It’s been interesting to watch the World Cup while in Asia.  When one travels overseas, there’s a limited number of English-speaking TV channels available at the hotels.  Normally, it’s CNN, BBC and maybe Fox.   And, because soccer is the number one global sport, that’s what they primarily shown on the international news channels.  So, I ended up watching an inordinate amount of sports news about the coverage of the World Cup, including many of the matches.

Trust me, I love watching NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, etc while in the US.  And, I get my fill of the highlights on a daily basis on ESPN SportsCenter.  But, it’s been refreshing to have been overseas for two weeks and to watch other news and sports channels.  I’ve been getting my updates about my favorites US sports and teams via my Blackberry and laptop but while watching TV overseas, it’s been primarily soccer (I was able to watch the US Open on ESPN Int’l – albeit with the 12-hour time change).

I’m bummed I wasn’t to join my Georgetown University Sports Industry Management staff and students for their sojourn to South Africa for the first part of the World Cup, but my trip to Asia was planned over six months ago.   It would have been neat to watch the game in live action, but I did enjoy watching the matches  on the telly.

What a  soap opera the 2010 World Cup is turning out to be.  Yes, Brazil, Spain and Argentina are playing well but what about France, Italy and England?  Holy cow – one to three of them may not even advance to the next round.  The off-the-field stories are indeed entertaining.

I’ll be back in the US on Tuesday evening … in time to watch the US game on Wednesday morning.  I hope they advance to the second round since I know it’ll be great for the sport of soccer in the US if the team advances (of course, ESPN badly wants / needs them to advance since they’re so heavily promoting the WC).

It is interesting to see how the other countries, particularly the European and South American teams, look down on the US squad.   Part of that reason is that the best athletes in the US don’t play soccer.  Instead they follow the money and play the more popular sports (and the ones that pay much more) – such as football, baseball, basketball and hockey.

I’d imagine the US would have a much stronger soccer squad of the best American athletes played soccer.  Could you see if Kevin Garnett was in goal?  With his length and athleticism, he’d potentially be a superb goalkeeper.  How about over the past two decades if the US had such athletes such as Allen Iverson, Reggie Bush, Bo Jackson, Deion Sanders and LeBron James playing soccer?   Athletically, they’d have the power, speed and finesse to help the US serve as one of the best teams in the world.

Here’s a prediction … due to the growing popularity of soccer in the US (due in part to the heavy promotion on ESPN and ABC) … over the next 20 years, the US will continue to rise in popularity and will produce one of the next all-time greats.  Again, it’s just this person’s  opinion, but my guess is that a great American will come into play in the next two decades – to mentioned in the same breath as Pele, Cruyff, Maradona, Kaka, Messi, etc.  Call me crazy but let’s see how it plays out.

In the meantime, let’s all enjoy the next couple weeks of the World Cup.