The League

THE QUESTION

Football vs. Football

After the U.S. national soccer team's surprise run in the Confederations Cup, will soccer someday replace football as America's sport?

Posted by Emil Steiner on June 26, 2009 8:57 AM
FEATURED COMMENTS

mansueto31: I Think soccer is a worldly game and appreciated by most of children and adults around the globe. It´s easy to play and Brazil is an example...

armorgan2: IMO Soccer will never overtake Football in this county for several reasons. One reason is that and lets face it, the best athletes in the US...

armorgan2: IMO Soccer will never overtake Football in this county for several reasons. One reason is that and lets face it, the best athletes in the US...

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ALL COMMENTS (73)
I-270Exit1 Author Profile Page :

Oh Please! I would expect more out of the Washington Post, which provides excellent coverage of both sports (and the best soccer coverage in the USA), than to machinate a debate to inflame sensibilities and inflate web hits. Soccer fans don't care about replacing football or any other sport as America's sport. Indeed, America has many sports - a buffet of athletic interests for us to participate in or just watch. We (soccer fans) want to watch our sport without ignorant comments, criticisms, and questions - such as the one posed by Emil Steiner.

arswift24 Author Profile Page :

How is soccer UnAmerica?

I think those players WHO BEAT SPAIN... are all American citizens.

If you cannot get behind the sport, at least get behind your country.

Also, American football is boring and the rules are arcane. Which is thy the rest of the world DOES NOT CARE, two sold out games at Wembley do not a global sport make!

rockotodd Author Profile Page :

Three of these articles were just written from the "soccer will never make it" template that was created in 1974, I expect this from ESPN not from the Post.

SeanWG Author Profile Page :

Who cares if soccer will ever be bigger than football?!? Soccer has arrived in the US and is here to stay. Soccer and football are both awesome sports to watch and be a fan of. And both offer the opportunity for plenty of money to be made. And since we are Americans we want it all, and the best of everything, so lets go make it happen. And I think we can. Beckham, Pele and the NASL, and the friendlies of mega European clubs that sell out football stadiums show that if we bring over the best players in the world, we can fill 90K people stadiums. Once the American sports economy starts getting behind soccer in a real way we can quickly bring over the best players. Even NHL level salaries could bring the best players in a sport that is truly global. American investors, networks, and foreign investors are all starting to catch on to the potential. And Americans love winning on a global scale. Don't worry football fans, I don't think soccer is a threat. Just be excited as Americans that you'll have another set of great teams to wrap your pride in, and new on and off field dramas to provide us endless entertainment. And I can think of few things more fun than being a part of supporting our underdog soccer nation to a rise to world dominance.

jsm91 Author Profile Page :

The United States doesn't need "a" sport - there is plenty of room for everyone. Soccer is my favorite sport, but that doesn't mean that I don't like football (or any other American sport). Frankly, the overwhelming majority of American soccer fans that I know also like football, even if it's not their favorite sport.

For what it's worth, the two things I like most about soccer: 1) Only sport where there is true competition at a global level, 2) No ads.

VercengetorixII Author Profile Page :

I think the question is fine IF you remember that about 75 years ago we could have had this very same conversation where it would be baseball vs. football and football would have been the underdog.

I do wish that there would be less of this meta-story of "will soccer ever be huge in the US?" and more concentration on what actually happens on the field. I'm not saying it's media-created, because for some reason that I honestly don't understand, soccer brings out an actual animosity in a lot of non-fans. These are people who don't just not care for soccer (i.e., I don't really care for basketball but I'll watch it or politely entertain and partake in a discussion about it). These are people who actively deride the sport, who verbally abuse soccer and its fans like the school bully beating up the nerd on the playground. It really makes no sense to me.

Discussions like this one, however, don't really do much to heal those wounds. All I'd like as a soccer fan is a few brief mentions on SportsCenter, a general awareness of the sport at the pro/national level among the public, and easy access to games on TV. I don't want to take away football's top spot - I love the game at all levels, used to play, played in the pep band for years at games, avidly watch now - I just want a little respect and acceptance.

delantero Author Profile Page :

"Will soccer someday replace football as America's sport?""

Yes, demographic change dictates the future. America is becoming less of a Caucasian majority. More and more youth play the game and not the alternatives. Plus, the World Cup has simply unparalleled World appeal and viewership.

The other U.S. sports, from a world perspective are difficult to understand and require lots of gear (football) or space (baseball). Soccer requires two feet and a ball. Pele used to juggle grapefruit!

It's only a matter of time before soccer reigns in the U.S. The question is not if, but when? Probably not in my lifetime, but it will happen.

delantero Author Profile Page :

The NFL is boring.

Touchdown. Commercial. Extra Point. Commercial. Kickoff. Commercial. Repeat.

Try and play the game without so many interruptions and you might have something.

In the end, people really only watch it for their fantasy stats.

rpttn20041 Author Profile Page :

There is no way soccer will replace football mainly because most sports fans are set in their ways and are too lazy to learn the rules!!!! GO COLTS!!!!

mr_bill_10 Author Profile Page :

I've always been perplexed at the world's fascination with soccer. The sport seems incredibly boring to me because:

1. Nobody ever scores.

2. Nobody ever scores.

3. Really, nobody ever scores. You mostly just watch people chase a ball around a field for 3 hours.

4. If, by some miracle, one team actually scores, players react as if they have hit the lottery. Like we Americans say about scoring a touchdown in football (something that usually happens several times a game!), "act like you've done it before."

5. If, by some miracle, one team manages to get ahead by 2 scores, the other team never, ever, ever comes back.

6. When a player gets kicked, he falls down like he has been shot. They bring a STRETCHER (!) out onto the field, cart him off, and 3 minutes later, he is playing back on the field. In America, we call that being a drama queen and a wussy. In America, we prefer our athletes be tough (even if they have to use steroids to get that way!). Watch football and you'll see some tough athletes.

7. When the soccer game ends in a tie, they decide the game by SHOOTOUT! That is the dumbest way to decide an athletic contest I've ever heard. They might as well flip a coin. Remember when the World Cup final was decided this way? What a sham. Years of qualifying matches, weeks of playoffs, then hours of playing the Final itself, and the World Champion is decided by what is essentially a coin toss?!? In football playoffs, if a game ends in a tie, they PLAY UNTIL SOMEONE SCORES! It doesn't matter if those guys are dropping from exhaustion, you decide the game in exactly the same manner in which it is played.

The only explanation I could come up with why so many people around the world find soccer interesting and exciting is that they don't yet have tv and internet and their excitement threshold must be extremely low. I'm sure I'll tee off a few soccer fans with this post, but perhaps now you all can better understand why Americans don't watch soccer. We prefer watching exciting contests between tough men whose winners are determined by actually playing the game.

staticvars Author Profile Page :

American football is incredibly annoying to watch on TV. It's all commercials. 1 hour takes 3.

Soccer has too many breaks too. Too many fouls. They actually created that stretcher rule to embarrass the guys following over trying to draw fouls. They should just let the game continue while the idiots writhe on the ground trying to influence the referee.


Aprogressiveindependent Author Profile Page :

To each to their own when it comes to sports, music, films, television, etc. Some people obviously really like soccer. I think the game is quite boring and the rules for breaking a tie are arbitrary and silly.

Football, baseball and basketball are likely to reign supreme in this country for the forseeable future.

StatMan007 Author Profile Page :

I have to agree with Mr_Bill's comments. While I appreciate a defensive-oriented football game and a well-pitched, low-scoring baseball game, soccer just takes it to an absurd extreme. I remember looking through the World Cup games a couple of years ago and noting that about 2/3rds of the games were 0-0 or 1-0.

The entire game is just kicking a ball around until someone unsuccessfully attempts to score, then the other team does the same.

They need to implement some rule changes that give teams a 10% chance to score on a possession. I'm not talking about a wild score-fest where teams win 10-8, but it would be nice if the average game was 3-2 or 4-3.

I watched a fair amount of soccer in the 70s and early 80s, but lost interest. Now I almost never watch it.

1observer Author Profile Page :

Oh come on. Soccer doesn't take great strength so it's ideal for little girls but is played even by adults. Lots of people like it but I find it boring. That's life.

blert Author Profile Page :

For soccer to supplant football with be difficult, but it is not so far-fetched. Baseball was once the most important sport in America, and now it appears to be a side show compared to football. Baseball still holds a nostalgic place in the American psyche, but that nostalgia is fading deeper into history, too, as generations of people who grew up playing and breathing baseball are passing away.

The real question of what sports will be popular a generation from now is what you see children playing today. What are the most popular organized sport leagues that most children play? What sports games are they playing on PS3s, X-Boxes, and Nintendos? What do kids play for fun given the choice? When those kids reach middle age, in all likelihood that sport will be what is most popular in culture.

We haven't seen kids throwing around the baseball ball playing catch or playing street ball or stick ball in a long time, nor do we actually see a lot of kids playing football for fun anymore. Some play basketball, and a few play football. In terms of organized leagues, however, soccer seems to dominate these days, and as more and more play soccer formally, we may see more and more sand lot soccer replacing the football and basketball that replaced baseball. And this is what these kids will watch as they grow older.

petekam Author Profile Page :

As soon as the soccer marketing people gain the expertise that the NFL and NBA has- the sport will take its rightful spot in fan popularity.

Also- to the anti soccer bigots- us Americans are so egotistical- we are better at everything so some foreign sport isn't the equal our home grown variety (including baseball- which is
nap time)

Sutter Author Profile Page :

We can play our own sports, with only (or almost only) U.S. teams competing, and still call the winner "world champions" (e.g., the Lakers). The World Cup is a true world championship. Our championships are not. They are stille exciting, involving some great teams, but they aren't world champions.

Lascivo Author Profile Page :

It's possible that football could overtake American football, but I doubt that would be anytime soon.

NFL and college football are clearly wrought with PED's, legal and not legal. At some point, Americans may tire of 375-pound linemen who can run twice as fast as they can.

Many American sports are of less interest to me now because PED's have clearly affected performances and outcomes.

No doubt PED's can be used in soccer, but the game does not have the outward appearance of such. And it sure does require true athleticism.

Consider_the_source Author Profile Page :

I think Americans' need for instant gratification is a major issue. Baseball offers a resolution in every at-bat. Football and basketball offer them within prescribed seconds of each other. Your attention wandered? Watch the replay. Soccer requires sustained attention and an appreciation of process that doesn't jibe well with our culture right now.

HankNTennessee Author Profile Page :

Anyone who has raised a child in the last 20 years should know which sport is gaining fastest in young participants. Just look at any vacant space in your town on Saturday morning. There is likely to be a kinder-soccer league springing up.

My little rural Virginia town now produces high school players who can score on a bicycle kick (laid out flat in midair, kicking the ball backwards over their head) or reach backwards with a foot to flick the ball forward over their shoulders past a defender, or instinctively pass the ball backwards to better move forward, or attack in overlapping runs. An American born and American trained player now starts for the Italian national team

I was an honorable mention all-Ohio high school football player in 1967. But the times they are a'changing.

stuball Author Profile Page :

American football is all about advertising. We went to our first major league game last winter and the game on the field actually stopped so that they could show commercials on TV. There was so much eating, drinking and talking on cell phones it was hard to pay attention to the game. At the last Washington Nationals game I went to the two women in front of me were talking and did not even glance at the batter for the first four innings, and then they left. Years ago I got to see Manchester United play in England and I was in the standing room only section. We were crowded but attention was totally focused on the game even when it started raining. I don't think most Americans understand soccer, particularly the off sides rule. The beauty of soccer is in the passing and the corner kicks and the shots on goal. But it requires concentration which means watching for 45 minutes at a time without commercial interruption. Even the American TV coverage is disappointing as the camera will show the coaches or the spectators and miss an important play on the field. And the commentators talk a bunch of trash that has nothing to do with the play on the field. It encourages the American sports myth that unless some team is scoring then the game is boring. If that were true then Basketball would be the most exciting sport around because it is nothing but scoring.
I played soccer 38 years ago in college and I am thrilled to see the progress that soccer has made in this country. My children have played soccer since they were small with my son playing on a winning high school team. The World Cup is a very big event in our household. Sure I have some criticism of soccer, there is too much faking of injuries and diving to the ground, too much shirt pulling and bad calls by the referees.
Soccer is a great sport and our only true World sport.

jdmueh Author Profile Page :


The U.S. win over Spain was quite possibly the biggest upset in modern times on the world level stage -- yet in this country the story was out of the news-cycle in less than 24 hours?

You do the math.

Alsatian1 Author Profile Page :

1. Who cares, dumb question.

2. As a matter of history, from 1900-1950 the biggest three sports were baseball, horse racing and boxing. They're not anymore. Who can guess what the most popular sport will be in 20 years. Maybe it's not even invented yet.

papple Author Profile Page :

There is no doubt that one day football will replace American football as the number one sport. It's not a question of "if" as much as "when". The most obvious reasons are the immigration from Central and South America and the fact that more children are currently playing football than those playing American football and baseball combined. Look it up. It's a fact. The NFL has turned American football into a 4 hour beer commercial. It's the most offensive thing I've ever witnessed and I'm a die hard Redskins fan who had a golden retriever named Riggins growing up. How can you justify a TV timeout? Excuse me, we are now going to stop the game so we can force feed you some advertising (?!?!). If American football ran non-stop the way football does, we would not see 350 lb offensive linemen. They would be healthy strong elite athletes because their cardiovascular endurance would have to be at elite levels. Also, who has 4 hours to waste in front of the TV on ANY day of the week? I'll take football over American football any day of the week.

jdmueh Author Profile Page :

PAPPLE:

And if American Soccer becomes more popular than American football, then you better count on lots of beer commercials and "TV timeouts" to try and sell you Viagra.

But you have a very good point about the rediculous number of commercials during a typical NFL game. They go to a commercial after every change of possession in the 2nd half now. Crazy. --And unwatchable.

tgrahame1 Author Profile Page :

The intensity of soccer has had me hooked ever since I started playing it in 1962. I lettered in HS football, played it for my college house team for year, but have played, coached, and/or reported on soccer since I started playing it.

Football doesn't grab me. I don't know if it is the constant timeouts, or the gladiator (steroid enhanced?) size of the linemen, or the ferociousness of the hitting, but I just don't get a lot out of watching people bust each other. Ordinary sized people, not wearing protection against killing hits, trying to score a goal against difficult odds, with great individual and team skills, is what does it for me.

A friend offered me free Skins tickets a year ago November -- I declined because I preferred my plan for the day, walking 8 miles on the C&O canal towpath.

The only sport I will now pay to buy tickets for is soccer. That includes U Md. soccer, where I saw Taylor Twellman and countless other pros play as undergrads. I haven't bought a baseball ticket in about four years, although I do go to games when a friend offers me tickets...but never a football game, pro or amateur.

zegster Author Profile Page :

I disagree that soccer is "unAmerican," but it will never succeed in the USA. Fun to play, difficult to watch.

Americans want to see the sport's best. Since American football is played no where else (the inferior CFL doesn't really count), we know that's what we're watching in an NFL game. Similarly, with the addition of the best foreign born players, we know when we buy an NBA, NHL or MLB ticket, we'll see the world's best teams playing their respective games at the highest level. That can never be said for an American professional soccer game as the best players and teams play elsewhere.

Also, in the vast majority of games between good, evenly matched soccer "sides," 2-0 is a blowout with little or no chance of a comeback. The rest of such games become the equivalent of the old (pre-shot clock) North Carolina four corners offense. No tension, just frustration. Unwatchable. Might as well turn the TV off or leave the stadium.

ecantwel Author Profile Page :

Excellent post. The Post should hire more writers that claim ignorant, baseless arguments, so the readers can justify, defend, and write the real discussion. Great business tactic to keep the dying newspaper alive.

GABinOdenton Author Profile Page :

Soccer has already established itself in America to a certain level of success. There is a professional league and it seems to be well-founded, drawing 20,000 or so fans for each game. Television and radio rights are the issue for Major League Soccer; they have to package the game in a way that the broadcasters like.

Soccer will never supplant the Big Four and NASCAR, but it will be the first league on the second tier.

RobbyCee Author Profile Page :

Several points here.

1) This is a contrived question most always posed by American football fans who have the need to sort out those who love America from those who have "foreign" sentiments. This question is imbued with a dose cultural paranoia. I have never had a conversation with a soccer fan about when soccer will "take over" the American sports world.

2) Scoring. On the opposite side of the scoring scale is basketball wherein points are so easily racked up that, to me anyway, scoring becomes irrelevant until the final two minutes of game time when the game finally gets exciting. The folks who dismiss the game because of low scoring, in my experience, are rarely fans of the game, let alone fans of any particular team. When one "has a dog in the fight" the games power is fully revealed. Every shot on goal elicits a heart pounding reaction. Every sweet pass or counter attack makes you hold your breath.

3) I could care less if you hate my favorite game (do you think I cry at night when Keith Olbermann or Jim Rome make snide and self satisfied swipes at my game?). All I care about is the quality of play by our American-bred players as they play here or abroad. I will remain focused on our guys on the field while soccer haters get red-faced and anxiety ridden trying to convince me that I am a pussy or that I hate America.

JoeMck Author Profile Page :

Soccer won't overtake Football in America until All of the Corporations who make so much money off of football dig their hooks into soccer. Personally, Soccer is rediculously better than football. The Athletes are in better shape, don't have to wear a bunch of pads to keep from getting injured. Soccer is faster paced, not stopped every 20 seconds for strategery, it's more team oriented, it requires more skill than football, it's all around a better sport.

msilva2 Author Profile Page :

Another stupid$ question from your friendly wp.

amethyst2 Author Profile Page :

Soccer is wonderful exercise for children who have not yet acquired sufficient hand-eye coordination to play sports such as basketball and baseball.

FWG3 Author Profile Page :

Football,no. Baseball....within 10 years.

chris3 Author Profile Page :

Yeah, I agree about soccer: Kind of fun to play, difficult to watch (Except for maybe the highlights)

Thing is, for soccer to become fun to watch -- that is give guys in the stands something to do to stay awake -- you basically end up with street fighting and riots in the stands.

The day pro soccer becomes really popular in the U.S., you are going to have a situation where all the fans for the "A" Pro team drive to the home city of the "B" pro team to watch a game between the two and then physically beat thousands of fans from the "B" pro team in to life support.

That kind of thing might fly in parts of the world. But over here where we have guns, it would probably degenerate in to some version of a Civil War.

paulco Author Profile Page :

I think (without scientific evidence) that women will be more willing to watch soccer than American football. Soccer is less stupidly brutal, with exposure player skills become more evident, field movement is grander and more exciting, and there is less time wasted on time-outs and commercials. If I were a television exec I would survey female interest in the sport.

delantero Author Profile Page :

The football fans on here are obviously silly twits. Mr. Bill claims that most don't have TV or internet . . what a donkey.

If the NFL is so fantastic, why doesn't the world just love it so? They just shut down NFL Europe after 16 years. MLS is going steady at 13 years with 4 new teams planned . .

It's a tortoise vs hare race, my boys.

ghp60 Author Profile Page :

Foot-Ball is unAmerican in a way. To be able to go two 45 minute halves without a time-out and without oxygen (for wide receivers) after every "play" is not what we have been taught. Think how much better American football would be if each half ran for 60 minutes without time-outs. When the final 120 minutes expired and with the losing team on the 6-yard line, game over - period. But that is unAmerican. No time outs means no commercials, no commercials means no control over American's spending habits and more time for Americans to actually think. What a disater that would be.

hrastus Author Profile Page :

Football is more complex and interesting that foot ball.

hrastus Author Profile Page :

Football is more complex and interesting than foot ball.
(didn't catch the typo)

sesingh Author Profile Page :

Professional soccer in the U.S. is doing well, and in some places, it's doing very well. Take Seattle for instance. In my beloved city the Sounders games routinely have 29K+ fans at every match. Of course it helps to have Paul Allen and the Seattle Seahawk business engine in the back office; not to mention a cutting edge stadium; thanks to Paul and Seattle voters for that; I guess I should mention too that Microsoft XBox is the major sponsor to boot; and throw in some major Hollywood types. Ok fine, the Seattle Sounders have extra ordinary business backing and support, but Seattle gives an example of where both American football and World futball are not mutually exclusive when comes to fan base. Both teams will continue to do very well when it comes to fan support and I see in the not too distant future QWest stadium being soldout for both the Seahawks and the Sounders. And when Portland and Vancouver BC bring their MLS teams on-line in 2011, the soccer scene in the pacific north west will be electric; heck, it already is.

burgundee Author Profile Page :

there are two main reasons why foot-ball will never become as popular as football, basketball or baseball in America:

1) low scoring - Americans love high scoring sports. note how the NHL tried to expand the goal size and reduce the goalies pad size.

2) tie games - We love a definitive outcome. ties are too common in soccer.

gtom1 Author Profile Page :

Soccer for everyone, why not?
-Certainly, there would be fewer
fat people around.
gt.

RobbyCee Author Profile Page :

This is for Chris3. You, sir are an uninformed moron. Once or twice a year you see a video clip of an unfortunate riot or stadium collapse and you assume that violence is a daily occurrence in the stands of every soccer game. In the mid 80's I witnessed the destruction of cars and buildings at the intersection of Wisconsin and M St when the Skins won the Super Bowl, A poor taxi driver was tossed from his cab as it was turned over and destroyed. In the late 90's Chicago police arrested hundreds of fans who set fires in the streets and destroyed storefronts and shot guns into the air.

Soccer is played in thousands of stadia every day around the world by millions of players and there is no violence. Yes, there have been atrocious examples of passionate violence, but the causes are not derived from the game they are more connected to cultural and economic issues.

Your "analysis" smacks of arrogance and ignorance. When there is violence in American sport it is ignored. When there is violence in the soccer world it get covered and played over and over again so that it reinforces the belief that all soccer crowds are violent.

clogwearer Author Profile Page :

Soccer is the only sport I know of where you can head for the exits immediately after the first and, many times over, the ONLY run/point/goal of the game is scored.

Catcher50 Author Profile Page :

Faggedaboutit.

Soccer is dull, dull, dull.

Fastest growing sport...LaCrosse.

World sport...Basketball.

General growth...Oddly enough, baseball.

Soccer's reality...more commercias than Baseball or football, logos all over the jerseys...just short of NASCAR. Equipment sales...next to nothing. General Athleticism...Aussie Rules Football, by a long shot (and scoring too). Strategy in soccer...made up.

With Baseball & Football, there is always the opportunity for either a defensive struggle or an offensive explosion. You never know. With soccer, you know going in and...who cares?

ericamekan Author Profile Page :

The "American football" is not a dynamic sport, because it gets stopped all the time for almost any reason. It is also a rather violent sport for no good reason. In contrast, the team work and dynamism that the real football offers are exciting.

KRIKET Author Profile Page :

What a pointless, artificial and unsophisticated article/issue. My two favorite sports are soccer and football. I watch them both because I like them. What sense is there fomenting a silly competition between the two?

demosuzuki Author Profile Page :

Soccer is the most popular sport in the world, but even the most die hard fan like myself knows that it will only become more popular in the US if it makes changes. It has to conform to the US Television market to succeed in the US. Sundays' final will not even be broadcast on network TV even though the US is in the final. The reason is there are no timeouts for commercials. Commercials are not bad they give us a chance to pee or get another beer...there is a great scene in "A Shot at Glory" where the two fans emerge from the bathroom in the pub only to miss the goal scored by their team...when I was in high school there was an overtime rule where the teams removed the goalies and two other players so it was 8 on 8...that was exciting...penalties to decide a game sucks...the 2006 World Cup Final was terrible because Italy won on Penalties...and because they cheated...

EliPeyton Author Profile Page :

The day you can go to a park and see 30 seven-year-olds spontaneously playing soccer, using two sticks for a goal, then you can guess that maybe soccer might rise to number 3 in national importance within 20 years. You might see that today, but it's usually kids whose fathers are immigrants playing on the next field over. In other words, American kids get to know soccer by dribling balls around cones, wearing a uniform, with a referee for games, plus a snack that one of the parents brought for after the game. American kids don't grow up listening to World Cup games via a little radio, pacing nervously and hoping their team will pull off an upset. Soccer for American kids competes with Chuck E Cheese and the new Wii game.
Advertisers are stupid. Instead of realizing the beauty of having your logo superimposed in the right-hand corner of the screen during the game, they would rather have their product interrupt the game 10 times during 3.5 hours. I still remember Mastercard and Snickers from 1994.
Some of ESPN's soccer announcers are subjects of the Queen, not natives of the former colony. While they may or may not possess superior abilities, their accent reinforces the notion that soccer is foreign, even maybe "communist". At least the vuvuzelas drown them out, to an extent.

amoffett1 Author Profile Page :

In the first comment, I-270 pretty much said what needs to be said about this topic. Soccer fans _don't care_ about "supplanting" football or any other sport. We just want a stable domestic league and enough interest that will produce a competitive international program and regular media coverage. These are goals that we are well on our way to achieving.

A more relevant question is why certain people are so bizarrely sensitive about the whole soccer issue. Why do we never read forums about how there's no way, say, lacrosse is going to be the most popular sport, because it's "fundamentally unamerican," etc.? Why do we have to put up with 3rd grade level articles like the recent Gary Schmitt piece in Commentary or the Peter Schaffer piece linked above?

Listen, watch the sport if you enjoy it or don't if you don't. But for crying out loud, spare everyone your personal insecurities about how the next generation might be more interested in soccer than other sports. These sorts of articles can only make you come across as neurotic, moronic, prejudiced, or some combination of the three.

cyrki Author Profile Page :

My children played rec league soccer growing up, and 8 years ago, we took an interest in the World Cup games. We let our son out of middle school for the morning to watch the USA play Germany. It was a tremendous game, and we have been hooked ever since.

Soccer has some unusual aspects. Many of the players that are teammates in club play are opponents in World Cup play--depending on where they are from. It is, as has been noted in other posts, an international "language" all its own. It's about time for America to come out of isolation and join the world.

I don't think that soccer has to supplant football or baseball in the US. I think it can stand on its own, especially as more and more kids who played in rec leagues when they were young grow up.

Technically, I love watching and comparing the different styles of play--fast and aggressive, physical, or methodical. I don't find the relatively low scoring games boring at all.

And as a woman, I can say with certainty that soccer has the best looking men of any sport.

GHF_LRLTD Author Profile Page :

The key separation between Football and Futball is that Football runs at two levels - violent physical action by exceptional athletes and a complex strategical/tactical headgame.

I did not realize this, until I worked at job in cable televison. One of the fellow managers was an Englishman, who was at our franchise (in Pittsburgh) to learn about building a cable system. In 1982, he got invited to a Super Bowl party. The Steelers were not in the game, but he was confused by the way nothing seemed to be happened on the screen, but the partiers where running around yelling and screaming about whatever was going on. He fell asleep....

I eventually deduced that the bursts of physical activity, followed by non-activity on the field interspliced with instant replays created a time and perspective (from watching the game from childhood, and in many cases playing in high school or sandlot pickup) intellectual yang to the physical activity ying.

Americans understand the score, time left, down, and distance elements of the game (and how they dictate what to expect), something that futball does not have, and have internalized it. The instant replay has given most Americans a clear understanding of the rules, strategy, tactics, and personal matchups that are going on down on the field - something that futball's continuous play makes impossible. What should be, for example, a point of confusion caused by the three basic platoons - offense, defense, special teams - is not an issue, since it provides a way to lay out the plays to come in ways futball (no real substitution for situations) can not. This headgame - best indicated by the complexity of both offensive plays and defensive counter-reactions - keeps the game continually changing, never repeating itself.

These two levels, coupled with the early exposure to the sport beginning in grade school, and the brillant basic marketing concept of the league - not the individual team - as the product combines local fan support (Steeler Nation) with the fact that the quality of the play on the field over the seasons is not a function of the wealth of the ownership of a franchise, but their management capability.

Nobody would consider the Rooneys anywhere near as wealthy as Jerry Jones in Dallas (or Daniel M. Snyder, for that matter), but there are six Lombardi trophies at Heinz field.

The pauses of Football also allow the drama to build, and the breaks allow not only to commericals to pay for the athletes on the field, but the ability to get something to eat and/or drink (and go to the loo) without missing anything.

EliPeyton Author Profile Page :

I saw a soccer this morning on Dish Network. It was a Syrian league game on a free preview channel. Sometimes their play was sloppy, sometimes brilliant, and overall it was entertaining. The Syrian National Team recently tied with Korea, and they're ranked 104th in the world, just behind Grenada, that known powerhouse. Bottom line: soccer is happening eveywhere. Whether we put down our $6.50 hot dog and pay attention to it or not is irrelevant in the grand scheme of things.

EliPeyton Author Profile Page :

When Honduras has home-field advantage over the U.S. at Soldier Field (June 6, 2009), there's more to the discussion than meets the eye. Options to increase interest in soccer:
a) free vuvuzela horns;
b) free hearing test coupon from Wal-Mart;
c) free soccer ball for first 1000 fans who can link the correct number of goals to the player: 101 and 1281; Pele and David Beckham.
d) competition between Joe Buck and Chip Caray to see who can yell "Gooooallll" the longest.

jshay Author Profile Page :

No-one in the United States cares about soccer. Just look at the stellar success that David Beckham has had here! American football has nothing to fear from soccer. Yes, there are great athletes in the soccer world, but there's not enough scoring to keep people interested.

IdeologyKills Author Profile Page :

Soccer is miserably dull. I don't care how un-trendy that opinion is, I don't care how its adherents continually try to sell it to us, how many U.S. kids play it in leagues, and I CERTAINLY don't care what the rest of the world thinks of the game, -- it is excruciatingly boring.

Now if you were to shrink the playing field, make it ice, put the players on skates, give them wooden sticks and a hard rubber lozenge to pass and score with instead of a ball, and allow them to bang into each other as they play, you would have one SERIOUSLY exciting game.

Somebody should get onto that.

BO_Stinks Author Profile Page :

No, Soccer sucks.

Barno1 Author Profile Page :


papple Author Profile Page :

There is no doubt that one day football will replace American football as the number one sport. It's not a question of "if" as much as "when". The most obvious reasons are the immigration from Central and South America and the fact that more children are currently playing football than those playing American football and baseball combined. Look it up. It's a fact. The NFL has turned American football into a 4 hour beer commercial. It's the most offensive thing I've ever witnessed and I'm a die hard Redskins fan who had a golden retriever named Riggins growing up. How can you justify a TV timeout? Excuse me, we are now going to stop the game so we can force feed you some advertising (?!?!). If American football ran non-stop the way football does, we would not see 350 lb offensive linemen. They would be healthy strong elite athletes because their cardiovascular endurance would have to be at elite levels. Also, who has 4 hours to waste in front of the TV on ANY day of the week? I'll take football over American football any day of the week.

June 27, 2009 8:57 AM | Report Offensive Comments

HAHAHAHHHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!!

Yeah there's only tv timeouts in football, sure thing buddy. Well...basketball too. oh, and hockey as well. oh wait, now that i think about, there's tv timeouts in pretty much every televised sport.

What a moron.

BO_Stinks Author Profile Page :

I meant "Futbol" sucks.

6thandD Author Profile Page :

Steve Czaban on ESPN980 said "They could be playing the World Cup final in my back yard, and I'd close the shades." That's funny as hell. I played soccer in high school. Why? I got cut from the football team. The best athletes in the USA play the Big 3. Football, basketball, and baseball. Football is the only game that could be tailored for TV (see Pete Rozelle). That is why it is so popular and it won't ever be knocked from the top of the hill.

sec204 Author Profile Page :

This is a stupid premise to begin with. What is it with Football fans, always worried and concerned about when soccer will "make it", only then to be followed up with the well worn "it's UnAmerican" perspective?

Sorry football guys, soccer has made it. It's here, not going anywhere and all the "americans don't get soccer" nonsense won't change that. Plenty of americans do get soccer (just not the ones you surround yourself with), show up every week at MLS matches and tune in to all the various leagues shown on tv these days.

I love soccer, and couldn't care less if the MLS never reaches the level of popularity of the NFL. In fact, I hope it doesn't. The 20k to 30k seat stadiums are a perfect fit for soccer and the intimate nature of the game. Soccer will never be the #1 sport in the US, or the 2nd or 3rd for that matter, but it is already the 4th in many markets that have both and MLS and NHL franchise.

There is plenty of room as the american sporting table for soccer. What are the Football people so scared of? For supposedly being the "tough guy" sport, the fans sure seem to be an insecure bunch of crybabies. Didn't your mama teach you to share?


meeks2 Author Profile Page :

All,

This question offers a false choice. The bottomline is that noone really cares whether futbal surpasses football in popularity in the US. That was certainly not the interest of any of us that have competed professionally in this country or abroad. We have/had a love and a talent for the game and have sought opportunities to play and watch the game, just like our colleagues in football, basketball and baseball (note that many go abroad to play these sports as well).

A better question for soccer and other sports fans is, "will the US be able to sustain a competitive, entertaining and financially viable professional league/system?" As they say in politics, this is really a question of whether the pie can be made bigger, rather taking a piece of the pie from another sport.

My thoughts on this foolish question.

Go US! Beat Brazil!

lagwagon777 Author Profile Page :

Yes, soccer will be bigger than football. Here's why:

1) America's minority population is more than 100 million, or about a third of the United States. A large percentage of those minorities are Hispanic, who prefer soccer over football. That percentage is likely to continue to grow.

2) America will produce a cat who looks and plays like Cristiano Ronaldo. When that happens, America will be infatuated with not only a soccer player but a celebrity, like David Beckham.

3) By 2050, men will no longer feel threatened by the fit, attractive, metrosexual-looking soccer player, which seems to be the norm in Europe. A cultural shift will put more emphasis on American men valuing sensitivity, acceptance, equality and healthy living. But not in the South, where men will wage a furious campaign to bring sports back to its roots — as a substitute for war.

4) Because of TiVo, American men will start to notice that an NFL game is 10 minutes of intense action that interrupts two hours of commercials.

Persistence62 Author Profile Page :

It is inevitable. Within ten-fifteen years, the hispanic population and the way they breed, will easily become the majority. We will be just another "third world country", an extension of Mexico and the chaos, mayhem, insecurity so prevalent south of the border.Furthermore, English will become a second language. There will be no borders with Mexico and white people will either die away or adjust to the new world order.We are witnessing the demise of the best Country on the face of the planet and we Americans do nothing to stop this tragedy.We have become a very wimpy and coward people. Shame on us. ALL of us.

gas32hory Author Profile Page :

Let's face it folks, soccer is an international game. No other competitive sport can match it. But, as long as our national teams only play each other, they may never improve to the level of the European teams.
A solution might permit our teams to play certain European teams in some sort of league play, i.e., round robin - but logistics are a serious handicap.
Opponents decry the low scoring so some rule changes could be made: modification of the off-side rule could be one.
Soccer won't replace football anytime soon or perhaps ever, but it will give it a run for the money.

Unlikely soccer will replace football

chris3 Author Profile Page :

And RobbyCee, you, sir are a well-informed genius.

But you do get riled up about a post that was little more than speculation -- and an elbow here and there.

Perhaps my speculations engendered such a resounding "no" from you because you -- at heart -- suspect I am right.

If we flip cars and tear up buildings for Super Bowl wins, you know a lot of us in the States would go absolutely berserk following (comparatively) no-contact soccer matches that ended tied or 1-0.

robl Author Profile Page :

Soccer doesn't stand a chance if the Washington Post fails to list the time the USA is playing Brazil tomorrow.

I have looked through five articles on this site concerning tomorrow's game and NONE has posted the game-time and on where it will be shown.

If this were the 'skins, this info would be in the first paragraph, then the next, the next, next, etc.

Soccer it the best, but not if the Post has NOTHING to say about it!

ChristopherMc Author Profile Page :

>> "The rest of such games become the equivalent of the
>> old (pre-shot clock) North Carolina four corners
>> offense. No tension, just frustration. Unwatchable. Might
>> as well turn the TV off or leave the stadium."

I'm not going to tell you what you should or shouldn't enjoy. But I think I get why soccer seems this way to you: *You don't understand the game.*

That's not a criticism, and it's the same thing I'd say to an Englishman who says gridiron football is boring. Why SHOULD you understand the game, if you haven't been taught it, or been interested enough to learn?

See, what you view as boring, just-passing-around is what soccer fans view as the most tense part of the game. Offensive players are probing, looking for seams, setting up runs, building an attack threat; the defensive players are forming their shape, trying to close down those seams and shut off runs, and attempting to regain possession.

If you get what's going on, it's fascinating, nailbiting and completely, utterly addictive.

Watch a match where you feel like you have something at stake -- maybe today's US-Brazil game. Perhaps with something invested, the nature of the game will start to emerge for you.

If not, well, that's cool. Nobody said you had to like it. Our differences are what make the world so interesting in the first place.

diamond2 Author Profile Page :

Soccer will be unpopular because kids play the game? Give me a break! That's why baseball and basketball are so unpopular. Because so many kids and adults play the game.
Please!

mansueto31 Author Profile Page :

I Think soccer is a worldly game and appreciated by most of children and adults around the globe. It´s easy to play and Brazil is an example of that. The best paid salaries in sports are with soccer players. It is strange the americans call FOOTBALL by
"soccer" and this happens only with them; even the british call the game by the correct name. Definitely the U.S. enter the world of the most popular game on the earth.

armorgan2 Author Profile Page :

IMO Soccer will never overtake Football in this county for several reasons. One reason is that and lets face it, the best athletes in the US don't play soccer, they play football, baseball, basketball and run track. Just about all the countries that excel in soccer have their best athletes play it. Another reason and many have mentioned it is TV. Advertising is the name of the game in the US. If soccer is to thrive like the other sports here they will have to play the same game everyone does. They have to put up the money. MLS doesn't have the cash to do it and so far no one else has come over here to attempt it. It true that soccer is thriving in youths and high school and even college but without a dominant pro league in the US those athletes either have to stop playing or go overseas to play. Soccer isn't going away but they have a uphill battle to move into the big 4 in the US.

armorgan2 Author Profile Page :

IMO Soccer will never overtake Football in this county for several reasons. One reason is that and lets face it, the best athletes in the US don't play soccer, they play football, baseball, basketball and run track. Just about all the countries that excel in soccer have their best athletes play it. Another reason and many have mentioned it is TV. Advertising is the name of the game in the US. If soccer is to thrive like the other sports here they will have to play the same game everyone does. They have to put up the money. MLS doesn't have the cash to do it and so far no one else has come over here to attempt it. It true that soccer is thriving in youths and high school and even college but without a dominant pro league in the US those athletes either have to stop playing or go overseas to play. Soccer isn't going away but they have a uphill battle to move into the big 4 in the US.

 
 
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