The Soccer Scarf: A Transplanted Accessory That Doesn’t Make Sense In the U.S.

When soccer scarves pop up among soccer fans in MLS stadiums, they seem pretentious and out of place. It seems like American soccer fans are trying too hard to be something they’re not.

soccer-scarvesSoccer in the U.S. is played mainly in the spring and summer months. It is not played in winter months when scarves would be most necessary to keep warm.

It’s hard to say who sets the worse example, the fans or the commissioner.

Don Garber tries hard to bring his scarf to interviewing situations whenever possible, as do so many other executives involved with pro soccer. Often, a press conference for any new team or new product for a team becomes one more chance to show off the team’s scarf.

Scarves are a borrowed, unoriginal, marketing opportunity to get U.S. soccer fans brainwashed to how things have to be in the world’s order of soccer.

Why couldn’t MLS or U.S. soccer clubs/people come up with something else to showcase that would be more authentic to Americans?

How about socks, since the Summer months get hot and most people are wearing shorts, why don’t fans get a pair of their team’s socks to strut around in so others take notice of who their team is?

Fans have pride for their teams and want to show their support, but people who bring scarves to games are like mice/sheep. There is no common sense in wearing a scarf or bringing one if the temperature does not fit the occasion.

So many people try to act like they’re European so they can think they “belong.” The scarf represents this sense of belonging.

American soccer fans who wear scarves are wanting to be accepted among soccer’s elite. The elite they’re trying to impress primarily are soccer fans either in the U.S. or in Europe who may think MLS is not a top-notch league compared to the more well-known kings of the hill leagues of England, Spain, Germany, and Italy.

Soccer scarves are not a noteworthy piece of fashion for the most part in Brazil, Argentina, or any of the other Latin American countries. These countries and their club leagues are reputable, sound, and world-renowned. Fans of these teams are not running out to the local sporting goods store for soccer scarves because the weather isn’t cold enough to need them. They are not chasing a trend.

American Soccer fans would be better off starting new traditions than to always be one step behind whatever everybody else is doing. Wearing scarves any time but the winter is uncomfortable. Also, it is unbecoming of a U.S. sports fan.

Soccer scarves send the wrong message to U.S. sports fans who may want to give soccer more of its spectator time. It is one more item that feels foreign and unfamiliar.


Howard Alperin is Managing Editor of

About Howard M Alperin

Husband, Father, Teacher, Planner, Advisor, Counselor, Social Worker, Businessman, Consultant, Blogger, Author, Entrepreneur, Inventor, YMCA Coach, Marketer, Innovator, Advertiser, Promoter, Court Appointed Special Advocate to children, Volunteer, Runner, Athlete, Spanish Speaker, Non-Sports Card Collector, Dog Agility Enthusiast and OIF Veteran.


  1. A few things…

    1. As for MLS fans copying from the European leagues, what is the big deal if the MLS does that or not? The MLS wont be on par with any of the European top-tier leagues until the talent level catches up and that wont happen with the salary cap/designated player structure in place. MLS teams cant spend on talent in a way similar to the clubs in any of the major leagues across the globe. Really, scarves are the least of the MLS's and its fan's concern for trying to differentiate itself from Europe and the other top flight leagues.

    2. I welcome you to check out the forecast for the Santos game in Seattle on March 7. It will most likely be in the mid 40s with a chance of rain (surprise!). Definitely "bundling up weather" and supporter scarf is a good choice to go on a gamenight, and this will be the case for the Pacific NW teams until around mid-May. I realize that the decent chunk of the MLS games are played in the summer months, but even the premier league and La Liga games are played in some warm temperatures and they will still wear the scarves.

    All in all…I get where you are coming from, but there are better and more pressing topics to touch on, in regards to the MLS and the soccer culture in the US.

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