Written by Athlists
I like my beer cold, my TV loud, and my grill flaming. I’m as red-blooded American as they come, and one of the biggest sports fans you will ever meet. I consider myself a human database of football stats, basketball trades, baseball figures, NASCAR victories, and even the current cricket standings.
There is one sport, however, that has always taken a back burner here in America . . . despite being the most popular game in the world.
Soccer, the beautiful game, futbol, football, or whatever accepted term is used to describe it will never be embraced in America. It’s a sad truth, but it’s a conclusion that’s inevitable and can be completely explained.
Admittedly, my passion for soccer was born my junior year of college while playing FIFA 06 with some roommates. Being junior varsity lacrosse and basketball players, we wanted to test our skills against the best of the best just to find out how tough the game really is. Our competitive intramural team name was FIFA 06 (With Multi-Tap), and we got our asses handed to us in the playoff semi-finals.
So after playing “the beautiful game” on the field, on all gaming consoles, and in arenas, I decided I would take a shot at watching a couple of games on the television. I hate to say it, but I just couldn’t take it. HD didn’t even help.
Although the majority of readers will take offense to this article, just hear me out. There are 7 reasons mainstream America will never embrace this game, and they are absolutely undeniable.
1. Americans don’t have the Attention Spans.
Soccer is a continuous game that is heavily influenced by a team’s endurance and stamina. Unfortunately, Americans do not understand that concept. While one of the most popular sports in the United States involves watching a car go around a track for 600 miles, soccer is players running constantly for 90 minutes. Unlike soccer, however, NASCAR also involves the elements of horrendous crashes, pit stops, and fan favorites. Football also stops after every play, and during the four quarters of the game. The same goes for the innings of baseball, and the quarters of basketball.
2. Low Scores.
Because soccer is such a competitive and trying sport, the scores remain relatively few and far between. Americans like scoring, in all ways, forms, and meanings. Look at every other sport and their average scores, and then compare them to a high scoring soccer affair involving 5 – 6 goals. While scoring a goal is exciting, you have to remember spectators endure 90 minutes of passing balls and running in order to witness the goal.
3. Americans are Fat.
The average weight for American men is 191 pounds, which is 20 pounds heavier than men 40 years ago. The childhood obesity problem doesn’t help either, with nearly 20% of children between the ages of 6 – 12 being overweight. Simple logic will tell you that being overweight means being unhealthy, which probably means you can’t perform well in stamina sports such as soccer. Other sports, however, rely on the big man to take the post, block and tackle, or mash a bomb out of the park. Soccer’s not a big man’s game . . . and a nation’s sports interest that is fixed in an unhealthy lifestyle will likely focus on sports that don’t require healthiness or losing weight.
4. There are no Individuals in Soccer.
Although there are players like Henry, Ronaldinho, and Ronaldo the majority of great players and teams rely on teamwork more than any other sport in existence. Football, baseball, and basketball can all stand to have a weak link during game play. Although the weakest link can be exploited in these sports, the offense does not suffer from their mishaps and great players can more than make up for them. Players like Peyton Manning, Lebron James, and Randy Johnson can single handedly take over the game and produce a win. However, soccer requires extreme teamwork and patience. One weak link could mean a collapse in offense as well as defense. Americans like a hero . . . and it’s hard to be a hero on the soccer field without losing it for the team.
5. The Lack of Stats.
In all athletics, stats are crucial for the sports junkie. Being able to rattle off batting, FG, or QB ratings bring joy to millions of Americans. In soccer, the only real stats are passes, tackles, goals, and saves. Of course there are the occasional corners and cards, but the stats simply aren’t as meaningful nor interesting as other mainstream American sports. I could not tell you the passing percentage of Spain in the UEFA Cup, but I can tell you the ERA of most NL pitchers. The same goes for most of Americans that follow any sport closely.
6. No Rivalries in America.
The MLS boasts an unimpressive 16 teams in 16 cities here in America. There are only 2 conferences, and their marketing has done little to focus on city rivalries. In other sports we have Carolina v. Duke, New York v. Boston, USC v. UCLA, and so on. In the MLS, there is hardly any gut wrenching rivalries to partake in. No, Houston vs. Dallas does not count . . . does the nation stop to watch these two teams battle? I think not. In Europe it is the complete opposite, where hundreds of teams have city rivals, as well as their country rivals. Until there’s some flare, American soccer will remain on the back burner.
7. Americans love exactness.
When a player drops a football, fans scream. They also do the same for dropped baseball, pucks, basketballs, or even when a NASCAR driver misses his line and falls behind. We love perfection and our team never turning the ball over. Which explains why Americans could become very frustrated while watching a game of soccer. Because the soccerball is handled by the feet and can be extremely hard to control, precision is hard to come by during a match.