Racial divide driving a wedge into soccer’s grassroots
Boston’s Pop Warner “urban suburban” American football league collapsed earlier this month. Parents of the suburban 7-14-year-olds said that the urban kids played too rough. And urban playing fields were “unsafe”. And that the urban kids played “intimidating” rap music.
You’ll have worked out that “suburban” and “urban” are euphemisms and that this is a row about race and class. League director Al Perillo told the Boston Globe that white middle-class parents have been scared off by TV news reports of drive-by shootings. But they’re also sick “getting beat 30-to-nothing every time they go to Boston”.
It’s easy for an Englishman to write about racism in American sports. It’s easy to forget that you come from the country that gave the sporting world the banana barrage, the monkey noise, the “paki” chant and Ron Atkinson. And from a continent which – taken as a whole – seems to be stuck in 1938.
That said, the segregation of US cities still shocks. And nowhere is this divide more obvious than in US soccer. No one is keeping statistics on just how effectively working class African-Americans have been excluded from America’s grass roots soccer explosion. But everyone is agreed that US soccer is – to use Greg Dyke’s phrase – hideously white.
Read More: The Guardian