In many discussions that I have had with my friends, I have come to find that most of them who have an interest in soccer, lack an interest and/or knowledge for other sports, as in depth as theirs in soccer. It just seems that those (in America) that follow soccer religiously, have some reason to make it their number 1 sport to follow, and everything else is second nature.
After some research and personal understanding, I have come to a conclusion of why soccer catches heat in America:
Soccer lacks constant big play potential- I have recognized this in many ways and I am ready to lay them out. I recently downloaded FIFA 2013 for my iPhone. I am not a gamer by any means but have found myself playing the game too often. After setting the difficulty level to Semi-pro, the third level out of 5 or 6, the game becomes instantly uninteresting and requires too much patience. Yes, it gets harder, but it takes away big play opportunities and scoring potential. People love sports for the constant action, big play potential, and physicality of them. Soccer lacks that. In real life, as in this video game, soccer is a game of setting up, similar to chess, where you only get a chance to score if every pass and play is set up spot on, or if someone on the other team fucks up mightily. Chess players must be patient, and I am learning that soccer players must be also.
Studies from Professional soccer have shown that there is an average of 2.4 goals per game at the professional level. 2.4! That is not a lot of scoring. Not to mention that rules in soccer allow for teams to tie at the end of regulation periods. No time is extended for extra playing until post seasons or championship matches. Seems a little odd to me. With an average of 2.4 goals per game comes the possibility of 0-0 ties or 1-0 outcomes, not to mention the fact that a team only averages about 6 shots per game (and they don’t have to be on goal). It just seems like a lot of time and effort for only such little bit of action to take place.
Let’s compare soccer to other sports for a moment: Where football, the possibility of a big play is present at every second. A kickoff/punt is one of the most exciting plays in football and happens on average more than 8 times per game. Also, at every snap, the play has a potential to score a touchdown in several different ways, and if they do not, they will eventually have the opportunity to score by a field goal. Big hits are possible at every play as well, which sometimes get the crowd more excited than a score.
With baseball, the opportunity of a homerun is available at every single pitch, with basketball, a team shoots more than 50 times per game and there is potential for a dunk on every single play (the best athletes in the world play basketball), with hockey, there is fighting, hitting, lots of shooting, and more scoring than soccer. Soccer lacks intense physicality. From the flopping, to the lack of contact, and all of the hilarious fake-injury-videos, there are, the sport can be picked on easily.
Looking at these facts, it is easy to see why soccer is so under-minded in America. It’s just not as exciting as other sports. If you like chess, fishing, and bird watching, chances are you will like soccer.
I understand that like many sports, if you have not played soccer at a competitive level, your interest in the sport may be low. Despite all my antics and all my arguments against this sport, I have found it more enjoyable as of lately. Still though, I absolutely understand why it is not the most popular sport in this country.