For years, Soccer has been considered an international sports, which it is, but in the past the U.S. did not seem to care too much to watch soccer. Many of the American traditional sports like Football, Basketball, and Baseball ruled the landscape of Sports television, but times are changing.
Soccer is the most popular sport in the world. The biggest tournament in the world is the FIFA World Cup. In 2014, over 562 million people watched a match at any given time. A bout a billion people watched the tournament at home or at a public place(Statista). The World Cup is like the NFL Super Bowl but bigger. Countries bid on the chance to host the tournament. A lot of time a country that has little or poor infrastructure is chosen to host the World Cup, and many times a stadium must be built just for the event. So why has it taken so long for this popularity to translate over to the U.S.?
Well the United States is a well diverse country that has been dealing with a lot of problems when it comes to immigration, Minorities, and the true meaning of what it means to be an American. But with all that aside, many adults in America usually put their kids into Football, basketball, or baseball as the first sport their kid will play. Obviously if their child is good at either of the 3 sports, the kid can have an opportunity to make millions professionally when they get older.
While rookie minimums in the NFL, NBA, and MLB are in the millions of dollars range, the MLS average is barely over $200,000 (Chron). That number is not convincing to the older generation of parents. The generation I’m referring to are the parents who are now in their late 30s to early 50s. But here is where the change begins.
Ever since the NFL has been getting called out on about concussions and the issue with equality, there is no wonder why the new parents, in their 20s to mid 30s, are putting their kids into a less violent sport like soccer. Another factor is that America is diversifying, and the generation of kids that are coming up are best friends with the child of an immigrant. Many house holds are biracial, which allows for cultural mixing. America is becoming what it was meant to be.
Meet your 5 outstanding #USWNT Player of the Year nominees for 2018!
— U.S. Soccer WNT (@ussoccer_wnt) November 20, 2018
I’ll be honest, I did not watch soccer growing up. I thought it was just about kicking a ball, but it is so much more than that. In college, I refereed intramural sports for a semester, and soccer was one of the sports going on at the time. I was so shocked at how many students played soccer, and were actually good at it. The other thing I notice was that the game was more technical than I had expected. One of my friends at school was really good at soccer, and he had kicked the ball in the air and it curved to the net for a score. As a ref I became a fan of a sport I had not understanding of until I understood the rules.
— Concacaf (@Concacaf) November 22, 2018
I think many Americans did not learn soccer because it requires more technical understanding to play. Football, basketball, and baseball are so simple that anybody that can follow directions can play. Soccer requires more training, more dedication, skills with your feet like no other sport. America is changing because the curiosity that many have about soccer is getting debunked by the immigrants who have become our closest friends.
The 2022 World Cup – the first one to be held in winter – begins 4 years from today! pic.twitter.com/NzHRczK8da
— NBC Sports Soccer (@NBCSportsSoccer) November 21, 2018
Now, when the last World Cup came on the t.v. I watched about 5 games. I knew what was going on. Is Soccer as popular as Football in America…NO, but can it be in the future…Yes.
(Feature Photo Credit: SportsTechie)