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Why “Soccer” (Football) is not popular in America

Watching the Americans defeat the Germans, 4-3, today, brought me to a thought of why are Americans poor at soccer. In the past, I have read what Europeans say about the Americans in this sport. It is noticeable in their opinions they have no idea what they are talking about. I include the Europeans living in America. These people do not understand Americans. They say one of the reasons for poor soccer play in America is because they “hate soccer”. This is a result and not a reason. You have to find out why we hate soccer.

What are the reasons why America can not compete in soccer?

6. Goofy Adverts As Opposed To Logo
This one is minor is some respects but annoys. The sponsor on the jersey supercedes the team logo on the jersey. For the fan this is not an issue. Those not familiar with soccer find it annoying and pushing beyond acceptable advertising such as the swoosh on a jersey. This isn’t a major issue, but it is one that turns off people. We love our team logo. Look at NFL clothing sales.

5. Pansies
Non-soccer fans find soccer players to be sissies. It is horribly bad for the sport to have a guy fall down and wince as if the ankle has broken off and then get up as if nothing happened. In America, we see “real” injuries every football, hockey and baseball game. We see the pain and know the player isn’t getting up. In hockey, we recognize the puck hurts, and the player plays with pain. Football players are always playing in pain. We are familiar with getting hit with a baseball. Now apply the soccer player wincing and grabbing the ankle for thirty seconds. He then gets up and walks without any sign of injury. How can Americans take this sport seriously. This is enough for many fathers and men to turn away from this sport and look down upon it.

4. Revenue / Length of Time
This is very related to #3. There was one area where a European came close to getting this. Money drives American sports. What does time have to do with this. What time relates to is the downtime during a game. The sport needs commercials to generate money. The major sports in America have a moment of down time, and this generates money through commercials. A profitable time slot on the tely means additional games in the future. Having a commercial scroll on the bottom of the tely is an annoyance to people, so it is not popular. Take a sport that is not popular and now throw this in. How do you attract new viewers? Forget about the fan. He doesn’t care.

3. Exposure
If you don’t see, you do not know it is there. This is where I disagree about some people saying the MLS is all wrong. The MLS had done wonders for American soccer no matter how bad Europeans find it. This is the exposure America needs. If you look at ice hockey, you’ll see what exposure has done for the sport. Ice hockey has minor league teams all over the place. Sure, it is horrible hockey, but it is ice hockey. People recognize this. Fighting in the minor league doesn’t hurt the sport for now. ESPN has done okay with showing the Premier League, but there is a problem. First, the game in the East are shown in the late afternoon. Few people will be watching it. Secondly, the game has already been played. Once the game is done, Americans are not as interested in watching the game. Ice hockey was hurt when ESPN no longer covered the games, so why would soccer gain popularity? Yes, America has the MLS, but these game are not always shown at the right time. A positive for soccer is the slow growing of exposure in different cities. This is similar to ice hockey. A downside for soccer is the competition with baseball, a top tier sport. This is an uphill battle for soccer. Unlike soccer, ice hockey has to battle the NBA. This is not too bad of a battle when you look at it. Teams in the same city are fighting for roughly 18,000 fans and do not play in the same arena each night. For the MLS, there is no good season. Soccer can not compete with American football or baseball.

2. Infrastructure
I was 14 when soccer first came to my area. My high school would not sport a team for at least ten years after I would graduate. Pitches a poorly constructed on farm fields or flood plains. There are not as many soccer only areas unlike little league baseball. Without a consistent playing field, this sport has difficulty continuing. There are areas with excellent pitches, but these are more recent.

The other area of issue in the infrastructure world is coaching. We still have parents coaching because there is no one else. When we have experienced coaches, they are not very good. I have seen experienced coaches coach youth teams as if they are high school or college teams. These youths require a different technique. My child’s coach is very aware of the sport and understands the sport. He just can not coach. The players do drills but little else. No one teaches the defensive players how to approach an opponent with the ball. The goalies are not instructed on how to goaltend. Instead they stay on the goal line. Basically, the team is poorly coached. I can’t entirely blame the coach. This is a product of American soccer past when coaches didn’t know anything.

Parents have little idea of how soccer is played. They are the most vocal and vicious people especially when the do not understand the game. I listened to parents abuse my child’s teammate during a game. How sad is that. This abuse started when the parents didn’t understand offsides. What is worse are the parents that played the sport but never fully understand the game. I have met coaches that played the sport but do not understand offsides.

We do have soccer camps coming from the U.K. The problem with this is the cost. Why do parents want to spend the money on a sport they do not understand or watch? This is slowly changing.

1. Best Athletes
There are not enough quality athletes for soccer. Plain and simple. America is huge but so are the sports programs. Look at American sports. We have NFL, MLB, NHL and NBA holding the reigns. Yeah, I heard about how MLS attendance is higher than the NBA and NHL. That is like saying the American Navy is large than Mongolias. Come on. The arena for the NBA and NHL range from 18 to 20,000. What about MLS? They can hold more. If we can expand arenas to 30,000 plus, you would see the MLS fall further behind.

Talent begins at youth, and this is where soccer is losing and has lost the battle. Use my local high school for example. This school had no football program. The big sports were soccer, baseball and basketball. The soccer program was well known. Fifteen years ago there was a push for football in this small school district. Around ten years ago football won. The soccer field became the football field and soccer moved to an obscure field. We are talking about a football program that had 21 players one year. Soccer now sits behind football. Going down further you see more of what is going on.

At the youth level, we have children playing only one sport. Parents pick the sport and push the child to play spring and fall. This is common with baseball. Football requires attendance beginning in July and does not allow for any other sport. Soccer tries in the spring and fall but struggles. Our U14 team didn’t exist this spring and may not exist this fall. We have about six youths able to play U14 but have no team. Do you see a problem?!

Why is this? Well, the best athletes are playing football and baseball and not soccer. Soccer gets the second rates and less. If you throw in basketball or ice hockey the numbers for soccer reduce even more. The best athletes are selecting everything but soccer. The world is seeing our second-rate, third-rate or worse playing soccer. When the best athletes play soccer, they end up selecting the sport where American money pays and this is not soccer for Americans. College sports sucks up these players and leaves little for soccer.

My Child’s team has some good athletes but they’re aren’t all the best. If there is no U14 this fall, soccer will lose a few good athletes. They will go to a different sport or atrophy. Throw in poor coaching and these athletes are not growing.

This by far is the major problem with soccer. As long as the majority of athletes select the major sports soccer will be mediocre at best in America. Guess what. We now have rugby trying out America, again. Those that are afraid of football slide into rugby thus denying soccer talent once more.

Do I think soccer has a future in America? If American football declines because of head injuries, soccer has a chance. There is no immediate future. Now there may be other reasons I did not think of, but you can not deny the first two as being the biggest reason and three and four and the next. I am an American with a child playing soccer. I see this problem from both sides. There are people I talk to that played soccer but do not watch it or talk about it. What does that tell you?

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