Why Soccer Is The Best Sport
Why Soccer Is The Best Sport
I think the process of finding the answer to “why soccer is the best sport” is also a process of finding our human nature. The USA and Australia are probably the only countries left in the world where soccer is not one of the top-three most popular sports. Even in China, a country that is not very good at soccer, soccer is definitely one of the favorite sports of Chinese people.
It’s not an exaggeration to say that football is more popular than God, exactly according to John Lennon. But it’s a controversial statement: Soccer is the best sport in the world. If you’re reading this, you might agree with this statement, but how can we convince those from other sports that this argument is valid? We can analyze it from the following aspects: soccer players, fans, soccer game, market influence, as follows:
01 Simplicity & Easy to learn
Some sports are so complex that it can take years of patient analysis to get your head around it. I love NFL, baseball and cricket, but I’ll also accept that they are a bit heavy on jargon, nuance and highly technical strategy that can deter the casual viewer. Even the NFL referees themselves get a little confused sometimes. Soccer, on the other hand, is the kind of sport you can get your head around after about two minutes of watching. Once you’ve figured out the offside rule, that’s about it. The primary rules are to keep to the offside rule and never use your hands when playing.
Soccer is an easy sport to learn. The Rules aren’t Complicated. The rules become nuanced once you get to competition levels, but other than that anyone can learn the game. Getting the ball pass the opposing goalkeeper is the main idea.
Simple things are more acceptable, because it is easier for us to start. It’s more in line with our humanity.
02 Anyone can play anywhere
Soccer players don’t need to break a bank to afford the equipment they need for the game. You could spend a fortune trying to get a professional match ball, or spend a few bucks and get a decent ball. As long as you can afford a football, you can start to play. The inexpensiveness of soccer is partly because of the few items athletes need and mainly because those items are affordable. For example, a ball and soccer cleats are the most important items to get for the sports. On the player’s part, they only need shin guards, jerseys, and shorts to play comfortably.
02.1 No space limit
In soccer, all you need is a ball (or any round object will do). Not only does this give poorer nations more of a chance, some would argue it gives them an advantage, with many a career forged from the rough-and-tumble play of city slums. We don’t need a regulation soccer field to enjoy this game, as it can be played anywhere where there’s space. All you need is a ball, a couple of friends, and a few objects to use instead of goalposts. Grass, turf, indoors, and streets are places a game can start up. Grab a ball and open space and you have a game. Whether it’s 1v1, 3v3, 5v5 or 7v7, as long as you have a ball and a surface, you will have a match.
Recall the scenes in our life, when you see a Coke bottle or a small stone on the ground, do you have a natural impulse to kick it first? It’s an instinct of our body.
02.2 No absolute economic advantage
Poor countries beat rich countries. I still remember walking out of the Ghana vs. USA round of 16 games at the 2010 World Cup and chanting with some of the local fans “Bye, bye, USA!” It struck me that only in soccer could a geopolitical and economic powerhouse like the USA be overcome by an African nation with almost 300 million fewer people and some 80 spots below it on the GDP list. Playing this sport doesn’t require much in terms of investment; all you need is a soccer ball that a few friends can chip in a few bucks each to buy.
02.3 No physical size advantage
The best player in the world right now (messi is the goat) is a weedy Argentinean standing at 5’7″. Apart from goalkeeping (where you’ll at least need to stand 6′ to make it to the top), all men are created equal when it comes to soccer. There are some sports where you’ll never make it to the top without predisposed genetic advantages regarding size; soccer is not one of them. Soccer is a game that doesn’t require much to be enjoyed in terms of talent; all you need is a positive attitude and a will to enjoy the game. Even the worst player on the planet can kick the ball around and have the time of their life out on the field. Playing soccer also doesn’t require as much physical strength as some other sports. You can’t play football if you’re tiny, but for soccer, this can be an advantage.
02.4 Everyone can play soccer
Soccer doesn’t discriminate based on religion, the color of the skin, gender, or any other feature that makes us physically different.
Every talented player has an equal chance of succeeding, whether they’re coming from the slums of Argentina or from the fancy suburbs of London. When it comes to amateur players who indulge in soccer just for fun, the situation remains the same; everyone can play soccer.
One of the key reasons why soccer is the best sport in the world is the fact that it’s available to everyone, regardless of the amount of money they can spend on it.
You can be a five-year-old and enjoy soccer. You can also be living in a nursing home and experience the same amount of joy. There are no age limits when it comes to enjoying soccer, for the fans, as well as for the players.
03 More Safe
Soccer is a fairly safe sport, less exposure to injuries. As with any other sport, injuries occur in soccer and they can be devastating. Still, research shows that soccer players are much less likely to be injured in the line of duty than their peers from other sports. Soccer is one of the safest sports, especially for younger players, for anyone playing. Keep in mind, soccer is a contact sport. But when compared to other sports, soccer is much safer. Sprained muscles and ligaments in the lower body account for more than 50% sport related injuries. Concussions and severe damage are rare in soccer. The occasional bruising is expected. In comparison to most, soccer is the safer option. More athletes will have a longer, healthier career.
Soccer has it in spades. There is the obvious beauty of a well-timed bicycle kick, the diving header, the 30-yard screamer. But for the purists, Spain’s “tiki-taka” has been a reminder that dynamic teamwork can be as beautiful as individual acrobatics. It truly is “the beautiful game.”
Superficial, I know, but there’s little denying that David Beckham and Alex Morgan wouldn’t have made many magazine covers if they were professional boxers, taking shots to their tremendous cheekbones on a regular basis.
Moreover, soccer players develop more attractive physiques than most other sports because of the need for well-rounded fitness, while the likes of Prince Fielder are able to stack on the pounds because they don’t need to be trim to do what they do.
05 Team Spirit
No matter how much love we as parents give our children, instilling a sense of community and belonging in our children is not easy. Football is helpful for both children and adults. The sport teaches us how to be part of something larger than ourselves and to work with others to achieve a common goal (pun intended).
Football offers this benefit not only to players, but also to fans. Coming together to support our favorite teams is a decades-old tradition we’ve maintained around the world. When wearing our team colors, nothing can separate us. This is what beats racism, hate and bigotry. Football and sports in general can create friendships and bonds between players and observers that can last a lifetime.
Even watching a football game at home can become an intimate experience. Those of us who grew up watching football with our dads know how close the game brought us to him. While individual sports can be fun, they can never be as exciting as when you play as a team and win.
Football, like most other sports, is a great way to get kids used to physical activity, building a habit and preparing them for success in other areas of life.
06 Challenging, easy to learn, but hard to master
This game presents many challenges. There are a lot of skills to learn, but that doesn’t take into account the physical demands required to excel in this sport. Passing, shooting and dribbling is easier said than done. It is more challenging in the game. Professional players seem to have complete control over the ball with ease. In fact, it takes hundreds of hours to get to a decent level, and even more to get to a professional level.
Going back to the challenging aspect of the game, soccer is easy to learn but hard to master. No matter what level you are at, there is always room for improvement. You will always have something to do. There is always the challenge of getting better. There is no room for complacency in this sport.
07 All Players Have Chance
Any player on the field can score a goal, even a goalkeeper can get a goal. Unlike other sports, soccer is focused on players more so than any other sport. Regardless of position, a player can score. This transfers the focus from specific positions to the whole team. Other sports have key positions designated for scoring. Soccer does as well, but that does not mean only certain players can only score. Rather a few players trying to score, the whole team is trying to score.
08 Easy to follow
Soccer is not only undemanding to play, but it’s also an undemanding sport to follow. This, of course, applies to novice players and viewers who don’t care for advanced techniques and tactics and who are there just to have fun. When it comes to watching a soccer game, they are relatively short and easy to follow.
A soccer game’s playtime is 90 minutes, which translates to around two hours of total watch time, including the halftime and added time. Most of the time, those 90 minutes are tense and action-packed. While two hours is not an insignificant amount of time to dedicate to watching a sport, soccer is one of the best sports in the world in terms of time economy.
A baseball game lasts for 3-4 hours, with less than 20 minutes of action. Spending this much time in front of a TV and not getting much in return can be considered wasteful by those who are not fans of baseball.
All-in-all, soccer has become the most popular sport for a reason – the viewers appreciate the fact that the time they invest in watching soccer feels rewarding rather than wasted.
09 Loyal Fan Base
It’s difficult to find fans more loyal than soccer fans. It’s passion unseen anywhere else. No matter the team or league, from the pro level to the amateur level, soccer fans are loyal and keep the sport alive and thriving. It’s one thing to watch a game on TV, but to watch a game live with roaring fans is an experience everyone should have at least once in their life.
Soccer fans care more than fans of any other sport, which produces wonderfully intense live experiences. In pretty much any other sport, the fans can be intense, but no one’s going home too devastated if their team loses.
10 Tradition and Passion
Football is considered the number one sport in the world, both in terms of the number of fans and the enthusiasm for the sport.
Sunday’s game has become a religion in itself, with fans around the world anticipating the 90 minutes all week. Tradition and passion make football the best game in the world. In many countries across the globe, you can’t pick your favorite football team – before the baby is born, their parents, most often the father, have bought them a jersey from their favorite team.
The kid grew up with the team from day one, and it inevitably turned into a huge passion once they got older. It is not uncommon to have multiple generations of supporters of the same team in a family, especially in countries such as Argentina, Mexico, Spain and England. We’ve seen generations of football fans, influenced by tradition, following football their entire lives.
This includes not only following their favorite teams on TV, but investing in season tickets, team merchandise, and spending countless hours in the stands rooting for their teams in the hottest and coldest conditions , win or lose.
11 Consistency in the Rules
A sport has fundamental problems if authorities have to alter some aspect of the rules before every new season. The NFL is a consistent culprit, recently eliminating its highly unpopular tuck rule while also frequently modifying rules governing physical contact (no doubt to avoid a lawsuit one day). Rugby is even worse.
Ever since the formulation of the “back-pass” rule in 1992, soccer hasn’t needed any changes to its rules, despite what some idiots claim. Even the rules of soccer aren’t confusing for new players; beginners can easily grasp the key concepts and rules with ease. Granted, some rules, such as the offside one, can take longer to fully comprehend.
Human nature prefers a more stable state.
12 No Timeouts & Adverts
Playing sports of any kind requires an eye for details so you can make the most out of every situation. That is one reason why soccer is one of the best sports in the world. The fluidity of the game means that there will be little or no occasional stops and distractions during the gameplay. Instead, both the clock/timing and the ball are in motion at all times. If for any reason the ball goes out of play, it will be put right back to play the next minute.
In addition to managing the clock, timeouts are also too often used to halt the momentum of your opponents, instead of forcing teams to play out of their funk. They’re also used to give professional athletes a rest that they really shouldn’t need anyway. Oh, and they’re also just an excuse for advertisers to interrupt games more frequently.
Watch the last five minutes of any basketball game and you know that the timeout thing has gotten out of hand. It takes what feels like hours to get through with both teams freezing the clock whenever they have their hands on the ball, or intentionally fouling their opponents when they don’t.
Adverts during sports competitions are a great way for brands to start putting their services in the faces of thousands of viewers all over the world. However, it may become a boring affair when ads take a major part of the game. That is why soccer beats all the other types of sports. There are limited advert placements during a soccer game because adverts are only published during halftime.
Animals hate being interrupted while eating, let alone when we enjoy sports.
13 No PED Problem
The Tour de France may be a marvel of physical endurance, but do any of us still trust it anymore? So too, it’s hard to enjoy a superhuman performance in many sports in the Olympics without that nagging thought in the back of one’s head: “I wonder if they’re on something…”
There is no drug for skill and judgment under pressure, the twin tenets of any soccer champion. Maradona and Pele never had an asterisk next to their name; instead we can just sit back and enjoy their talent without having to worry whether they were getting an unfair chemical advantage (because Maradona only did drugs for fun).
Cheating is something humans hate because it means it’s not fair.
14 No fixed formula or preordained structure
While each game starts with two teams on either side of a line, from that point on it is a free-flowing session of unpredictability. Apart from set pieces, there’s very little preordained structure. Even the formation of each team is open to interpretation from coaches, instead of having to fit a set template. While NFL coaches have to be mindful of not fielding an “illegal formation,” their counterparts in soccer are free to choose a 4-4-2, a 3-5-2, or even a 9-0-1 if they’re playing Brazil.
15 Variations to the sport
Outdoor, indoor, and street soccer all take the sport and add a variance to the sport. Each one has its own unique spin to the game. Besides the obvious fact that each style is played on a different surface, the rules change as well. Then you have to take into account freestyle, which adds dance and soccer skills together. The sport can be enjoyed in many ways and this only adds as to why soccer is the sport.
203 countries are trying to qualify for the 2022 World Cup. The United Nations has fewer countries. Football is almost everywhere. It crosses every national divide. Is there another team sport that has more than 20 countries consistently competing? More than 10? Probably not, which is why a sport like the Rugby World Cup ends up being a joke as countries like Namibia put together a 15-man team only to be beaten 142-0 by Australia. Being an international sport means that no matter where you are in the world, you are guaranteed to find another fan. It’s a sport played around the world — even America.
Beyond the Olympics, the World Cup brings the world together to see who is the best at something. It is this unity that reminds us that we are all the same on this planet. This gives a country bragging rights until the next game.
17 Large scale
In every country, a league. And within those leagues, sometimes several divisions (the Estonian third division, as you can see from the video, is still taken very seriously by some). And thousands of amateur competitions. Soccer is played at every skill level, age and gender (yep, both of them). In every country on Earth. That is scale.
A total of over 3.5 billion people have tuned in to see the last FIFA World Cup Finals, with 1.12 billion seeing the game live on their TVs. This still isn’t the entire soccer fan base: Estimations show that soccer has around 4 billion fans around the world, which is more than half of the Earth’s population. According to FIFA, there are more than 240 million active soccer players in the world and around 18 million of them in the US. For comparison, there were just over 5 million football players in the US in 2018. This data shows that soccer is not only the most popular sport in the world by viewership but also by active participants.
Is being the most popular sport in the world enough for soccer to be considered the best sport?
Marketing has been a huge part of football for decades. All major brands invest in marketing through football to make the sport and its brand more famous.
Without marketing, football as we know it probably wouldn’t exist. Why and how does marketing help football become the best sport in the world? The answer to this question is simple: Marketing experts saw the potential in football early on and immediately started capitalizing on it. They have invested billions of dollars in helping the sport reach its current popularity while making sure their investment pays off.
There would be no World Cup without marketing and sponsors, who in turn were rewarded with a flood of new customers who started using their services after seeing them for the first time during the tournament. The World Cup and international leagues aren’t the only marketing beneficiaries; all football clubs and most professional players are endorsed by big brands.
Last year, both Barcelona and Real Madrid took in more than $200 million from sponsors, proving how effective marketing can be using football. Some national leagues even change their names to include and refer to their main sponsors. Let’s say you like the sport but don’t want to play. Well, from a marketing standpoint, a lot of big corporations are reaping the rewards of this movement. Over 3 billion people worldwide watch football matches.
Even on a local level, sponsoring a team means a lot of exposure. The sport is so popular that one doesn’t necessarily have to be part of a team to experience some of the glory. Businesses can benefit simply by connecting with their teams.
19 Growing sport
Soccer continues to be a popular sport worldwide. The reason being is fans share this passion with younger players. As they age, their passion grows for the sport. Overtime they share this passion with others who have not had the opportunity to learn about the sport. The sport continues to grow all over the world – again and again. Fortunately, this growth is starting to catch on even more in the US.
20 Soccer is connected to the gaming world
Every major sporting event in the United States has a place in the gaming world. The NBA, NFL and NHL have all become hugely successful games, but none of them have MLS representation. Due to the sheer number of leagues involved in global football, it doesn’t seem reasonable to dedicate a game to a single league.
This is why games like FIFA and Pro Evolution Soccer exist; they connect the world of football with the world of gaming, which includes all major domestic and international football leagues. Both games have had more than 20 different iterations, each more popular than the previous. The popularity of games like FIFA and PES can be attributed to the overall popularity of the sport. Likewise, football as a sport should be grateful for the thousands of new players and spectators these games bring to the real football world. These games have brought fun and joy to millions and taught countless players to love football: With over 37.6 million players currently playing the old version of FIFA and 5.1 million playing PES, we can safely say that they all count as soccer fans.
If so many reasons can explain “Why soccer is the best sport”? Maybe you have more reasons to love this sport. I’d like you enjoy it instead to argue if it is best.