Many students ask me, “I heard soccer isn’t popular in America. Why don’t Americans like soccer?” Well it’s a good question and I can answer it quite simply.
First, I believe Americans in general really like to PLAY soccer. It is one of the most popular sports for students in elementary school all the way through high school and college.
However, Americans don’t like to WATCH soccer. So why not? Well, perhaps one of the main reasons is that the scoring is too infrequent and the game could end in a draw (“tie” in American English). We don’t like to spend 2 hours of our time and see a “tie.” Americans have been trained to watch high scoring sports like American football and basketball so it’s a bit painful to watch soccer which is very low-scoring. Also, the field is too big! It takes a long time for a single scoring chance to even happen! Ice hockey is also low-scoring but there are many more scoring chances.
In addition, many Americans don’t understand or appreciate the strategy of soccer. Even though I have lived here for over 10 years and have become a bit more interested in soccer, I still get frustrated when players pass so much! I just want them to shoot more!
Anyway, I think most Americans get excited for national competitions like the World Cup and Olympics because it’s more about the country than the sport. With superstars like David Beckham and Thierry Henry joining the MLS, perhaps soccer’s popularity will grow?
What do you think?