Top Ten Reasons Soccer Isn't Popular in the United States

Spenser T. HarrisonCorrespondent IMay 5, 2008

Apparently it’s soccer season in the United States of America.  

Unbeknownst to most Americans, the MLS is in full swing, already six weeks into the season. The mere fact that there is professional soccer in the U.S. might come as a surprise to you, but I assure you, it does exist.

Like the majority of Americans, I can only be bothered to care about soccer every four years, when the World Cup rolls around. Even then, the only reason for watching is the hope that our C-Team athletes can beat a country that actually cares about the sport.

With that being said, we have to wonder; why soccer isn’t popular in this country? Why is it that every child begins his sporting career with soccer, only to pursue a different sport as soon as he or she can? How can the most popular sport in the world be relegated to the same fanfare as bass fishing and bowling in our country?

Well, I’ve done some thinking, and I’ve come up with 10 reasons why soccer isn’t popular in the United States. 

10. Riots 

It’s not the act of rioting itself, but rather the fact that they are rioting over soccer. In real countries, we riot over race relations, the overthrow of a government, or because our team just won a championship. However, soccer fans riot because it has become a cliché thing to do. It has no real purpose, no end result, and is ultimately brushed off as “soccer hooliganism”. Moreover, hooliganism doesn’t even sound frightening (as a riot should), but rather like a bunch of drunken men playing grab-ass and making a mess. 

9. Player’s with one name 

Other than ancient Greek philosophers, no one is special enough to have one name, not even you Bono.  

8. Brutality 

It’s true, Americans like our fair share of violence. We seem to believe that if someone is going to be paid millions of dollars to play a sport, then there should be some possibility of irreversible bodily harm or death. This would explain why NASCAR and the NFL are currently America’s two favorite sporting events, and baseball's fan base has steadily fallen as their salaries have grown. 

To further that point, I ask you what sport is the fastest growing in the U.S.? The answer would be MMA (mixed-martial-arts); a modern-day gladiatorial games.       

7. Flopping 

Not many things turn Americans off to soccer more than the flop. When we want to see acting, we go to a movie, not a sports arena. Only in soccer can a grown man  theatrically run himself into ground at the slightest of contact, then grasp a portion of his body as if it had been blown off by a high-powered rifle. This is then applauded as a valiant attempt to draw a call, after which the theif usually gets up seemingly unhurt, ready to fire their free kick. 

6. Objectivity 

Soccer has a clock which continually runs up instead of down, and in the end, a single man decides when the game will end without informing anyone else. On top of his already misplaced power, he can basically give and take away points on a whim. There is no rulebook as to what clearly defines a foul, or a bad tackle. You can play an entire match only to have it decided by a thespian disguised as an athlete taking a theatrical dive in the penalty area.

Thus, you are determining a winner by a random event that has little to no relevance to the rest of the game. Americans would never stand for it; it reeks of random injustice and unearned glory.  

5. Substitution 

Since each team is only allotted three substitutions per game, soccer fans and players continually pride themselves on the fact that they ‘have stamina” or “run the entire game”.  In reality, this retards the game. Not only will we only see a maximum of 12 different players from either team, but by the time the game gets into the final minutes, they are exhaustedly trotting around with no attempt to make a play on the ball until it comes to them. 

If the ball does happen to roll their way, they’ll probably fail to make a play and immediately resort to the flop. Then they’ll lie on the ground for a good minute or two to regain the energy they’ve lost chasing a ball around for an hour. 

4. Not Enough Scoring 

A soccer team generally scores as much as Steve Erkel. When your sport fails to notch as many points as a baseball game, there is a serious problem. It’s sad when a group of generally unathletic guys playing a sport in pants, in which there is a very real possibility that not a single bead of sweat will develop on them, still manage to have more scoring and excitement than soccer. 

3. The Use of Hands (or lack thereof)  

In the course of human evolution, the opposed thumb is perhaps the single most important genetic alteration, yet soccer does not allow us to celebrate this. Americans however, enjoy the use of our hands, which is why we created basketball; the American version of soccer.

While Basketball encompasses the constant movement of soccer and the ability for the ref to objectively award free points, it does have its alterations. For instance, there’s more scoring, no goalie dressed in different attire as his teammates, freedom of substitution, and the all important use of hands. 

2. The Tie 

It has been said that a tie is like kissing your sister, and in soccer it happens 55 percent of the time 

1. We’re not the best at it