Why 'Some Americans' Don't Like Soccer (Part 4 of 4)

Homer SimpsonCorrespondent IAugust 30, 2010

Over the years, I've heard various reasons why "some Americans" don't like soccer. Here are my collective rebuttals to some of the arguments.

Note: I'm only saying "some" and not generalising because I know many Americans do like soccer. And this article is in no way an underhand dig at America or its sports, of which I am also a fan. You can refer back to Part OnePart Two and Part Three of this article

Many of the reasons why "some Americans" don't like soccer actually exist in their own US-based sports.


21) Sceptics say soccer is only popular because the rest of the world is too poor to adopt more expensive US sports. Now this is partly true in the fact that soccer is played in poorer countries, but it's also played in countries richer than the USA. Now the USA is the richest country in the world, but taking account of per capita income, it's not even in the top 5. Give or take a few thousand dollars, there isn't much difference between the USA at #6 and Greece at #25. Hence there are a lot of people that are just as rich as the USA citizens on average. Thus, a large swathe of these people still choose soccer over US Sports even though money isn't a factor. Granted poorer countries don't have this luxury. But even then, people do adapt. India is a poor country (per capita), yet its citizens still find the tools to play cricket a similar game (in terms of equipment) to baseball. People adapt when faced with poverty. Poor AND rich countries embrace soccer, because it’s a game that can be played by almost anyone. Soccer is the most egalitarian of sports (you don't get any great advantage just for being tall/fat/bulky, etc.), the simplest (no unnecessarily complex rules), and the most accessible (all you need is a ball), hence a big reason for its popularity worldwide. Granted, it doesn't help pricing yourself out of the market as US sports do, as any business person will agree this is bad practice.

22) Sceptics say soccer shirt/jersey advertisements are lame. It's hard to believe this comes from a country where they put adverts on everything and anything. Still, if it still is an issue then said "soccer haters" should be comfortable with International teams where there are no adverts on the shirts....which of course they aren't, so this defeats their argument.

23) Sceptics say any game decided by Penalty Kicks is stupid. Some "soccer haters" suggest this is a reason to hate soccer. Apart from the fact that Penalty Kicks to decide games don't occur in league competitions its presence is still used as a argument against the sport. After running around for 120 minutes, players are invariably tired. So continuing the game until someone scores isn't a great idea. This is akin to a boxing match of 12 rounds. You wouldn't ask the boxers to carry on fighting extra rounds until one of them got knocked down would you? Same with soccer. Anyway, Penalty Kicks are a "skill" of technique and nerves, so it's not a case of luck if you win a shootout. Penalty kicks also create immense excitement and pressure for fans, to such an extent that there is a direct correlation between penalty kicks and an increase in heart attacks. Granted tennis players in the big tournaments–the Grand Slams–must in some cases play to infinity in the fifth set to resolve even play. This happened in the 2010 Wimbledon match Isner vs Mahut which went on for over 11 hours. This wasn't good for the winner Isner who won this match but was so tired, lost his next match in just over an hour 0–6, 3–6, 2–6. If your suggesting the same "play until a winner" in soccer, apart from the inconvenience of having to keep on watching a match for hours, the players would fall down in exhaustion. And even if they won after 4 hours say, they would be in no state to play another game a few days later. 

24) Sceptics say soccer players are "pansies". This argument has something to do with diving or feigning contact. I've addressed the counter argument to this earlier. The other part of this is that some "soccer haters" compare soccer to GridIron. Sure there is less hard body contact than American Football & I'm not disputing that. But then it's tough calling soccer players "soft" when GridIron players suit up in full body armour as if they were RoboCop. Proper tough guys wouldn't need that. Rugby players and Aussie Rule's players don't need body armour, so in a similar type game comparison, the American football players look like the "soft" ones.

25) Sceptics say American's just prefer to play US based sports. This is true, its part of the American culture. But another reason behind this could be the ability to actually play a sport like soccer that requires stamina, speed and endurance. The average weight for American men is 191 pounds, which is 20 pounds heavier than men 40 years ago. The childhood obesity problem doesn’t help either, with nearly 20% of children between the ages of 6 – 12 being overweight. Simple logic will tell you that being overweight means being unhealthy, which probably means you can’t perform well in stamina sports such as soccer. Other sports, however, rely on the big man to take the post, block and tackle, or mash a bomb out of the park. Soccer’s not a fat man’s game . . . and a nation’s sports interest that is fixed in an unhealthy lifestyle will likely focus on sports that don’t require healthiness or losing weight.

26) Sceptics say players with one name. Some "soccer haters" argue that it's something that turns them off the sport.  Some people actually think this is cool. It's probably their right-wing conservative attitude that single named players represent the "foreigner" in soccer. They (i.e. Glenn Beck) are more comfortable with people called "Brad Anderson", "Tommy Jackson", "Cody Jones", Brett Smith" etc as its sits more easily with their idealistic views of a middle class (white) America.

OK, thats the end of this feature, hope you enjoyed the read and comments.

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