by Sonny DaBica-Fetras
In terms of global popularity, soccer (or football, as the Europeans refer to it) has the most fans and players of any sport – and the numbers from other sports are not even close. The World Cup is the most watched single-sport tournament in the world and again, numbers from other events are not even close. The World Cup is viewed by billions of people world-wide every four years. Very few nations have had the privilege of winning this highly sought-after prize. Previous winners include Brazil, France, Spain, Italy, England, Uruguay, Argentina and Germany. The most recent winner is France, and the two countries with the most World Cups are Germany and Brazil, with 5 each. In America, soccer is less so but in other countries, soccer is the most popular sport. Because of the popularity that this sport has, globally there are countless world class stadiums around the world. This is because soccer creates more revenue than other sports. A bulk of the money comes from the fact that so many people pay to watch games, and from the merchandising of soccer-related products.
I think that soccer is perceived differently in the U.S. because unlike many popular sports, it has less physical contact and less violence. I have heard some people call soccer boring but would posit that this is because they are not familiar enough with the game, and don’t know what to look for while watching soccer games. Some say it’s a low scoring game, and that’s why they don’t like it, or because many games end in a draw, or a tie.
Soccer lovers call it a beautiful game for a reason, soccer is a very tactical sport. There is a ton of emphasis on spacing and creating triangles, and also on flow. I believe that understanding the tactics of the game leads to a real appreciation for it; in comparison to other choppy, flow-less popular American sports, soccer is truly the best sport to watch. What it lacks in scoring, it makes up for in beautiful gameplay.
The people I most admire in the sport are not just players but also coaches, like Pep Guardiola, Alex Ferguson, Arsene Wanger, Marcello Lippi, and so many others. These people are visionaries who have revolutionized the way the game is played. So check out the next soccer game you run across – you might just find a new passion.