren’t as familiar with all of the nuance of the game. My emails suggest that soccer “deserves” far more local coverage in sports talk radio. No subject matter “deserves” coverage in a talk radio format unless it generates a large grouping of listeners. We are honored to have had Jim Curtin and players as guests on air in the past three years. There may come a time when soccer takes over, but until that time, soccer is certainly getting exposure. Build a bigger tent. If you want to build a bigger fan tent, welcome a new following of a sport. Instead of telling people what they don’t know, how about trying to make a newer fan feel welcome? It seems like a better strategy than the elitist approach employed by too many. Watch The John Kincade Show on the 97.5 The Fanatic YouTube page on weekday mornings from 6am-10am. [select-gallery gallery_id="474374" syndication_name="lionel-messi-visits-philadelphia-and-blows-out-the-union-gallery" description="no"]

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