Why We Will Just Have to Keep Waiting for Soccer to Hit the American Mainstream

Nik DeCosta-KlipaCorrespondent IJuly 18, 2008

Soccer, football or futbol—whatever you call it—is the undisputed most popular sport on the planet.

Yet, possibly the most influential and powerful country on this planet is yet to catch on.  Soccer is still struggling to make a name for itself in the United States where football, basketball, and baseball dominate the nation's attention.

For some reason the United States is just not interested in the sport that means life and death to the majority of the rest of the world.  Soccer is a religion to its fans overseas and even that may be an understatement.

So why is it barely even recognized in the US?

The United States currently has three main—most popular—sports: Basketball, Football and Baseball.  We love the quick, fast paced, excitement of basketball  We love the contact and intensity of football and we love the tradition of "America's Past-time," baseball.

So why not soccer? It has the tradition, the modern-styled game was invented over forty years before Albert Doubleday thought up baseball.  It has very fast-paced passing and movement. And it was also has become very intense and physical to a surprising degree to anyone who is not currently familiar to the professional style of play.

And if you think about it, soccer really does take the most pure talent and smarts to play because you don't have to be six or a half feet tall of three-hundred pounds or be 95 percent muscle to play it.

You don't have to be some monstrous freak of a person to play professionally. You just have to be very, very talented. And be able to take the ball on one touch coming from another player and think fast enough to angle it to another player, through two other defenders, who is running diagonally 30 yards away from you.

Or to be able to take a ball going 40 miles per hour in the air and hit it with your head and put it into the corner of a goal that is ten yards away. Or to be able to make a ball curve ten feet in any direction off your foot?  Now that takes some talent.

In my opinion I think it comes down to the fact that the average, stereotypical, red-stater American does not have the patience to watch ninety minutes of soccer where sometimes there is not even one goal (even though generally there is around two or three total goals in a game).

And I would have to agree that for a first-time viewer a normal game were the viewer doesn't have a side to root for, the game may seem dull.  But with time, an appreciation and passion for the game comes after you begin to understand the flow of play.

When you get into the game, you will get the quick thrills of a shot gone just wide of the goal or a diving save.  You will get fired over a hard slide tackle from behind at one of your team's players.  And you will feel the exhilaration of a goal scored by your team.

I think that it is gonna take the US team to advance far into the World Cup for America to catch on to this amazing sport.  It will take a run into at least the semifinals or finals to get that stereotypical American to pick up the remote and turn the channel from that springtime Sox-Orioles game, to the semifinals of the World Cup.

Because, once the rest of the United States starts to get that thrill in watching a 1-0 soccer game, the coverage and interest will come. Unfortuanatly that might not even be enough, so i am just going to keep waiting for the ESPN Deportes update on Sportscenter to catch a premier league score and just keep watching the MLS games on ESPN2. I'm just gonna have to keep waiting...