Making for Mass Appeal: Why Isn't Soccer More Popular in America?

Joe WillettSenior Writer IMay 3, 2008

I'll be completely honest about this—I very rarely sit down and watch an entire soccer game. Still, I don't think it is a boring sport by any means. 

The only time that I have sat down to watch soccer was during the most recent World Cup. And that was because of the history and the publicity behind the event.  I would turn on soccer and would sit and watch the entire thing through.

Why can I watch World Cup soccer, yet I never watch any other soccer event?

I think the answer to that question is that I don't have a team to root for.  

The MLS is soccer's D-League in every sense of the term. I don't know if the players are any good, because it is never on TV.  There is the occasional game on Comcast SportsNet, but those games are poorly advertised.

If there were more advertisements, I might give them a chance.

Another reason that I don't think soccer is as enjoyable for Average Joes such as myself, is the fact that there is little to no history behind American soccer.

Sure, there have been great players like Pelé and Ronaldo, but those guys play in different countries.  Great American players come along very rarely, and they are usually unappreciated here.

When I sit down to watch the World Cup, I will watch any two countries battle it out because I know that this is a historic event.  I can watch any team play in the World Series or the Super Bowl for that same reason. 

If we had great stories to tell our kids, I think that soccer would be much more popular.

The final reason that I have not been able to give soccer a chance—I don't know when it is on.

I don't like to put in five hours of research to find out when the next game is.  I want to be able to turn on ESPN, sit there for five minutes, and wait for the time to come up on the bottom line.

The MLS isn't there—it's not on any sports channel's bottom line. 

Unless the MLS can put some major dollars into advertising, I can't give them my respect.  If they don't care enough to shell out the money to let people know what they are selling, how are we supposed to know where to go to enjoy the product?

Until these faults are fixed most of the country, along with myself, will just sit there watching football, baseball, and basketball until soccer can finally find a way to nudge itself into the American way of life.

Oh well, at least I have the World Cup to look forward to.

I'm Joe W.