NEW YORK (WFAN) — Mike Francesa can’t believe the attention Sports Illustrated is paying to a soccer event he says most people have never heard of.
The magazine’s May 30 cover screams “SUMMER OF SOCCER” and features Argentinian superstar Lionel Messi. Inside are 11 pages previewing the Copa America tournament.
“Eleven pages on this event,” Francesa said. “Eleven pages and I can’t find anybody who’s ever heard of it.
“Eleven pages! You’ve got to be kidding me! No wonder they can’t give the magazine away. Can’t give it away. This is a magazine from my childhood. This is a magazine that I never, ever didn’t as a kid read from cover to cover.”
Francesa also took exception with the magazine’s contention that the event will allow Messi to leave his mark in the U.S.
“Where is he going to emblazon America this summer? Exactly where?” Francesa asked. “Where is he going to, without question, just take over America?
“I’m sure to soccer fans this is an enormous event, which, God bless them, I have no issue with. But mainstream America doesn’t even know — if I go out and poll the newsroom right now, no one’s ever heard of this event. My guys in here didn’t even know what it is, nor did I.”
Of course, Francesa is no soccer fan, and he made that much clear before launching into his criticism.
“I know I get accused of knowing nothing about soccer because I don’t,” he said. “I know absolutely zero about soccer, and that’s more than I want to know about soccer. I have no interest. Sorry, I’m just being honest.”
If you’re among those people who are unfamiliar with Copa America, here’s the skinny: From June 3-26, the United States will host the tournament, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary. It features 16 participating nations from the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) and the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL).
It is being played at 10 sites across the country, including at MetLife Stadium. The U.S. national team opens play June 3 against Colombia at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California.
To listen to the full segment from Francesa’s show, click on the audio player above.