Football. Excuse me, soccer. The beautiful game. It is embraced nearly everywhere around the globe. But the biggest sports nation in the world, the United States of America, seem to express little interest in soccer.
Why? Some of the issue is that there is little exposure. If you don't have Fox Soccer Channel, all you get on a weekly basis is an MLS game, one or two EPL games and occasionally a game from the Spanish Primera Division.
Some people say that there is no room for soccer—there are already four major sports, along with the lesser sports such as golf and tennis. A theory is that with America's history, they rejected the British-created football, and made their own version.
But America is such a sports-crazed country, I think if people really got enthused about soccer, it would get great media exposure. During the World Cup, I personally saw people who could care less about soccer watch entire matches the US were playing in. After the World Cup, they could care less again.
Part of the issue may be the MLS. Major League Soccer is growing fast, getting some great international players, although they may be in the later stages of their careers.
MLS also has some great fan bases, such as Houston, Portland and Seattle, etc. They just need to get more young stars to stay in the league instead of leaving for the bigger leagues, because many times American young guns will leave and end up playing for some second division team or not get much playing time.
MLS is a fine soccer league, but it doesn't feature the excitement the greater leagues in Europe offer. So you would think the improvement of MLS would create more soccer buzz, but many Americans don't even like to watch the most high quality soccer from EPL, Serie A, etc.
So what is it that makes people so turned off of soccer? As a young child, I was not a soccer fan at all. i loved to play it, but i would have rather watched paint dry than a "boring" soccer match.
And here i am today, with soccer as my favorite sport. I thought soccer was boring because of the lack of scoring. I couldn't believe they could play a ninety minute game and end without a single goal for either team! And that is a huge reason soccer isn't popular in America. The lack of goals.
Now, the fact soccer is so low scoring makes it so intense. A team can have only five percent of possession and play great defense, and all they need is to kick the ball in the net one time, and they can win! Anything can happen in soccer, and it only takes one kick of the ball to completely change a game.
I also think people don't see all the aspects of soccer. It's not all about scoring goals. Yes, that's the point, but players and managers don't prepare for a game by saying, "Let's score goals!" There are tactics involved, which i won't get into much now, but I'll give an example.
Let's say you are in the final game of a league season, and you just need to get a draw (one point) to win the league. You can sit back and defend all game and end the game 0-0 and win the league.
In American sports (except sometimes hockey) you can't do that. You have to go for the win all the time.
The scoring system of soccer also adds another dimension to the game. You get three points for a win and one point for a draw, which makes winning that much more important.
Will soccer ever be embraced in this country? Who knows. I think either MLS will have to become better or the US will need to win the World Cup.
And to all you people who say you hate soccer, just give the beautiful game a chance.
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