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Soccer is a perennial sport. It is played almost everywhere and almost all countries have a league that is watched and followed intensely just like the NFL. Take the English Premier League (EPL), the most watched sporting league in the world, being broadcasted to 600 million people in over 200 countries worldwide.
The EPL is comprised of the top twenty teams in England, who battle it out for nine months. Similar leagues also exist all over the world, with European leagues usually taking center stage—the main benefactors being Spain, Germany and Italy. The most lucrative trophy is the league title.
Besides this title, which demonstrates to others that you are the de-facto team to beat, there are other competitions—equally prestigious and attended—that take place all year round. Let us revisit England again, where teams can compete for the Carling Cup and the FA cup, two other highly prestigious trophies.
Furthermore, there’s the UEFA Champions League—a league where the top teams from each league in Europe compete for the Champions League trophy and the World Cup—a competition that gives an equal opportunity for all countries to take part in.
There are also the Euro Cups, the Copa Americas, and numerous others, but I assume you get the point.
Soccer fosters globalization and understanding of each others' culture, and it allows people to transcend cross-cultural barriers. Soccer is at the heart of globalized culture. If you follow soccer, you can go anywhere in the world and people will know what you are talking about.
Take a top-tier club, Chelsea, which plays in the English Premier League: The main Goalkeeper is Czech, there are defenders hailing from Serbia, England, Brazil and Portugal, midfielders from Ghana, Nigeria, France and Ivory Coast, and strikers from Belgium, Spain and the like. Even the coach is Portuguese. And that is only one team.
One country is missing, and that is the United States: For all of its resources and talented athletes, Americans are sorely underrepresented in the top-tier leagues.
Moreover, numerous leagues in numerous countries also gives better bargaining power for players and managers. In case of fallouts, these personnel have the flexibility to go anywhere they desire.
For example: Didier Drogba, one of the stars of the aforementioned Chelsea team, is now rumored to go to a Chinese club because his club did not offer him a two-year contract extension. At Shangai Shenhua, he is expected to make around £200,000 a week, which translates to around $310,000 a week.