I would like to know the purpose of the article "Soccer (Yawn) & Us" {Outlook, June 24}. It seems that it was written to perpetuate the typical American attitude that if you do not understand the culture of another country, criticize it.

Only your paper would send a writer to Italy for a month to report on the World Cup and then print an article about how the world's most popular game is stupid and boring.

-- William O'Hare

I have simply had enough of your cretinous coverage of the 1990 World Cup soccer finals. For the past fortnight, I have suffered every morning when confronted with the daily drivel from your reporter in Italy. Couldn't you find a more erudite correspondent, versed in the language and subtle intricacies of the game, sympathetic to its peculiar eloquence and grace? Must we suffer through the reporter's tales about the difficulty of finding a cab in Florence?

To make matters worse, my Sunday was sobered by Steve Twomey's Outlook article. It might have been amusing, if it weren't for its distinctly unfunny paternalism, arrogance and downright ignorance.

I have been an ardent soccer fan all my life. That does not mean that, like Twomey, I feel a sophomoric need to ridicule and downgrade sports that I little understand and that hold pride of place in the hearts of others. Games are essentially cultural markers, celebrated as condensed and repeated sets of rites and symbols. Twomey's article was an example of the worst form of cultural intolerance.

-- Daniel Owen

My fellow staffer Steve Twomey's recent opinings on soccer -- which essentially described the game as boring, ungratifying and without enough scoring -- were maladroit and self-consciously cute. Light in tone as it was meant to be, it attested to an insufferable Yanqui arrogance, posing unsuccessfully as satire.

It also demonstrated an apparent inability to understand that there might be more to a sport than stockpiling points.

I wonder if a piece describing America's over-hallowed game of baseball as a sport for athletic geeks, with a kinetic excitement factor ranking slightly above croquet, would have run in Outlook. Probably not, considering how many sports, soft-news and political journalists (the usual white, American, male suspects) regularly take up columns with those indulgent, writes-of-passage pieces about the inward, deeply spiritual, profoundly allegorical, quintessentially American side of baseball.

Soccer is close to the hearts of -- and I do not exaggerate -- millions of world residents, American and non-American. Obviously, I am one of them. On behalf of no less than the global, World Cup-loving community, I feel compelled to inform my otherwise learned colleague that there's a wide world of sports beyond his Monday-night living room.

-- Desson Howe

Soccer, the sport of hopelessness? Predictable? Soccer fans riot to stay awake? Obviously, Steve Twomey doesn't understand the game.

Sure, not many goals are usually scored in a soccer game, and often if a team gets up by two goals it will win. It may be also correct that a football game in which one team has scored twice is just "starting off." But so what? Scoring differs from sport to sport. Criticizing soccer because it isn't scored like baseball or American football is like comparing a European sports car with an American stretch limousine.

Any way, it's not the number of goals that makes soccer so popular. It's the game as a whole: 90 minutes of precise passes, brilliant dribbling, off-side traps, tackling and great goal shots. The fascination of World Cup soccer is the appreciation of the perfection of individual technique, athletic stamina and strategy.

If Twomey's strange views of World Cup soccer really represent the attitude in the United States, then let any other country -- where the sport of "limited chance and opportunities," the sport that "is bereft of the most basic ingredient that makes any sport enticing to a spectator" is appreciated -- host the 1994 World Cup Games.

-- Klaus Grossmann