Soccer Fans in the U.S
Soccer can be defined as a game that is played by two teams, each with eleven players. The main rule of the game is that in an attempt to get the ball to the goalposts that have been assigned to each teams, none of the players, except the goal keeper, is allowed to touch the ball with their hands. In almost all parts of the world, with the exception of America, the game is known as football. Contrary to what people believe to be true, the term soccer actually came from the British. The game began being enjoyed by the British in the middle ages, but its popularity could not be compared to that of rugby and Eton (Wangerin 12).
The need to standardize the game arose in the nineteenth century, which led to the formation of the Football Association. This took place in October of 1863. One of the most contentious issues that were discussed during the formation of this association was whether players should be permitted to kick one another in the leg, the answer was no controversy about the game began in 1871 when a different group met to come up with another version of the game that would allow the players to incorporate their hands more. At this point, the name of rugby was shortened to ragger, while that of football became soccer. Both versions of the game continued to exist, and began to spread to other parts of the world, thus leading to soccer finding its way into America (Yates par 3). With time, especially after the Second World War, the popularity of the term soccer began to go down in Britain, leading to the fans going back to the original version of football, thus the reason the term soccer is rarely heard in Britain while it is commonly known as that in America.
Soccer popularity around the world
With the exception of America, the rest of the world refers to the sport as football. The game commands what is probably the largest audience in the world, compared to any other game. The simplicity of soccer makes it more acceptable in most parts of the world. Those who may not be able to find a football for some reason or the other can improvise. In poor countries for example, it is the sport that is played by many children of a younger age. They improvise the ball by tying pieces of nylon together with varied substances inside it. Some use leaves, others with sand and any other soft matter that they can find.
The game of soccer seems to have spread to the rest of the world more than any other game. Even in the most interior and primitive countries, there are always people who know the game quite well and even play it almost like professionals, for this reason, the game has been one of the few things in the world that is able to bring people together, despite their background. Due to the fact that it came from one source when it was spread to the rest of the world, the game has rules that are universal and have not gone through any kind of changes in the many centuries that it has been in existence. As a result, the game is quite easy to understand, hence able to be enjoyed by all people equally.
An example of this can be seen in the wave of excitement that sweeps through the whole world every four years because of the world cup. The world cup is a football tournament that takes place after every four years, and draws the best thirty to teams from all parts of the world. The game often gives people identity because all people are able to find a team that they can relate with, even when their own country may not be participating.
Most people who are fans of soccer see it as much more than just a sport. There are a lot of emotions that soccer fans often put into their support for their various teams. There is no other game in the world where the excitement that is in the air after the game has ended is almost equivalent to the excitement that the fans will normally have before and during the game. This because the fans of the game as so passionate and keen during the game that by the end, there is still so much to talk about. These people like to discuss the outcomes and discuss ways through which a los may have been avoided by the team that finishes last.
Soccer is also a favorite for many people due to the exceptional skill that is portrayed by the players (Yates par 3). It is the only game where hands are not supposed to be used. This makes it a bit more technical than all the others. The players are supposed to move the ball through the whole pitch and make scores without incorporating their hands. Sometimes some of these movements will need the ball to be raised to some considerable distance from the ground. In all the other sporting activities, especial those that are played outside, the players get to use their hands for most part of the game, therefore meaning there is not much for one to be awed about when watching them. The figure below explains in brief the fanatics of Americans regarding various games that they access.
Soccer fan culture in America
Soccer has failed to build a key fan base in the United States despite being acknowledged as the most celebrated and trendy game all over the world. Although there are a number of people who like the game, they cannot be compared to the number of fans of other traditional American sports such as football, baseball and basketball. One of the reasons that can be given for lack of fandom in America is because the rest of the other games, especially the three mentioned above, have been a part of the American culture for so long that it has become difficult for people to conform to a different sport (Yates par 4). In essence, the Americans do not watch much of soccer for the plain reason that the other games are crowding it out. There are several other activities regarding the other games that take place within the calendar, and most of these coincide with the events of soccer around the world, hence they are left with almost no time to watch soccer.
Another reason Americans do not like soccer very much is because they find it a boring sport. This is because first of all the match takes a long time (90 minutes), and the chances of the game coming to an end without any goals scored arevery high. Americans love games that have a lot of action (Faris par 6). Take basketball for instance, every few second during the game, someone makes a basket. The whole game takes a shorter time and is filled with excitement and adrenalin. Football also sometimes tends to be come predictable. For instance, if one team scores two or three goals while the other team has none, the chances that the latter will change the situation during the game are very low. Therefore, by halfway through the match, half of the audience will have often already zoned out of the game. In basketball, every second counts and not matter who is at the top a few minutes into the game, it is still pretty much anyone’s game. This ensures that fans and kept on their toes the entire time until the last whistle is blown.
The action in soccer cannot be compared to that of football – the American football. Although the latter does not have a lot of scoring, there are moves called touchdowns where the player is supposed to get to the other side and place the ball on the ground past the line. Getting to the other side is fast but cumbersome. Although that of soccer is difficult as well, it is much slower and cannot be compared to the near military speed with which football players move while on the pitch. This makes sure that the viewers are kept entertained the entire time, and due to the fact that situations are able to change at any time just like in basketball and rugby, both sides will always be excited the entire time that the game takes (Wangerin 12).
There is a different angle to the presence of action in the other games that make Americans love them more than soccer. Take rugby and American football for example. These two games have a lot of factors in common. The players run with the ball and avoid the opposing team because they are allowed to tackle them. During this act, there are several incidences where people may get injured as compared to soccer. They even lie on each other as they fight to get possession of the ball. This kind of action of tackling, blocking et cetera, and the fact that the players need to have speed and skill in order to avoid being injured is what adds flavor to the games, according to Americans.
In soccer, there are times that some of the players may spend being idle in the field, given the many rules about positioning that the game has. This is the time that may be wasted if the players in subject are not quick enough to respond to their rules in the field. On the other hand, the game also normally does not have the swiftness and human contact as the others do. Americans like to stay active.
Another reason the other games are more interesting than soccer is that they rarely have ties. The number of ways through which a team is able to gain points makes it almost impossible to come out with ties. In soccer, however, the game can take forever, (owing to the extra time that is often added for one reason or another, as if the ninety minutes is already not long), during which there may either be no score, or the teams may end up tying at a certain number of scores. Most of the time, if both teams are good enough in the game, getting to a fourth goal can be quite a task.
In addition, Americans also find the game of soccer too weak, in that there are hardly ever any injuries in the game. Nevertheless, when there are injuries, they may not be as distressing, but are taken like they are life threatening. Although in the American football, the players dress heavily in order to protect themselves from injuries, they often nurse quite a number of them. The same is the case for rugby, only in this case, there are barely any kinds of protective gear. There are many football and rugby players who go on with the game despite having metals inserted in their bodies to replace some broken bone or to keep it in position.
The quality of game that they display is rarely compromised by these injuries. They also find some aspects of the game quite lazy. For instance, when the teams are not able to determine the winner because of a draw, even after all the extra time they are added have lapsed, they will often go to a penalty shootout. Here, each team selects specific people who are going to try to make a score and beat the other team. When this is taking place, the rest of the team will sit and watch like the rest of the audience. Therefore, to them it does not make sense to go and watch a game where the players at some point also turn into spectators, while the other games are filled with a lot of thrill and activity (Bondy par 4).
According to the Americans, football does not require a lot of skill. This is due to the fact that most of the goals that are scored are frequently as a result of fortune rather than skill. When a player kicks the ball in the direction of the goal, in most cases, his only anticipation is that the goalkeeper will run to a different direction from where he or she will have kicked the ball, an accomplishment that can without doubt be completed by a small child who does not know anything about the game.
Compare this to basketball, where the player is required to shoot the ball in a manner that enables it to pass through a small round net. He finds that he has to be strategic and accurate in the estimation of the direction in which he should throw the ball. For that reason, therefore, skill, do not have much of a role in the game. A different approach is applied in the case of rugby and football, whereby the two games depend on the speed of the players (Wangerin 12). Most of the time, they need to run faster than the members of the other team in order to maintain the ball for long enough till he reaches the end of the pitch. Running is an activity that needs to be cultivated for a long time before one is able to do it with the speed that these games require.
The 2014 World Cup
The 2014 World Cup was last summer held in Brazil, and according to FIFA analysis, more than 281,716 Soccer fans turned up for the games in the first week matches. However, it was an exciting month. The lows were without doubt low, going beyond minor annoyances. Suárez bit his colleague again leading to debates of mental health regarding his case, including world prejudice. Players seemed to undergo severe head injuries, and then they were granted permission to return to the field despite some of them being weak to the extent of being unable to walk. On the other hand, Neymar, apparently the Brazil’s only hope, was knocked out of the tournament.
The game of soccer seems to be totally incapable of gaining ground in the United States, mostly because by the time that it was getting to the country, the people had already becme loyal to various other games. For instance, the black community in America are the ones who are more passionate about basketball while the whites are always waiting for the super bowl which to them is more important than anything else.