Soccer is the most popular sport in the world, but despite America being a sport-loving nation, soccer is not loved on U. S. soil. While MLS attendances are rising, the sport is still not as popular as football or basketball. For Americans, it seems as though soccer will never be number one, and here’s why.
Lack of top stars
It can be hard to watch a sport knowing there are better players elsewhere. People want to watch high level action, and it would be hard for the MLS to argue it has the best players in the world. Most top soccer stars play in Europe, where the sport is arguably at its most popular. All of the world-class talent plays outside of America, and for that reason, it can be hard for fans to invest in their own league.
Soccer fans in England, Spain, Germany, France, and Italy all know they are watching the best teams. American soccer fans know that while their league is competitive, if they want to watch the best action they have to tune into other countries’ competitions. It’s like watching basketball overseas, sure it might be entertaining, but you know there are better players in the NBA.
One reason soccer is loved all over the world is because it’s passed from one generation to another. Kids grow up loving it just as their parents have done, but it’s not that simple in America. There are several other sports that people follow in the USA, so soccer isn’t the national sport.
That means that some grow up not fully understanding soccer rules, or knowing who the best players are to follow. It’s the same reason why American sports are not so loved outside of the country, the people who are not surrounded by them know pretty much nothing about the games.
American sports often have to have a winner, even in a regular league season, unlike in soccer. Teams can share the spoils in soccer, and that can be frustrating as it can all seem like a big waste of time for those at the game. American sports center around excitement and action which means that a 0-0 in a soccer game can feel like a disappointment.
American sports seasons are generally short, which means there is a quick sense of accomplishment. Soccer leagues tend to take nine or ten months, and can feel more like a marathon than a sprint to the title. For this reason, many American fans can get bored of a lack of progression.
The scoring can be another reason why soccer feels disappointing to American fans. One team can be on top of the game for pretty much the full 90 minutes but still come away as the loser. In American sports, a team that’s on top will be scoring and ahead on points.
Soccer is getting more popular in America and the younger generation are really beginning to pick it up. If it keeps growing it might rival football, baseball, and basketball, but we wouldn’t bet on it.