Why Soccer Is the Greatest Sport On Earth

I wanted to talk about the state of soccer in America. No other sport illicits such negativity in the media. No other sport seems to generate such venom within the ranks of a few American journalists and sportscasters. No other sport uncovers the fear and ignorance of a select few who still have yet to see the light.

Let’s explore the facts and see if we can dispel the myths, and enlighten these towering juggernauts of intellect, the American sportswriter.

Firstly, we are 3 billion strong. More people in the world watch soccer by far more than any other sport. NFL has about 400 million fans worldwide. Baseball has about 250 million fans.

Secondly, if the writer has actually experienced the sport and understands it, and has lived it, and God forbid, actually tried playing it, he would realize, what the rest of the world does, that soccer is the most physically demanding, requires the most creativity, agility, overall skill and total athletic ability, more than any other sport by far. This is coming from someone who has played all sports in some organized manner, played high school varsity and college athletics and played two sports at the pro or semi pro level. I’m not knocking other sports which I know also take tremendous skill and ability to play at a high level, no matter what it is. I love all sports. But I know what it takes, from a sheer skill point of view, to play soccer…the only thing really coming close is MMA. This point will remain eternally debatable.

Thirdly, soccer is the most democratic sport on earth. Everyone on the playing field is equal. Everyone gets to touch the ball. Everyone can score, at any given time. Other American sports have a certain hierarchy where certain players are limited to certain tasks that restrict not only their function in the game but their overall playing time. So during the course of an entire game, which may last 3 hours or more, you have some players that may never touch the ball for the entire game. As a matter of fact, they may never touch the ball for a number of games. They may never touch the ball the whole season. This is what has always irked me about certain American sports – there is no equality of functions. Everyone is limited to his specialty task which swallows any creativity and joy of the game and reduces players’ positions to the functions of an automated machine rather than a creative individual playing within the confines of a team unit.

American media always complains about the lack of contact in soccer. If they would actually watch a game, especially a live game, they would see and understand that there are far more injuries, brutal, horrific injuries, and even deaths, in soccer, than any other sport. Soccer players don’t where helmets or pads. They only wear protection on their shins to keep from breaking their legs (which happens quite frequently anyway, even with the guards.). In soccer, you can kick, punch, elbow, trip, head-butt, tackle, push, hold, stomp, the opposing player and often not get called for it. This is just part of the standard flow of the game. Yes, often players overreact to falls or injuries, but this is only to generate a penalty against the opposing team and gain favor toward the win. I would challenge any reporter or sportswriter to find a local park kick-around and give it a try to not find any violent conduct. He is far more likely to get hurt or even annihilated playing soccer in a local park than he is at the beer league softball game or pick up basketball.

Soccer as a live sport and as one watched on TV in the U.S. has gained great strides in the last few years with the rise in popularity of MLS, bringing big name players to the states, and the greater access of matches on select cable stations. Five years ago I would be lucky to see a soccer game on TV. I would have to wait for the World Cup to see any matches. Now I have ample choices of games I can watch and tournaments that are covered. New stadiums are being planned and built, and current stadiums are seeing healthy crowd turn-outs, even in a depressed economy.

I understand that much of what motivates the American media when it comes to soccer is fear. They are scared of soccer. They are scared of soccer taking away the fan base of American sports. They are scared of lost advertising revenue because soccer is continuous play, without constant breaks for commercials.

My plea is, save the hate. There is already too much hatred in the world right now and often these reporters sound like the Taliban, wanting the American public to only believe what they believe and watch what they watch. As Americans, we distance ourselves even more from the rest of the world by spewing negativity, putting down other people and denouncing what they love and embrace.

If you don’t like soccer, don’t watch it. Don’t cover it. We don’t need you.

For some fans around the world and right here in America, soccer is joy and soccer is God. Don’t tell us our God doesn’t exist and we must believe in a different God. We don’t want to hear it.

For those who don’t know soccer and want to understand it better, watch the “NIKE: TAKE IT TO THE NEXT LEVEL” commercial on youtube.com

Comments 35 comments

Trevor 6 years ago

You're off when you talk about the media not wanting soccer to succeed.

In fact, ESPN sticks with soccer broadcasts despite low ratings because they believe and want it to grow. I once spoke to ESPN president George Bodenschatz who told me that poker gets 6-7 times the ratings that soccer gets, yet ESPN sticks with it because of the potential it has. ESPN wants it badly to succeed.

The media sees the popularity of the game worldwide and the enormous revenue possibility and absolutely wants it to succeed.

Final evidence of this, ESPN is going to broadcast its first ever 3D sports game this summer. And it will be a soccer game, the first game of the world cup.


defconprods profile image

defconprods 6 years ago from Moorpark, CA Author

but then just today they were supposed to broadcast a chelsea game and instead we got "Bassmasters"...


defconprods profile image

defconprods 6 years ago from Moorpark, CA Author

i'll check it out, thanks bro...


Roberto 6 years ago

The American media sucks. I just a matter of time Soccer is the fastest growing sport in the United States. Look at all the kids playing it. Its knocking on the door.


Devil's Adovocate 6 years ago

All interesting points, but allow me to play Devil's Advocate.

1 - You claim to be 3 billion strong. The quantity argument is not valid to claim which sport is the "best". Some sports require a different climate, or more importantly and frequently, more money to play. Just because a sport is cheap does not make it great. The fact that most of the world plays soccer is simply a reflection of circumstance. It is not like the entire world is given a choice of ALL sports and chooses soccer. Interestingly though, out of the 10 most populous countries in the world...only 2 of them would refer to soccer as their top sport. Countries like the USA, India and China play many different sports...serving as an example that when given a choice....people actually are not playing soccer in as high a number. The exception in the top 10? Brazil and Nigeria.

Besides, if we all used the "quantity" argument, it would mean that GM makes the best cars, Windows is the best operating system, and Walmart is the best retail store. Doesn't seem to work does it?

Second, I agree is eternally debatable. But again, to play Devil's Advocate, I would like to throw Ice Hockey into the mix. Physically demanding? Out of the top 10 organized professional sports in North America, hockey has the most injuries per game/per player. This is according to the International Olympic Committee. You mention that soccer players have to wear shin pads because it protects them from breaking their legs. Well hockey players wear pads everywhere because EVERYTHING is at risk. By the end of the playoff season, hockey players have pretty much lost their teeth, have numerous stiches in their face, and surgery in the off-season is just part of the game. The puck flies around at 100mph and skating is faster than running, and ice is harder than grass. Physical impact happens at a higher velocity than any other sport. Players have died, and literally been sliced open by skate blades quite frequently. Oh...and you mention MMA? While, hockey actually allows full-out fighting. There is simply no where to hide in this sport, so to say that hands down soccer is more physically demanding? It is a lower body sport, hockey is full body and the risks are much higher.

Third? Let's stick with the hockey argument...because I like it! Democratic? Well...everyone touches the puck in hockey as well. Everyone scores, and has. Even goalies have scored (obviously on empty nets, or flukes...but same as in soccer) And it is interesting to think that in the World Cup of Soccer, the last final between Italy and France was decided on penalty kicks...which have nothing to do with a team...and more about....well....players having a specific function? I thought you didn't like that about American sports, yet the so-called biggest tournament in the world came down to a one-on-one battle...not very democratic.

And finally, you have a theme of your entire argument claiming that in America, they hate soccer, or the media, or the general fan. I know you are just painting a general picture, and not the entire country, but I thought is was kind of ironic that you attack the "American Media Machine" as slamming soccer.....then you direct people to a NIKE COMMERCIAL, the largest AMERICAN sports brand who practically invented sports marketing. Not sure I would use one form of propaganda to try and discredit another...especially when they are both from the USA.

Anyways, just found your article interesting and wanted to play the other side. Personally, I don't really like Football, or Baseball. I like soccer, hockey and basketball, as well as golf. But there are a lot of sports out there that are incredibly demanding. I think Tennis players get no love...they will play 3-4 hour matches every second day for 2 weeks...and that is an incredibly hard sport on your body.


defconprods profile image

defconprods 6 years ago from Moorpark, CA Author

makes sense to me...i wanted to mention tennis also which was voted third only to soccer and motocross for requiring the most overall athletic coordination...


nick 6 years ago

To devils advocate....everyone knows hockey has probably more contact then any sports but where talking about football which is the most popular sport in american and is only played in america. Everyone here thinks its sooo amazing yet its not even that physically demanding as people think. You have constant break between plays, all the body protection you can ask for and the only creative players on the team are the coach and the quarterback. Everyone else just has one little task and that's about it. Hockey, Basketball, tennis, baseball and many other sports are played around the world but football is only played in the US. Like the article states is popularity comes from all the ads it produces from the constant pauses in the game. Actualy now that i remmember most people watch the Super Bowl because of the hilarious ad's it produces. So again its about money in america. In the rest of the world its about the love for the game.


SpiffyD profile image

SpiffyD 5 years ago from The Caribbean

This was a great hub in defence of soccer. I don't see why some Americans (note some) seek to put down the sport just because it is popular in other parts of the world. If it were not for soccer, American "football" would not exist. Association football (soccer) and rugby football were created around the same time. American Football is based on rugby football, with significant rule changes and equipment. Thankfully, more Americans are embracing the sport despite the prevailing misconceptions.

The Devil's Advocate raises some interesting points, but I'd offer one rebuttal to the idea of choice. Many countries play many sports and people have choice, but it is too easy to say that when people are given choice, soccer is not that popular. In India, cricket only became immensely popular when the Indian team won the 1983 World Cup against the West Indies. Before, it wasn't all that big. If more countries started experiencing success in the soccer world, they may have far more fans. If India qualified for a FIFA World Cup and performed well, many more Indians would turn to soccer instead of cricket and hockey.


Hulkweazel 5 years ago

To answer Devil's Advocate "Physically demanding" doesn't just refer to injuries suffered, but also technical skill. Hockey may be a tough sport to master, but it pales in comparison to soccer, which is possibly one of the hardest sports technically, if not the hardest. I doubt anyone could ever go pro without at least 10, possibly even 15 years of competitive training in soccer - this is in addition to it being as physically demanding as it is.

Also, while the hits may be harder in hockey, players get frequent breaks as they constantly change lines - not so in soccer, in which players usually are required to play the full 90 minutes.


John 5 years ago

Also going back to devils advocates, Soccer is the best sport, for the reason why many athletes require a high stamina rate or else they aren't worth it. Despite the fact that soccer requires more energy, in baseball even a fat person could play as well as the game being slow. When you mentioned people in hockey lose teeth and other vital parts of their body, how does that prove ts sport, on the contrary it proves that the sport is widely violent and shouldn't be played from its outcomes. Nevertheless, if you see all over the world soccer is played, even in the USA, ironically baseball isn't played in any other country apart from the Caribbean and Venezuela. Besides soccer is the best sport because you can play it wherever you desire and anyone can play tall or short, male or female. While baseball and other sports require more necessities. Besides soccer has the most dangerous fans, in classic rivalries people would oftentimes die for pride, since in the past this was how they were resembled. Even though many sports all ready existed, they weren't as popular, however, soccer were one of the first sports that every hit the charts, popularity wise.


papa_smurf 4 years ago

Soccer is the most popular sport in the word. Poor, rich, blue, red, anybody around the world play it. The world cup is a real WORLD tournoment that only the 32 best soccer national teams out of 200 countries compete against each other.


barry1001 profile image

barry1001 4 years ago from North Wales

Number one sport in the world.


Mimi 4 years ago

Be careful with the word skill. Of all the sports I know of, baseball takes the most skill. It's hard to argue against that. I don't think that's what you mean, though.


Adam 4 years ago

I like money


sean burny 4 years ago

greatest sport on earth who else agrees


Victoria 4 years ago

I absolutely agree with this writer. I hear almost everyday that soccer sucks soccer this soccer that..if you have never watched it or played it don't comment about the sport negatively. It's annoying.


soccer101101 4 years ago

because there are most people sport,it's sport king,none other sport can over soccer.

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Atkinsondc 4 years ago

I played baseball for 5 years and it requires about a season of practice to become good. It's probably one of the easiest sports and it does not require any skill besides throwing and swinging.


Oleg 4 years ago

Baseball is good spot for couch potatos.


Stendel profile image

Stendel 4 years ago from corpus christi

One of the greatest games ever! No doubt about it!


SAR1500 4 years ago

Ok people, soccer sucks end of discussion, it is one a a few sports that allows a game to end in a tie there is nothing to it and it is very very BORING!

Only this crappy little event condones the violence that it brings with players and fans being victims of beatings and murder, tsoccer has ine if the most corrut organizations in the world managing it, FIFA has no real power and can do nothing to stem the violence that is almost common in the "sport" and only this sport puts its fans into cages, like animals...

american football, like almost every sport, is played in almost every country in the world. I have seen leagues organized even in the middle east and the far east with europe being the 2nd largest non professional american footbal organization EFAF.

So to someo of you sucker fans out there, do some research before you start flapping your dick suckers!


Sark1500 4 years ago

Lol lol tie game yes like footboll americano that they score one gol and they call it 7 points where not a one player can play the entering game where they need ro warch the replied


Joey 4 years ago

One thing I've noticed from non-Americans. Before you criticize Americans for not appreciating soccer (which I fully do love and appreciate), try to appreciate our sports and not put quotes around American "football." Just call it American Football instead of making fun of it basically by calling it American "football". Just a thought


reecardo 4 years ago

You guys are delusional, soccer is the most participated game in the US just as it is in most countries in the world, American Football is just the most watched. Is that really what you are talking about, what people enjoy watching? Who cares what people watch on the tube, it is all just wasted time anyway.


Gabe Knox 4 years ago

Brother,

This article soothed my soul. I couldn't agree with you more and I couldn't have said it any better. Soccer is LIFE! Americans just don't understand! Albeit, At one point, I felt as if I was the writer of this article! You seriously should post this all over the internet so the world can see what YOU and I both KNOW is TRUTH about soccer.


Baron 4 years ago

I feel that many of these arguments /rebuttals are there because of a bias. I really really really dislike soccer, I'm not from the states, I'm from Canada and I find that soccer, from the spectator's view to be extremely boring. The reason is that in 90 minutes of play(plus extra time) the score will always remain low, the pace of the game itself is slow and the fouls are just horrible. On the other hand I do feel that the athletes must be athletic BUT stamina and speed are not the only components of athleticism. There are so many more factors like strength, balance, maybe even accuracy and that is the reason I feel that soccer players are not the greatest athletes and that the athletes in soccer are way too over hyped. If we want to talk about extraordinary athletes how about rugby players, to hit and sprint for 45 minutes halves is incredibly tiresome. In terms of sacrificing the body, I think football players win that award. Make the argument that they wear equipment but the equipment itself takes a toll on the body. Football is played in rain or shine, snow or sleet, football will be played. Football is a sport that causes it's players to ruin their bodies, bodies that they have worked out on in their off season. Soccer just can't compete with the physical toll.


Baron 4 years ago

but then again, I might be a lil biased but I did play the sport


Surya 4 years ago

Sar1500

write:

american football, like almost every sport, is played in almost every country in the world. I have seen leagues organized even in the middle east and the far east with europe being the 2nd largest non professional american footbal organization EFAF.

american football is played in almost every country? wake up man...drik your pill don't be delusional


cj 4 years ago

I grew up playing soccer, and until i was 15, i'd say i played soccer for at least 10 years of my life - much of an everyday sport for me - i considered my life and i dreamt about being a professional soccer player, I love playing soccer. fast forward 10 more years.. I haven't play soccer in so long, i lost the practice, if I play today, i'd be a total failure.. I also hate watching soccer , I don't know why. I'd love to watch a good promoted match though like my national team participating in the world cup or important games. But unimportant games keep me much UN-interested. I love playing soccer but hate watching it, how ironic is that.


brian 4 years ago

just because a sport is the most popular does not mean its the best , if that were true then then mcdonalds must be the best resturant in the world because it is the most popular. i personally think soccer sucks.


lou 4 years ago

nil nil scores , all the diving which seems to be the norm , soccer is a game for pansies. when i was a kid it was only the less athletic children played soccer.


armin17 4 years ago

Main reason futbal (soccer) is not popular in USA because, as soccer player you have to be in shape, have to be able to dribble shoot the ball with both feet, have to be able to run for 90+ min in different speeds, have to be able to read the game while playing it... there is more to it but i don't have time to write it now... only reason why Americans like their football(trowball)lol and baseball is because you can be fat and play it and call them self a athletes. ITS SAD!! sorry guys.


acmilan80 4 years ago

Two of the biggest misconceptions about soccer that I hear are that soccer is unexciting and that soccer players are weak and dive all the time. First of all, soccer having a low score does not mean it is not exciting. There are many more close games meaning that any mistake in defense can lead to a breakthrough for the other side and a possible goal. The defense must always be on high alert to stop strikers from getting chances, and the offense must always be alert in order to take advantage of breaks in the defense. The goalie must sometimes make huge efforts to save shots from going in. Every touch on the ball must be taken carefully, every pass must be decisive, and every minute is important. How is a game not exciting when there are chances to score every few minutes? Would the game be more exciting if every chance became a goal? In American football, tackles are made every few seconds and there are more breaks than there is actual playing time. The only players that have to be creative are the quarterbacks, the running-backs, and the wide receivers, leading to most plays being similar. I'm not slamming American football, I'm just putting things into perspective.

Secondly, people say that soccer regularly contains diving. This is a generalization made by people who have not played and/or have not watched soccer at a high level. There are a few times where players dive in order to get free kicks or penalty kicks for their team, but there are always cheaters in sports. Referees aren't perfect so there will always be players trying to take advantage of them, regardless of the sport. I rest my case.

By the way, this is coming from an American who has listened to others' arguments insulting soccer. If you have anything to say against what I have said, I encourage you to speak up. I am willing to listen to the other side of the story.


sasdjht 3 years ago

Unlike sports like baseball and american football, you are always in action. You stop play very few times, unlike baseball, where as soon as someone reaches a base or gets out the play is over. It also takes a lot of precision to take a good shot or make a good pass. It's also the most watched sport in the world, with over 3 billion fans worldwide.


soccerman 3 years ago

soccer is awesome

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