Sports

Soccer politics trump all

Adam Lichtenheld
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As an (American) football lover, I had little interest in soccer until I lived in the Middle East. But after spending countless nights in cafes puffing on a shisha and watching “fut-ball” matches with hoards of eager Jordanians, I’ve gained a newfound appreciation for the sport. Soccer is deeply embedded into the culture, and team loyalty trumps everything else. I once asked a shopkeep which of Jordan’s two main teams he roots for. He gave me his preference, and when I mentioned the competing faction, he said “no no no. I hate them. If they play Israel, I support…I support…” (leans in to whisper) “I support Israel.”

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