Top 5 – Edition VIII: Why Soccer Won't Be Huge In The U.S.
The eternal question of football/soccer and its survival in the United States is: Why won’t the sport be huge and break into the Big 4 of US Professional Sports (NFL, NBA, MLB, NASCAR)?
Well we have 5 answers to that question that will make you think and hopefully bring out some emotion in favor or against these arguments. So let’s reveal the Top 5 reasons why soccer will not be huge in the U.S.
#5 – Outside Soccer Snobbery
My colleagues at Mad About Futbol might take offense or disagree but foreigners from soccer loving/mad countries look down & raise their noses to the US game. There is no doubt that the US game is of lower quality than in Europe, Africa, and South America. The structure of college ball in relation to the professional game and the ludicrous rules of the college game have certainly contributed to the slow progress of the US game from a skills perspective.
For the game to grow in the US, those people from soccer loving nations outside the US have to stop bad mouthing the quality and look at the MLS and the college game for what is. It is important these “Soccer Snobs” look at the game here through a different lens and stop comparing it to their home leagues and expecting MLS or college teams to play like a team from their home 1st division league.
#4 – No Patience
Those of us who love futbol know that its takes great patience to watch 90 minutes of a match. The fact is Americans are some A.D.D., ridiculously short attention span having peoples. The most common complaint is that there isn’t enough action to sustain watching a soccer match. Americans are not conditioned to appreciate the subtlety of football because American society as a whole is about instant gratification and the quick fix. The artistry & skill of soccer is lost on Americans because there isn’t a goal being scored every 2 seconds or someone isn’t getting the snot blasted out of them on every play. A game of patience cannot become huge in an impatient society.
#3 – Freak Athlete Factor
This might be the most overlooked of the reasons, the Freak Athlete Factor. Americans like their athletes freakish, whether they are unusually tall like basketball players or unusually muscular like American football or the roided up baseball players. There is a real life, comic book quality that Americans like in their athletes. Soccer players are tremendous athletes but compared to athletes in the Big 3 sports, there is nothing about their size or physical stature that makes them stand out.
If you didn’t know who Lionel Messi was and he walked down the streets of a city in the US, you would walk right past him and not think twice. The 2 greatest players of all time, Pelé & Maradona are 5’8″ and 5’5″ respectively, their heights alone would have made it damn near impossible for them to be successful in the NBA, NFL, or MLB. Without sounding condescending, soccer is the common person’s game with its stars & icons looking as common as their rabid fans.
#2 – Rich Country, Poor Game
Football/Soccer is the game of the poor and the US is the richest country in the world. (Honestly, poor people in the US live better than poor people in most other countries). How many times have you heard of an American footballer growing up learning to play barefoot in the street and fashioning a ball out of plastic bags or socks? Zero. That’s a regular occurrence in many countries all over the world. In countries with worse poverty, their ticket out is soccer. In the US, poor kids see basketball & American football as their way out. It takes a lot less equipment & “stuff” to play soccer than American football or even basketball. The poorer you are the less “stuff” you can afford, the easier it is to take up soccer.
#1 – The American Way
The number one reason that soccer will not be huge in the US, is American isolationism. Americans are adamant about doing things the “American Way.” That’s why in the States, we don’t use the much easier metric system, health care is not socialized, and why soccer is looked down upon. The prevailing notion in the US is that soccer is as an immigrant sport played by short guys with one name who aren’t masculine cause they don’t use their hands. See Jim Rome’s ignorant, isolationist ass. A nation founded by immigrants has grown to view immigrants as dirty and the scourge of a nation. This American isolationist mentality & air of superiority has carried over to the promotion & marketing of soccer, thus stunting the growth of the Beautiful Game in the US.
There you have it, the 5 Reasons Why Soccer Won’t Be Huge In The US. I’m an American born & raised and I don’t care if soccer breaks the Big 4 of US Pro Sports as long as there’s enough of a following for my child to make 6 figures playing professionally in the States. The internationality of soccer is alluring enough for me to make The Beautiful Game my #1 sport till I die.